I got the note that my Nano Novel, The Candy Pooping Moose, met the qualifications for free printing at lulu.com. (The qualifications were that it was a Nanowrimo novel, that you “won”, and that you submit the novel before Jan 16th.)
I wasn’t going to do it because the novel stinks, and I haven’t edited it or finished it, but then I got to thinking…”You know, a free copy of the icky novel might be a fun thing to have.” So I uploaded a .pdf of the danged thing. I look at this as a way of checking the quality of the stuff Lulu does…if it is professional enough, I may try to pull together a real book (probably non-fiction, though, as the whole finishing a novel thing seems to be beyond me) and publish it properly. As in, make sure it has an isbn number, a title page, actual chapters, etc. Maybe have someone proofread it first.
Of course, I waited until the deadline to submit my .pdf so I just used stock cover art available at lulu.com. I would have liked to use a picture of a moose, but I didn’t want to have to go through the trouble of finding one to buy at a site like istockphoto.com, and then lay out the cover myself and upload it. If I had to do all that, I would have never gotten a free copy of my book.
For the record, it looks like the cost to buy extra copies is less than $8. So if any of you have a little something you want to see professionally printed and bound, you may want to consider lulu.*
*Note: I have not done thorough research on whether or not writing groups/websites have evaluated them to determine whether or not they are fair to writers. I wasn’t as worried with something like a draft of a Nano novel as I would be with a “real” book that I planned to try to sell to the universe. Nothing jumped out at me (you know, like those sites where without you reading a ton of fine print, never upfront tell you they “own” the content the minute you upload it.) So use at your own discretion.