Not a Good Snafu, Lulu!

As of late, I have been diligently working on Book of Shadows-related projects.  I hand-copied the sections of my High Priestess’s that she wished me to hand-copy, I scanned her print-copy of the book she inherited, and I typed up those materials and have been hard at work editing and annotating them into a form that makes sense for me.

Because I’ve been typing this last project, I had thought that I’d eventually have it printed and bound by a print-on-demand book company, and I chose Lulu.com since they readily accommodate .pdf files created on out-of-house software.  Recently, my High Priestess asked me to co-facilitate a series of ‘Wicca 101’ classes she’s teaching to our coven’s new Outer Court members, so I took this as an opportunity to collate the coven’s various class materials and have Lulu print them in a 161-page 8×11″ paperback book.  This is what the cover of the book was supposed to look like:

I was more interested in the product quality than in creating a beautiful cover, so this cover was made with one of Lulu's standard cover templates. I edited out the author name here, since I used my High Priestess's legal name on the cover. I was more interested in the product quality than in creating a beautiful cover, so this was made with one of Lulu’s standard cover templates. I used my High Priestess’s legal name as the author, so in this image, I edited out the author name on the cover, spine, and author blurb.

I was more interested in the product quality than in creating a beautiful cover, so this cover was made with one of Lulu’s standard cover templates. In the interest of full disclosure, the real book has the real name of the coven on it.  It also has the HPS’s legal name on it, which I edited out here.

So imagine my shock, amusement, and then deep concern  when I opened the Lulu package that arrived today and found this instead:

Yeah, something tells me that this isn't my coven's materials AT ALL!

Yeah, something tells me that this isn’t my coven’s materials AT ALL!

I’ll be honest, when I first got over the shock of seeing fundamentalist Christian materials where I had expected my own Wiccan ones, I thought it was the funniest mix-up of all time.  How ironic is it that Lulu would print out two 8×11″ paperbacks at about the same time and one be very Wiccan and the other very Christian?  I laughed and called all my pagan housemates over to see.  They laughed, we cracked a whole bunch of jokes about how we hoped some Fundie Christian out there didn’t have a heart attack when they opened their package, and we went on our merry ways.

It wasn’t until later when I was filling out Lulu’s “something’s wrong with my order” form that it occurred to me that this was perhaps too ironic of a mix up…especially with the title of this particular book. The Truth Shall Set You Free?  What are the odds that this particular file would automatically print off and get shipped out in lieu of my own?  As much as I hate to think this of someone, it seems a far likelier prospect that a Lulu employee in charge of printing or packing my project was a Christian zealot who took advantage of his position to ‘save my heathen soul’ or at least passive-aggressively show his displeasure with my choices.  And that thought really upset me.  It left me shaking with this weird emotion:  a combination of anger, disbelief, sadness, pity, and helplessness.  It’s really not a pleasant emotion, and I hope to not experience it again for a very long time.

I really hope this was a cosmic error and not a human one, and I’m curious to see how Lulu handles the situation.  I’ve not heard anything back yet, but it is still early.

And, for what it’s worth, Lulu did a beautiful job binding Olson’s book.  I can’t fault them on the quality front.  I’ve gotten paperbacks from bookstores that were more poorly bound.  I wonder what their hardcovers are like?

UPDATE:  Three days after I sent Lulu their complaint form, their customer service wrote me back.  They apologized for the mix up and said “I can assure you that the nature of the content was not a factor in the mix up, and it was a simple matter of human error.”  So cosmic irony wins the day, thankfully.  Lulu is sending a new copy of my book with express shipping, and I am to keep Olson’s…which means I’ll be making a trip to the used book store soon.

UPDATE 2:  I finally received a properly printed copy of my book on July 23rd.  It is lovely.  In the future, though, I think I’ll opt for the standard paper instead of publisher grade.  The 50-pound publisher grade feels a little thin and cheap.  I completed the order on July 11th, so my advice to anyone considering using Lulu is to give yourself two more weeks than you think you’ll need in order to accommodate errors.  They’re not quite like Amazon in terms of speed.

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