Thursday, April 03, 2008

Excuse me, I blurb'ed

"I had no idea when I started my little blog just how many memories I would find recorded on that little space of the internet. From the mundane, to the crazy, to the all out fun, Mama & Jack holds our lives together, one day at a time," Year One jacket cover.

The first two years of MMJ are finally in book form, and as promised, I will give you the lowdown on making your blog into a book via Blurb .
The first year was relatively easy. The blog was small then, each entry was usually just a photo and a small photo caption.
They uploaded pretty quickly, there wasn't a ton of reformatting, and the photos are large enough to enjoy. The first book was about $70, and took me just a few hours to make.
The second year was a whole 'nother can of worms. Maybe it's best to try and do a pros and cons list? We'll start with the cons then.
* My blog was too big to upload the second year all at once. That meant uploading it in different portions, trying to sort out what pages went where, what pictures went with what entries, etc. It takes a LOT of time. (I would guess 40+ hours.)
* The reformatting is extremely tedious. The blog doesn't just upload like it looks on the blog. You have to reformat all the dates (and remove all the time stamps), resize every photo, and move each entry title to a different place.
* If an entry is going to require more than 1 book page, there is a lot of awkward moving around of text and pages to get it to work properly.
* The blog was big, so the pictures had to be small to fit them all in there, and even then they didn't all make it into the book. I think that takes away from the feel of the blog as it becomes the book.
* The new Blurb software crashes constantly. Frustrating.
* There seems to be no easy way to spellcheck?
* I would consider it expensive. The second year was closer to $90.
* While you are working, your working copy is stored on your own computer. Blue screen of death in the middle means all that work is lost.
* I was so frustrated by all the formatting stuff that I didn't spend a lot of time making it look "pretty". Yes, it is all the content of MMJ, but it lacks that comforting yellow background, pretty fonts and welcoming headers. I wish it *felt* more like MMJ.
Alright then, on with the Pros.
* There is a hard copy back up for the blog. No more worrying that all those years of chronicling Jack's growing up will be lost forever.
* Jack and I can sit and really enjoy it together.
* I really enjoyed digging deep in MMJ. Rereading the stories, seeing the pictures, this blog is a nice place for me to be.
* If you happen to have family that is invested in your blog, they can buy their own copies through Blurb.
* There seem to be plenty of customization choices, if you can sort them out. (I was simply too frustrated to care.)

What I will do differently with Year 3:
Get an early start. Technically I could upload a month at a time, and not have so much work to do at once.
Spend more time trying to figure out their software.
Decide what to do about the cover issue. I wish I had gone with a prettier cover on the first two, but now I am torn about changing it for the third volume vs. just keeping it consistent.

Did I miss anything? Ask away if you need to. Or let me know if you have made a blurb book of your own, I would love to see others!


  1. What a labor of love! A beauiful chronical to always be cherished. :) A pain in the you-know-what but still cherished. ;)

    I don't think I need to reread about all the junk I bought, LOL, but should we have kids I would certainly do it!

  2. the blurb website makes it sound so easy. I was planning on putting my first year into a book form and knew that I would have a few hours invested into it. Now it sounds like it could be many, many hours. Ugh.

  3. Thank you for spelling it all out. Doing it month by month sounds like a good idea!

  4. Oh man I feel so out of it. Where did you upload it to? a word doc? I love the idea of a book but can't wrap my mind around ow to make it.

  5. Thanks for the report Sarah. I did the quilt blurb book for my mom at Christmas, and it took a fair amount of work, but nothing, I'm sure, to what a blog requires. Hmmm...I'd love to put mine blog in book form too -- since I switched from blogspot to typepad, I was thinking of doing it in six month increments. But you mentioned you did it in several uploads -- do you think you could upload from two different blog engines?

  6. Anonymous2:44 AM

    You know, I did my Blurb blog book at the end of 2006, and I think that our list of cons is nearly identical. I am surprised that the process and product haven't been overhauled in that time! Especially to fix the crashing!

    I am tempted to manually paste in entries for the follow-up and use a different company. One that offers coupon codes LOL!

  7. I am in the process of doing a cookbook of family recipes for three family bridal showers coming up. Two of the books can be the same, one is entirely custom. I agree about the software- not so easy. Also, I wish there was a way that it could all be done online (sort of like flickr) because I fear a computer crash. Still, I am so thankful to have this kind of service.

  8. Oh I have been wanting to do this (I am going to need about 5 books !!!) How nice to see your. By the way I have not forgotten you but it is a crazy week. I will try to get t the post office as soon as I can xoxoxo Clarice

  9. Awesome! Really!!! I think Jack will appreciate and his kids...and the generations thereafter. What a treasure. :)

    When I have kids...I'll consider it. :)

  10. Thanks for sharing your experience putting these together! I am not sure I will ever put together a book of my blog, but it is interesting to at least have that option out there...

  11. So so cool! How great it is to have this book! I must look into this ;)

  12. This is definitely going to be an heirloom for Jack, what a great thing to pass on to him.

    Thanks for posting the pros and cons of the book development, I've wondered how it was to put one together. I don't know that I have the patience to do all that you did!

  13. Thank you for sharing this - I didn't know that this was possible. It sounds like a great idea to save all those special memories. It does sound like a labor of love - but so worth it for you and Jack : )

  14. What a neat idea! Thanks for the tips.

  15. Anonymous8:18 AM

    i updloaded the first 6 months of my blog and am only 1/2 way through the editing. i got frustrated too, it is just soooo tedious. i need to finish it though as i am halfway through my second year now. thanks for reminding me and you are right, it is so good to have a back up!

  16. What a fabulous idea!! Typepad has a burp or something a few years back and I lost nearly a year of my blogging. I may have to do this soon. I couldn't imagine losing anything on the blogs. There are so many memories, journals, thoughts, inspirations, and more all trickled throughout the pages....

    I have some big news over at my blog as well, so if you have a moment, pop on over and take a peek. HUGS!


  17. Anonymous4:53 AM

    This is really interesting information I've long thought about and then dismissed tohe idea of Blurb but only because I thought it might be too technically challenging, love the idea of having the blog in a book ( well some of it at least).

  18. Anonymous1:36 PM

    What a great idea!! Especially since you have such a gorgeous, and personal blog! Would also make a great present for grandparents and such :-)

  19. Anonymous1:56 PM

    Thanks for the tips!! I was actually wondering how I would preserve Cabin Life, and had never heard of blurb. . .being a rookie blogger, of course. Happy springtime today!

  20. I can't stress enough how sweet I think this is! I think most people just blog to ramble....etc....(like me!) but you had a purpose from day one and I LOVE that! I guess I would change up the covers because, after all, you may be doing this for many more years and you might want some variety!

  21. It will be worth every cent and every minute. You'll see.pco

  22. I can only imagine how long that took you to do. But, I'm sure you'll appreciate it for years to come.

  23. what a totally great idea. thanks for the tips - i'm sure they will come in handy when i try it out!

  24. Thanks for the low down! I was wondering how to do this. I think it would be worth it, but sounds like a bit of a headache.
    Yours looks so cool!

  25. Great idea Sarah! I think I'll try that. Thanks for sharing.


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