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How to print a book (while you're still writing it)

By John-Paul Flintoff

When I’m writing a book, I hate to read it on loose sheets of paper. I want to read it as a book.

For that reason, I often use Lulu.com to print my books on demand while I’m writing them. Sew Your Own went through several versions before it was ready to print “properly”. What If The Queen Should Die? is no different, and I thought it might be helpful to explain how I work with Lulu.

Very simply, I save my OpenOffice (or Word) document as a PDF, having first checked the dimensions of the page. (Lulu offers a huge range of sizes, but for simplicity I choose to print my book at A5, because it’s less complicated.)

I design covers for the book using an app on my iPhone, trying a variety to see what works best for the book as it currently stands. Here’s the latest, which I sent for printing today.

Lulu asks me to upload the image, and the PDF containing the interior of the book, and that’s that.

It’s also possible, on Lulu, to set prices on the book, and possibly even to open some kind of virtual online shop. I’m pretty sure that Lulu will sell you an ISBN number, so you can sell the book through other retailers too. But that’s not what I want it for. I just use Lulu as a private space, for printing one-off copies of my own book to send to me as books.

I hope this might inspire you to try doing it yourself. There’s nothing like getting your hands on your own book.

Posted: May 19, 2015