The Lightning Source experience

As planned, I submitted the digital files for Chion to the printers on Monday. It’s only Thursday, the book has already been processed and the proof copy is winging its way to me in the post.

In 2002, when I printed Ulterior through ColourBooks in Dublin, I had a nightmare of a time. Here’s a list of the problems I had:

1. The company didn’t tell me I had to send a CMYK cover image until after I designed and submitted an RGB version.

2. I had numerous hiccups in understanding exactly what they were asking from me, resulting in me having to send numerous CD-ROMs to Dublin using time-wasting snail mail, because the company was too backward to stay online for a 20-minute download (even though I was hosting the files myself).

3. They didn’t think it necessary to tell me the spine-width until I asked (so that I could construct the full wrap-around cover accurately).

4. They encountered loads of missing characters when processing my book-block PDF, even though every version of Adobe Acrobat on every computer I tested it on displayed it perfectly.

5. They tried to charge me an extra £150 because the next fincancial year occurred between the generation of their original quote and the start of the job, thus changing the value of the euro against the pound (even though they had originally quoted me a fee in pounds).

6. They didn’t print the amount specified (1000), but exceeded it by 70 copies and invoiced me for them (although, to be fair, they gave me those extra ones dirt cheap).

7. They didn’t send me a proof of the book (only the cover) before printing and shipping all 1000.

8. Almost all 1070 copies possess a tiny dirty mark on the page edge near the bottom corner (take a look at your copy). It was as if there was something dirty on the conveyor belt at the packing stage.

In contrast, I have to give a major thumbs-up to Lightning Source thus far. The company has been very friendly, with prompt responses to emails, and extremely quick processing time for the book. Their website tells you exactly what you need to submit, and what parameters you need to adhere to. I have had a zero-hassle experience and thoroughly recommend the company.

I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into selling this book, and I’m not nearly as nervous as I was with Ulterior. With the first novel, I was standing all alone, shouting for attention, whereas now I’ve got tons of email addresses of past-purchasers on file and an existing relationship with the Library Board and the Eason book chain to exploit. Should only be a matter of days before we get rolling. If the proof arrives tomorrow and all is well, I’ll get the big order underway the same day.

7 thoughts on “The Lightning Source experience

  1. Michael Reed

    I’ll look forward to buying a copy. I’m also curious to have an example of their output.

    At the moment I’m investigating this bit of software:

    It’s a freeware script writing suite built upon Mozilla technologies. In addition to an actual script editor, it seems to integrate various database features.

    I’m still fiddling around with it and checking out the reviews and contents of the user forums. I may consider transferring my sitcom script over to it for the final rewrite.

  2. Darryl Sloan

    Hi, Mike.

    I have several Lightning Source books on my shelf. They’re excellent quality. Vibrant colour covers and heavy paper. The books also read very well without spine creasing.

    The only script-writing software I’ve used is Final Draft. It’s pretty good, if you need a traditional style script layout.

  3. Will Hadcroft

    Darryl, excitement is dripping from your blog! It’s very contageous and inspiring.

  4. Darryl Sloan

    Hi, Will.

    My website has went through various incarnations since it was begun in the late 1990s, but I think turning it into a blog has been the best decision ever. And it’s you guys with your comments that make it a great experience for me. You ever think of starting one? It would be like an extension of your book The Feeling’s Unmutual, a continuation of your day-to-day experience and your writing.

    The proof copy of Chion is due to arrive in today’s mail, so expect a post with some photos later today. I can’t wait!

  5. will hadcroft

    Yes I have thought about doing a blog like yours. It does look very appealing. I just need a bit of time, that’s all.

    (Ha! That’s ALL!)

    I look forward to seeing your pictures of Chion online soon.

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