Making that novel into a real paperback

With December nearly at an end, I wanted to make good on when we introduced you to the madness of , in which thousands of people try to write 50,000 words of a novel in the month of November.

I participated for the third year in a row and . Now that I’m somewhat rested from that huge disgorgement of verbiage, let me explain the photo that accompanied my blog entry about NaNoWriMo, which showed me reading a copy of the book I wrote from November 2006 through February 2008, including two 50,000-word-long NaNoWriMo sessions.

The day I finished the first draft of the book, I decided I wanted to have something tangible to commemorate my accomplishment. But more than that, I wanted a few trusted friends to read what I’d written and tell me the truth, good or bad, about what I had written, so that I could make the second draft of the book better.

Rather than print out hundreds of pages of manuscript on my printer and run it down to Kinko’s, I decided to take advantage of a print-on-demand book service. For various reasons (including familiarity, since we used it to provide print-on-demand services for our very first ), I used .

Lulu provides a wide selection of book types to choose from. For my first draft I chose Lulu’s Pocket size, which is slightly larger than a mass-market paperback (and printed on better paper than one): 4.25 inches by 6.9 inches. Lulu provides margin settings and even a blank Microsoft Word template so that you can get the size of the book just right.

The author attempts to hide his gruesome disfigurement behind the limited-edition paperback of his novel's first draft.So I exported my story text from and opened it in Word, created a custom paper size, set all my margins per Lulu’s instructions, added headers and footers, and then printed to a 435-page PDF, which I uploaded to Lulu.