Saturday, October 20, 2012

Lightning Source



Lightening Source, part of Ingram, is an on-demand printing business. They work with publishers to get your book in print. Most bookstores order from LSI. Publishers can order boxes of their books.  
It is not the only on-demand printing business, of course. It does, however, have a lot of connections with those people and businesses where you want your book to be known.
Getting your book onto Lightning Source is not terribly complicated. Getting your book ready to upload can be complicated, however.
You'll need to create three documents: front matter, book, and back matter. There are requirements concerning margins, mirror pages, and page count. And you must format your book to the page size you've chosen for your book. Unless your book is going to be 8.5X11 inches, don't submit that size of a page, even though it is probably the usual size document you work in. If your book is, for example, 5.5" X 8.5", then the pages you submit must be set at that size.
Once the three sections are created, you need to combine them into one document then create a pdf. All fonts used in the combined file MUST embed in the pdf. By "must" I mean if a font does not embed, you must figure out why and repeat the process until the fonts embed.
If this is your first book, once you've uploaded both the book and the cover, you must order a proof to review.
When you get your proof, read it carefully. Look for any mistakes or goofs. If you find mistakes, correct them then go through the process of creating a pdf of the new version.
Then re-upload. But make sure you've caught and corrected everything. Otherwise, you'll have to go back and do it all again. Each time you re-upload your pdf files (whether it's the book files or the book cover file), you pay a fee for doing it and for receiving another proof.
That will change with the second book, though. But the first one is a learning experience - and learning costs.
Hopefully, there were no mistakes from the beginning and you only had to upload the files once.
But remember, Lightning Source works with publishers. Your publisher may do all the formatting for you. Or they may expect you to submit it to them ready to go to Lightning Source.

18 comments:

  1. And don't forget to add early reviews to the final version!

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  2. Thanks for the info. I've heard other author talking about Lightning source but don't know much about it myself.

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    1. It really can feel like a maze with locked doors, but once you've successfully gotten through the maze, it feels like it'll be easier the next time.

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  3. I created a blank chapter shell - 6x9 with margins and gutter. I do all of my typing into it, instead of the 8.5x11. That way it's already formatted as I go.

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    1. I learned to do that ... but I learned the hard way.

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  4. Thanks for the info - it can all be so complicated!

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  5. Hi Helen .. very interesting to read and to see the comments ... gives us a basic understanding of what's entailed ... as you say once one is done, it (should!) get easier ..

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. I think it will be Hilary. I haven't done the second one yet, but I feel like I really learned a lot on the first!

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    1. You're welcome Ann. I hope it helps.

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  7. Also, do not try to upload a pdf made from a Word doc. LSI prefers having the text file formatted in Adobe Indesign or other pro-publishing software because of this font embedding issue.

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    1. I don't have Adobe Indesign, Linda. What does it do?

      LSI took mine submitted as a pdf. But if there's an easier way.....

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  8. Hi Helen,

    Good post. If you want to accomplish the same things, pay a little less per book and do it all without paying any upload or changes fees...check out www.snowfallpress.com.

    Dave

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  9. Dave, do bookstores use your way to add books to their online sites?

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  10. Helen, LSI is much fussier than CreateSpace, that's all. Submitting a pdf made from a Word doc is iffy. Not all my very normal fonts were captured, even using a pro Adobe pdf'er. I had to go through the doc finding hidden fonts and removing them. I know I lost some hair over that.

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    1. Linda, what made creating the pdf the easiest for me was to create it while I was in Word. That embedded all the fonts.

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