Becoming a print publisher is rough!!!

So I've been trying to get my S&S books into print on DriveThruRPG.  The process has been frustrating, to say the least.  On Lulu, there is a very simple, user-friendly, step-by-step process to upload your files, which Lulu then converts to print ready format--they have an online template that you can use to do layout for cover files.  I had hoped that I could simply transfer my print files from Lulu to DriveThru and be done with it.

Alas, no such luck.  DriveThru uses Lightning Source, which is a more traditional printer.  This means they have very specific guidelines for layout when it comes to creating interior and cover files.  While my print-ready interiors seemed to upload fine, Lightning Source has rejected my first three efforts at cover files. It's a very exacting, fiddly, and detailed process that I don't quite grok just yet. Alas, I don't have the funding to hire a freelancer to do my covers for me.  On the up side, I think I've finally got it worked out, but I have to wait for my latest rejection to come back--seems I accidentally submitted while in the middle of updating files last night.

Please note I'm not lambasting DriveThru or Lightning Source.  I'm just frustrated with the learning curve--I'm learning to be a graphic designer, now, on top of a writer, editor, and publisher.  But in the end, this will benefit both me in the realm of developing new skills, and Elf Lair, as DriveThru is certainly a better and more visible source to support our games.

So, with any luck, we'll be in print on DriveThru within the next week or two.  Fingers crossed!


  1. I'm certain you'll get it completed.
    --Let us know how the hoops must be jumped through, please. Thanks.


  2. I don't follow what you mean, letting you know how the hoops must be jumped through?

  3. --To get the process with Lighting Source to be completed.

    I read one or two other posts on my blog roll that described the process as being difficult, as well.

    Sorry for the confusion.

  4. Ah, I see. It's not that there are hoops to jump through. It's more that they are EXTREMELY particular about file type, layout, etc. You MUST use their template, generated by their cover template generator. You MUST use a program that can handle editing EPS files. You MUST pay close attention to their bleed areas and safe zones in the template. And you have to be VERY careful that your color and saturation profiles are right--my first one was rejected partially because black was "too black." Yes, I said that right.

    DTRPG provides a "how to" guide to help, but it's not an intuitive process unless you're a professional graphic designer already. So there's a very steep learning curve. As frustrating as it is, however, it's been educational and interesting learning.


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