How to publish your own book in 3 easy steps

img_9945You’ve always had a dream of publishing something.  Perhaps it’s writing a praise-worthy novel, or children’s book, or maybe even just getting some family photos or recipes together and sharing them with loved ones.

Publishing used to involve shopping your work around, and facing an endless string of pre-formatted rejections before giving up dejectedly.

Today, publishing your book is no longer so hard.  Self publishing has become far more common and far more inexpensive than ever before.

Like Blurb.  Blurb is a publishing website/platform that allows you to lay out your own book, then pay to print as many copies as you wish, as quickly as you want. I recently used it to publish a children’s book that I wrote with my husband.

How to Publish with Blurb in 3 steps

Step 1: Create

The first thing to do is write your great novel. Or illustrate that kids’ story. Or pen your comic book. Maybe you want to publish all your family recipes, print a wedding or anniversary book, a baby book or even a family history.  Well, now’s the time to get cooking, literally and figuratively!

Trust me, this will be the hardest step and 90% of people reading this won’t ever see step 2. Writing requires drive, dedication, determination, self-motivation and yes, preferably talent. (Though with self publishing, fortunately that last one is now optional because no one is judging you before you go to press — yay!)

Once you have the hard work behind you, the rest is easy.

Step 2: Layout

Once you have your material, and it’s been edited or otherwise proofed, you can download the free Blurb “Bookwright” software for Mac or PC. The software is super easy to use and is quite intuitive. You simply select “Start a new book” and then import your photos, images, drawings or text.  The software stores them in the layout software for you so you don’t have to go hunting every time you want to add a page. Trust me, dumping all your content into Bookwright up front will save you time and hassle down the road.

You can select how many pages long you want to make your book, and it’s easy to add pages as you go whether at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of the book so you don’t need to be too concerned with exact pagination yet.
Getting a look at your projectScreen Shot 2016-01-11 at 2.47.30 PM
The software is very easy to navigate. You can see all your pages at a glance down the left-hand side of the screen. In the middle and taking up the largest piece of real estate is your work screen. It gives you two pages side-by-side to look at and work on, with a list of your photos or images up above and some formatting tools.
From your image list, it’s as simple as grabbing and dragging each image and placing it on the page. Once the images are placed, you can adjust their size, zoom in or out, even add text.
Playing with Font, Style, Colour
Other features within the software are the ability to add page numbers and style them as well as such the background color of each page if you need it.
Bookwright watches over you
One of the features I found very helpful is that when you add each image to your book, the software gives it a little checkmark in the corner, which means you can see at a glance which photos or images have already been placed in the book, to avoid duplication or confusion.
Once done, the software checks for low res images and will also perform a final spell check. You can also make a last minute adjustments to paper, book size and style before sending it to print. You can also opt to pay about five dollars extra and have the book in PDF format as well, which in this day and age is genius.  Pay the $5.

Step 3: Print!

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 The book I selected is a Standard Landscape, 10×8 in, 25×20 cm with a total of 26 Pages. The cost to print it was $42 CAD.  Extras included the $5 for PDF/digital version plus shipping ($11) and tax ($3). That put the grand total around $62 CAD for a single copy.

Blurb Tips I learned along the way:

It took me MONTHS to get my book printed from the time I finished the content, until it was delivered to my door. Why so long?  Life got in the way. I started doing the layout, then got sidetracked here and there hunting down missing images etc. Then I needed to adjust the images from low res to high res, and had to re-find all the high res images I needed. Then I travelled, I worked my day job… blah blah blah. Finally I just decided to buckle down and get to it, but I learned a few tips along the way.

  • Making your book will take longer than you think. Trust me: It will take you a long time. Particularly if you are creating your content from scratch. Don’t expect to have a published book in a week.
  • Don’t tell people you’re publishing a book.  It adds unnecessary pressure.  Work at your own pace and save the social media sharing for when the book is in hand. Also, everyone and their uncle is a wannabe author with nothing to show for it.  Wait until you get the goods before blabbing about it.
  • Make sure you’re using hi res images. If you get in too deep with poor quality images, you’re wasting time.
  • The undo button is your friend. Use it. Love it. Experiment.
  • Gather up all your images, photos, pieces and parts and store them in a folder on your desktop. That way your productivity won’t be slowed by having to hunt for missing pages or images while you’re trying to do your layout.

**Contest is now CLOSED – Winner is Kate!**

Win $50 off YOUR Blurb Book! Enter below!

If you’re keen to try publishing your own book via Blurb, I’m giving away a promo code for $50 off a Blurb book!

Contest Runs January 12-17, 2016. Enter by writing a short note in the comments section on this blog telling me what kind of book you’d publish (Children’s, novel, comic, etc.).

You may enter once per day for the duration of the contest.

The Contest Fine Print:

I’ll pick one winner at random from among all the entries on this website. Only 1 entry per person please per day; extra entries beyond these parameters will be discarded. Contest closes at 11:59pm MT  January 17, 2016. Odds of winning depend on the number of entries received. Canadian entries only but contest is not valid in Quebec.

The winner will receive 1 prize: a $50 coupon code for a Blurb book provided courtesy of Blurb. ErinLYYC.com is not responsible prizes not delivered, delayed, or misdirected, or not redeemed after their expiration date, or for problems or difficulties encountered on the Blurb site when redeeming the code. Use of the code is at the sole discretion of Blurb. Offer is good for a discount off Blurb book publishing and can not be combined with any other offers or discounts. Prize has no cash value.

I’ll get in touch with the winner via the email address provided when you add your comment below. Non-response within 48 hours, and I’ll redraw under same 48 hour timeframe until I get a winner.

Winner’s name will be posted to this website and social media after the drawing.

If for any reason the Internet portion of the Contest is not capable of running as planned, including infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures or any other causes beyond the control of this website which corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of this Contest, ErinLYYC.com reserves the right at its sole discretion to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process, and to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Contest. Prize may not be exactly as show in accompanying photographs.

By entering this contest you agree you have read and accept the rules and are to abide by them.

img_9947

How to Win a Sony Xperia Z5 Android smartphone next week

  You want to be like 007, don’t you?  Who wouldn’t want to ooze the kind of cool embodied by Daniel Craig in the newest James Bond film Spectre.

In the movie, Bond uses the new Sony Xperia Z5 smartphone.  And on Tuesday November 10th, I’ll be giving away one of James Bond’s toys.  To win, you’ll need to tune in to Tech Talk on CTV Calgary, either on TV, or you can check out the segment online later that day.

Sony Xperia Z5 Feature highlights:

  • 23-megapixel camera with ultra fast autofocus, 5X Clear Image Zoom and 4K video recording for true-to-life capture
  • 5.2-inch IPS TRILUMINOS display with 1080p Full HD resolution produces stunning clarity and colour reproduction
  • Fingerprint scanner for quick and easy access
  • Waterproof and dust resistant – don’t worry if you get caught in the rain
  • Up to 2 days of battery life* – or more in Ultra STAMINA mode

Don’t forget to watch Tuesday November 10th at 7:15 to find out how to enter. Contst runs that day only so don’t miss out.


  
  

Nanoleaf Lighting as seen on CTV Tech Talk!

bloom glassOn CTV Morning Live’s Tech Talk segment I told you to come here to enter for a chance to win a Nanoleaf Lighting Kit. ***THE CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

 

The winner is Samantha van Gorp. Congratulations, Samantha!

Thanks for entering, and I’ll be drawing a winner within 3 days of contest closing. By entering this contest you agree you have read and accept the rules and are to abide by them.

Here’s how to enter:

–> Choose one of the following methods or websites below, you only need to enter once.

On this website: 

Write a (nice) comment on this blog in the comments section below, or on the Nanoleaf Light blog article. Use the keyword I provided on TV.

OR On Twitter:

Follow me on Twitter, (so I’ll be able to DM you if you win! No DM, no win possible), then tweet me  @erinLYYC to tell me how much you’d like to win the Nanoleaf Light Kit. **Use the keyword I provided on TV.

Copy this sample tweet if you like: “I saw @ErinLYYC on TV, and I want to win a @Nanoleaf Light Kit #(insert keyword here) #tech #YYC”

OR On Facebook:

Go to my Facebook Page, “Like” it, and write a short comment on the Ring Contest section. Per FB rules, you need to do both to be properly entered.  **Use the keyword I provided on TV.

The Fine Print:

I’ll pick one winner at random from among all the social media and website entries! Only 1 entry per person please; duplicate entries will be discarded. Contest closes at 11:59pm MT tonight, September 8, 2015. Odds of winning depend on the number of entries received. Not valid in Quebec.

Winner will recieve a Nanoleaf Bloom bulb [charcoal black, arctic leaf, or arctic white], Nanoleaf Tee, and Nanoleaf tote bag and keychain, courtesy of Nanoleaf. Nanoleaf reserves the right to make modifications to this prize pack based on availability. ErinLYYC.com bears no responsibility for prizes not delivered, delayed or misdirected. Prize will be shipped direct to recipient by Nanoleaf.

I’ll get in touch with the winner via same somed/website platform by which they entered. Non-response within 48 hours, and I’ll redraw under same 48 hour timeframe until I get a winner.

Winner’s name will be posted to this website and social media after the drawing.

If for any reason the Internet portion of the Contest is not capable of running as planned, including infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures or any other causes beyond the control of Company which corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of this Contest, Company reserves the right at its sole discretion to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process, and to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Contest. Prize may not be exactly as show in accompanying photographs.

By entering this contest you agree you have read and accept the rules and are to abide by them.