Comparing the Printing Quality of Lulu to KDP Print

Back in May, I had ordered two copies of Healing Stones from the two printers I use regularly. I wanted to compare the quality of the printing and paper for both the interior and cover. Here’s what I found.

The two printers I used were Lulu and KDP Print. All aspects of the books were the same, including the matte cover.

Cover

Healing Stones front coversWhen placed side-by-side and compared closely, the Lulu copy is a shade darker and the greens in the girl’s hood are greener than that by KDP Print. If the books were held apart, these differences are not noticed.

However, the squares around the “T” on the spines are noticeably different if held apart. The Lulu version is the blue I had chosen and looks like that on my computer. The KDP Print book has a purple square.

Healing Stones spine

The back covers look identical.

Thickness of Cover: It may be my imagination, but when I finger the cover, the KDP Print version feels thicker. However, the more I compare the covers by fingering them, the more I think I’m crazy. Maybe it isn’t. But for this exercise, I’m going to say the KDP Print cover is a breath thicker than the Lulu cover.

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Why Lulu Books are Better to Sell at My Local Markets

For more than ten years, I’ve had my books printed by companies that are not local. In other words, they’re not located within my province of Nova Scotia. I’ve always wanted my books printed in the province, but the logistics weren’t there. I can’t afford to order a minimum of 250 books, nor do I have the space for 250 books x the number of titles I’ve published. That would reach over 1,000 books quickly.

While newer possibilities are opening up all the time and I will one day look into them further, for now, I’m depending on the printers I’ve come to know: Lulu and KDP Print (though I’d much prefer their former company CreateSpace).

I’ve written about my experiences with Lulu and KDP Print on a few occasions, including my recent post, Comparing Print Times of KDP Print and Lulu. In that post I mentioned selling my books at local markets as a Canadian and the concern I have with KDP Print.

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Book Printing, Embedding Fonts and Lulu

Healing StonesAs mentioned in my post on August 17th Comparing Print Times of KDP Print and Lulu, I ran into trouble with Lulu’s newly designed website and their more user friendly tools. While frustrating, once I figured out the source of the problem, I solved the problem for the print file for Healing Stones and other books I plan to upload in the future.

The problem? Embedding Fonts.

My Lulu History

To understand my problem, we have to go back to the beginning when I uploaded my first interior file to Lulu. This was about two years ago. Back then, I did as instructed and saved the file in PDF. However, Lulu rejected every PDF for the interior that I tried to upload. I tried to figure out why but couldn’t.

Reading further, I saw they also accepted .docx files, so I uploaded my formatted book in the MS Word document file I had originally created. SUCCESS. Lulu accepted the file, and I never looked back. From then on, I always uploaded a .docx instead of a PDF.

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Comparing Print Times of KDP Print and Lulu

In May, I was working on the print version of Healing Stones, book 4 in the Castle Keepers series, and encountered issues at both Lulu and KDP Print. Here are the details of the challenge of getting a print copy in my hand. I had already ordered a single proof from Lulu in March, examined it and made corrections/changes to the file and sought to get a second proof.

Changes at Lulu

Lulu did a major overhaul of their website in April. They claimed it was more user friendly and much easier to publish and print books using their new tools and design.

I first learned about these changes in early May from the writer friend who had introduced me to Lulu a few years ago. She has used the company as her printer for several years and loved working with them.

However, on the day she called, the honeymoon was over, and she was having a heck of a time getting her current project uploaded and accepted for printing. We tried several options, then she decided it was time to give KDP Print a try because she could sell her books directly from this vendor to readers at Amazon and cut out the middleman (Lulu).

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My Epic Writing and Personal Goals for 2019

Eye on the DestinationAs an epic fantasy writer, I suppose it is only fitting for me to make epic writing goals. Normally, I don’t, but 2019 will be different. I’ve been feeling it in my bones since September that this year was going to be my year.

For the past five or six years, I’ve been all over the place with my writing and editing. I’ve not made a lot of headway with my books; it’s disappointing. I’ve done a lot of work with little to show for it. Last summer, I realised why.

I spent autumn figuring out the best course of action and putting a few things in place. Now that the prep work is complete, it’s time to launch the new goals, ones that will get me closer to what I desire.

Changes

Obviously, there will be changes. To make time in my life to meet my 2019 challenges, I had to reduce time spent on other projects and other types of work. This means, once I finish the two editing/formatting projects scheduled for 2019, I won’t accept others.

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What I learned about writing two novels at the same time.

NaNoWriMoFor NaNoWriMo 2018, I wrote two novels at the same time: Revelation Stones and Beyond the Myst. I didn’t plan it that way. My goal was to complete the first novel. The second one started as a homework assignment from my writers’ group.

I focussed on the book I wanted to complete first, writing a minimum of 2,000 words a day for it. I wrote 1,500 words a day for Beyond the Myst.

To keep the stories separated in my mind, I wrote Beyond the Myst in the morning between 5:30 am and 7:20 am. If I didn’t reach my goal, I spent a few minutes after the morning chores to complete it. I wrote Revelation Stones from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Often I finished early, so I was in bed by nine o’clock. I get up at 4:35 am, so I need to go to bed early.

Before each writing session, I’d envision the scene I was about to write. This put me in the mood to write and provided details I might not have considered. I run scenes in my head like movies, so I get a clear idea of what I want. The scene is basically written before I sit down to the computer. I just record what happened.

I’ve never tried to write two full novels at once. I have written a short story while writing a novel, but usually I’d write the short story in a few days, then return to the novel writing. This whole experience of writing two in one day was completely new to me. Here’s what I have learned listed under the benefits and the drawbacks.

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Filter Words – Who Knew? Not Me

A week ago, I stumbled onto a YouTube video discussing filter words. Never hearing this term before, I watched, listened and learned…and discovered I was guilty of using filter words.

What are Filter Words

Although I’m relatively new to the idea, my understanding is: words that create distance between the reader and the detail the character is seeing, hearing, tasting or feeling.

In other words, we are not using one of our senses to digest the story, rather instead, we are being told through one of the character’s senses.

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Catherine MacKenzie interviews Diane Lynn McGyver at the Writing Wicket

Today I’m at the Writing Wicket as Diane Lynn McGyver, my alternate ego who writes fantasy novels. Catherine MacKenzie interviews writers every Wednesday on her blog, so if you’re interested, drop her a line.

You can check out my interview here: Writer Wednesdays – Diane Lynn McGyver.

Also, since it’s my birthday, I made all my Castle Keepers Tale short stories free for the day. These short stories tie in with my fantasy novels, Shadows in the Stone and Scattered Stones.

Catriona Wheatcroft

stars in Destiny Governed their Lives

Destiny Governed their Lives short story fantasy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bronwyn Darrow

stars in Blade of Truth

Blade of Truth fantasy short story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alaura of Niamh (pronounced ‘Neev’)

stars in The Pledge

The Pledge short story fantasy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Muddy Your Brand

Thought for the dayMy teen-aged son loves to attend truck pulls at exhibitions. He only has his beginners, but he’s itching to get behind the wheel and has created elaborate schemes that would see him get there before he has his full driver’s licence. He has yet to successfully carry out a scheme, but his mind is always working on it.

The videos he captures at these truck pulls are mashed together and posted to his YouTube channel. After a big pull at the end of August, I told him I’d share his link on my Twitter feed, thinking I’d be helping him spread the word so he’d have more subscribers and more views.

“You can’t do that,” he said. “You’d muddy my brand.”

For a guy who has no problem getting muddy on his four-wheeler, he had a real problem with mud on ‘his brand’. He knows little about marketing – or does he?

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Two Vital Questions to Ask Yourself About Writing

Thought for the dayWe are all looking for our path to success, but our paths are drastically different. We all don’t get to success the same way, and we don’t all identify success in the same manner.

In my years of reading about marketing and writing, the same questions pop up, and by answering these two questions, it makes us better able to plan our writing careers. In fact, the answers to these two questions are vital in making important decisions in our publishing journeys.

Last week, I posed these two questions to members in my writers’ group. They have a month to think over the answers, but I’ve been thinking about my answers for much longer.

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A Hard Lesson Learned

Hard Lessons LearnedAlthough it’s tough to admit it, six years ago, I made a horrible mistake in my publishing journey. After publishing the first book in my Castle Keepers fantasy series, Shadows in the Stone, I should have buckled down and completed the draft to the second book in the series, Scattered Stones.

However, feeling the pressure to get more books on my publishing shelf, I wrote a few short stories that were not in the fantasy genre. They were quick writes, quickly edited by my editor and quickly published. I soon had four books on my shelf. It looked impressive.

I was following the advice of those who believed the more books on a shelf, the more a writer gets noticed because they have a larger footprint.

However, those giving advice didn’t stress the vital fact that the books written should all be in one genre. Readers sometimes stick to one genre, so those who loved my fantasy novel might not like my contemporary stories about death, domestic abuse or a cranky neighbour.

Sigh.

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Summer is Over and Work Begins

Thought for the dayWe can all ask, “Where did it go?”, but I think most of us who live in the north know summer passed in the usual form: too quickly. What started out to be a very cool June with snow and hail in Nova Scotia, eventually evolved into hot July and August days.

With cooler nights and mild days on the horizon, school started today where I live. That means the house is empty because everyone is either in school or at work. This is the first time I’ve had the house to myself during the day for more than two months.

While I hope you enjoyed your summer and I’d like to reminisce about mine, as John Wayne said, “We’re burning daylight.” So it’s time to buckle down and get back to work full time. My batteries are recharged, new ideas are splashing around in my mind, and I’m ready to start the next phase of my self-publishing journey.

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No One is Surprised: CreateSpace Closes and KDP Print Takes Over

Amazon CreateSpace KDP PrintBetween putting the laundry in the washer and hanging it on the line and while I was making pancakes for my youngest child, washing dishes and waiting for the buzzer on the oven to go to indicate the cinnamon rolls were ready for extraction, an email popped up in my inbox.

The subject told me all I wanted to know, and if Amazon thought they’d surprise me, they couldn’t have been more mistaken: CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing to become one service

I didn’t bother opening the message; I was too busy, and I knew what it was all about.

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Register Now: Online Indie Author Fringe Event April 15th

The first online Indie Author Fringe Event of 2016 kicks off at 10:00 am on Friday April 15th. This is London, England time, so in Nova Scotia, that’s 6:00 am (fours in the difference).

There’s an amazing line-up and many will recognise some of the names from the self-publishing industry:

  • Mark Coker (of Smashwords)
  • David Gaughran
  • Joanna Penn
  • Jane Friedman
  • Bob Mayer
  • Roz Morris

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Marketing: Results from Paid Promotion of 99 cent-eBook

Lessons in Self-publishingFor one week, my epic fantasy eBook Shadows in the Stone was reduced from $3.99 to $0.99. To help promote it, I added the book to Betty Book Freak’s mailing list. I didn’t put it on any other site because I wanted to gauge the results of the paid ad.

Readers of this blog will remember I’m working on my marketing skills, running experiments and testing promotional ideas. The two posts I previously wrote about on this subject are:

Marketing Results

Like all marketing campaigns, many things influence results—day of the week, day of the year, number of subscribers to mailing lists, full moons, a horrible book, a terrible blurb, Trump stealing the spotlight, ghastly book covers, vacations, hens laying…you get the picture—so what did or didn’t work one time might be completely opposite the next time.

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