Friday, September 25, 2015

From Blog to Book:
Considering the Possibilities


Here I sit, a blogger currently having just crossed the 1,600 mark, wondering what to do to preserve those posts at A Family Tapestry in a more permanent form. After all, this nearly four year and five month process has terribly inconvenienced a large number of electrons. It's time to add some felled trees in the making of this message.

In particular, I'd like to return to the story of my father-in-law, the seventeen year old Irish-American Chicagoan who couldn't get into the Navy fast enough after that unforgettable day in December, 1941. Embedded within those sixteen hundred posts, it's a story that gets lost in the forest of words.

I've been inspired by the reports of other bloggers who have done just that: convert their blog posts into book form.

I thought the posts by Jana Last were informative and beneficial, explaining why she opted to go with a company known simply as Blurb.com. She has already shared two posts, giving her analysis of her decision process and showing the resultant product. She's promised a third post on the subject, which she is planning to share after completion of another book project.

Of course, I wanted to know everything about it, so I was hungry to find more. In addition to visiting the company's own website, I kept an eye out for other genea-bloggers posting on the subject. As it turned out, Heather Rojo of Nutfield Genealogy had posted on that very subject only three weeks before Jana had. In her case, she compared her experience with two companies: Blurb.com and Blog2Book.

There were other resources. Only ten days before that, another blogger had weighed in on the process. This time, it was John Tew of Filiopietism Prism, who posted pictures and a critique of his experience at Blurb.

That wasn't all. This meme-by-installment-plan had an even earlier entry, courtesy of Lynn Palermo, who went so far as to do a price comparison between three companies back in 2014.

There were more, of course, who discussed the topic as well, but I think you get the idea. Just like asking for restaurant recommendations, it's better to glean as many opinions as possible on this—one never knows when another's personal taste will be to your liking. I'm thankful for the input from the genealogy blogging community. The reasons provided for each writer's personal preferences helped me determine what I would be most likely to choose, given the description of parameters.

So now, it's my turn: time to spring for it and make that printed collection of family stories. And of course, I'm languishing in the grip of analysis paralysis. I have to know every detail. I research things to death. But if I'm going to convert these good intentions into viable Christmas gifts, now would be a good time to get busy. 

11 comments:

  1. I have not yet gone the route of taking some of my blog posts and putting them into book form (which I may do down the road with the massive amount of information I've collected on a Civil War incident that made it to the US Supreme Court in my family). Earlier this summer I did turn 300+ street art photos I have taken around the world and turned them into an 83 page photo book using Shutterfly. The book format options provide space to incorporate text, and I was pleased with the final result (and it was hal. I did this after making personalized family history photo+story books for my parents this past Christmas, also using Shutterfly. If I was creating a book to be more widely distributed, I might look at other options, such as lulu.com.

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    1. With all the fascinating places you've visited, Patrick, it was your photos I immediately thought of. Glad to hear you did do that photo book. What a treasure. But yes, convert the blog to book, too. That's a lot of research that needs preserving, as well.

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  2. Thanks for the mention Jacqi! I really do prefer Blurb's editing capabilities. I was not happy with the inability to edit on Blog2Print. But, that's just me. You can give both a try first to see which company you prefer. Also, both companies do have sales, so I would suggest signing up to receive emails from them so you can get sales alerts. I also "liked" Blurb's Facebook page. Good luck and have fun with your blog to book project(s)!

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    1. Actually, Jana, it was your reasoning that convinced me that I'd likely be frustrated with that editing inability, as well. Your advice certainly helped me focus on which would be the better choice for me.

      Looking forward to your next post after you finish that book project, Jana. And thanks for the behind-the-scenes help as well!

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  3. Jacqi,

    I want to let you know that two of your blog posts are listed in today's Fab Finds post at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2015/09/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-september_25.html

    Have a great weekend!

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    1. I'm honored, Jana. Thanks for the mention!

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  4. I'll be interested in reading those links. But, instead of using a blog to book format, have you thought about taking what you've written and actually making it read more like a book? Especially if you're just following one story?

    I've not tried the two you mainly talked about, but I have used Shutterfly for books and really liked it. And, I'm thinking about using it for multiple family history projects over the next 12 months

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    1. Actually, Dana, incorporating this story into a regular book format for sale to the public is one of my dreams--especially including this story I referred to, as it is a foundational part of our family's recent history. It has become the springboard for a lot of the motivational public speaking my husband does as part of his business. Having a book to offer along with his presentations would be very helpful. His is a story that needs to be told.

      For this project, which I conceive of as a private collection, I want to include the scans of the actual letters home during the World War II era, as there are several members of our family wanting to have a copy of those letters, too.

      I would love to have a discussion with readers here who have gone the self-publishing route with "trade books" rather than blog-to-book format. I know some readers have used Lulu or Create Space for their own projects. I'm sure there are more options out there as well.

      Thanks also, Dana, for mentioning the Shutterfly option. It seems a number of people have gone that route and are pleased with the results.

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  5. I have one year of blogs in book form Blurb, my daughter did it as a gift. I have another year done and one in progress. Blurb is easy to work with and eventually I will do the family history blog that I work on during the winter. Book 2 Blog was difficult...I tried it and gave up.
    I am sure there is other software out there:)

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    1. It's been interesting, comparing notes with other bloggers. Everyone looks for something different in an editing program, and it certainly holds true for this blog to book process. Especially considering some blogs are photo-heavy, like yours, Far Side, and Patrick's (with all his worldwide travel), your requirements might be different than others' needs.

      For the most part, since I don't focus on the visual in my blog, I had thought the more text-driven options would have been better for me, but reading what you have to say--coupled with the reviews I mentioned above--I'm feeling much more likely to face that learning curve and go for Blurb. But you're right: there is likely other software out there, and it would be nice to know about all the options--and what their strong points and down sides might be. Thanks for the input!

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  6. I love the book (from blog) that Wendy did!!

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