Saturday, December 8, 2012

Purpose of this Blog

Through this blog we hope to encourage you to write about those things that matter to you - life experiences, accomplishments, spiritual journey, children, parents or travels.

Every person has a world of experiences that they can share with others. We hope that you will share these in written form, including what photographs and other documents will help tell your story.

Through trial and error we stumbled upon several Internet services that help people write and publish their own books. One of these is Blurb.com - they provide authors with simple to use software and other services that will help you put together and print your own quality books.

One of Blurb's services is their free software, BookSmart®, which allows you, the author, to easily and quickly create a beautiful, coffee-table-quality book at no cost.  Once you have perfected your book, you can have Blurb publish it for you, in either print or eBook format, at a very reasonable cost.

After using Blurb's BookSmart® for several years while writing over a dozen books, friends asked  for assistance in writing their own books. To help them get started, some 30-plus video tutorials were created that demonstrate the steps in the creation of a book using Blurb's BookSmart®. 

Should you wish to avail yourself of these videos, they are posted, and can be viewed free of charge HERE.

Perhaps, Amazon.com's CreateSpace may meet your needs just as well, especially if you have mostly text. Write your book on your word processor, convert it to PDF format and follow Amazon's instructions to upload it to them for printing.  Read more about this option at:  www.CreateSpace.com .

Friday, December 7, 2012

Share your spiritual journey.

What better way to witness to others than to write about your own spiritual journey and the challenges you met in life through your faith in God?

You have experienced for yourself the Truth of God's Word as lived and practiced in daily life. Share that with family and friends and with others that may be just now facing seemingly unconquerable burdens.

Write of your experiences on your word processor then upload them to either Blurb.com or Amazon's Create Space to be published. Both offer free book-creation services and allow you to preview your completed book before giving the order to print an actual proof copy. You pay their very reasonable fees ONLY at the time you print your book.

You can read more about each service at: www.Blurb.com and www.CreateSpace.com. Both services allow you to not only print a copy of your book but make it available to others that might benefit from reading it.

Large print runs, with their attendant monetary investments, are not needed. In fact, an interested person can order a single book and they will print it up for them.  Both services also allow you to make your book available in eBook format.

If you decide to use the Blurb.com services, we can recommend downloading the free program, BookSmart, that will assist you in writing your book. The program is very intuitive but should you need assistance we are providing free video tutorials HERE.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Write Your Life Story

What to write? Write about your experiences. You lived them, so write about them.

What to say? Well, think back. What would you have liked to know about your parents' and grandparents' lives. Almost anything that they would have written would be treasured by you. Wouldn't that be so? So, it is simple. Write about your life as you lived it. Future generations in your family will treasure what you write.

You could quickly jot down the main events in your life and then start writing about each one as you have time. As you think of more events, jot them down too. Then write about them later.

Dig out all your old photographs and write on the back (in pencil) when it was taken and who was in the photograph. As you have time, write all you can recollect about the situation depicted in the photograph and attach it to the photograph.

Eventually, over a period of weeks and months you will accumulate much material for your book.  If you have done your writing on a computer's word processor, it is a simple matter to sort the recollections and photographs into some kind of order that makes sense to you.

As you begin to rough out a draft of your book you will need to write some transition comments as you move from one recollection to the next.

At some point, you will be ready to begin putting together your book. At this point, software like Blurb's BookSmart® will come in handy to organize your photographs and textual material.

We encourage you to go to the Blurb.com web site to see what they have to offer you. If you decide to use the FREE BookSmart® software we also encourage you to view the video tutorials found at this free web site. 

To see what others have done go to the following web site: www.blurb.com/bookstore/c-biographies-memoirs. When you reach that page, click on any of the books. If the book you choose reveals a banner across the front that says PREVIEW BOOK, click on the banner to see the pages inside.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Write Your Family History


How much do you know about your own family?  Why not challenge yourself to document the history of your family? If not you, who? 

Both your father and your mother told you stories about their early years. Jot them down! Ask your siblings to contribute what they can remember plus any photographs they may have or articles that pertained to events in your parents' life. Do not neglect your cousins, aunts and uncles, as they will be able to contribute stories from their points of view. If your grandparents are alive be sure visit them and ask them to fill you in on your parent's life as a child as well as their own lives. They may have correspondence and other documents that would shed light on the family history.

Carefully write down all that you hear and note the date so that you can document who said what and when. Search the Internet to see if there are articles or other documents that include members of your family.  The idea is to surface as much material as is currently available about your family.

Photographs may be scattered all over the country in the hands of dozens of members of the family. Encourage each of them to have them scanned into digital form and sent to you for inclusion in the book. Documents, if in digital form on the Internet, can be copied and saved for later use in the book. Articles and other printed documents can be scanned and converted to a photographic image that can be inserted into the book later as documentation.

Once all this material has been accumulated, it will be up to you to decide how to best present all of the material. It could be done in the form of a long narrative, starting with the oldest of your ancestors and working forward in time to the present; or it could be done in pictorial form with short captions clarifying the situation, the date and the family members in the photograph.

The important thing is to get whatever everyone has in their possession in one location (digitally, that is), presenting it in a clear manner and printing out copies so that every member of the family gets a copy of everything. With flash drives of 8 GB and 16 GB storage capacity available at very reasonable rates, you could also include a flash drive containing all of the digital material with the printed book. Perhaps, a grandchild with a penchant for writing will take your material and expand upon it a decade or two down the line.

The holidays, like New Year's or Thanksgiving, when the extended family gathers, would be a good time to begin the process by personally speaking to each of the family members and securing their cooperation. 

Blurb.com's BookSmart® software is free to anyone and it can be used in a collaborative mode. You can start the writing process and then email the resulting book file to another family member. In this manner, many family members can review your work and/or add their stories. 

Authors that  have used BookSmart® extensively show you, through their free video tutorials at this web site, exactly how to put such a book together and how to collaborate in the process.

Give it some thought. Then, get started! Current and future generations of your family will be absolutely grateful for your efforts and thrilled by the results!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Showcase Your Art

Each of us has some type of artistic talent. It could be photography, drawing, pastels, sculpture, quilting or sewing.  Share your art with the rest of your family and friends by creating a book showcasing your art.

Go to the web site www.blurb.com/bookstore/c-arts-photography and take a look at what others have done - and what YOU could do! When you reach that web page click on any of the books. When the book's page opens up, click on the banner that says PREVIEW BOOK to see the inside pages.

All you need is a fairly decent digital camera to capture your art in a photograph and a photo-imaging software program to crop and enhance your photographs.  

Blurb.com offers free services and tools to help you organize and display your art in a magnificent coffe-table quality book. You only pay them at the very end of the process when you get your book printed - and the costs are very reasonable.

If you think that the whole process of making a book is too difficult - think again.  Some authors that have used Blurb.com have put together a web site that allows you to view (for free) some 30+ tutorial videos that demonstrate every facet of the book-making process to help you get your book done using Blurb's FREE BookSmart® software. That web site is located HERE. 

So, shall we get started?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Write a Book about your Travels

You have done some traveling and, due to the simplicity and low cost of digital cameras, you have dozens of great photographs to show family and friends. One great way of doing this is by presenting them in a book.

It is hard to believe, but with the power of digital cameras and the wonderful photo-imaging software now available, those photographs that you took can be easily cropped and enhanced to show each one at their best.

If you kept even a few notes about each place you visited, you can easily add explanatory comments that will enhance the reader's enjoyment of your book. If you have forgotten the details about a particular place, the Internet is always a handy way to search-out those interesting details you did not write down.

Once you have chosen what photographs you want in your book, have altered them to show what you wanted and have the narrative to accompany each, it is a simple matter to put together a beautiful, coffee-table quality book that will knock the socks off every person that sees it!

Simply go to Blurb.com on the web and take a look at what services they offer to help you put your book together. If you choose their FREE BookSmart® software, we encourage you to go to this web site where authors who have used Blurb to write their books have crafted 30+ video tutorials that demonstrate each step in the book-making process. Best of all, they provide the videos free of charge. 

When you use these resources, writing your book becomes an enjoyable process and you will be very pleased with the product - your book. (Blurb only charges you for the printing and shipping of your book - and you can see the cost beforehand.)

Take a look at some of the travel books (posted at www.blurb.com/bookstore/c-travel) that others have done. When you reach that page click on any of the books. If that book has a banner across the front that read PREVIEW BOOK click on the banner and you will be able to see the pages within the book.

So, why don't you get started today? When your family and friends ask you about your recent travels simply hand them a copy of your book! They will be delighted. And you will be justifiably proud!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Calling all poets!


Do you write poetry? You can easily publish your own book of poetry for family and friends or for the public.

You have been writing poems all your life and you have accumulated quiet a few. How do you go about getting those poems published in your very own book? Thanks to the Internet and on-line publishing companies (there are several good ones) you can prepare and print your very own book of poetry at a very reasonable cost.

You can choose the size of your book, the quality of the paper and whether you want a soft cover or a hard cover. The price for these services is very attractive. For example, at Blurb.com you can prepare and print a 100-150 page trade-sized (9" x 6"), soft cover book for under $20 (plus shipping).

Of course, if you would like to create a really outstanding keepsake poetry book in which you  include some of your own art work, you can  select a Standard Landscape size (8" x 10") with 100-200 photo-quality pages, hard back covers and a heavy, glossy dust jacket and still keep the cost under  $100 (plus shipping) at Blurb.com.

The beauty of most of these services is that you do not pay until you have completed your book. For instance, at Blurb.com you download their BookSmart software (free) onto your own computer, work on your book using their software, preview it on your computer and upload it to Blurb.com when it is just the way you want it. All that free!  Blurb.com even allows you 15 days after you upload the book in which you can invite others to help you preview the book at Blurb's web site before you give them the order to print and ship you a copy of the finalized book.

Of course, you will want to carefully proof that first copy you receive from Blurb.com before you buy additional copies or approve the sale of your book from Blurb.com. If changes are necessary, you simply make the needed changes to the book on your computer and upload the corrected copy to Blurb.com.

The various Internet publishing companies each have their strengths and weaknesses and we suggest that you investigate several of them before choosing which one you wish to use.

To get started, we suggest that you type up all your poems using Microsoft WORD and SAVE them to insert in your eventual book. If you are going to include artwork in the book, scan that artwork into digital format or take a photograph of it with a digital camera and SAVE these images for later insertion into the book.

Investigate the various book publishing companies and decide which one meets your needs best. We have chosen Blurb.com as a good choice for most people who are writing a book that combines text and photographs or artwork and have been extremely satisfied with their responsiveness and the quality of their printing. 

To assist you in using Blurb’s BookSmart software we have produced a set of short videos (free) that take you through the steps in making a book. They can be accessed HERE

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Why We Write


Many authors write for money, fame or to share ideas and convictions. For me, however, the real payoff is to see the joy that reading about their parents and grandparents brings to peoples lives. Today was such a day as the Fed Ex delivery van pulled into our driveway and delivered a box containing two copies of the book I had recently finished compiling on my father-in-law's life.

My wife helped me open the well-packaged box and we tore into the wrapping to reveal two wonderfully printed, hardcopy books containing the stories her father had written down almost two decades ago about his childhood, work life, marriages and retirement. 

He had painstakingly typed the manuscript on pages that were folded in the middle and stapled. Now, thanks to Blurb.com and the software they provide free, BookSmart®, that manuscript had been converted into a trade-sized (9” x 6”) hardcopy book. Photographs provided from both daughters as well as his surviving wife illustrated the book while poems he had written and the eulogy delivered at his funeral some 12 years ago were included.

Tears were shed as my wife read the book and recalled the wonderful times she shared with her mother and father! Later, she took a copy to her sister and, again, tears of joy flowed freely as the book brought back wonderful memories. Seeing their joy was payment in full!