LULU Formatting your Book for Self Publishing

OK, at this point you are ready to upload the finished document and covers to publish. No matter what self publishing system you use, it is critical that you format your documents properly. Since you are fully responsible for what is printed, if you screw this part up, your finished book will look off.

So to start with, you have to understand how books are laid out. First, you want a 1/2" margin on the top, left, right and bottom of every page. That seems pretty straight forward.

However, in ADDITION, you also need a gutter of 3/10ths of an inch (.3") to account for the binding. This is where the paper sticks into the spine of the book to get glued. On odd pages (the right pages) this gutter has to be on the left. On even pages (the left pages) this gutter has to be on the right. Word will handle this for you automatically, if you just go into the page setup options. If you aren't using Word and are laying out your pages manually in a software package, you'll have to do this yourself.

So to summarize, you'll have a top margin of .5", a bottom margin of .5". The "outside" margin will be .5". The "inside" margin will be .8". Make sure you have your page size set to match the book size you are printing. So for me that is 4.25" x 6.875".

The very first page (a right page) is your title page - normally your book's title and your author name. It shouldn't have page numbers on it.

The second page (a left page) is your copyright page. This should have your printing history, your ISBN number (if you have one), any credits you want to give, and any rights statements. If you want, you can see my Sample Book Copyright Page.

Page 3 (right) is traditionally the "thank you" page where you give thanks to the people who helped you out.

Page 4 is normally blank, and then page 5 is another title page - this one just with the name of the book on it.

Page 6 is normally blank, and then you start Chapter 1 with page 7. Now it doesn't SAY page 7 on it. In fact it shoudln't have any headers or footers at all in the book up until now. You start the headers and footers on page 8, and you start the numbering there as page 2. That is to say, Chapter 1 begins on page 1 - but it doesn't say it. You just start the headers and footers with page "2", the second actual story page of your book, and go forward from there.

In Word, you do this with page setup - page layout - breaks, section breaks. Set a section break on page 2 - and give it its own header and footer. This will then create headers and footers going from that point forward. You can tell it to start numbering this section with page # 2.

Now, for fonts. I find that Times 20 is a good size for Chapter headings, and that Times 11 is a good size for actual text. I did a test run with Times 10, and that was too small. It can make a fair difference in your number of pages, the small changes in font size. When I did my test run with Times 10, I had 306 pages. When I redid the text at Times 11, I ended up with 350 pages.

Don't have spaces between your paragraphs, but do have each paragraph indent about 2-3 characters worth in size. Single spacing is best.

You want each new chapter to start on a right hand side page, so that is an ODD page. Sometimes you may have to insert a blank page in order to get this to work out properly. You want the chapter title to start a line or two down the page.

When you are ready to load this into Lulu, a Word document seems to work best. They need a non-2007 version of Word, so if you are using Word 2007, save it out as an "old / compatible" format in order to load it into the system. It should take under a minute to load the document in. It can then take a long time for their system to run the conversion to change it from Word into their internal format. Be patient, eventually it'll get there. If it really does get stuck, you cancel, note that you might need to create a new project in order to proceed. It's not a big deal - all you've chosen so far is the size and type of binding.

Now for the front and back cover. Their built in options are really rather nice, to create a title with text and default images. However, I highly recommend you create your own cover in PhotoShop (or pay someone $200-$300 to do it) and load that up. You want the cover size to match the book size you've chosen, and to be at least 300 dpi resolution. Remember that even with online sales, a cover really does sell a book! The better your cover, the more sales you will get. Make sure any text you have on your cover is very easy to read even when the image is shrunk down. Cute fonts are fun for party invitations - but you want to make sure that people seeing a thumbnail of your book can instantly understand what it's about.

Once that's ready, you're pretty much set! If you have an ISBN, they will even print a barcode version on the back for you. So that saves you the money of buying a barcode font or barcode maker. The book is now ready for purchase through the Lulu system!

Print Copy Sample from Lulu - photos of what the book looks like

Badge of Honor - Medieval Romance Badge of Honor
Take a look at the Badge of Honor sales page in Lulu, to get a sense of what the final product looks like.
Badge of Honor at

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Print Copy Sample from Lulu #1
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