I became involved with Blurb.Com a few years ago because they work with Blogs. There are numerous printers out there to create your photo book or textbook or whatever your needs, but Blurb can “slurp” your blog right in to their book (meaning they take your year of babbles on your blog and convert it directly to book format). This was ideal for me and my personal blog because while I’d had the hope in the first year of my son’s life to manually scrapbook all my blogs, complete with photos and intricate scrapbooking decals… seriously, who has the time for that. Blurb saved me. A few hours of tweaks here and there, adding a few extra pictures, I was able to take my mommy-blog from Blog-format, to printed… and $40 later, I had something hardbound for my shelf.
Update to this year, It’s Time to Print a Genealogy Book for the family. Because I am the holder of the “stuff”, I have numerous photos for one side of my family, enough to create an Entertainment book on our family.
Let me break down what I learned, where I’m coming from, and some notes here & there.
1 – Download the FREE Blurb application. It will take some time to download, but not too much space on your computer. (you pay for the printing/shipping, but the application is free)
2 – Define your audience – It will help you decide what to include in your book.
I was building an Entertainment Book. I was not printing a detailed history of the family, neither ancestral nor descendant report. I knew from the get-go the “reports” I could export from my genealogy software would be of little use to this. I wanted all the bazillion photos I have stored (many my family has not seen) and a brief listing of families, lines, and history. I knew going in to this that if I wanted a brief ancestral report, I would have to write it out.
* Just to note that if you’re going with something different, Blurb can import any and all files. So if you want to print out that 28page of Descendant Listing from your genealogy software, it can import it. then, you can tweak it and reformat as needed.
3 – Organize Your “stuff”
I started quickly with what photos I could find, importing to my new “book” and quickly realized none of my photos were in order; that I had scans from this last summer that were never renamed nor put in their correct spot. And I’m very organized on my computer, yet I still needed to stop my project for a good hour and re-organize.
4 – Get to building your book.
I write books and manuals all the time and I tend to just import everything I can find, with the idea that you can move and alter later – your process is up to you. If you need to start with page 1 and move forward as you go, that’s fine. But with Blurb you can insert/delete pages as needed, so if you just want to start importing photos to pages… you can fix later.
as you get going, you should see something like this… a running list of all your pages down below, and the selected page in the big View window at the top.
6 – Edit your book. At any point you can change the format of your page, move pages around, add more, etc., both Text and Photo Pages (Text pages also have images, just LESS images than a Photo-page)
7 – Preview your book.
8 – Order your book
I mean it. Whatever time it takes for you to create your book (mine took me about 10hrs over two nights), you can be done so quickly. It depends on what materials you already have, such as photos and reports; and depends on the tweaks you want to make.
10hrs of book compilation
1hr contemplating more wine, tears at happiness, emails to people trying NOT to tell them what I’d created
Free installation of Blurb product. 10 minutes of upload of my 42 page book; 30 seconds to enter my credit card. And $53 to have the single product shipped to me, at an increased rate to arrive before Xmas. (they have great deals if you’re printing multiple copies, which I will do once I make a few edits to this initial draft).
Blurb Rocks for me.
I’m sure there are other comparable products out there. But this just made it So Easy on me. Insert photo; insert text. Build a page. Go from there.
And HEY, if you’re of my Loops-Webb family, You can purchase this book! as either a PDF download or Printed Version (trust me, you want the printed version for your shelf). Let me make a few tweaks to it first (afterall, I did put it together in 2 days, there are a few changes I’d like to make). Contact Me for more information.
(Updated post, Originally posted on GenealogyLoops.com, Dec. 15, 2013. )