Most likely the shortest book I’ll ever self-publish

Psst. Wanna buy a book of mine for only $10? A book with none of those fancy-dancy wraparound cover photos?

Well, here’s your chance–although I’m not sure how long it will last:

Refining Your PoD Book: Quick Notes on Typography and Copyfitting

It’s 38 whole pages long. It’s 6×9. The cover is…well, it’s one of Lulu’s freebie backgrounds and templates, and as with many of those, it seems to have a lot of room for text on the back cover. I’ve never used a Lulu cover before (as opposed to either uploading front & back images or uploading a wraparound image), and I’ll probably never use one again…but the circumstances this time are, well, unusual.

Why does this book(let) exist?

Two overlapping reasons:

  • My wife agreed to speak at a local genealogical/history society about how she went about self-publishing two books on her family’s history. The people doing the inviting also wanted me to spend a few minutes talking about the actual Lulu process–I think I have ten minutes. And, of course, they want PowerPoint. So my wife suggested that I take a dummy book through the stages of project definition and uploading, maybe canceling it at the last step, capturing screenshots along the way for PPT.
  • I’ve written a preliminary proposal–which needs refining–to do a book on how public libraries (or libraries in general) can help tell the stories in their communities by facilitating self-publishing, without spending serious money on software. That means using Word (or OpenOffice) and some form of PDF generator, but nothing more (except, I suppose, some sort of image editor to build a good-looking cover).  If I did that book, a portion of it would be on the steps between finishing the manuscript (including editing and proofreading) and having a book–including appropriate use of templates and styles, typographic choices within Office2007 (I’ll update that to Office2010 if/when there’s a book contract), type size and leading, justification…and the wonderful world of copyfitting.

I decided to use a very crude version of that portion as my “dummy book.” No, it’s not Copyfitting for Dummies–I suspect I’d get sued the minute a book with that title was available on Lulu. It’s also not, how you say, terribly polished.

So now I’ll actually upload the promised free template (turns out Word2007 really doesn’t have any decent general-purpose book templates, and Lulu’s templates are on the crude side) and put all the PNG files (prepared using Snipping Tool, which I really, really like) into PPT slides…and then write up a 10-minute set of notes for the 16 slides (some of which might disappear).

So, you know, I’m not exactly promoting the book–but I’m also leaving it available, at least for now. At 38 pages, there’s not enough spine for spine text. Oh, and if you have a curious fascination (or want to offer advice on how I should do this better or why I shouldn’t do it at all) but aren’t ready to spend $10+shipping, the PDF is a free download. Free strikes me as a plausible price.

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