The Project That's Finally Done

TA-DAH! The Albuquerque Years is finished!

This is the last in a series of posts about my experience with as I published The Albuquerque Years, a memoir of my life as a preschooler. The saga began with The Project That Just Won't Quit on August 30, and continued with Part 2 on September 2. In my Lulu Project Update on September 22, I reported on the result of my initial order.

Today, I posted the link to the book's own Lulu page. It will remain in the left column, just under the link to The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing. I have chosen to list The Albuquerque Years with no price mark-up, so anyone who wishes to order a copy as an example of Lulu's product quality can do so at nothing more than the cost of printing and postage. Anyone curious to see an example of a project brought to completion by the process I outline in The Heart and Craft, can do likewise. I include a short afterward with an overview of the Lulu Experience.

Finishing this project has been a thrill on at least two levels. It's always rewarding to see something through to completion, but when it's the story of your own life, it's especially rewarding. I have a much stronger sense of the depth of my life's roots, and where the story began.

Beyond that, having found my way through the Lulu labyrinth, which you know from earlier posts wasn't all smooth, I'm in a much better position to give reliable advice to any who ask. And I hope you will. Here's a summary of what I learned:
  • Use styles to keep your headers and other content consistent. (See Appendix 3 in The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing for detailed instructions on using styles in whatever word processing program you use.)

  • Once you decide on a page size for your finished book, set the page size in your word processing program to those measurements, and adjust margins. (See Appendix 3 as above.)

  • Use a photo editing program to resize any photos or other graphics you use to the exact size you need in your manuscript. Save them in jpg format (not tiff) at 300 dpi in RGB color mode, not grayscale. Use the grayscale mode even for black and white pictures. It's also advisable to convert your color pictures to grayscale and adjust accordingly before you switch them back to color mode. They will look like grayscale and be printed in grayscale on the Lulu presses, but experience showed me that the pictures set in color mode printed better than the grayscale one. Ditto with jpg/tiff.

  • Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to resize a graphic inside your word processing program. I guarantee you will not be happy with the results.

  • Unless you are a real whiz with PDF programs, upload your finished manuscript to Lulu for conversion to PDF. This will assure that the process goes smoothly. Download the finished PDF and preview it carefully to make sure there were no formatting glitches in the process.

  • Unless you are a real whiz with a graphics program and PDF conversion, use Lulu's cover templates.
If anyone gets snarled up in this process, please contact me with questions. I learn from your challenges right along with you! Likewise, I'd love to hear of your successes!

Finally, for a short time I'm making the ebook version available at no cost to those who request it. Just click that link above and send me an e-mail.

I hope legions of lifestory writers will soon join the ranks of proudly published authors. (No, this is not a paid testimonial for Lulu! Right now they are the only reliable operation I know of with no setup fee.)

Write on,

Sharon Lippincott, aka Ritergal


ybonesy said...

This is not only great news for you, but so generous of you to help others who want to follow suit. You did seem to have learned to work through the kinks.

Congratulations on the book. Will you be publishing any excerpts in the blog?

Ritergal said...


I don't anticipate publishing excerpts in the blog, but you are welcome to send an e-mail and request the e-book. Why settle for excerpts?

ybonesy said...

I just sent the email. I'll share it, too, with my husband, who has incredibly vivid memories of the Albuquerque of his youth.

Jerry Waxler said...

Hi Sharon,

Congratulations. I was thinking I would buy my very first ebook. Since it's free, my first purchase will have to wait. Thanks for this opportunity to get to know you through your memories. And thanks for introducing me to the fascinating world of electronic books.

Memory Writers Network

QuoinMonkey said...

Sharon, Congrats, this is really inspiring. And as ybonesy mentioned, your generosity in sharing the process with others is a gift.

Ritergal said...

Hey, y'all, thanks for all the thanks. Finishing a project is sufficient reward unto itself, and the appreciation of others is icing on the cake. My cake has lots of icing!

Ybonsey, if you can get your husband to write a few stories of his Albuquerque Years, I'd really love to read them. I'm guessing that he came along about a generation later, when much had changed...

Tara said...

I just bought my copy...can't wait to read it!

Herm said...

Sharon, I'm embarrassed in front of myself for being so far down this line of congratulatory. This was quite an undertaking. I know you have great satisfaction at its' completion. Like everyone else, I love the picture. Once again you've pumped others up to believe they can swing it too.

Jeff said...

Thanks for the tip about RGB and grayscale. That's good to know.