LaTeX and Lulu

I do the layout of my games myself, using LaTeX on a Linux computer.  There is little support for publishing print books on DriveThruRPG using that tool-chain, but for Lulu it is possible to do.  I thought I’d share some bits and pieces of my process, in case anyone else wants to try doing the files for Print-on-Demand with LaTeX and print on Lulu.

Lulu gives a strange error after doing 90% of the print conversion of the file, and asks you to contact the help desk.  Also it sends you to the help pages for people who write in MS Word.

I pulled hairs over this one, and I still don’t know what really went wrong. But running the following sequence of commands on the insert PDF made the Lulu tools accept it.

> pdf2ps doc.pdf 
> ps2pdf14 -dPDFSETTINGS=/prepress doc.ps doc2.pdf

It also had the advantage of reducing the size of the file by 75%. It took a very long time to run however, and no feedback was sent to the user. Just start it, and go grab a cup of coffee while you wait.

Full bleed on Lulu, or making pictures that go all the way onto the page edges.

If you make the cover in Lulu’s cover wizard, or upload a file to their specification when prompted, you will get the necessary bleed for a successful cover.

But for the insert?  Searching on the site didn’t help me in figuring it out, but deep among the error messages I found it:

To get bleed the files you upload must be 0.25″ larger than the format you selected when you set up the project.

So if you’re making a 6×9 size book.  Your PDF should be set up to be 6.25×9.25, and keep anything critical away from the edge, because once printed the book will be cut down to the correct size.