Many of the genealogy bloggers I follow print their blogs to books. I’ve been blogging for nearly six years and keep putting off printing my blog.
I have an idea of how I want the posts to come together in each book. I don’t want to do them in chronological order as posted. I know the content I’ve written will fill many books. I’d like to have all of my 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks posts printed together. That’s a lot of writing! I know I’ll have to divide them up into several branches of the family tree.
And then there are other posts which don’t necessarily fit into the 52Ancestors category. For example, one of the categories was Old Photographs that I used for the Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can series. For two years, from April 2015 to March 2017, I blogged about the collection of photographs my cousin Joe Rooney gifted me.
Last year I copied all of the posts from this series into MS Word and found I had over 250 pages of text and photos. I reduced the size of many of the photos, repositioned them, and got rid of blank space until I had about 140 pages. I added a title page, preface, table of content, and author biography. I printed it out on DIN A4 paper and slipped the pages into plastic sleeves and placed them in a notebook.
In September I finally took the time to look into BlookUp, a French company that creates books based on favorite digital platforms or social media as well as from PDF.
I gave them access to my blog for the content to be imported to their website. I was not ready or willing to spend the time to customize the content using their tool. I wanted to quickly try out BlookUp without having to do a lot of editing.
Since I already had the Old Photographs series in MS Word I used CutePDF Writer to convert the file to a PDF.
As this was only a test I went with the smaller DIN 5A size book. After uploading the PDF, I customized the book. They offer a wide variety of cover colors and three cover styles. A title, secondary title, author, and a cover photo can be added to the front cover. The back cover can include an author’s biography and book summary as well as a photo.
My PDF was 146 pages. The cost of printing the book was calculated at €27.86 minus a special discount of 20% plus a shipping fee for a grand total of €30.39 for one copy. All orders over €100 have free shipping.
A little over a week after placing the order, the book was delivered.
I’m delighted with how the book turned out. The paper is of better quality than I expected. The photos are beautiful and clear.
A tiny error was made on the back cover. There was no indication of how many words could be used in the field for the author’s biography and the summary of the book. I realized this when I copy/pasted my entire About text from my blog into the box for the bio. As only a part of the text was showing on the preview, I rewrote a shorter biography – several times until it fit. The last sentence ended up being only partially printed. It was not meant to be there and I think I must have forgotten to save the final revision.
Since receiving my book, I’ve been playing around with BlookUp‘s “import blog” and “customize” tools. A book can be set up from date to date, by categories, and including/excluding pages. The order of posts can be changed or posts can be deleted.
I tried the first half-year of 52Ancestors posts and the result was disappointing. Lots of blank space and too large images. At the end of some of the posts is the word Save up to three times in separate lines. The posts look fine online. I think it would be too much work to tweak all of the posts for printing. Cleaning up the posts in MS Word and creating a PDF would be easier.
BlookUp will print hardback or paperback for social media and blog books but only in paperback for PDF format. If I’m going to spend the time and money to have my blog printed, I would much rather have a hardcover book. I haven’t tried getting in touch with BlookUp about having a hardcover printed and what the price difference would be.
My first blog book now sits in our living room with other treasures and memories. I’ll be looking into other companies before I make a decision on how to continue with turning my blog into books. Suggestions are always welcome.