This book is for beginners to intermediate users of 4 Writer who want to produce a book-length document such as a novel, a collection of poetry or essays, or a non-fiction book, and then self-publish the book using an on-demand printing service (Lulu, Booksurge, CreateSpace, Lightning Source, or the like).

Why use

People use for several reasons:

  • No licensing problems. You can put it on as many computers as you wish, and give away copies to as many people as you wish. does not need to be activated or registered, and it never “phones home” unless you’ve told it to do so—to check for updates, for example.
  • No cost. You never have to pay for a copy, if you download it from the official website. CDs are available at low cost. Beware of people selling the program on CD for more than $10&emdash;or at any price for downloading from any website. Higher prices and download fees are legal, but why pay more for a free program?)
  • Multi-platform. It works on Linux, Microsoft Windows, Apple’s Mac OS X, and other operating systems.
  • File compatibility. You can open and save to many file formats, including Microsoft Office formats, in addition to the default OpenDocument format.
  • Built-in export to PDF (Portable Document Format). You no longer need to buy or use another program to create PDFs, unless your printing service demands that you do so.

What do you need to do first?

This book assumes that you have successfully installed on your computer, and that you know how to create, edit, save, and print files. Although this book is written for 3, most of the information is relevant to earlier versions of Some features are new in version 3.0 and later updates.

If you do not already have a copy of, or if you want to upgrade to the latest version, go to to download a free copy.

For more on self-publishing

This book introduces Writer as a tool for preparing a PDF for a self-published book, but it does not cover other aspects of the printing and publishing process or specifics of the various print-on-demand services.

You can find numerous books on these topics. Aaron Shepherd’s book Aiming at Amazon has many essential tips for the self-publisher about publishing, obtaining and using ISBNs, print-on-demand (particularly through Lightning Source), and getting your book listed by Amazon and other online bookstores.
You can get Aaron’s book from his website.


Material in this book is generally based on Getting Started with 3 and the 3 Writer Guide. These books were produced by a team of volunteers known as OOoAuthors. Copies are available as free PDFs on the Documentation Project’s website, in low-cost printed editions published by Friends of OpenDocument Inc. through, and on the Documentation wiki.

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This book is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, version 3.0.

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One comment on “Preface
  1. Wally Benson says:

    I like your site and what you have and that is more than I can say for myself in the last 30 years, I work for others not me. I’m looking forward to your PDF and online information on self-publishing. I do not write and do not publish I do the covers and art work… every one that is writing a book has questions that I do wish I had the answers and that is why I’m here and so happy I found you. Now because I’m getting old I do not read small books and sites like yours along with PDFs on my very large monitors are a blessing.

    thanks and please let me know when you have the PDF or more on your site.


    PS; I have been using OO from day one