An Introduction to POD

Posted on November 7th, 2009 in braindump

What a bullshit title for a blogpost, yeah?  But I am intending to write a little bit about POD and Lulu for the next little while, here, and I know it’s not going to be terribly interesting to about 99% of you, so a figure a nicely boring title might serve as a warning to folks to steer clear for a bit.

To the one percent of you that are interested: I’ve really no plans to write up any how-tos.  Lulu’s FAQ and Help sections, frankly, cover everything you could possibly need to know from start to finish.  I don’t know how well the other POD services out there have documented their upload/process/etc, but I imagine there are probably about a billion resources out there if you’ve got any skill with google. 

But I am- via twitter, blogs, Whitechapel, general internet chatter- seeing a lot of “Well, how’d this-or-that work?” comments and queries, and since I did just put Shivering Sands together (read: Warren did all the work, and then I made ‘er pretty), I figure I’ll try to answer some of those.

(And you can twitter at me if you’ve some burning question you want answered, too.)

So, today, to go ahead and get this one out of the way, I’m going to address the- well it’s not so much a question as it is a sentiment- thing I’m seeing the most: Apparently, there’s a bunch of folks paying close attention to how Shivering Sands does so they can figure out if POD is “worth their time.”

And I have absolutely no fucking clue what that means, so I’ve just got to talk about it.

The time spent on this book is a really simple equation: (Warren wrote some stuff) plus (I fed it into book format) plus (we uploaded everything into Lulu’s super-simple book-maker) equals (Tada! Book!).

Now, I have to assume that anyone asking about “worth the time” already has at least 32pp of content they want to do something with, right? Because, if not, the question that’s really being asked is “Can you give me some excuse to make something?”- and really, fuck those people.  Because if what you want to know is, if you get your thumb out of your backside and actually do something, is someone going to pay you for it?  Well, you’re looking at the wrong career, kiddo.  You don’t actually care about publishing so much as you wouldn’t mind a no-risk game that gets you a book and some money at the end of it.  If, you know, someone can assure you there’s a book and some money at the end of it before you do anything. 

If you’ve already started hyperventilating and thinking about typing up a scathing blog retort about how nothing’s worth doing without an advance (if only someone would pay you to start writing it) then I’m really very likely talking to you, and lemme just save you some time: your pingback isn’t even going to show up on my blog so I can pay you attention, so don’t bother.

But, okay, for the rest of you with 32pp of something- and that’s art or notes or blog entries or a story or recipes or instructions or your manifesto or anything- 32pp is what you need to make a perfect-bound book with Lulu, and that’s most of the time you need to put in, right there.

Lemme repeat that:  If you’ve got 32 pages of stuff that’s not doing anything else right now, you could have a book ready to start selling on Monday.

Now, granted, you’ll have to put in a little time telling people it exists after you’ve hit the “publish” button.  But time left to publish?  Depends on how fast your internet connection is: you’ve got to make a account, upload your content into their bookmaker, type your name and title into their covermaker, and hit a button to push it live.  Could take a whole hour.

And, of course, that’s just running with the pre-made templates on Lulu.  I’m a crazy mechanic that hasn’t used a template for anything, ever (and I’ll probably get into that in later posts) so it took me a leetle bit longer to put together Shivering Sands, yes. But, let me ask you: what’s your blog running on?  A pre-made template?  Something someone else made but it works so well for you that you don’t really think about it?  Well then, there you go.  Lulu’s got you covered.

(If you made your own blog install out of magic and popsicle sticks, then you’re a crazy mechanic, too, and we’ll talk later.)

So, I mean, you can watch Warren’s book for the next couple of months to see if he can somehow convince you that your time will be well spent putting together your own book, I guess.  But I really don’t know what the hell you’re looking for.  You just spent more time reading this than it’d take for you to get started on Lulu, so your measure of “worth it” is obviously a more complicated equation than mine.  Because my time was well spent the minute I got my proof copy in the mail and Warren and I both went “Ooh lookit yay!”

You’ve just got to figure out what you’re really waiting for, is what.

  1. [...] Osborne, designer of this place, SHIVERING SANDS, etc., talking about POD and the book, because:…apparently, there’s a bunch of folks paying close attention to how Shivering Sands does [...]

  2. [...] pretty sure that when people ask “Is POD “worth it”?” they are asking how it measures up [...]

  3. [...] to all this is a blog post by International Electrophonic Unit’s Arianna Osborne, who gives a bit of the behind the [...]

  4. [...] Read on.  (Today’s article. And yesterday’s.) [...]


GLOBAL FREQUENCY On TV: Round 2 via Warren Ellis

Tuesday November, 17 2009 06:48 PM PST

The Twitter account of industry magazine PRODUCTION WEEKLY just posted on teh twittarz:

The CW will again try to adapt Warren Ellis’ comic book "Global Frequency," this time Scott Nimerfro will script the pilot.

Which I discovered because half a dozen people retweeted it at me within about thirty seconds of it landing.

I haven’t been cleared to comment yet, so I can’t really add anything to this. I’ve spoken briefly to Scott Nimerfro — by which I mean I threatened to have him stabbed, and he thanked me and told me a funny story about how he’s had worse threats — and he is Okay.

Anyway. Yes. Shouldn’t say any more until I get the nod from the studio. But yes.

(Also, yes, I did tell John Rogers. But John, you know, has his own hit show LEVERAGE these days. One of his temple houris told me that John, from the depths of the bed made of golden vaginas that they wheel him around in, wishes me luck.)

"When you come to get Henry, can you bring an extra shirt?" via Kelly Sue

Tuesday November, 17 2009 04:17 PM PST

Kelly Sue posted a photo:

"When you come to get Henry, can you bring an extra shirt?"

Art and motherhood: A difficult combination? via Kelly Sue DeConnick

Tuesday November, 17 2009 03:40 PM PST

Found this on

Art and motherhood: A difficult combination?: “Everett_and_art

At Wordstock last month, I sat in on several readings and discussions by writer mamas, and recently I’ve been very closely following other mothers and writers on Twitter and Facebook. I’ll admit to a fascination that’s part curiosity and part … jealousy? longing? … as I watch them juggle motherhood and their art. From a distance, it seems they’re doing it better than me.

I’ve finally gotten to the point where I believe I could finish my book proposal any day (really!) and I’m finally having a essay published in print this month. After years writing online, I’m coming into this artist-writer bit, slowly, with lots of squeaking and complaints from my family. It’s been hard, especially on those nights where my oldest has decided to go off melatonin, a gentle sleep aid we’d been using to good effect, and I must restart the process of coaching him on calming himself. For three hours.

A friend Tweeted she was locked in her bedroom this weekend, finishing a few last chapters of her book as her husband wrangled her boys. Another acquaintance, a writer dad, seems as if he’s frequently out of town on book readings and fabulous events, trading off childcare duty and glamorous writer things with his poet wife. I asked an author I admired at Wordstock how she managed to write with children — and she’s a single mother, having adopted a little girl internationally. ‘Very expensive childcare,’ she answered.

Then yesterday, I read in the Oregonian about this fabulous couple here in Portland. They’re both visual artists and she’s an accomplished writer. They’re gorgeous and cute and funny and successful. They have a three-month-old baby. I’m so jealous! (On the same page: a story about the Decemberists’ guitarist and his lovely girlfriend, Seann McKeel, who’ve started a series of concerts for children and parents to help entertain their three-year-old child. She’s also an artist. Oh!)

In my house, juggling art and motherhood don’t go that well. A two-year-old literally hangs from my arm when I’m in the middle of typing an especially inspired sentence. I go to a coffee shop to write for three hours, and when I come home, the slow cooked meal I’d begun has burnt and homework hasn’t been done — my husband was focused on the littlest and his nap, the laundry…

Are you, too, trying to combine some passion — whether it’s writing, art, a political or non-profit endeavor, or a really rewarding job — and motherhood? How have you managed? Do you sometimes feel that everyone but you is doing great? Or do you have secrets, tricks of the trade, that make it all come together?”

(Via urbanMamas.)

Matt Brooker via Warren Ellis

Tuesday November, 17 2009 02:35 PM PST

(whom you know better as comics creator D’Israeli)


(is living in Greece for a while)


(and these are his photos of his time there so far)

No Parachute via Warren Ellis

Tuesday November, 17 2009 01:48 PM PST

Excellent article from Julian Smith for New Scientist about wingsuited skydivers trying to cut the last cord from old-style jumping, and effect chuteless landings. Excellent quote therein:

Von Egidy sees her suit as a step towards a grander vision of people soaring like birds, not just gliding. "There could be nothing more challenging on Earth than to explore the limits of direct human flight. We are in fact far better suited to flight than we believe."

The Buggering Of Ben Templesmith via Warren Ellis

Tuesday November, 17 2009 01:04 PM PST

Ben Templesmith is wandering the UK, watching re-runs of THE SWEENEY and peering through your windows at night. These are the details on where to see him, how to commission a piece of art from him for dirt cheap, and exactly what he’s prepared to do to you sexually under the current exchange rate.


Meredith Yayanos via Warren Ellis

Tuesday November, 17 2009 11:18 AM PST

(is living in New Zealand currently)


(and wearing R Stevens squid socks)


Links for 2020-11-17 via Warren Ellis

Tuesday November, 17 2009 11:00 AM PST

  • The Belbury Parish Magazine
    the organ of Belbury Poly/Ghost Box/confusing & haunted British electronic music
    (tags:music haunt )

Twitter Updates for 2020-11-17 via Kelly Sue DeConnick

Tuesday November, 17 2009 08:26 AM PST

  • Mophie has now sent me 4 notifications that my order has shipped. Awesome. Thank you. I GET IT. #
  • @SteveNiles I just got a CNN alert letting me know Mophie shipped my order too! in reply to SteveNiles #
  • RT @scharpling EVERYBODY take note of my wallpaper. It is the Michael Kupperman designed shirt available ONLY during my show tomorrow night! #
  • I think I'm done with this outline. One more readthrough just to be sure… #
  • I want this treehouse. In theory. In practice, I'd be terrified and uncomfortabe, no doubt. (Thanks, @LaurennMcc) #
  • 4:30?! No!! How?? #
  • When I was a kid, I remember seeing a prime time live action show that featured-among others-Hawkman. Am I dreaming this? What was it? #
  • YES!! #
  • @rhymeswithchaos in reply to rhymeswithchaos #
  • @louobedlam in reply to louobedlam #
  • @mattfraction It is him, then? Wow. in reply to mattfraction #
  • I like that Kai-lan seems to wear a different outfit every episode. Does that make me shallow or observant? #
  • Who Took Mommy's Protein Bar? - #
  • Happy Birthday, @brubaker and Renee L! #
  • HL: Where we going? Me: Well, first we have to stop at the doctor's office… HL: No thank you. #
  • Took HL to post-flu shot. Thumbs up! Promises of a return might make the next doctor's visit doable. #
  • Um. I want to win Louboutins… But not enough to bother people with shopping site invites they don't want or need. Anyone want shopittome? #
  • @heathermjarvis The chances are slim. But wouldn't it be nice? DM me your email and I'll hook you up. (It's actually a cool free service.) in reply to heathermjarvis #
  • I have private invitations to Shop It To Me - here you go! #
  • @rhymeswithchaos That was sweet of you. in reply to rhymeswithchaos #

Station Ident: Hail Kitty via Warren Ellis

Tuesday November, 17 2009 08:12 AM PST

Behold the dress that bespoke pervert-enablers Ego Assassin made on request by/for the Hello Kitty 35th Anniversary Fashion Show on 14 Nov 09. Ego Assassin make many things. We like people who make things.

Good morning/afternoon. This is Warren Ellis dot com.


today only ... you ... can ... get ... SHATNERQUAKE ... forfree! via Wil Wheaton

Tuesday November, 17 2009 08:09 AM PST

When I was working on Leverage this summer, I spent quite a bit of quality time in Powell's world of books. On one of my trips into the store, I saw a little book with a fantastic cover that I knew I would be buying before I even laid a hand on it. That book was called ... Shatnerquake.

I sent a picture to Twitter and said "How can I *not* buy a book called Shatnerquake?" It was, of course, a rhetorical question that I couldn't (and can't) summon the appropriate double-not-negatives to answer. What's important is that I bought it, took it back to my hotel, and read it the very next day.

Here's the review I posted to Goodreads:

It's like Lloyd Kaufman and Sam Rami's mutant offspring wrote a book. It's very funny, and doesn't try to be anything other than what it is: The William Shatner locked in surreal and hyperreal mortal combat with every character he's ever played, from the Priceline guy to Kirk.

I would have rated it higher, but it desperately needed to go to a copy editor, especially for the last two chapters.

With a little bit of clean up, though, this could become an underground sensation.
I hope it gets cleaned up and sent to another printing, because it's an incredibly fast read, right around 100 pages of highly-entertaining action, humor, parody, and more Shatnerlove than you could ever hope to see without being a green alien lady in 1968.

Today, Shatnerquake's author, Jeff Burk, is offering Shatnerquake as a free download. He says:

Thank you for devoting some of your precious internet tubing to the downloading of my first book,Shatnerquake.

You may be wondering why I am offering my book for free. It is because I am an avid downloader as well. I believe that information, art, and entertainment wants to be free.

The internet has allowed us all so many opportunities to share with each other. To resist this is to resist the future. Others may attempt to block this forward progression with lawsuits and file protection. I, instead, want to do what I can to contribute to this wonderful digital community.

All he asks in return is that you write a review at Amazon or Goodreads. He reminds us that little actions like that really do help out independent artists, who rely on word of mouth from our readers to help our audience grow.

I think this is an exceedingly fair trade, though I would hope that if you enjoy Shatnerquake (and if you don't, please see your doctor right away) you'll find a way to support the author in a more direct, giving-him-money-so-he-can-pay-his-bills-or-maybe-buy-a-pony kind of way.

Who Took Mommy's Protein Bar? via Kelly Sue

Tuesday November, 17 2009 07:33 AM PST

Kelly Sue posted a photo:

Who Took Mommy's Protein Bar?

don't blame the sweet and tender hooligan via Wil Wheaton

Monday November, 16 2009 11:02 AM PST

Did I mention that I turned in Angel One to my editor last week? That means that this week, I'm working on what was commonly called "one oh one oh one oh one oh one oh one" by my friends on TNG. It's also known as The One With The Bynars, and I recall thinking that it was pretty good. I loved working on it, but until I watch it later today, I don't remember exactly why.

Some people have asked me how I put these things together, but I never know exactly how the memories will shake loose for me while I'm watching it. There are some things I remember clearly, like Jonathan crashing into the turbolift doors on the bridge, and then there are others that I haven't thought about in years, that hit me like one of those snowballs Wesley Crusher threw out of the holodeck at Captain Picard - like the time Lawrence Tierney scared the shit out of me just outside stage 16 while we were filming The Big Goodbye. I plan to spend more time with my friends from the cast and crew while I work on Volume Two than I did with Volume One, mostly because it's a great excuse to get together with people I like, but also because I love the Roshomon-like experience of sharing our memories of the future. For example, when I was talking with Brent about The Big Goodbye, he remembered that Lawrence Tierney showed up for work his first day, and for some reason, rather than waiting for the guard on Melrose to open the gate, drove his car right through it. When Brent told me that, I remembered it like it had just happened, but it was something I hadn't thought about in ages. Incidentally, Brent told me that everyone was as scared of Lawrence Tierney as I was, which surprised me.

I'm excited to dig into the second half of the season, mostly because the Memories of the Futurecastshave been so much fun, and have been so well-received by so many people, that I feel inspired and energized. I'm not going to lie to you, Marge, some of the episodes in Volume One were a real slog and not much fun at all, and I think that unfortunately comes through in those chapters. Now that I know how much at least a few thousand people (and hopefully more) want to read Volume Two, I can't wait to see what I can come up with.

Okay, some business that needs attention before I get to work:

Have you caught a typo or formatting error in Memories of the Future, Volume One? If you have, would you please leave the page and paragraph number in a comment on this entry? I'm going to do an ePub version (Lulu now supports that, in addition to PDF) ... so I'd like to repair any mistakes before I do the conversion.

Would you be interested in a limited edition, signed and numbered hardback, similar to what I did with Happiest Days of Our Lives? I ask because it's going to cost me a not-insignificant amount of money to make them, and I kind of need to know that it's even something people are interested in. It would be $50 like the other one.

Speaking of The Happiest Days of Our Lives: everyone who pre-ordered from Subterranean Press and is getting antsy because they've waited so long deserves a big apology from me. A couple of things happened while we were putting the book together which were not my fault (OpenOffice and MSOffice not playing nicely was a significant setback for the timetable) but the latest delay is squarely on my shoulders. I've been working my way through just over 2000 signature sheets for several weeks. I've only had time to work on a 100 or so a day until last week, because I just didn't have any other time in my schedule. This has worked out pretty well for the final product, because my signature starts to break down after about 200 pages, but it's increased the wait quite a bit. The good news is that I have about 400 left, and I'm doing them in two sessions today. They'll be sent off to Subterranean Press tomorrow, so the book can go to press and get into your hands real quick. Oh, did I mention that this wait has allowed me to secure a pretty awesome Afterword from my son Ryan? I couldn't be happier about that.

Finally, if you've written or seen a review of Memories of the Future, Volume One, would you leave a link in the comments here? I'd like to collect them all together and share them in a post later this week.

Okay, that's it. If you haven't heard this week's Futurecast, you should be able to get it in the usual way, or you can go to and pick it up directly.

Something Big Is Out There Beyond The Visible Edge Of Our Universe via Warren Ellis

Monday November, 16 2009 10:44 AM PST

Now that’s how to write a fucking lede.

T-Shirt Of The Week #004: SPACE BASTARD via Warren Ellis

Monday November, 16 2009 08:32 AM PST

TOTW is basically a joke that Ariana and I pull each week in our joint guise as the International Electrophonic Unit. Basically, we take some of the stupider things I’ve said on Twitter and elsewhere, often in a state of extreme alcoholic refreshment or severe sleep deprivation, and put them on a t-shirt. Ariana set up a Cafe Press store (because this is a joke and engaging with a serious maker of t-shirts would be less funny to us), and… well, once a week, here we are.

Through this website and this Cafe Press store, we’re going to release one t-shirt a week. It’ll go live on Monday… and it’ll die Sunday night — midnight UK time, more often than not. Each one lives for a week, and then it’s replaced by the next week’s shirt. Until I either run out of dumb ideas or Ariana’s brain explodes.

So, every Monday, I’ll post the new shirt here, and you can peer at it more at

Anyway. I present to you — this week by popular request on Twitter — T-Shirt Of The Week #004: SPACE BASTARD:


We also offer a couple of perennial items. Mostly because I wanted one of these for myself:


(And also a MAN COOK MEAT WITH FIRE "splatter-shield", because Ariana’s crazy)

Thank you for your kind attention.