I take thousands of pictures of my kids and preserve them for eternity...on a memory stick. Sticks are reserved for popsicles and shish kabobs, not memories. I rarely get around to printing photos, but I do share my favourite pictures, along with stories and anecdotes in blog form. My first personal blog is now dormant. I visit it from time to time, but my eyes are the only ones to fall upon those images anymore.
If you’re a blogger, you'll love Blurb.com. It’s a site where you can transform your pictures into vivid memories, your ideas into words, and your blog into a book to be treasured. When I was asked to try it out, I didn’t expect to find such a wide range of project options. I dove right in and while my friends spent the long weekend partying and enjoying the outdoors, I created a masterpiece. And that poor lonely blog? It’s now preserved for all time in book form.
Here’s how to bookify your memories:
Where to start? Take a look through the Blurb Bookstore for inspiration. You’ll be amazed by the creativity out there. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but my suggestion is to start small.
First, Download the free Booksmart software from the Blurb.com website.
Then, start a “practice” book. Experiment with book sizes, templates, colours and layouts and take the various features for the test run before you begin your for reals book. Pricing is based on book size, cover (soft or hard) and number of pages. My small square, soft cover, 40 page book was $17.95 plus shipping (about $8.95) and tax.
Spend 37 minutes watching the tutorial. I wish I had done that right from the start. The tips made a world of difference and would have saved me a whole lot of “wtf time.” So pour yourself a glass of wine (unless you’re watching in the morning, in which case coffee might be a more respectable choice), watch and learn.
Then go to it, but try not to go overboard with background colours and patterns. I learned this the hard way. Coincidently, I have the same problem at buffets. Just because there are fifty different kinds of desserts, it doesn’t mean you have to sample every one. Less is more. Let your pictures and words speak for themselves.
Blog books are surprisingly easy to create. You can pull your entire blog, pictures and text, right from your blog directly into a book in a matter of minutes. Then all you have to do is organize and pretty it up. I omitted some of the less meaningful posts and tried to keep the layout as true to the original blog format as possible.
Try to resist the temptation to edit your writing. It’s time consuming (trust me, I lived it) and it’s nice to be able to look back to see how much your writing has changed, evolved and hopefully improved.
I’m going home to Vancouver this fall and I’ll get to see my 90 year old grandfather. He doesn’t own a computer and he’s never seen my blog so I made a copy for him. I can't wait to share it with him.
After making my first book, I was itching for more. In addition to this yummy blog, I also write Forever in Mom Genes about life as a special needs mama. The thought of having a tangible book to open up to any story, at any time, appealed to me. Now that I’m an “expert” (can I add Graphic Designer and Published Author to my resume now?) I dove in and made a portrait size blog book...“Volume One”, as I plan to create more volumes as my blog continues. This is the cover below.
There isn't a blogger who doesn’t pour over their previous posts from time to time, so a blog book is a must have.
But...Blurb offers lots of other book options as well. Blub’s Booksmart has all sorts of templates that would make publishing your own book of family recipes or special drink concoctions simple. Wouldn’t that be the best hostess or teacher’s gift ever? You can have them printed as needed. Once ordered, they are shipped to your doorstep within 7-10 business days. Look out, “Party Mummy’s Cheap Eats and Party Tips for Party Mummies Everywhere,” will be coming to a bookshelf near you!
How about stories about your kids or starring your kids? Imagine how much they’d enjoy seeing their own faces and hearing their names within the context of a fairy tale or a story you’ve written together. My son and I wrote a children’s book and I can’t think of a better “mom and me” project for us than publishing it together.
If your book is really something special, consider setting your price and selling it in the Blurb bookstore. Who knows, maybe you’ll have a best seller on your hands?