Lulu Redux, or Re-Do

I swear, the devil’s in it. I received and approved the proof copy from Lulu. I have also received 10 more copies for consignment in my local independent bookstore and as gifts for friends. I sent out announcement emails. I did all the ‘marketing’ stuff, including Facebook.

And yesterday I received an email from Lulu: they have pulled the book because it will not print. Obviously, it has printed, so I was confused. Also, angry. I look like a fool vis-a-vis all the marketing, plus all my pleasure in my publication has been destroyed.

The problem seemed to be with the dimensions of the file, but the email didn’t say whether it was the cover or the interior text, or both. We used their template for dimensions and the files were accepted by their system, plus the proof copy printed. Other copies, ordered by friends, are printing. And yesterday was Thursday, when Lulu Customer Support (please insert sarcastic tone) was not available.

So today I attempted to get some information from a live chat session. I did get some: it’s the interior text file, not the cover. I won’t need a new ISBN. The PDF file created from their Word template is off by .12″ in one dimension. No one is saying why or how they let it get this far, no one has apologized.

I’ve asked my PDF designer to re-size the text file dimensions. She hasn’t gotten back to me yet and I can’t blame her. The whole situation is infuriating.

Update: I seem to be using a lot of bold type for this one. Anyway, the problem seemed to be the Word to PDF conversion altered the dimensions by a smidge. Lulu’s system didn’t catch it — don’t get me started — but Linda kindly re-did the PDF to be exactly 6×9. I uploaded it and told Lulu Customer Support to manually check the file, because if the first file got through how would I know if the second one was any better? They did so and now the book is back in the proof process. Lulu only grants one free proof so I thought I was going to pay but someone there obviously feels guilty, as well they should, and they are giving me another free proof with free shipping. All I lose is time and marketing, sigh. I have no idea how many people are going to try for a print copy between now and then, but I hope they email me if they have problems.

In the meantime I have contacted Bookshop Santa Cruz about their consignment program and I’ll post later about that process, with links when it goes live.

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Mary Holland

Mary Holland writes alternative-world fantasy for grown-ups. Her books include Matcher Rules, The Bone Road, and The Dog of Pel. She lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains with three cats and an ever-changing assortment of wildlife.

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