Saturday, April 2, 2011

"B" is for Bailed out by the Experts

Yesterday's travails with creating a cover for the Surge of the Wine-Dark Sea ended, as readers have noted, with my emailing James Kramer for a cover with some dimensions that wouldn't send lulu into a tizzy fit. Like lightning, James changed the cover dimensions and sent me a new file. Without any hitch, I uploaded the file, and I now have the hardcover of the art book waiting in my private folder at lulu waiting to be switched to general availability (there is still some more checking to do, and I have to upload the softcover before pulling the trigger for the actual release).

This leads to two points about being bailed out by experts:
1) Kramer is awesome. I am not sure how many people realize the role he has played behind the scenes on a lot of major projects. He is the technological force behind OSRIC 2.0, for example: it's a huge book, and Jim did all the layout for it. He also runs Usherwood Adventures, which has a full line of adventure modules - if you want to see high production values, these are tremendous. He has done the layout for 3 issues of Knockspell (2, 3, and 4), and lots of other behind the scenes work.

2) Lulu, I have to admit, needs to get kudos as well, for preventing users from accidentally creating problems for themselves. It is a pain to work with highly sensitive requirements for posting, but it would be much worse if the program allowed you to post anything -- and then discover that it doesn't emerge properly from one of the presses. So lulu gets points, if not exactly for bailing me out - for preventing me from creating problems for myself.

In any case, yesterday's adventure with the lulu cover-generation templates was fun, even though it ended up with me calling for the cavalry.

I should point out, for the sake of my own self-image here, that I'm actually pretty experienced with lulu - this was simply an excursion into an unfamiliar part of the functionality. Which is why it was fun rather than frustrating. If there's anyone out there who is contemplating putting something onto lulu, please don't be put off by my posts, which exaggerated the complexity in order to be amusing to read - the vast majority of the process is quite straightforward.

Indeed, lulu has been one of the center-posts of the surge in publishing we have seen in the last few years. Frustrating and annoying as it has been from time to time, it has actually been invaluable: technicolor vomit-screens, hieroglyphic instructions and all.

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