This is a book about my aunt who died when she was 13 years old. There was a limited number of photos and information about her short life so I used every picture I had and almost everything written about her. Because it was so focused it came together very quickly.
I had a lot of fun putting this together, so much fun, that it inspired several more books in similar format and size about her parents and another aunt with more to come. These books that are not so much focused on the chronology of someones life but more about telling the story of who they where and what was important to them.
A smaller focused project like this is very doable and very satisfying to too. Keep the possibilities in mind as you think about upcoming story projects.
Understand the Key Book Publishing Paths by Jane Friedman
Today I’ve been doing some research on publishing “My Grandma Mary” book. I still have so much to learn. This story project has a broader potential audience than my other projects. So I need to learn new things and try new things to share this book with those who might have an interest in it. I’ve loved Blurb for my other projects but I’m coming to realize that they aren’t the best option for “My Grandma Mary”. Just when I think I’m almost done I realize I’m not done. Silly me. If I just look at my DOABLE approach I would know that I still have a couple of steps to go; link (sharing the project) and evaluating. Now I’m getting sidetracked from the purpose of this post. In my research I came across this well-organized infographic on book publishing paths by Jane Friedman. You can find Jane’s full article here. I’ll be keeping this handy for referring to now and in the future. This is information to keep in mind from the beginning of a story project to the wrapping up stages.
So you have decided that your story project will be a book and you’re really excited about it and ready to take the next step. Pause for just a moment and think about how you are going to publish your finished book. There are more options for publishing a book than ever before. Here are the main ones that I can think of:
traditional – usually one place for printing another for binding
print on demand – on-line
local copy center
self printing from your computer with your printer
Each option has advantages and disadvantages and each one has requirements that you will want to keep in mind as you begin your story project. One of the most important reasons to decide which route you are taking is so that you will know what size and file format requirements your choice will have so you don’t end up with some unexpected glitch near the end of your story project. I won’t go into great detail here on each one but just give some of the pros and cons of each option.
I don’t have direct personal experience with using a traditional printer but I’ve some indirect knowledge and what I learned in college. If you are wanting to print a large number of books upfront it is an option that should be considered. My books so far have a very limited audience so this hasn’t been a consideration. It might be an option for “My Grandma Mary” in the near future.
This is a great option for most story project books. There are lots of print on demand companies. My favorite is Blurb, but I haven’t tried all of them. The quality varies and the options vary from company to company so check around and find one that fits your needs and understand the size and format requirements. Print on demand sites are not flexible on how your files are uploaded to their servers.
Depending on your story project the local copy center might be a good alternative if you are doing a project in a standard letter-size format and are happy with the binding options they have. Don’t assume that this will be you.
quick turn around
lower quality binding options
variability in knowledge, quality and cost
This is how I did the first few books I published for my family. It was a good way for me to get started but between the cost of the ink and the number of hours I spent baby sitting my printer I wouldn’t do it again unless it is for a project which is small in the number of pages and the number of books. A neighbor has told me about retrofitting his printer with a continuous ink supply system that I’m anxious to hear more about. It cuts the cost of printing from home dramatically. I’ll let you know when I learn more about it.
not usually cost-effective
There is no single printing option that is right for all story project books. So look at each project and pick the option that makes the best sense for that story project. Just make sure that you look at the options at the earliest stages of the story project.
What printing options have you used in the past? Do you have any words of advice for others?
I love the simple concept and layout of this book, described on the title page as “a week in the life of a branch library,” by photographer Keith Pattison. I wonder if this same idea could work well for a family reunion or another type of family gathering. Which makes me think, could I do something like this for my mom’s 90th birthday? I love the continuity that the gray backdrop and square cropping for all the photos. I also like how there are three basic page layouts; full bleed, white border and white border with four photos. This gives the book some variety but keeps the focus on the wide variety of people who come to the library in any week.
I also really like the idea of using a simple note-book for writing a message. This would also work for my mom’s 90th birthday. I could let each person write a short note to my mom. The book would then be like a birthday card. I hope I can figure out how to pull this project off.
Do you have a project that would work well with this type of layout?
Blurb is having a free webinar next Thursday, February 28th called “Using Lightroom 4 to Create Your Photo Books”. This sounds really interesting I think I’ll be attending. Here is what Blurb has to say about it:
One of our favorite Adobe® Lightroom® 4 experts, professional photographer Jay Graham, will be illustrating exactly how to create a stunning photo book in Lightroom 4 with the new Book module that works right with Blurb. He’ll cover:
I’ve decided that each week I will pick a book to highlight here on my blog. This weeks pick is called “fam-i-ly” by Michelle Andrews. What I like about it is how the many photos of the book placed. They picked a black background for the entire book and the photos are handled in a very consistent way that keeps things from getting too busy and lends continuity to the book. The way this book is laid out would work for many family projects.
The end of the book has a sweet poem written by a member of their family.
It’s all about family because, sometimes bad things happen and someones hurt or someone does not stop hurting themselves. But your family’s there for you.
It’s all about family because, when your sick they care for you, they don’t ignore you, they pay attention. But your family’s there for you.
It’s all about family because, they cheer you up when your glum, they help you. They laugh, they have fun, they play, they spend time with others, they care and best of all they lover you.
There was a bright orange box sitting by my front door today. It was from Shutterfly. It is always fun to have a book arrive and get to see the hard copy of what I created on the computer. I’m happy with the results. Since it is 8″ x 8″ inches it is bigger than Blurb‘s 7″ x 7″ book that is a favorite of mine. Another difference is the cover is glosses while the Blurb cover has a matte finish. I tend to lean to the matte but there isn’t anything wrong with the glossy. Overall the Shutterfly book seems to be of a good quality. So if having complete control of you design isn’t something you care about Shutterfly seems to be a good choice. But I’ll be sticking with Blurb and their PDF to book workflow because I didn’t like not having the control that I’m use to having when doing a Shutterfly book. I will keep them in mind for other projects though.
If you have followed my blog you know how excited I am about the illustrated children’s story book we are working on about my great-great-grandmother, Mary Taylor. Even though we won’t have this project finished for Christmas it would make a great gift. (Our deadline is actually for my mom’s 90th birthday in March.) With the Mary book I try to imagine it being used as a bed time story for Mary’s many descendants.
Do you have a family story that would lend itself to a story with illustrations? The pictures could be simple drawings or you could set up a photo shoot and have “actors” dress up to illustrate the story. The text doesn’t have to be complicated or long, the illustrations will help tell the story. Publishing could be as simple as printing it on your computer and/or taking it to your local copy center to make copies and have it bound. Of course a print on demand service such as Blurb or Lulu would also work. I think this project would be a perfect way to share one of your family stories with the next generation. Plus I think that even the older members of your family will take the time to read a short illustrated story when they would never take the time to read a long family history book.
Last year I made one of Blurb.com‘s weekly planners for a friend. It turned out really nice with a photo for each month and the front and back covers. This year they have even more options and with their BookSmart tool it is an afternoon or evening project. There are other planners out there that you can customize with photos but in my searching I didn’t find one that will let you add important dates.
Of course you can design your own planner from top to bottom in Adobe InDesign but that isn’t an afternoon project and BookSmart gives a surprising amount of control. Which ever route you take I think it would be fun to put together a family planner with historic photos and important dates from the past. Click on the image below to a Blurberati Blog post about their weekly planner.
Below are the additional pages I added to Waffle’s book to include her time in the high school program. The first thing I did was to rework the Claraliz page to include the basics of what happened to Waffle after her transfer. Then I all the photos that Claraliz sent me plus a few of my own from Waffle’s first birthday visit and the five days she came for an evaluation. The bit of text on these pages is based on an email that Claraliz sent me when I asked her for memories and stories of Waffle. I ordered the book today, taking advantage of Blurb’s 25% discount code. I’ll be sending this book to Waffle’s new partner for Christmas. I hope she enjoys getting to know more about Waffle’s growing up time.
On September 30, 2011 Waffle was transferred to Claraliz Fernandez to finish raising. She was part of the Salt Lake Tech Guide Dog class for high school students. The students work hard in this class and have to attend for a year before they can get the opportunity to raise a puppy. Waffle remained with Claraliz and was apart of her life and family though out the school year.
Then in July of 2012, it was determined that Waffle wouldn’t be happy being a guide dog. She was evaluated to be a K9 buddy for a blind child but Waffle was too energetic for the kids that needed companions at that time. In August the perfect place was found for Waffle.