Self-Publishing a Book with Blurb

Blurb.com – A Way for Authors to Self-Publish

What is Blurb? It’s a wonderful discovery for an aspiring author or someone who just wants a few books for a special occasion or to share with their family. When a writer chooses to self-publish their content, there are a number of Print-On-Demand sites like Lulu.com or Create Space, but let’s focus on Blurb.com here. I’ve used it a number of times with varied books and found it quite versatile.

Made using Blurb.com
Gail Lee Martin shows off her books with family memories. I used Blurb to publish both of these books for Mom and Dad.

The wonderful thing about Print-On-Demand (also called POD) is the author doesn’t have to buy hundreds of dollars worth of books to get the book published by a traditional printer or face rejection over and over from a traditional publisher. The way that POD works at Blurb is the author uploads the book content to the Blurb website. At that point, the only obligation is to buy one copy of the book. Anyone else wanting the book can order it directly from Blurb’s online bookstore. The author sets the price and keeps any income above the printing cost set by Blurb.

How To Do It

  1. Sign up with Blurb. It’s free and you put the usual information (username and password).
  2. Click on DOWNLOAD THE BOOKWRIGHT SOFTWARE at the Blurb site. This downloads Blurb’s software to your own computer. You work offline at your own pace. Use the Blurb BookWright Guide to learn more about it.
  3. Start a new book using the software. Choose a title, paste in the text and get the pictures from your own computer files.
  4. Rearrange the text and photos until you are satisfied with the book.
  5. Edit, edit, edit… run the spell check and review the text and photos one more time. It’s best to actually print out the pages and review it that way. Somehow one sees the errors more clearly in a printed copy.
  6. Once you have it perfect, upload the book to Blurb.
  7. Now you have 15 days to order the book or they will remove it from their site. Don’t worry, it’s still saved on your own computer.
  8. Start promoting the book. Potential buyers go to Blurb’s online bookstore to preview a part of the book and to order copies.

You can preview the various books I’ve published using Blurb. My sample books are featured in my online bookstore. Click on a book cover to read more about it and to PREVIEW a portion of the book.

Taking Spider Web Photos

Orange spider blends in with the dry grasses.
Orange spider blends in with the dry grasses. (Photo by Virginia Allain)

Nature buffs and camera enthusiasts find spiders and their intricate webs fascinating. Photographing them is challenging. Here are some tips to improve your digital photos of spider webs.

 Things You’ll Need:
  • digital camera with close-up mode
  • outdoor area to find spiders
Spider webs with dew on them are more visible in photographs than a plain web. This means getting out early with the digital camera before the sun dries everything out.
spider web
Spider web after a light rain shower. (photo by Virginia Allain)

 

Use the macro setting (close-up) on your digital camera. Often this setting is represented by a flower icon.

 

canon camera powershot
Canon SX 20 IS Powershot that I use
Keep your hands very steady or use a tripod for macros. Avoid windy days when slight movements of the web will blur your picture.
spiderweb
Be cautious if the spider is on the web.
Look for plain, uncluttered background to show off the web better. Dirt, mulch, or sky work well as a background. The close-up setting on the digital camera helps by putting the background out of focus.
IMG_1285_edited
Take multiple shots from different angles. Try getting the whole web, a section of the web, different sides of the web. Then see what turned out the best.
IMG_7517
This photo could benefit from cropping. The grass background is not the best.

Tips & Warnings

  • Fog or a sprinkler or a light shower sometimes creates ideal conditions for photographing webs and can mimic morning dew.
  • Black construction paper held behind a web might work when the background is too cluttered.
  • Avoid disturbing the web when taking your photo.

(Previously published on eHow in 2008 by Virginia Allain)