How to Publish a Book in 10 Easy Steps

Step 1: Wait for Gutenberg to invent the printing press, which kicks off centuries of progress in printing technology, culminating in fast, cheap laser printers.

Step 2: Wait for Donald Knuth to write LaTeX and METAFONT, which allows digital typesetting to be beautiful.

Step 3: Wait for the internet to be invented, allowing easy transfer of information, and the establishment of internet print-on-demand services like

Step 4: Have a friend publish a fantastic book using Lulu, so you can see a little from the outside how it works, and ask for advice.

Step 5: Have another friend with a complete book all typed up, ready to be published (her father’s memoir).

Step 6: Dump the Word docs to plain text; write perl to insert LaTeX formatting codes for chapters, blockquotes, leading verse for each chapter, etc.

Step 7: Follow advice for creating a Lulu-ready PDF (page sizes, embedded fonts, etc.).

Step 8: Upload the PDF to Lulu — boom, now it’s for sale!

Step 9: Use latex2html to generate a HTML version of the book; use Calibre to convert HTML into both .mobi (Kindle) and .epub (all other) e-book formats.

Step 10: Create a WordPress blog to advertise the book and disseminate e-books.


9 Responses

  1. Up next, making this book look pretty. I’m currently having trouble with the Greek and Hebrew though…

  2. how do you advertise the book?

    • Good question. In theory, it all goes through, which is on the back cover of the book, and a few places inside. The website funnels readers to lulu for hardcopies, and free ebooks are by email request. The PDF is straight-up downloadable, so unfortunately I don’t know how many of those have been grabbed.

      Since it’s Mary’s father’s memoir, she told all of her family and friends (and bought many of them copies).

      I put a note in our church bulletin directing people to the website.

      I posted on my team blog — which gets a lot more traffic than this one!

      I contacted a few other outlets I am aware of, with mixed success: the PCA historical center, WSCAL OfficeHours podcast, Valiant For Truth blog, Westminster east’s Christ the Center podcast, etc.

      Fortunately, we’re not trying to make any money here. We priced our Lulu prints at cost, and ebooks are free. We just want to make sure that every possible interested reader knows that it’s available. Without spending a dime — only a little time.

  3. This is off topic, but what happened to Daily Confession? It stopped updating a week ago.

    • Oh no! I forgot to publish the March batch of Daily Confessions/Westminster! I have a monthly calendar reminder, but somehow it failed me. Leap year maybe. I’ll be able to put those up tonight, and everybody will get a flood of Dailies tomorrow.

      I wish somebody had spoken up sooner! Thanks for letting me know, or this might have lasted all of March!

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