(Note: Here's my second Lulu Blog Book!)
My Lulu blog book arrived this last weekend, and I love it. I seriously do. I totally want to do my future blog books like this. Here's what it came wrapped like:
Here's the cover (I got the hardcover "Casewrap") and what some of the posts look like in the book:
Here's a shot of the binding (which seems sturdy):
The only construction fault I can find is that in the between the cover and the first end page, a thin line of orange glue is visible:
It's not too noticeable; I didn't see it until I was taking pictures.
The picture quality is good (not amazing); it's what I was expecting for black and white on this type of paper. (The paper is what you'd find in a good quality hardback. It's not shiny paper, like Shutterfly; it's matte. But still good quality.)
The photos have a bit of graininess to them; again, it's not Shutterfly. But, it's what I was expecting and they do their job of preserving memories just fine.
Here's the back:
And that's the book! I'm a fan.
Okay, since it does take some work to put it together (it's not just a one-click process), I'm going to go through the step-by-step process you would need to do to make a blog book with Lulu. To make a book with Lulu, you need to make a pdf file of your blog and upload it to their site.
Here's how you can make a Lulu blog book (faster and better than I did):
Before you start: Start with a computer that has both internet and Microsoft Word. This will make everything so much easier.
Step 1: Get Lulu's template.
Go to Lulu's website (www.lulu.com), click on "publish" at the top, click "start publishing your book," sign up for a free membership, and then choose the size book you want. I did a hardcover "Casewrap" 8.25x10.75, as it was closest to what Blog2Print and Blurb both offer and seemed to be the best format for a blog. Once you've chosen the size, download the template they have for that size. Open the doc file on your computer. (For example, the file I opened was "8.25_template.doc")
Step 2: Get your posts.
From your live blog, copy and paste each post (including date, title, and comments) to that Word document. Do this chronologically (start with the oldest post first), so that when you read the book you're reading from oldest to newest.
Step 3: Make your pictures smaller.
If you want smaller pictures (for easier formatting and to save pages), you have two options:
- You can select the picture and shrink it right in Word, or
- Go to the Post Editor in Blogger. Click on each post, resize the pictures, and copy and paste the post body into your document.
Step 4: Change your fonts.
The easiest way to do this would probably be with Word's "Styles" feature. Word probably has an explanation of how to use it in its "help section," or you could just follow these directions:
Find where it says "Styles"on the right side of the "Home Bar." It has a few default styles, but you can create your own custom style by changing a section of text to the font, size, and color that you want it (for example, I changed the first title to the font Georgia, size 24), highlighting that section, clicking on the bottom of the three arrows on the left of "Change Styles," and clicking on "Save selection as a new quick style." You give it a name, such as "Titles." Then just go to each blog post, highlight the title, click on the style "Titles," and voila! It will change it to your custom font, size, and color.
For my titles, I used Georgia size 12. For the date stamp I changed it to MS Reference Sans Serif size 12, white, and highlighted the background gray. (I had to do the highlighting manually. You can't do it in "Styles.") I also did the same thing with the "Comments" title at the bottom of the post, except I changed it to Georgia size 16. My basic font was Trebuchet size 12. (Note: the Trebuchet size 12 looks a little big in the printed book, so for my second book I changed it to Trebuchet size 11. Now it looks great!)
So, first highlight ALL your text and change it to your basic font. Then, make a "style" for your date stamp, title, and comments title. Go through each post and change what you want using your "style."
If that didn't make sense, search Word's help section for "styles." It really will save you time. :)
Step 5: Format your comments.
Copying and pasting may have messed their format up a bit. What I did was remove all the hyperlinks (you can do this by right clicking on a blue underlined word and selecting "Remove Hyperlink"), changed the font color back to black, removed the underlining, removed the pictures, bolded the names of the commenters, and spaced and dashed their name apart from the date/time they posted the comment.
(Note: If you're somewhat tech savy, you can run a macro in Word and remove all hyperlinks at once. Just google how to do it. I did this for my second Lulu blog book, and it saved me a lot of time!)
Step 6: Format your posts.
Space and format your posts how you want them; this is where you can space them so each new post starts on its own page. In my own book I spaced the posts so that most of them started on their own page. Some fit together well, so I left them on the same page. I also paid attention to the page numbers at the bottom of each page, and tried to keep two-page posts facing each other on a left and right page spread.
|Most posts started on their own page, but these two fit well together so I left the second one underneath the first one's comments.|
Step 7: See if you have extra space.
Go through and see if you have any extra space on any pages you'd like to take advantage of by making some pictures bigger. After changing all the fonts and spacing all the posts, I went through and wrote down if I had extra space on any page. On several posts I went back to blogger and got a "medium" or "large" sized picture to replace a "small" one.
|This post was going to take up two pages no matter what, but I had lots of extra room on the second page. So, I went back and made two of the pictures large because I could.|
Step 8: Create your title page.
Create your title page on the very first page of the book. Leave page #2 empty if you'd like your table of contents to start on the right side.
Step 9: Create a table of contents.
Time to create a table of contents! I put my table of contents on page #3, after the title page and a blank page. "Contents" was the title at the top in Georgia size 24, and below that I created a two-column table with as many rows as I had posts. I used Trebuchet size 12 for the post titles in the table of contents. My table of contents was three pages long, so I left the page after it (#6, a left page) blank so that my first post would start on a right page.
Step 10: Do a final check.
Do you have all your posts? Does each one have a date, title, and any comments that were written? Do you have all your pictures and are they the size you want them? If you want them to, does each post start on its own page? Is everything spaced how you want it? Do you have a title page? Do you have a table of contents? Are the page numbers in the table of contents accurate? Go through and make sure everything is the way you want it. (And make sure you're using the template from Lulu!)
Step 11: Save your Word document as a PDF file.
It's very important to save your file correctly, since doing so will "embed" your fonts and pictures in the PDF and make sure they print correctly. Lulu has instructions here on how to save your file as the right kind of PDF, found here.
Step 12: Upload your PDF file to Lulu.
Go back to your account on Lulu and go through the publishing steps again, which will lead you to upload your PDF file. Go through the steps to create the interior. It will give you a preview PDF; look through the whole thing and make sure everything's good.
Step 13: Use Lulu's Cover Wizard to create your cover.
You can either use the templates they supply you, or you can create and upload your own jpg to use for the cover. Since I wanted a bit more customization, I created a jpg for the front and one for the back, uploaded them, and stuck them on. I then customized the spine. I made it white, with the title of my blog, "Volume 1," and the dates it covers.
Step 14: Preview and order! You're done!
If I've missed anything or you have any questions, feel free to ask.
I want to remind you what I said at the beginning of this post: Creating a Lulu book is easier than it looks. Don't get intimidated by this process because the instructions look long. It's actually really easy. Just try it.
Like I said, I'm very pleased with the quality and the price. I'm pretty darn sure I'll be using Lulu to make my future blog books, which I plan on doing annually.
Be sure to check out these posts, too!