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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

{tutorial} how to publish your blog

My family blog has now become my scrapbook, journal, and family history all wrapped into one.  I started out scrapbooking years ago, but gradually as I had more children, I quickly realized that I was not going to be able to keep it up.  I was sad about it, because I really wanted to have a place to record our journey as a family, display pictures, and remember not only milestones but all the daily events that make up our life together. 

About five years ago, I jumped on the blogging bandwagon, and it was a match made in heaven. I quickly noticed that I was writing a lot more than I ever had in a journal, or in my scrapbooks, where the photos tended to be the highlight and the text was secondary. Publishing them would make it perfect!

I started out with blurb, which overall, I am very impressed with.  The finished product is beautiful, and because you do your own layouts, everything is set to your specifications. However, it was going to take a LONG time to create each page, and with three past years of blogging to publish (the first time I decided to publish--now I just do one year at a time), 500 pages, and nearly 300 posts, I was feeling overwhelmed. Since I'm also impatient, I needed to find something that I would love, but not take quite as long.

Eventually I came across Blog2Print, and decided to give it a try.  I was very pleased with the final product, including the reasonable pricing.  It is VERY fast and easy--it uploads your blog (you set the date parameters) in about 5 minutes (depending on your connection), and you can be finished with one whole book in less than 20 minutes! So, if you have been wanting to publish your blog, but haven't had or don't have the time to

There are some things that I learned along the way, and I thought I would share them with you. Hopefully it will save you even more time! I use blogger, so this tutorial will be for that platform, but you can still do it with wordpress or typepad as well.

{PUBLISHING YOUR BLOG}

Step 1: 

The very first thing you want to do is edit each of your posts thoroughly--looking for any spelling and grammatical errors you would like to edit. I also removed any video that I had uploaded into posts (which I don't do often anyway--I try to just post links to make it easier when I want to publish), since it will upload as a still picture--and not a good one, either. I made sure that the titles of each of my posts were formatted the same, as well as the content (centering text vs. left) for a smooth, continuous look. This will probably take the most time out of all the steps, especially if you are doing more than one year at a time.

Step 2:

Make sure your blog is set to publish a full site feed.  If you're not sure, I'll show you what to do!

 Open up your Dashboard, click on Settings, then on Site Feed. The first thing on that page will be "Allow Blog Feeds", and you need to make sure that you select "Full". 

Step 3:

Now you're ready to upload!  Go to Blog2Print, and input the html address of your blog, then select the platform. Give it a few minutes, and it will have it uploaded.
 

Step 4:

There are several options for your book that come next...including the range of dates you'd like included, cover options, dedicatory text, and a few more items. Just follow the prompts--they're very user-friendly. I publish mine each calendar year, and choose a very neutral cream cover--then I can add a photo for it later. You'll also get to choose the number and order of the posts, whether or not you want to include comments,  and even whether you want color or only black and white (if your blog is primarily text you might like this option).


Step 5:  

When you're ready to select a photo for the front cover, and if you have shrinkpic or something similar installed on your computer, you'll need to uninstall the program first.  If not, no matter what the pixel size of your photo, it will automatically be reduced in size and will be too low of a resolution for your cover. When you upload the photo, make sure that the location looks similar to the one below:



Step 6: 

Once you've made all your choices, and double checked those selections, you're able to preview the entire book, so you can make any changes necessary--then you're ready to add your book to the shopping cart for purchase.  I also buy the digital CD in addition to the hardcover book--it's only $8, and then I have a back up of the book in my fireproof safe just in case of a disaster. The cost of the hardcover book is $24.95 for 20 pages, and 35 cents for each additional page.  My 2011 book was over a 100 pages, and $84--not bad at all for a whole year's worth of text and photos!  


You're probably wondering what the inside looks like, so I'm going to give you a peek at some of my pages! (this is the digital version, from when I created my book...)






It takes about a week and a half for my books to arrive, but it will depend on where you live as to how soon you will receive your book.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, on to the couple of things that I don't love...

1.  You can't choose the layout, or make it so that each post is on its own page.  Sometimes you'll get a sentence or two that will go to the following page, or even a picture.  

2.  The pictures aren't as large as I would like them to be, even when using blogger and enlarging them to "extra large" before publishing the post. 

Still, for me, the pros outweigh the cons, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE being able to do it so quickly. Maybe one day I'll have time to switch to blurb, but for now, this fits my time capacity as I need it.  My kids absolutely love looking through the books--it's been perfect for our family. So, whether you choose to go with Blog2Print, or another publisher, I highly recommend you go for it...you won't be sorry!

Happy publishing!

8 Comments:

Blogger Danika said...

Thank you! I've been trying to get my blog printed for years now, but give up every time I start working in Blurb. It's way too time consuming! I've heard about Blog2Print but never read anything specific about it - thanks for your help and honest review! I think that might be the way to go for me.

February 29, 2012 at 3:42 PM  
Blogger Laurel C. said...

I love publishing my blog, too. I do it annually to make sure that I don't get behind and overwhelmed with too many posts to publish. However, I use Blurb.com for all the reasons you mentioned that you hate about Blog2Print. I can't stand that I have no control over layout or picture size. I like to throw in a few extra pictures when I'm publishing (pictures that may have bored my blog audience, but I want in my family history). Blog2Print won't let you do that. I think the best of both worlds is to use Blurb.com, but to stay extrememly current and publish every 12 months. (Because you're right... Blurb.com is a bit more time intensive.) Are there any other blog-publishing companies beside Blurb.com and Blog2Print?

Thanks for recommending blog publishing. I think all blog authors need to do this. Plus, they're a lot of fun to create and to flip through! I love my blog books.

February 29, 2012 at 3:45 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

Thank you so much for this idea. I have been wondering how to do it.

February 29, 2012 at 8:54 PM  
Blogger CBH said...

Thank you so much for this post. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in CBH Digital Scrapbooking Freebies, under the Page 5 post on Mar. 01, 2012. Thanks again.

March 1, 2012 at 8:47 AM  
Blogger CBH said...

Thank you so much for this post. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in CBH Digital Scrapbooking Freebies, under the Page 5 post on Mar. 01, 2012. Thanks again.

March 1, 2012 at 8:51 AM  
Blogger Raysha said...

I love the idea of publishing my blog. Thank you so much for the information!

http://lexmallabooks.com/

March 1, 2012 at 1:06 PM  
Blogger Sky Buffat said...

Glad to know that Blog2Print is faster- I have wanted to print mine for a long while and need to just do it already! Thanks for the tips :) Hope you're having a nice weekend

March 3, 2012 at 7:05 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I keep looking at the google ad for this. I am glad to hear someone actually tried it and liked it. I just wanted a quick way to keep record of everything I have done. Thanks!

March 11, 2012 at 10:49 PM  

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