I’ve published 542 posts on this blog over the course of 10-and-a-half years (this entry will make No. 543). That’s a lot of creative output, especially for a hobby, and I’ve long wished for an aesthetically pleasing way to capture those words in print. Years ago, I kept a running Word Document with those entries, and I periodically printed and clipped them into a three-ring binder. That worked OK, but it wasn’t precisely what I was after.
Last month I learned my daydreams could be fulfilled by the Espresso Book Machine. I received a press release announcing that a local Books-A-Million would install an EBM, which allows for on-demand printing of a variety of books as well as self-publishing options. My interest was piqued, and after I told her I wanted an excuse to use the machine, the publicist for the launch party suggested I print a copy of my blog.
Today, that dream became reality. I spent about an hour at the bookstore, working with the technician to ensure that my PDFs met specifications and then watching my book being printed. It was a remarkably simple process, although I must confess I had a few advantages. One, I work in publishing, and so I was already familiar with the process of setting up a PDF. Two, my sister is a photographer and was willing to design the cover for me. (I promise you, it wouldn’t look nearly as professional if I’d taken the project into my own hands!)
I spent a week fussing over the pages, determining which entries to include and which to leave out. (Ultimately, I went for a near-completionist approach. I omitted a few password-protected entries for which I no longer recall the password and a few memes.) I decided to use the font this blog theme utilizes, and then I decided which photos to leave in and which to delete. I wrote an about-the-author blurb (awkward!) and told Cheryl what I hoped to have on the cover. And then I dumped my files onto a USB drive and took them to Books-A-Million.
The final project cost about $39–$20 for the set up and $16 for the printing, plus sales tax. I decided to make this a one-time-only run; while I was eager to hold my blog in printed form, I have no interest in distributing it to others.
And I’ve got to say, it was worth it. I giggled with delight when the book came off the press, and I’ll be working on excuses to use this device again.