So I've decided to "draw a line" and start making my manuscript draft into something that not only should upload to Lulu on the first try, but also look reasonably professional.
My first question has to do with the book size and binding.
I've done all my drafts thus far (have run off a copy every now and then for my regular research trips etc.) as 8.5 x 11 with spiral binding, and I anticipate the book, if done this way, will run about 240 pages, depending on final margin settings etc.
Now, I'd come across a mention on a 'self-publishing guru's' website that most self-published books are typically done in the 6x9 format with perfect binding.
If I go the 6x9 route, a couple images will be too small to be usable (I already have to split my planned frontispiece image into two parts to fit in at 8.5 x 11). That and the page count will swell to 400+ pages.
I also have a preference for spiral binding as I have at least one large perfect-bound book in my "library" that's like a mousetrap in spite of its unwieldy 10x12 size. That and I notice well-used perfect-bound books inevitably develop bad creases in the binding (although I know the disadvantage of spiral binding is the tendency of pages to pull out or the binding to work its way out of place).
That same site also pooh-poohed the use of Microsoft Word in a BIG way, enough to leave me feeling a bit discouraged and wondering if I need to make the sizable financial and time / learning curve investment in Inde$ign.
To add on to that, it also frowned on using returns for vertical spacing and discouraged the use of tabs.
It also strongly recommended turning on hyphenation, which I AM considering (it depends on my next questions).
Looking at a couple other books as samples, I'm also a bit torn over whether to block-justify or not (the manuscript is currently block-justified but I don't seem to have a problem with "rivers" in the text) as well as whether I should be running the text in two columns or not (the only time I bothered with them was in an early draft and only for the indexes).
So, I just want a bit of feedback from those who have been there and done that.