From Formatting for Lulu

Formatting for Lulu, Part 2 (covers).

I just finished doing another Lulu gift book, so I better post this before I forget how to do it (again).

Same caveats as in the first post:

If you privately create on Lulu (using the private only option), it does not affect your first publishing rights; you have NOT made the book public.  If you publicly create the book so people can buy it from, it DOES affect your first publishing rights and you have “self-published” the book.  This is NOT a guide for self-publishing the book, but for obtaining private copies ONLY.

I’m assuming you’ve read Part 1, on getting the rest of your book set up, and all you have left to do is the cover.

You can use the Lulu Cover Wizard.  If so, have fun; I got frustrated with it and decided not to use it.  Likewise the old cover designer.  Instead, what I use is the advanced one-piece cover designer, which you can reach by clicking a link near the top of the cover page.

You will have to set up your interior book file before you do your one-piece cover, because you want Lulu to calculate the size of the spine for you.

Keep in mind:

  • Your file must be PDF, JPG, GIF, or PNG.  You can start out with whatever you want, but it must end up as this.
  • Some programs that you use (like PowerPoint, which I go through here) will not save your image in 300 dots per inch (dpi).  This means that when you upload the non-300 dpi file, Lulu will tell you that you have uploaded a file of the wrong size.
  • If any white shows up on your cover preview on the Upload Your One-Piece Cover screen, the white came from your original file, and you have to trim it off manually.


I am assuming you’re using images that you own or have permission to use, that you have PowerPoint and Paint, and are using Office 2007.

Save your file!  Often!

  1. Open Lulu and complete all steps for your project up to the cover file.
  2. Go to the advanced one-piece cover designer.  You should see Upload Your One-Piece Cover toward the top of the page.
  3. Open PowerPoint.
  4. Clear any existing boxes or stuff off the new PP file.
  5. Go to the Page Setup Dialogue (Design | Page Setup).
  6. Set up your page size to match your cover size as listed on the Upload Your One-Piece Cover page.  This means the whole, wraparound cover.  Not the paper size.
  7. On the Total Cover Width bullet in Lulu, find the size of the cover, in inches.  Enter it in PP on the Page Setup popup and click OK.
  8. In PP, insert a rectangle (Insert | Shapes).
  9. Right-click the rectangle and select Size and Position from the dropdown menu.
  10. Go into Lulu and get the number, in inches, from the Spine begins bullet.
  11. In PP, enter the height of the book (from the Total Cover Width bullet in Lulu) and the distance from the left side to the spine (from the Spine begins bullet in Lulu) in the Height and Width fields on the Size and Position popup and click Close.
  12. Move the rectangle to the upper-left corner; it should snap in place and cover the complete left side of the PP slide.
  13. Right-click the rectangle and select Format Shape from the drop-down menu.
  14. Select the Fill item and change the fill to No fill.
  15. Select the Line Style item and change the width to .25 and click Close.
  16. Press Ctrl-C to copy the rectangle.
  17. Press Ctrl-V to paste a copy of the rectangle.
  18. Drag the copied rectangle to the upper-right corner; it should snap in place and cover the complete side of the PP slide.  The gap between the two rectangles is your book spine.
  19. Insert a text box (Insert | Text Box) near the spine.
  20. Type the name of your title, press tab, and type your name.
  21. Select the text box so you can edit the box design.
  22. Change the text direction so the letters go from top to bottom (Home | Text Direction | Rotate all text 90 degrees).
  23. Move the text box so the upper left corner of the box is in the upper left corner of the text area.
  24. Resize the box so it stretches to the bottom of the book.
  25. Resize the box so it fits the width of the spine.  You may have issues with this.  If so, right-click the text box, select Format Text Box from the dropdown menu, select the Text Box item, and select Do not Autofit from the Autofit menu.
  26. Whether you have issues or not, right-click the text box, select Format Text Box form the dropdown menu, select the Text Box item, and change the Horizontal Alignment to Center.  Click Close.  This will align your text in the center of the spine, no matter what you do with it.
  27. Make sure your rulers are visible (View | Ruler).
  28. Set your tabs for the spine.  First, move the edges of the printable areas of the spine closer to the center of the book by 1/2 inch.  This is because the cover you are designing will be bigger than the cover you can print.  You must leave a blank but colored area all the way around your book.  Lulu doesn’t say how much that area is, but I guesstimate it to be about 1/4 inch.  So indent your outside tabs about 1/2 inch, because you don’t want the edges of your letters on the very ends of your book.
  29. On the up-and-down ruler on the left, there is a gray icon that looks like an hourglass with an extra box below it.  Drag that 1/2 inch down.
  30. Above the up-and-down ruler on the left, there is a small box with an L in it.  Click this box until a backwards L appears.  Click on the ruler about 1/2 inch away from the bottom edge.  An L should appear in the ruler, and your name should jump down so the end of your name is at the L mark.
  31. Insert your graphics as desired (remembering that about 1/4 will get chopped off around the edges).  Again, this is presuming that you are making a gift book and don’t need to worry about ISBN or back cover information.  If the graphics don’t cover the whole slide, change the background and/or fill to a solid color.
  32. Insert your title and name on the front cover in text boxes or using Word Art.  Step about 10 feet away and squint.  If you can’t read the title or your name, change the font to make it stand out more or change the art so it’s not so busy.
  33. When you have the cover looking the way you want to, select each of the rectangle shapes in turn and remove the borders (Right click, Format Shape | Line Color | No line).  The positioning of a book cover on a book is apparently not an exact science, and any lines are liable to be just a tiny bit off, so don’t put big borders around the edges.  (Look at the books on your shelves.  No borders, for the most part; if there are, like on the Idiot’s guides, they’re fat borders.  That’s why.)  The borders were just there as guidelines.
  34. Save the file.
  35. Save the file as a .jpg (Office button | Save as | Save as Type | JPEG).  Select Current Slide Only if prompted.
  36. Go to the file location of the .jpg file, right click it, and select Open with | Paint.
  37. Click the Resize button.  The Resize and Skew button should appear.
  38. Select the Pixels button.
  39. Go to Lulu and find the cover measurement in Pixels.  PP doesn’t save in 300 dpi, as mentioned above.  What you’re doing will make the resolution of your images worse. (Don’t like it, invest in Photoshop or InDesign or whatever.  This is the Where There’s a Will There’s a Way method).
  40. Enter the measurement in pixels into the Paint Resize and Skew window.  Click OK.
  41. Save the file in Paint.
  42. In Lulu, click the Choose File button, select the updated .jpg file, and click Open.
  43. In Lulu, click the Upload button.
  44. If everything went well, you should see a picture of your cover with a green border on it.  Everything covered by the green border (approximately) will get chopped off.  This is to make sure your cover doesn’t have weird white edges on it where the printer and cutter misaligned slightly.  It’s standard, so get used to it.
  45. If something important will get chopped off, go back to your PP file and update the cover, then redo the steps from there.
  46. If you get an error message saying the file is the wrong size, review the steps above, especially the part using Paint.  If there is white space around the picture, your paper size is the wrong size in PP; go back to that step.
  47. At this point, make sure you view the print-ready previews of your cover and interior, making any corrections necessary.
  48. Order your book.

I hope this helps.

    Formatting for Lulu, Part 1.

    I’ve formatted three books for now (for private use only), and I’m going to record my lessons here, mostly for my own benefit, because I keep having to look things up! is a place where you can self-publish your own books; I’ve been using it to make copies of books for gifts.

    Part 1 covers the initial set up and text formatting for your book. Part 2 will cover making a book cover and putting it all together.

    Update: If you privately create on Lulu (using the private only option), it does not affect your first publishing rights; you have NOT made the book public.  If you publicly create the book so people can buy it from, it DOES affect your first publishing rights and you have “self-published” the book.  This is NOT a guide for self-publishing the book, but for obtaining private copies ONLY.

    1. Go to
    2. Log in or sign up. (It’s free.)
    3. From the My Lulu tab, select the Dashboard sub-tab.
    4. On the left sidebar, under My Projects | My Project List | Start A New Project select the type of new project you want (e.g., Paperback Book). You will go to the first page of the Content Creation Wizard, Start A New Project.
    5. In the Working Title field, type your title. You can change this later.
    6. In the Author fields, type the name you want to use, either your own or a pseudonym.
    7. Under the What do you want to do with this project? menu, select the radio button that shows the appropriate option. (I select the first option, Keep it private and accessible only to me.)
    8. Click the Save and Continue >> button. The Choose Your Project Options page should appear.
    9. Under Paper, select the desired paper type. Publisher grade is cheaper, but there are only two paper size options. I have used Standard paper only and have liked the quality. If you buy 5+ books, there are discounts for Standard paper books.
    10. Under Size, select the All tab, then select the desired size option. I have used Pocket size and U.S. Trade size. I didn’t care for Pocket size; it was so small and hard to read, because of the stiffness of the book. I haven’t received the U.S. Trade books yet. Note: Some sizes cost more than others.
    11. Under Binding, select the desired binding. I have used Perfect-bound and liked it.
    12. Under Color, select whether you want color pages in the interior (not the cover). You can have a color cover regardless of which option you pick. Note: color is a LOT more expensive.
    13. Click the Save & Continue >> button. You should go to the Add Files page. Note: You can change any of these options later, but your template will depend on your page size; page size is the most important option here.
    14. Under the Add Files | Upload | Before You Upload header, click on the download a template link. This should download a zip file to your computer.
    15. Open the zip file.
    16. Open the folder that has the page size on it.
    17. Save the file with the page size name and template in the file name to your working folder for the project. Note: If you’re using the method of cover creation that I list here, don’t download anything else. Otherwise, you’re on your own.
    18. Open the template file and re-save it as the file for your book (e.g., bookname.lulu.doc). Note: Don’t save MSWord files as .docx; I seem to remember that you can’t use them.
    19. Copy all the text in your story, paste it into the new file, and save it. Close your old file (to make sure you have a clean copy and don’t format the wrong file.)
    20. This is the point where I format my pages:
      1. Note: I use MSWord 2007. I’m going to assume that if you use 2003, etc., you can figure out (or look up) how to do the commands for other versions, etc.  I’m also going to assume that you don’t need a table of contents.  The template will set up page numbering for you.  You can change it and you can add a header with your name/book title on alternate pages, but those are topics for a different day.)
      2. Create a new style in the template called “Text.” I do this by highlighting any text, then selecting Home | Quick Styles bottom arrow | Save Selection as a New Quick Style…, typing “Text” in the name field, then clicking the Modify button.
      3. Modify the Text style as follows: Style for following paragraph Text, Font Garamond, Font Size 11, Justification Justify (both sides aligned), Spacing Single Space; Select Format | Paragraph and set the Indentation | Special Option to First Line 0.2″ and the Spacing Before and After options to 0 pt. At the top of the Paragraph window, select the Line and Page Breaks tab and make sure all Pagination options are unchecked.  Click the OK button.  Note:  for a list of fonts that will accept, click here.
      4. Select all the text in your story by pressing CTRL-A.
      5. In the Quick Styles area, select Text.
      6. Remove all tab characters (you’ve set up an automatic tab that’s smaller and more appropriate for your book).  Press CTRL-F to pull up the Find and Replace window, click the Replace tab, then click More | Special | Tab character.  Make sure the Replace with: field is blank.  Click the Replace All button.
      7. Remove all extra hard carriage returns between paragraphs (you can do a find/replace on this using the steps above, inserting two of the paragraph marks in the Find what: field and one in the Replace with: field).
      8. Change all double spaces (e.g., after colons or periods) to a single space using the find/replace fields.
      9. Change all underlining to italics using the find/replace fields.  Leave both fields blank, but click in the Find what: field and press CTRL-U. Click in the Replace with: field and press CTRL-I.
      10. Replace all soft carriage returns (line breaks) with hard carriage returns using the find/replace fields.  If you don’t, you’ll have huge blanks between words.
      11. Format your chapter headings as follows:  Highlight the chapter heading and select the Heading 1 option from the Quick Styles area.  Right-click Heading 1 and select Modify…  Format Heading 1 as follows:  Style for following paragraph Text, Font Garamond, Font Size 16, Bold, Justification Center; Select Format | Paragraph and select the following:  no indentation, Spacing Before 48 pt After 16 point.  In the Paragraph window, click the Line and Page Breaks tab and make sure the Keep with Next and Page Break Before options are selected.
      12. Click the OK button.
      13. Remove all hard returns between your chapter headings and text.
      14. Remove all special marks (e.g., #) to show scene breaks, using find/replace.
      15. Format your title page.  Type your title, press Enter, type “By”, press Enter, type your name/pseudonym, and press Enter.  From the Insert tab, click the Page Break button.  Highlight all text on your title page.  From the Home tab, select the Title option from the Quick Style area.  Format the Title option as follows:  Style for following paragraph Title, Font Book Antiqua, Font Size 24, Bold, Justification Centered.  Either leave “By” and your name the same size or change them to a 14 pt font.
      16. Format your copyright page, which should go directly after the title page.  In Normal style, type the information at the bottom of this blog post (I was having trouble putting it in the list, so screw it.)
      17. Format your second title page, which should have the name of the book only.  Type the title and format it with Title style.
      18. Insert a blank page after your second title page.
      19. Note:  To insert a dedication, insert TWO pages.  Put the dedication on the odd page and insert a blank page on the even page after that.
      20. Optionally, check that all your chapter headers fall on the right (odd-numbered) side by inserting blank pages at the end of chapters to force even-numbered chapter header pages to odd numbered pages.
      21. Select the Print Preview option from the Quick Access Toolbar and check that all your pages fall as you want them, that you have no strange formatting issues, etc.
    21. Go back to
    22. Click the Choose File button, choose your file, then select the Upload button to upload it.
    23. Click the Make Print-Ready File >> button. This may take some time as Lulu converts your file.

    Congratulations! Your text is now formatted and uploaded.  Part 2 will have how to make a book cover, but I’m sick of being helpful with the type type right now.

    Copyright © “YEAR” by “Your Name”
    Cover design by “Name Name”
    Book design by “Name Name”

    All rights reserved.

    No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author.

    Printed in the United States of America

    First Printing: “Month YEAR”

    Personal Galley Proof: Not for resale

    Printed in the United States of America