Sunday, 20 January 2008

BarCampLondon3 video: self-publishing via Lyx & Lulu

This video of a BarCampLondon3 presentation in November 2007 may be of interest to writers, journalists and aspiring writers.

It's a guide to the art of self-publishing - how to publish and distribute your own (hard copy) book, or indeed thesis or dissertation, DIY, using various tools and services such as the open source Lyx word processor, GIMP for cover / illustrations, and self-publishing website Lulu. It's by Victoria Lamburn, who's published quite a few fiction books of her own.

There's a detailed overview of Lyx and its advantages - it's LaTex-based WYSIWYM (what you see is what you mean) and, in her view, produces better typography, control of fonts etc than Word or Writer - in terms of kerning, ligatures etc - basically how to get your book to look professional, presentationally, even if you're not a typesetting expert.

There are tips e.g. on the image you want to use for your cover, the benefits of submitting to Lulu in PDF format, and a short overview of Lulu and its options (such as privacy settings you control, with limited access only to your work; size of the book, etc), tips on submitting to Lulu including the importance of keywords (tags), and the potential of much better profit margins for the author than with conventional publishers. Different distributions are available e.g. through well known online booksellers like Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or you can choose to exclusively distribute and market it yourself, etc.

Lulu can also be used for distributing music via CDs and videos via DVDs. It does seem to really empower the creative in relation to controlling and setting your terms for distribution, pricing, etc - and seems a relatively economical way to get your work out there, too. To me, services like Lulu are one of the great developments have come out of the rise of the Internet.

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