February 3, 2009

I am a Vanity Publisher

Have you ever heard of Blurb? Or Lulu? How about CreateSpace? They are all "vanity publishers" in the old parlance, where the author pays to have his work published, rather than the publisher paying the author.
There are countless stories of bookstores closing, publishers laying off staff and magazines shuttering, but according to the New York Times, these on-line businesses are doing very well. The old adage says that everyone's got a story to tell, and with the advent of digital printing, it is easy to write and publish your own book.

At Christmas, I used Blurb to publish two books. The first was for my Sunday morning partner-in-crime. It was called Market Mornings, Six Months of Sundays, and was filled with pictures of the seasonal fruits and vegetables we saw and bought at the Farmers' Market, and lots of detailed images of the small and fascinating bits of the produce. For the cover, I took small images of produce, all in the same colour range and put them in neat little rows.

The second book was all about the house on the Eastern Shore, in summer and winter, comparing and contrasting. For the cover, I used two shots from the same spot, of the long driveway. In one, the trees were leafed out and green, and in the other, the trees were bare in the harsh winter light.
The process of designing the book was relatively simple, with the Blurb site providing pre-formatted layouts for photography- or text-based designs. These were limiting at times, and I wished I had more latitude to do what I wanted.

I chose small 7x7 inch books and they both had about 20 pages, including a dedication page and Library of Congress page. I also upgraded to "premium" paper and I was glad I did. Both books were perfect-bound (like a paperback book) and had nice glossy covers. All of the companies offer the ability to sell your books through their sites, but I've decided that these will be very limited editions, one of the Shore book and two of the Market Books.


I just hope I don't see them at the Book Thing anytime soon!

19 comments:

  1. Not a chance - they will treasure these forever.

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  2. how cool! i've been messing around formatting a blurb book but haven't published yet- how did the quality turn out?
    Love Oxford and St. Michaels and the Inn at Perry Cabin on the Eastern Shore!

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  3. Hmstrjam... the quality was pretty good. I am glad I upgraded to the premium paper, it would have been pretty flimsy if I hadn't.

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  4. they look wonderful!

    a friend ... mike fleming ... used blurb to publish a book of his photographs titled vague vagaries. it turned out quite nice. i've wanted to try it ... but i haven't come up with the right idea : (

    both of your titles would make great gifts!

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  5. Beautiful!
    Have you considered offering them for sale to your fellow bloggers?
    xo xo

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  6. PD, they will treasure them forever. You are a very thoughtful friend!!

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  7. This is wonderful Meg. Well done!

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  8. Meg, You are truly one of the most thoughtful people! I think your books were a marvelous idea!! You have very lucky friends :)

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  9. I feel very lucky to have been a recipient! Such a creative, personal gift. And, no, you will not be finding it at the Book Thing.

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  10. You are the best Meg, thank you for sharing. What was the approximate cost of each per book? I know MAC has a similar publishing available, is it the same do you know? I have two of theirs from a fellow artist and they turned out to be very nice quality.

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  11. Those are beautiful! I was just thinking of rushing over to tell hmstrjam about it. Ha.

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  12. I love your books! The market one is a really great idea. I made one last year of my projects and use it as a marketing tool, send it to potential clients etc, it looks great and doesn't cost a fortune.

    I also make postage stamps with pictures of my work from stamps.com, it makes for an impressive package.

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  13. Mark... that's a great idea! I did the 7x7 size, so it's small enough to hand around. At the price point, it's worth it, too.

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  14. What a great gift idea. The driveway pictures are great, my mother always took pictures of every house we lived in during each of the four seasons, a tradition that I still carry on with my homes.

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  15. Meg! These are fabulous...and so thoughtful. I am particularly jealous of Julie's!

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  16. Market Mornings looks gorgeous. Love the cover.

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  17. I used Blurb to recreate my grandfather's 1928 road trip scrapbook. The original was crumbling as I scanned each page, but I love the end result (as a designer, I actually got hung up on some of the program). Now all my family members have copies too! Best gift ever!!!

    anne

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