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October 02, 2006

Just to Taunt All Y'all

athenatlc1002.jpg

What is it that Athena is looking at so interestedly-like? Why it's a bound copy of The Last Colony. One of four that exist in the whole wide world, which I had run off on Lulu.

No, you can't have one. One copy is for me, as a reference. One is for Krissy, who doesn't want to read the book off a computer screen. The other two I have, because, well. It's nice to have spares. The point is: personal copies. They're not leaving the house. If you try to break into the house to get one, the dog may have to eat you. And I don't think you want that. Also, don't bother checking Lulu. I ran off the copies and then deleted the book. Even before that I had the entry accessible to me only. Sorry. Anyway, it's just seven months until the book comes out. You can wait.

This was also a test for me to see how Lulu works for me -- I don't really plan to do any major projects using the service, but as noted Krissy prefers to read what I write in printed form, and I wanted to see how Lulu did with that. My determination: Not too bad. To my eye it's clear it's not a professionally printed and typeset book, but for what I want and need, it's perfectly fine. And reasonably cheap: A single paprback copy was less than $11, which is perfectly reasonable for a print-on-demand project. And the process of setting up the document to print was pretty simple as well. I have used CafePress before for a couple of previous POD things I've done, but Lulu does it better and more simply, so I suspect in the future if I do something like this again, I'll come back to Lulu.

Posted by john at October 2, 2006 03:38 PM

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Comments

Janiece | October 2, 2006 04:01 PM

Jealousy is so unbecoming. Especially when it is directed at a very young girl.

This blows. Sigh.

Chang | October 2, 2006 04:03 PM

JOOOOOOOHHHHNNNN!!!!

Ahem

What's a Lulu?

John H | October 2, 2006 04:03 PM

Me want!!!

Matthew Combs | October 2, 2006 04:05 PM

*Grabs pithcfork and torches*
WHO'S WITH ME? GET HIM!!

John Scalzi | October 2, 2006 04:05 PM

Chang:

Lulu

Jonathan | October 2, 2006 04:18 PM

It's not the dog I'm worried about... it's the guard-cat that sends chills up my spine. That killer feline doesn't blink with flesh left hanging from her body. eek.

Now, we KNOW you don't plan to give away a copy... but is selling a different matter? C'mon, money talks, I'll start the bidding at $30.

John Scalzi | October 2, 2006 04:23 PM

Nice try, Jonathan. Not for sale, either.

Mary | October 2, 2006 04:26 PM

I have MacIntosh toffeeeeeeeee .... C'mon, a few bars, a book: sounds like a fair trade to me.

John Scalzi | October 2, 2006 04:27 PM

Mmmm... MacIntosh toffee...

No. NO!

(maybe)

No!

Nathan | October 2, 2006 04:37 PM


Consider me taunted.

Now let's all go over to That Neil Guy's house and kick his ass.

Janiece | October 2, 2006 04:39 PM

How about home-made cashew brittle? With a home-made jam (flavor to be author's choice) chaser?

C'mon. You know you want some!

MikeB | October 2, 2006 04:47 PM

Get thee behind me Satan - I shall resist this temptation . . .

Hugh | October 2, 2006 05:00 PM

Mmmm... MacIntosh toffee...

No. NO!

(maybe)

Ahhh, as always, every man has his price...

No!

We jus haven't met it yet. :)

Carol Elaine | October 2, 2006 05:01 PM

You are a cruel, cruel man, John Scalzi.

SAP | October 2, 2006 05:37 PM

That's.

Just.

Not.

Right.

Tim Walker | October 2, 2006 05:48 PM

Thank you, John. You've given me renewed impetus to write something that *you* want to read, so I can show it it's written, all ready to be read . . . oh, but not by *you*.

So, let's see . . . *licks pencil* . . . Write first installment of a series . . . mm-hmm . . . build devoted readership . . . ah-hah . . . Write richly anticipated sequel . . . and . . . voila!

Fair warning, John: Expect yourself to be taunted in, oh, 36 months or so. All going according to plan.

John Scalzi | October 2, 2006 05:54 PM

Excellent.

Diatryma | October 2, 2006 06:02 PM

I think it's really cool that you did that-- I hadn't thought of using a POD press for such personal reasons. Or taunting the readership to exploit our collective sweetsmaking power, but that's beside the point.

Steve Buchheit | October 2, 2006 06:02 PM

Hmm, something about stealing candy from a baby,

books from kindegardners.

(puts on evil overlord outfit) corupt Athena's teacher, yes, yes, then on show and tell day, ah, it's all coming together now. We shall first get the book! And the THE WORLD WILL BE MINE!

"But what are we going to do tomorrow night, Brain?" Pinky asks.

emeraldcite | October 2, 2006 06:06 PM

I use lulu for classroom projects. Nothing more exciting to kids than seeing their words in print. I found its simplicity to be appealing in a Zen kind of way.

Timothy McClanahan | October 2, 2006 06:23 PM

So what IS the print quality like, compared to, say, a 1200dpi laser printer? (or a 600dpi, if that's what you've got)

Printing your own on a duplex-capable laser printer, cutting the sheets, and doing a simple binding job isn't that hard, and would certainly take less time than waiting for shipping from some place, depending on how many you wanted to print.

Chris Gerrib | October 2, 2006 07:27 PM

Timothy - I had my novel printed at Lulu. It's WAY simpler then all that work (upload a file) and looks identical to a trade paperback you'd buy at a bookstore.

Wan Zafran | October 2, 2006 07:41 PM

Mr Scalzi, dogs in general, and quite possibly your own man-eating one too, can be bribed.

By tempting the dog with offers, such as the option to publish photos of bacon taped to it on the Internet, it might very well relent and allow me passage into your home to retrieve that lovely new book of yours.

Remember, your dog might have gotten jealous over Ghlaghghee's recent popularity boost. Take good care of your dog, Mr Scalzi. Take good care of it.

[/insert maniacal laughter]

Ted Lemon | October 2, 2006 07:54 PM

So how do you feel about the quality of the book - is the binding decent? Paper? Etc.? Enquiring minds want to know...

Fred | October 2, 2006 07:57 PM

i want it please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please, now

John Scalzi | October 2, 2006 08:02 PM

Fred:

No.

Ted:

The quality is fine so far as I can tell -- the paper is heavy enough and the binding looks good. Of course, I've only had the books here for a few hours.

Mitch Wagner | October 2, 2006 08:05 PM

FWIW, I've held a Lulu-printed book in my hands for a few minutes, leafed through it, looked at the cover. It looks like what it is: A $11 trade-sized paperback. If I saw it on the shelves at Barnes & Noble, I wouldn't think twice about it.

Malcolm | October 2, 2006 08:46 PM

This photo is really crying out for an "add a caption" contest. You didn't just put it there to make us jealous, right? That would be wrong.

So, my entry...

Athena: "My name... can't see my name on the back here. Only once in the dedication. Need to check the credits again, too. But not on the back. Hmm... need to talk to that editor man I met at WorldCon. Daddy's getting forgetful..."

Steve Buchheit | October 2, 2006 09:10 PM

Well, now that we're talking about the photograph, who are those people dancing in the photo back above the mantle? The guy appears to have way too much hair to be our host.

Anonymous | October 2, 2006 09:16 PM

My caption:

Ok, the spider can't see me if I move really really slow. Oh, I got him in my sights. I'm sure Daddy won't mind a smushed spider on his brand new book. He's mine... hahaha, all mine.

cisko | October 2, 2006 10:10 PM

*ring ring*

Hello, this is Lulu. How may we help you?

Hi, yes, this is, uh, John erm Scalzi. I um, uploaded my book to your site a few days ago? And printed out some copies? Well it's not there now.

Hm. Can you upload another copy?

Um, yeah, that's just it. It's my only copy. Can you find it for me?

Well sir, we do keep backups of deleted files for just this reason. We can restore that for you.

Oh, fantastic. Fantastic. Only thing is, I'm not using that account any more. Could you restore it to my new account? That would be stalkingscalzi06.

I'm afraid we don't usually...

(waves hand) You'll be happy to restore my file.

I'll be happy to restore your file.

And print a copy, to send to Indianapolis.

And I'll print a copy, to send to Indianapolis.

Thanks! 'Preciate it!

Not a problem, sir. Thank you for using Lulu.

No, no. Thank YOU.

Mark DF | October 2, 2006 10:11 PM

Wait, it's called The Lost Colony but it's about finding it? That doesn't make sense. Shouldn't it be called The Found Colony? This is how he makes a living? Oh, jeepers, we're gonna have to sell that tiara to pay the bills.

Djscman | October 2, 2006 10:24 PM

Is Tor cool with authors self-publishing their (Tor's) books?

(No snark implied and I promise not to tattle to PNH, even if there was a reason to, which there probably isn't.)

Jim Winter | October 2, 2006 10:40 PM

Every man has his price, and I know John's. I have a signed first edition of OLD MAN'S WAR. It even has coffee stains for that "aging effect." I believe on HGTV, that's called "decoupage."

Jeff Hentosz | October 2, 2006 10:59 PM

Lost Colony. POD? OK, now I'm confused. I knew I'd seen this thing in the stores already. I saw a whole stack of them just today, but they were red. [brow furrows...lips contort]. Hell. Whatever. I think it's cool Athena's precocious enough to read Artemis Fowl, though. Good on ya. [puzzler is sore]

Mark DF | October 2, 2006 11:09 PM

Oh, phew, here's my creative writing assignment for Advanced Comp. Hey, waitaminute, why's it bound like this? And what's daddy's name doing on the front? And..MOM! He's doing it again!

Simon Haynes | October 3, 2006 12:24 AM

You do realise when people are trumpeting the self-publishing process they'll now include you as someone who 'used' POD? Once you're on that list it's very hard to get off again ... just ask Mark Twain.

In a couple of years the rumours will morph from someone who used POD to someone who self-published their book. You'll see ;-)

Johnny Carruthers | October 3, 2006 01:39 PM

You're probably violating the Geneva Conventions with this.

John Scalzi | October 3, 2006 01:40 PM

Well, aren't we all.

That Neil Guy | October 3, 2006 06:11 PM

This seem like as appropriate a place as any to ask this. So here goes.

I happen to be reading an ARC right now and I'm curious -- in this age of computers and such, I reckon there's not much "typesetting" done for books nowadays. So when I see spelling issues, tense errors, spare prepositions and such in an ARC, is it strictly the author who's responsible? Or are there still some kind of potential grammar changes and such that can appear between what the author submitted and what appears in an ARC?

Just plain curious,
Neil

p.s. Hello, Nathan!

John Scalzi | October 3, 2006 06:20 PM

Neil:

Actually, there's quite a bit of typesetting that happens even now (although, of course, it doesn't actually involve little metal thingies).

Having said that, ARCs are often made from the author's original manuscript (i.e., before copyediting and other correctives), so yea, most of the screw-ups you're seeing are from me.

Nathan | October 3, 2006 06:25 PM

Hey Neil, what's that low growl coming from under your couch?

Anonymous | October 9, 2006 02:47 PM

you really like to read dont you.....

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