Lessons from the Shop: Publishing Your Own Book by Stanley Leary


by Stanley Leary

The latest Star Trek: The Next Generation has Jean-Luc Picard reading a book. Books are something we will always cherish as a society.
Now you can publish your own photo book. It’s an excellent way to tell your family story, remember your last vacation or preserve family recipes along with photos of the person who originated it.
It’s a perfect way to create a Family Tree including all those old family photos along with current pictures of the family. Blurb.com has a web site where you can produce your own photo books. You may incorporate as many as 440 photographs on the eight by ten pages in your book.
What is great about books is that you don’t need any technology to view them, no internet access, no computers - just open the book and enjoy the pictures
Executives of nonprofits are using these when they go to dinner with potential donors. It is so much easier to bring this out at a restaurant than to setup a computer to show a PowerPoint presentation. If the potential donor has a lot of potential you can just leave the book with them while they consider (and discuss) your project.
Once you have created a book it’s easy to make copies for family, clients and friends. The quality of these books and the ease of producing them make the whole experience a pleasure. The folks at Blurb.com have software for you to download (PC or Mac) which guides you step by step through the process of producing your book.
In the past I have completed books that required a real-time production with an internet connection. If many other people are accessing the same website while you are working on your book it can create delays or errors. With the software on your computer you can work on your book off-line and whenever you’re ready.
You can print the book yourself, but I recommend using their service. They use digital printing devices, which mimic offset lithography. You can expect your books to last and resist fading much like other "coffee-table" stylebook.

Create a Photo Folder: I found the best way to begin working on the book is to create a folder with all the photos you plan to use. This could include scans of recipes, hand written letters, old maps, land grants, etc.

Create a Text Folder: Next you need to have all the text written and stored in another folder. You’ll need an introduction, a dedication, perhaps a bio and antidotes about some of the people in the pictures. The software can help you to spell check and pick different fonts, but it will not catch grammatical mistakes.

Create a Master Folder: After you have the images and text ready then download the software. You’ll be prompted to name your book and save it somewhere on your computer. I suggest having a master folder containing the image folder, the text documents and the book project itself.

After you have saved the work the first time on the Blurb.com software it automatically saves itself from then on.
I suggest for your first project to print only one copy. Your project is saved on your computer. If you want more copies just open software and order more. With the completed book in your hands you may discover some changes you want to make. This is quite common even for the big publishing houses. It is common to find a mistake or just a style change they would have made if they could have caught it.
Check out Blurb.com. I believe you like the price and the quality is excellent. This Christmas you can give a gift from the heart, a personal story published in a book for your loved one. Get busy and start collecting the images and text right now.