Thursday 23 February 2012

The blog-in-a-book is finished!

After a rather short gestation, helped by numerous cups of coffee and more chocolate than my hips actually can tolerate and with the aid of many long evenings and nights my baby, sorry my book number 5 is finally born. The delivery was short and relatively pain free, although my Internet connection was groaning in pain due to the relatively large birth weight, but I finally got the ‘Upload Completed’ and I could sigh a big relief. Book number five is here.

The book is my complete blog for 2011. And why on earth would anyone want their blog in a book, you might wonder, isn’t it online? Well, it is, but I wanted to save it for ‘forever’…and who knows how long my stuff on the Internet is going to be kept. Forever? Forever?? Well, forever is a very long time, I won’t live forever, I might not even live for very long, but my books will be here for a long time. Do you have any old books in your bookshelf? Any books that are more than 100 years old, perhaps as old as 200 years old? I find it fascinating to think that my grandchildren one day might sit down with their grandchildren and show them my books. I doubt very much that my blog will still be accessible on the Internet by then, but my books will still be here.

The process of saving my blog to a book has not been an easy one, and if you have done the same I would very much like to hear from you. Which company you used, what issues you had, what you were happy with and what you were not happy with and so on. I researched quite a few companies before I started, and they all had good and bad points, but I ended up using the same company that prints all of the other books I have made, except for one book which is not for sale anymore. The company is American, called Blurb, and they have different software depending on what level you want to work in, from leaving mostly everything to their easy-to-use software to full control using Adobe InDesign. I chose the easy option for my blog, and let the software do most of the job, although it turned out afterwards that the software didn’t do a very good job so I had a lot of editing to do, fixing errors. Some people might choose not to do any editing, and accept what the software presents, but I wasn’t happy with text splitting awkwardly and missing sentences and so on, so I chose to go over every page with a fine-tooth comb to weed out all the errors – and there were many of them! There might be many left; ideally books like this should be proof read by someone else, as after a while you don’t see all the errors, but I don’t have the luxury to send my books off to be proof read. My apologies if you find any errors!

What I am most unhappy with is that Blurb’s software didn’t collect (‘slurp’, that’s what they call downloading your blog!) all the messages from each post, so the book only has my posts and none of all the lovely messages I have received. I will write to Blurb about that and hopefully their software will be updated by the time I am doing this again, in a year’s time, so I can get all the messages too. After all, the messages are a vital part of a blog. I know some of the companies I found had the option to include the messages if you wanted to, but those companies had other minus points which meant that I didn’t really want to choose them.

Another thing which I hadn’t really thought of beforehand was that all my photos in my posts are of a low resolution, deliberately so, to spare all of you sitting there waiting for them to download. But when you want to use the same photos to print, they should be of a much higher resolution, so Blurb automatically resizes all post photos to small, thumbnail size photos and put them in the margins instead of where they were originally in the posts. Not really what I would have wanted, as most of the text will refer to specific photos which no longer appear in between the paragraphs of text. You will need to have a look at the book to see what I mean about this issue. The only thing I can think of to resolve this is to upload much bigger pictures when I make my posts, so that they can also be used for print, which will make my blog slower to download. Or, alternatively, make a high resolution version of every single picture and swap them on every page when making the book – that is not something I am prepared to do! Instead I have added a few pages here and there with bigger versions of some of the pictures, as a compromise.

Here is the back cover of the book, explaining what, why and so on, probably a bit difficult to read here, but easier to read if you go and have a look at the book yourself. OK, are you ready to meet my new baby? You can CLICK HERE TO SEE THE WHOLE BOOK at Blurb, click on the book, wait for it to load, then click on the View Fullscreen in the bottom right corner, then you can turn the pages just as in a normal book. As I said earlier, the upload was a rather hefty one, and that was not just because of all the pictures in the book, but also because this book is 342 pages. I guess I had quite a lot on my mind in 2011 :-)

The only thing left now is the nail biting wait for the postman to arrive with my book. I can’t tell you how exciting it is to open the parcel with your own book, fresh from the printer, to smell that faint smell of fresh ink and to hear those tiny creaks from a brand new book that has never been opened before, knowing that this is your creation. It takes 14 days from order to delivery, so my book should be here by 7th March. Two whole weeks!

I am going to have a couple of days doing just a minimum of work on my computer and then I am diving back down in book number 6, which I have already started working on. All the pictures are collected, numbered and in order, but they all have to go through Photoshop, so that’s where I am now. I hope the gestation period will be just as quick on this next book, I got so many projects I want to do and spring is almost here – my garden needs me :-) Until next time, take care!


  1. How exciting! Congratulations! You have done something that I am afraid even to think of! Good for you!

  2. Huge Congrats to you Helene!! Something to be so proud of!

  3. Congratulations on your new book! and what a neat idea, to transfer the blog into a book. I will have to keep this in mind for my blog, sometime in the future ....

  4. That is beautiful, Helene. And as you say, a wonderful thing to have available for your children and grandchildren and future generations. I love the Orchid photos in your book.

  5. Gratulerer, Helene!! Nå har jeg bladd litt i boken din og den er kjempefin.
    Nå begynner jeg å lure på om jeg skulle ha lagd en bok til Malin med tid og stunder. Så takk for inspirasjonen :-)
    Vi snakkes, klem!

  6. Very interesting Helene. I am writing my first book (I hope) and self publishing is one of the thoughts I am considering. It is always good to hear what others experiences have been. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I hadn't really thought of doing this, but I do like the idea of my children and grandchildren having something of me after I'm gone. Thanks for all the little tips and things to think about. I also hadn't thought about having a yearly book. Good idea, Helene!

  8. What a fun project! And what a cool thought that future generations would be able to read your work!

  9. What a great idea!! Congrats Helene, this is very special.

  10. Thank you all for your lovely messages, it means so much to me! This book project was important to me because everything else I have made on my computer I have saved to DVDs, but my Blogger blog can only be saved as and XML file, and that file can’t be viewed via a browser, only imported into a new blog. By making a blog book at least I have a written copy of all my hard work...and by using the technology available, future generations can get a glimpse into my daily life at some point down the line. I wish I could have got a glance into my great grandparent’s daily life; that would have been something!

    Feel inspired to make your own book? Go for it!

  11. Congratulations. I never considered doing this. I thought I would just print out the posts and staple the pages together. Your method is much, MUCH nicer. Congratulations!

  12. "Internet connection was groaning in pain due to the relatively large birth weight, but I finally got the ‘Upload Completed’ " funny!!!
    I liked your thought about books living longer than Blog Posts.
    I don't know why we think stuff on the Internet is going to be kept forever. Blog Book is a great idea really!


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