I got my version of Merm-8, second draft came from Lulu.com yesterday. I tell you, there's nothing that compares with the sensation of seeing your work in print, even though it's a "fake book" (as in, not a complete, finished novel). I opened the box and saw the cover that I made, the spine I made, the back blurb I made. It started as a glimmering idea in my brain and became this physical thing that exists in reality, not in bits and bytes on my computer (like Black Hole Son). It ended up on a page that people can see.
And it looks like a real book. I mean, I see things on the cover that need improvement or fixing next time so it doesn't look like a POD book (don't worry, I'll show you the cover at some point). The colors are too dark to be attractive, and the font looks static, some things got cut off. But the quality is excellent. It's good enough that if I wanted to eBook this or print a bunch of copies for my own self-promotion (yeah, right), I would feel comfortable selling it.
But I'm glad I tried it this time with a test draft that wasn't meant to see the light of day, because I made a slight boo-boo. And it's kinda sad because I spent a lot of time crafting and perfecting the inside document so that it felt like a real book. But when I opened it up, the left pages were on the right, and the right were on the left.
I know why this happened. It's because in Microsoft Word, I set the pages to display two at a time, so that it looked like an open book. The problem is, if you've ever cracked open a book, the paper starts on the RIGHT side, not the left. Duh. This isn't really a big deal. The only real issue is that the page numbers are close to the spine, instead of at the edges. The text looks beautifully arranged though. Maybe Lulu wants to have a full book preview function so that it can correct this issue. I'm sure it isn't the first time it's happened.
So now that I know how the process works, I'll be able to learn from my mistakes and make a better book next time.