Creating a Lulu Book Cover with Pixel

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Add the Pixel graphics program to your LyX-created book to finish the ultimate Lulu on-line book.
Save and Upload Your Cover

When complete, go to File→Save As. Name your cover, and use the drop-down file-type list to choose .jpg. Pixel will prompt for further characteristics of the JPEG file. The default settings are acceptable for the tutorial.

My test book cover is shown in Figure 14. Log in to your Lulu.com account and upload your completed book cover into the system. This completes the design for your front cover.

Figure 14. Sample Book Cover

For the back cover, I decided to use a solid black background. Lulu provides a sample black background for you to use. Simply use the on-line tools to “Choose Gallery Image”. Lulu adds the cover into your publishing project. Select Save and Continue.

Final Publishing Steps

Lulu provides a snapshot of your final book cover in your Publishing section of the Web site. My final cover is shown in Figure 15. Watch the trim marks. Be careful that no important graphic or text is beyond the cutting line. Once you accept the cover design, it's easy to price your final publication and order a proofreading copy.

Figure 15. Lulu Cover Proof with Trim Marks

Publishing Wrap-Up

My first article described the benefits of quality text formats by using LyX to get typesetting output for your publication. Now we have completed the project by making a book cover and getting to the final proofreading stage with Lulu.com.

Using Pixel as a graphical editing package may cause some frustrations if you are a longtime GIMP user—not that Pixel can't match up to GIMP. Quite the contrary, Pixel targets a high-end graphical artist environment; however, it takes some time to become familiar with how to use the software.

Conclusion

Using Lulu.com, nearly anyone with the itch to write a book or magazine can create professional printed media. Using LyX and Pixel as tools for high-quality output may be the ideal combination for report and book formats. Scribus may better fit publications, such as magazines and newsletters. Lulu can print many types of documents—even calendars.

LyX is open source, and it appears to have support for further development as a GUI LaTeX editing package. On the other hand, Pixel is proprietary, and it seems its maintenance and development credit a small cadre of programmers, with Pavel Kanzelsberger as the leader. Other research on the Internet describes Mr Kanzelsberger as the only developer, yet the information screen of Pixel gives kudos to others. So, it might be a little risky to become too involved in Pixel until it matures a little more. I don't think you will need to wait long; the final release is expected soon.

Pixel is sharp. The likeness to Adobe Photoshop is sure to win the attention of graphic artists. I think it's safe to spend $32 US for the current version and look toward a final product in the next few months.

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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For Lulu.com book covers: Inkscape and The GIMP

DG's picture

Not sure if things have changed since the time this article was written, but I just created a book cover for my LyX-produced work for Lulu.com (dust-cover hardbound book) using their single-file upload feature using Inkscape and The GIMP. Perhaps they use a different mechanism for laminated hardbounds or paperbacks.

For dust-jacket covered hardbound books at least, Lulu.com calculates what the page dimensions should be and tells you them in plain English. You then just manually enter them to create a new document in Inkscape (I also used guidelines for bleeds, margins, etc.).

I modified a huge raster image in The GIMP and saved it as a PNG. Inkscape easily allowed me to import the PNG and then do the rest of the design within Inkscape, saving as a PDF to Lulu.com's specs with no problem at all.

**And** I did all this, including the LyX work for the interior pages, on an 8-year-old Mac running a Mac OS X version that came out more than 4 years ago (10.4). I was worried I wouldn't be able to do stuff like this with this machine.

NIce

Kay's picture

Very nice, but haw can you include your cover into a lyx document?

Title of sample book

Anonymous's picture

Why not rename the book from "The Pain of Computers Without Linux" to "The Pain (and Point?) of Having to Purchase Commercial Software for Linux"?

or ...

Anonymous's picture

... even Inkscape for that matter

Pixel???

Anonymous's picture

Why wouldn't you base the graphics part on GIMP rather than a commercial software package that nobody uses to begin with? That's likely why the article has been rated so low by everyone.

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