Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The Blurb About Chippenham

About half way through my ABC of Chippenham series last year, I idly thought it would be rather nice if it was converted into a book. I instantly dismissed the idea as an impossible dream until...

... I discovered Blurb one wet August afternoon when NAH was away. This is a self-publishing application which includes the option to convert blog posts into a book. I downloaded the software, chose my book's size and layout options, then uploaded my blog posts into it and had a fabulous time editing my own 'book'.

As well as my ABC posts, I uploaded everything I'd written about Chippenham, together with all the comments. That initially gave me a book over 300 pages in length, which would have been hideously expensive. I finally plumped for the 120-160 page price point for my book and started editing accordingly.

I then had a look at the online help videos and altered the format of quite a few of my pages to add some variety. This freed up quite a bit of space and meant I could upload quite a few of my favourite Chippenham pictures from Sign of the Times too. Some of the blogged pictures weren't quite up to the resolution needed, so I had to reload quite a few of them using the originals. I also updated quite a few of the posts and edited them where necessary.

Then came picture captioning, writing the introduction, the sleeve notes, plus a simple reference section and an index of articles. I now have much more respect for these aspects of book production! NAH did the final proof reading which was invaluable.

It was a lot of fun to do and I'm thrilled with the result. I have no illusions that this is anything but a vanity project. The subject matter is too niche and the book too expensive for it to be considered a commercial enterprise. NB some of the other companies in this market do offer an ISBN option if you are thinking of self-publishing, Blurb doesn't.

I chose Blurb because it had the option to upload my blog posts and its pricing structure was much more understandable than the others I looked at. It has a wide variety of templates which made it much easier to make something a lot more professional looking. You can have a look at the whole of the end result here. I finished the project on New Year's Eve and used my mum's Christmas present money to buy my very own book :)

If you fancy making your own Blurb book, it's also worth looking around for discount coupons - I managed to find a 20% off introductory offer :)

Of course my book is already out of date (I rather like that it's a snapshot of a particular time), so you can read my updates of Chippenham's ongoing life and history in my dedicated All About Chippenham page.

7 comments:

  1. Fabulous!
    I have looked at the online book sites available from time to time as I am tempted to do one about this garden. So it is great to read of your experience of Blurb. Your finished book looks very smart and the pictures look great.
    K

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  2. I think it looks great - just had a longer look on the site and for a bespoke book I don't think it that expensive. I have used blog2print but I'll have a look at Blurb next time.

    Oh and I don't think home books are vanity at all - personal yes, but not the same as vanity publishing which pretends to be something it isn't.

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  3. Congratulations! Judging by the cover it is a success. Having read a few of your Chippenham posts as you published them I suspect you have a niche market out there.

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  4. Very smart. Well done and I can see that a lot of work went into it. I don't think it is vain at all. Who wouldn't want to have a book recording a selection of their favourite posts. I look forward to the second edition.

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  5. How industrious you are, VP, and well done! I have looked into the book thingey several times, but found it prohibitive in so many ways. Maybe someday...

    In other news, I have written an OOTS post, OOTS Three Awful Things (And Three Awesome Things), and wanted to let you know so you could put the link wherever it needs to go. Thinking of you, wishing you could come to Asheville this year. It was so lovely to see you and meet NAH!

    xxxooo
    Frances

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  6. Hi everyone - thanks for your positive comments :)

    Francis - lovely to see you and I've added a comment over at yours :) xxx

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