LyX and Lulu

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Use LyX to create stellar on-line books for the Lulu publishing service.
A Step Above

I think it's likely that most of Lulu's authors use a word processor for their publications. Lulu's help system even provides examples on how to lay out your work from within Microsoft Word and OpenOffice.org. So, using LyX to publish your work will strengthen the professional look of your documents. Thus, even if you write badly, it'll look great.

Lulu.com is a helpful Web site, and authors can upload their work in many different file types. I think the safest way to maintain your work is to use .pdf or .dvi files for upload. This way, you're sure to maintain the nice typesetting look LyX provides.

The Process

Go to Lulu.com, and sign up for a free account. Then, look through the wide variety of products it offers. For extra fees, you can have Lulu.com help you with the layout of the book and cover design as well.

As a test, I used the LyX tutorial to see how well Lulu works. I exported the file in .pdf format (Figure 10) and used the on-line Lulu instructions to send my file. After Lulu accepts the document, it prompts you to select the binding type, color content and finally the cover design. When you're finished, you can preview the cover of your book and order a copy for final proofreading in the polished format. Each step of the way, Lulu calculates the price of your publication, so you can tailor it for the intended audience.

Figure 10. Here is the same file using Adobe Acrobat.

Lulu Options

Lulu gives you several choices for publications. You can keep your uploaded documents private for only you to view, or you can release them for public purchase. You decide on the sale price.

As a consultant, I must keep client files and reports so only I can view them. Then, I order just the right amount for the project. After I'm done with the client work, I delete it from Lulu and keep one copy for myself in electronic format.

To get the word out on a self-published book, Lulu offers fee-based services through selected third-party vendors. But wait, this may not be necessary, because in my next article, I'm going to write how to custom create your book cover with Pixel.

Conclusion

There are many locations on the Internet where you can find tutorials and examples of LyX and LaTeX. Many are difficult to read and understand. My experience is that working with a few documents and following the guidance in the tutorials is enough to get you started with the program.

Moreover, since I've been using LyX, I get many comments on how professional the writing looks. As mentioned earlier, the benefits of LaTeX typesetting are really noticeable in larger documents. I think Lulu is a super partner for a good desktop typesetting program. It handles many text formats with ease, and professional binding always looks nice.

So go ahead, write that book you always wanted to write, and make it a best-seller with LyX and Lulu.

Donald Emmack is Managing Partner of The IntelliGents & Co. He works extensively as a writer and business consultant in North America. You can reach him at donald@theintelligents.com or by cruising the 2 meter amateur RF bands in the Midwest.

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