The complete set
As it says in the introduction to the book: “I don’t recall such an exciting and inspiring season as we had in 2016-17. The complete set was there: a full team of committed players; motivational, positive coaches; and a friendly, fun-loving parent group who got along wonderfully well. In short, a top notch sports and youth development year which saw the Girls Hockey Calgary (GHC) Bantam 1 Hawks travel south across the Canada-US border into Montana, up and down the QE II Highway and north to Edmonton where they won a silver medal at the Alberta Provincial Championships.”
Self-publishing experience with Blurb
I put the concept together using a storyboard which facilitated working out a structure, and the juxtaposition between words and images. Using a mock-up with folded blank pages helped later on when figuring out the number of pages that I could use.
After researching a number of self-publishing possibilities, I landed on Blurb. I liked the templates they offer, the ability to publish with an ISBN and their pretty friendly Help Center. I also liked the idea of being able to put my book into their bookstore along with my profile. Yes, I added some of my blurb on Blurb!
What to watch for
This is not a definitive how-to guide by any means but here are a select few observations from my photo first in self-publishing.
Shaping your photo boxes: It’s probably a good idea on the first go-around to select one of the many templates available. I went with something that suited photography and travel but quickly realized its limitations for my needs and ended up making quite a few layout changes. Creating boxes for text and photographs is a fundamental part of that but look out for the sizing of those photo boxes. It’s hard to see the actual size so some guesswork comes into it. What is important is to match as best as possible the size and orientation of the photo you are selecting to import. Put a landscape picture into a portrait shaped box and you will be battling with the Fit to Frame and Fill to Frame options. Avoid that as much as possible.
Bleeding spines: Getting a photo to bleed, i.e. run through to the edge of the page is a tad fiddly, but after a few goes you get to know how far to pull the images across. Double page spreads, though they are fabulously impactful, will disappoint you and your readers if an important face or other feature is left over the spine area. It’s probably not going to work well so choose double spreads carefully.
Inside covers: It took me a long time to realize why the number of pages I had in my draft book was not working. I eventually found out that Blurb doesn’t print on the inside of the covers. Makes good sense when you know!
Image resolution: The good news is that Blurb accepts pretty large file sizes for the images that you can import. That may surprise you if you have got used to social media publishing which tends towards piddly little files. You can import a file as large as 75 megapixels but I put my own threshold just below, at 70 MP, which is around 35 MB. You may need to change your export settings if you tend to send out your images to Instagram and Facebook. They can be much bigger with Blurb!
So, all in all, a pretty good experience over a couple of days to put my first self-published book out there. If you’re interested, you can preview the first part of the book or purchase from the Blurb Bookstore.
J. Ashley Nixon (2017). Hawks hockey highlights: capturing the 20116-2017 season. Blurb Books, pp 36 (ISBN 9781366025760)