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The Blog Book Creation

A few of you have asked how I created my blog book. I first have to give credit to LauraC because I got this awesome idea from her.

I also have to apologize if it sounds a bit anal…I write documentation for a living, so that’s where it comes from 🙂

Oh, and I had wonderful hopes that something like blurb.com would work well – but it really doesn’t. . . which is why I ended up doing this manually. And I know I’m going to forget some step that I did since I’m doing this from memory…but I’ll do my best!

Download a Template

I used Lulu.com. They have Word templates to download so that your page size and all of your margins are correct.

  1. Go to this page and scroll down to the bottom.
  2. Choose the size you want,  and click Download Zip File.
    I just used one of the 8.5 x 11 ones.
    Take note of the number of pages allowed for the size you choose.

Grab Your Posts

Once you have your template file, you need to get all of your posts into it. This is the time-consuming part…Since blogs are presented in the opposite order you’d want your book to be in, you need to work each post separately.

  1. Start with your first post. Copy the post part of it and paste that into your Word file.
  2. Copy the comments part – if you want those to be a part of your book – and paste those below.
    Tip: This is for wordpress since the comments are presented separately from the post part. You may be able to copy the entire thing – including comments – in blogger or any other blogging site.
  3. Move on to your next post – over and over and over again.
    Take note of the number of pages you have and compare that to the number of pages allowed. Keep in mind that page numbering will change a bit depending on how much cleanup you do.

Tip: I actually copied and pasted my tweets from Twitter as a last page or two in the book as well. (Just mine – and only the ones that weren’t replies.)

Clean the File Up

Once you have all of the posts you want in your Word file, it’s time for cleaning up. You can do as much or as little clean up as you want. It’s your book! 🙂

The first thing I did was get rid of all of the links – it’s a book, you can’t click them, so I didn’t want them to be blue and underlined.

  1. Press Ctrl+A to select everything in the file.
  2. Press Ctrl+Shift+F9 to remove all links.

I then scrolled through the entire book to format it – looking for widows and orphans, looking for strange things around copied pictures, things that didn’t change from a link, etc. If entire posts didn’t fit on a page, but were *close* I’d mess with paragraph spacing, or remove extra paragraph markers or whatever…

I inserted MANY tables so that I could format things the way I wanted to. I used them to put captions beside pictures or to force two columns if I had long, skinny lists. Things like that.

Obviously, videos don’t translate well to paper books…when I ran across a post that had had a video in it, there was a huge empty space where it was supposed to go. I went back to the original post on my blog and used a screen capture tool to grab a picture of the still video and put that in the blank spot.

Publishing

Once you have your file all set, upload it!

Go to Lulu.com, click Start Book, and follow the instructions on the screen.

There is also a cover wizard part where you can upload a picture, choose the font for your title (and change the title if you want), and more.

I’m more than happy to answer any questions you might have – just let me know! 🙂

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5 Responses

  1. I think I forgot to leave a comment that I love your blog book!

    And people who use Macs can use Blurb.com to create books much more easily but I’m a PC person.

  2. Thanks so much for the directions! I hope I can do this sometime!

  3. Hi, I recently came across your post while looking into how others have turned their blogs into books. I recently did my own blog as a book on lulu as well.

    I just wanted to add, there’s one thing I learned while doing mine that may help you out quite a bit, it certainly did for me.

    Rather than the painstaking task of manually reordering all your posts, since you’re using WordPress, you can actually do this automatically with a simple snippet of code added temporarily to your main index template. (index.php)

    Or you can temporarily change to the default theme and add the code there is you don’t want to mess with your site’s theme.

    Basically there should be a line in the main index.php very close to the top that looks like this:

    [ ?php if (have_posts()) : ?] [ ?php while (have_posts()) : the_post(); ?]

    substitute all [ ] with but of course I couldn’t post it with the arrow brackets in a comment form.

    Select this line (it may not be the exact code as above), copy it, and paste it into a text document and save it so you can put it back afterwards.

    Then replace it in index.php with:

    [ ?php $posts=query_posts($query_string . ‘&order=asc’);
    if (have_posts()) : while (have_posts()) : the_post(); ?]

    Once again, change all [ ] to

    Save the main index template. (Of course make sure you’ve backed up the original code so later you can put it back as it was.)

    Now all your posts will show in reverse order. This makes the task or manually re-ordering them moot- a huge time saver. You can just copy and paste from your blog and all the posts are arranged in proper order for a book.

    Of course afterwards, just put the original code back in place to return the post order to normal.

    This saved me a ton of time so I just wanted to share and hope it helps others to save some time too.

    Take care!

  4. oops, sorry arrows didn’t show in my previous comment, but hopefully it’s clear code brackets are replaced by left arrow and right arrow.

  5. OMGosh!! I can’t wait to try this!!! Thank you so much 🙂

    Nancy

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