Building a book with Blurb

Revision update: Two chapters done yesterday. None today. Work too hectic.

A lot of print-on-demand options have popped up over the last few years, making self-publishing more of an option for writers. I recently tried one,, not for self-publishing, but for my mother’s 60th birthday gift.

Mum wrote a bunch of poems a few years ago, so for her birthday, I gathered the ones I like the best, matched them with various photos my husband and I have taken over the years as well as old family shots, put them into a cool page design and uploaded them to the Blurb website.

Blurb offers to print books in a variety of shapes of sizes and provides templates for InDesign, but it will also take PDF files made in other design programs, as long as they match up with Blurb’s page size specifications. I had a little problem with this — and I was using Blurb’s InDesign templates — but it turned out, after a conversation with customer service, that I also needed Blurb’s PDF-making template. That wasn’t entirely clear in the instructions, and I found a few bugs in the site’s customer service — there’s no phone number, just email by forms, and if they’re not working, you’re stuck — but I finally got everything uploaded and my mum’s book on the way.

The final product arrived in the mail about a week later, and I must admit, I was impressed. I ordered an image-wrap hardcover book, and the picture on the cover was a bit muddy, but that’s my fault. It looked muddy on my print out but I went ahead with it anyway. The inside pages, though, looked wonderful. Even my old family pictures, which I had scanned into the computer, kept their quality. And the newer pictures, taken with our good camera, printed wonderfully.

Like other print-on-demand services, Blurb will list your book for sale to the public and you share the sale price, but you can order just one or a few copies for your personal use and keep the book off the site for public sales, which is what I did for my mother’s gift.

My mother opened her book last week and, once she got over the fact that her name was on the cover, she lifted it up proudly and said, “I’m published!”

Dreams can come true. 🙂

Write On!

3 Responses

  1. Vonna Carter says:

    What a sweet idea! Lucky Mum.

  2. Thanks, Vonna. She was pleased. 🙂

  3. Maureen Hume says:

    Isn’t it wonderful what you can do these days. All you need is the Internet, google and imagination. I hope you took a photo of your Mom’s surprised face.

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