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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 30 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Printing the No Dice RPG  (Read 1028 times)
one_monkey
Member

Posts: 8


« on: June 02, 2009, 06:19:22 AM »

Hi,

Didn't really know where else to drop this but I figured it could be useful to people considering Lulu as a publish on demand service.

We've just this week put on sale the print edition of the No Dice RPG Core Book. The PDF is also available but we aren't charging for that. It's a fundamental part of our business model to remain affordable and Lulu's printing costs allow us to do that. We haven't had an entirely smooth ride though.

For example Evil Hat allow people to get a free PDF of any game they bought the print copy of. We'd like to do that but Lulu doesn't help in this. We have a lot of artwork and the PDF ended up at a whopping 41MB, as beautiful as it is it's still no good for normal filehosting purposes so we're still working on that one.

Also we found that occasionally if you try to upload a new version of an old file it wouldn't update, meaning that every file version had to have a new name... just in case. Also Lulu charges a heck of a lot for shipping (but Amazon apply an automatic 30% mark up so it's swings and roundabouts really) so we decided to take the hit in our royalty to keep to our ethos.

If you want to check out how it all turned out take a look at www.nodicerpg.com

Although I am, obviously, keen to promote my hard work and that of my collaborators I have tried to make this post relevant to the forum I have placed it in. I hope I have succeeded in that and if people have any questions about POD with lulu I will be more than happy to help if you post them below.

Thanks.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2009, 08:16:56 AM »

I'm glad you posted this. I am having all the same issues with my book Spione, which is currently offered via Lulu.

It so happens that I finished the book in late 2005. It's heavily grounded in spy fiction and film, and who was so surprised as me to see a whole boatload of incredibly relevant films and books come out ... right after the book was so far along in layout and production as to make corrections impossible. I mean, a book about spies in Berlin without including The Lives of Others? How ignorant is that?

So I hoped I could spruce up some references and a sentence or two later, by updating the files that go into making the book at Lulu. But then I found that basically means creating an entirely new book category there, and that is flatly not easy for me.

Best, Ron
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one_monkey
Member

Posts: 8


« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2009, 02:24:04 PM »

Update:

We had a problem today with the JPG files in the manual. Justin, the artist, has produced really beautiful rich drawings in awesome detail (600 dpi). He sent them to me as JPGs and I just added and cropped them straight into the PDF files. The book ended up being 47 megs but I just thought that was the memory cost you paid for the drawings.

So we ordered our print copies and three days later a mail arrives saying they can't print it because their commercial POD machines were having problems with the Raster Images in our PDF. So I Googled and the upshot is that apparently more modern production software can produce invisible image artifacts intended for multimedia tagging. These interfere with the printers. So I had to run all the images through my ancient copy of fireworks MX, whilst doing so I reduced the dpi to 300.

This has reduced our finished pdf to 6 megs. I was as surprised as anyone. So if you are thinking of producing RPG manual materials learn too lessons 1) Have some ancient image editing software sitting around which will produce unfussy PDFs and 2) make sure all your images are optimised. Your downloaders will thank you that you've turned a ten minute wait into a thirty second one and the actual visible difference between one version and another is nil.
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one_monkey
Member

Posts: 8


« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2009, 04:00:26 PM »

Further Update: Had more hassles with transparency, it also applies to text boxes.

The magic number when it comes to PDF standards is apparently 1.3

1.3 was the last PDF standard not to support transparency. It flattens everything, which is what POD high speed printers require to work, apparently.

I got a PDF convertor which changed the standard of the book PDFs from 1.4 to 1.3 and then reissued the project. It keeps the PDF the same size but it should allow the printers to read the files.

Fingers crossed.
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