Spreading Your Blog Around like Butter

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by Linda Goin

"Spread Your Blog Around!"

If you've thought about publishing your blog, how would you go about that project? In this article, Lindatalks about some possibilities for spreading your blog around like butter.

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Spreading Your Blog Around like Butter

If you've thought about publishing your blog, how would you go about that project? In this article, Linda talks about some possibilities for spreading your blog around like butter.

Venturing Beyond the Blogosphere

If you post to your blog or blogs on a regular basis with original material (prose, news, opinion, photographs, etc.), has the thought crossed your mind about publishing that blog in another format? How would your blog look as a book? Have you considered a talking book, or even an electronic version that can be read in a Kindle or some other electronic book reader?

Even if you know next to nothing about print publication or conversion to electronic or audible mediums, you have a choices available to convert your blog into a variety of mediums and still maintain control over some aspects of this conversion process. In this article, I'll talk about the publishing process, and then move on to audible and electronic versions in upcoming articles. For focus, I'll stick to three online self-publishing options that may appeal to your sensibilities and to your budget (which, I assume, is as small as mine). Then, I'll point to some obstacles you may need to overcome before you tackle these ventures.


Blurb


Blurb is a DYI (Do It Yourself) publishing format geared to both Mac and PC. They have a free BookSmart software that you can download and that allows you to drag and drop photographs, change the page layout and add copy blocks for captions or text. You can alter fonts, background colours and book sizes. You also can use their 'PDF to Book,' using Blurb's free blank Adobe InDesign templates. Once you've finished designing your book and saved it to PDF, you can upload that file and order your book. Or, you can use any design software you want to use, provided you can save the entire book as a PDF/X-3 standard file.

At Blurb, you can maintain CMYK colour space (print colour) from design to print, avoiding conversion to sRGB (Web colour). You also can choose between three cover types and six book sizes, design up to 440 pages using standard paper sizes or up to 160 pages using Blurb's "Premium Paper."

You also can share, promote and sell your work on Blurb and keep 100 percent of the mark up after the base price, which starts at $4.95USD. The Blurb model asks that authors prepay for their books, unless selling them in their book store. Genres (categories) range from architecture to weddings. The Arts and Photography category contains the largest number of books at over 23,000.

Blog2Print


Blog2Print narrows the capabilities down a bit to those who have maintained blogs on Blogger, Typepad or WordPress official blogs. You pick the cover, images, number and order of posts and comments, and Blog2Print does the rest. You can choose monthly or quarterly posts, with one year's worth of monthly posts starting at $24.95USD and a year's worth of quarterly posts at $19.95USD. Blog2Print generates a PDF file that they then send to you by email.

You can choose between personalized or customized books, and online or digital content. You also can add more photos and text for further personalization.

Blog2Pring also maintains Everything2Print, which allows users to save blog entries, Twitter comments and Facebook, Picasa, Word Doc and PDF content. Everything2Print is more hands-on, allowing users to choose sources and create a book. Windows and Mac users are welcome to use this format. I would be a bit wary, as each different format connects directly to your source. But, if you're ok with Everything2Print downloading your Twitter account directly, then you might be just as happy with the results.

Prices on Everything2Print begin at $14.95USD for a 20-page softcover and $24.95USD for hardcover. Extra pages are $.25USD each. You also can pay only $7.95USD for a PDF file. If you don't want to develop a PDF file, you might want to use this service, albeit somewhat limited to certain blog formats.

Lulu


 

Lulu has been around for years now, building a reputation of being very helpful to their authors/publishers. They use one of the most hands-on tools available online, without the need to download software to build your book. Their software is very similar to, if not exactly like the Blurb software (although I don't know which publisher first used that software publicly). The only question, then, is whether you want to download the software (Blurb) and work on the book on your computer, or if you want to work on your book online (Lulu). For those with slow connections to the Internet, I would suggest the former.

That said, I have worked with Lulu, and their printing is superb. Additionally, unless you want to purchase copies of your book outright, you can use the site as a marketing tool and sell your books online, taking the mark up after Lulu deducts their publishing price. Prices vary, depending upon what you publish (calendar, book, photobook, etc.) and the cover quality or size. People often are attracted to the variety in Lulu's publishing menu, and the prices are reasonable, if not fantastic.

Additionally, Lulu has worked hard to expand its repertoire in the marketplace, allowing authors to sell books through a variety of venues including Amazon and Apple's iStore. This distribution network involves the purchase of an ISBN, which is something you'd want to do to help distribute your book anyway. But, if you want to avoid the ISBN purchase, you still can tap into Lulu's MarketREACH distribution. This distribution package will provide you with a listing on Lulu's Amazon Marketplace by seller LuluPress and a listing on eBay.com. You will receive the same royalties from these listings as if you sold the book on Lulu.com.

Since Lulu has been around for so many years, they had the luxury of that time to build a community with forums, a top-notch support network and a series of "how-to" articles that can help anyone learn how the digital printing process works in general, with specifics to Lulu's processes. Check out their Knowledge Base to learn more about this company and their publishing processes.

Linda Goin

Linda GoinLinda Goin carries a B.F.A. in visual communications with a minor in business and marketing, and an M.A. in American History with a minor in the Reformation. While the latter degree doesn't seem to fit with the first two educational experiences, Linda used her 25-year design expertise on site at archaeological digs and in the study of material culture. Now she uses her education and experiences in creating social media environments.

Accolades for her work include fifteen first-place Colorado Press Association awards, numerous fine art and graphic design awards, and interviews about content development with The Wall St. Journal, Chicago Tribune, Psychology Today, and L.A. Times.

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