I have been vaguely aware of Blurb for a number of years – a friend of mine published a book of her photography and has been raving about them ever since. But I must admit that, despite her insistent prodding, I never went further than a quick glance at their web page. Well, more fool me because it turns out that Blurb is SO much more than simply creating a photo book.
Where do I start? I am a little excited, so bear with me. Blurb offers a range of extremely exciting possibilities – not just the chance to create a book or a magazine but also the platform to share and distribute your homemade masterpiece to the world – yes, even on Amazon! This takes self-publishing to a whole new level – it makes it accessible and maybe even… profitable? Amazingly, you get to keep 100% of the profits on books sold through Blurb Direct Sell (80% for ebooks) and each book gets their own page on the Blurb online Bookshop. I don’t need to tell you that this is especially thrilling for us bloggers… Right now I have a small fire igniting in my brain trying to embrace all the avenues it opens up.
But even if you aren’t ready to become a published author (yet!) you still have a huge range of tools at your disposal to create something beautifully unique – as a present, a keepsake, a wedding favour… need I go on? I plan to create a book using photos of my children as a Christmas gift for my family in Greece and my husband’s family in Canada. But I am also going to create a portfolio of my design work (something I have been meaning to do for years) to take round to interviews instead of carrying a truckload of books with me.
How do you create a book on Blurb? Here’s the thing – there are a few ways. For a simple project using mostly photographs – like my Christmas gift – you can use Bookify which requires no download or special skills – all the work is done online. Select a size, choose a style and that’s pretty much it! Images can be uploaded from your computer or even your Instagram or Facebook account. It really could not be simpler.
If you wanted to create something more complex – say a cookbook perhaps (not sure what put that in my head)? Well you have options! You can download Blurb’s BookWright (see above) – it is an application that functions as your book creator. At first glance it is very easy to use – you can import photos and text from your computer and there are several page layouts available. But you could also download BookSmart which has more template options built-in and includes themes, patterned backgrounds, ornaments and so on. If you have some experience with layouts there’s an InDesign plug in and you can also work via Lightbox as well as print from PDF files. I think it’s fair to say they have covered all bases! As a book designer I am particularly excited by the fact that you have the freedom to print from PDF files – this gives unprecedented design flexibility.
I received a copy of Blurb-published Cookie Cravings to review. Written by Maria of Two Peas and Their Pod and photographed & designed by Heidi Larsen of Foodie Crush it contains 30 cookie recipes – favourites out of the hundreds Maria has shared on her blog. She clearly has a passion for cookies and her enthusiasm is quite infectious – the Chocolate Toffee Almond cookies are on my to-bake list as are the Orange Glazed Almond Cookies and in no time I am sure I will have baked my way through the entire book. The quality of the printing and image reproduction is equivalent, if not better, to that of most commercially published books – quite impressive for a self-published effort. At £17.51 it feels a little pricey for such a slim volume but on the plus side you know you are actually supporting a fellow blogger.
This is a sponsored post but all opinions and genuine enthusiasm are my own – I have a few (hundred) ideas I would like to put into action!