27 Oct 2014

The Necromancer... In Print!

My book is in my hands. I would say it’s my baby, but that would be silly. It’s a book about flying zombies and centenarians with God-like powers—it’s hardly the kind of thing you’d call your baby. (PS: it’s my baby.)

Anyway, I’ve got some photos for you to look at. They’re not very good (I’m a writer, after all) but I think they’ll do in a pinch.

I’m also going to give my humble opinion on the quality of Lulu’s printing.

But, the photos!

Mr Stargazer is a Very Bad Photographer (Yes, He’s Said that Already)

On Lulu’s Print Quality

On the whole, suprisingly good. The pages are’t too thin (a common complaint with ‘budget’ printing), the construction feels solid, and there are no misprints or washed out ink—a problem I regularly experience with mass-market paperbacks. It’s also surprisingly heavy: whether that’s a good thing, or not; I don’t know. Perhaps I shall ask Lulu support.

Is the Printer Finnicky?

Yes. All printers are finnicky to a degree (no printer wants to make thousands of books with critical flaws, even if it isn’t their fault) but Lulu’s seems particularly egregious. Here’s what happened: LibreOffice (my word processing/quasi-DTP program) can’t embed OpenType fonts as OpenType in a PDF; instead it embeds it in the format known as Type-1, which tend to be quite basic—and problematic. I’m not sure if they prevent good printing outright (I can get my home printer to do it) but it does tend to make printers nervous.

What’s faux pas about Lulu is that their printer only gives general "Font error" type error messages—it doesn’t tell you which specific font is making it complain. This was so problematic, in fact, that it took 3 days to eventually figure out why it wasn’t printing. Make no mistake: the self-publishing biz ain’t easy.

How Do You Feel Alex?

Authors often speak of how it feels to get their first physical book. Euphoria, excitement and giddiness are the most commonly cited emotions. I didn’t expect to feel that, and I don’t. My dreams are bigger than that. And anyway: the idea of trying to sell it en-masse is... pretty daunting.

That said, I do feel a certain... satisfaction? Closure? Something like that. I’ve reached the end of this road. But there’s still plenty more to go. Plenty more monsters to slay, magic to be casted, and dreams to be made.

This is just the beginning.

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