Telling your story

Blurb's site

Does the term “vanity publishing” ring any bells? It refers to self-publishing, the idea being you couldn’t get a mainstream publisher interested in your work, so you had to do it yourself. You go to a vanity publisher, and you pay to have your book published. Under the contract, you get so many hundreds or thousands of copies to do with what you will. The publisher gets its money from the fee it charges you to make the book. If you can sell your book privately, good for you, otherwise you are left with a garage full of books. The publisher does not market or sell the books for you.

This is different from photobooks. Photobooks are generally low volume – one, two, a handful – for immediate friends or family, as gifts or keepsakes. Photobooks are collections of photos, meaningful to you in some way, such as a baby’s first year, your wedding, that once-in-a-lifetime cruise, and so on.

Vanity publishing, to me, has meant publishing the novel you’ve spent years writing, but no one wants to publish, but I guess there’s nothing to prevent someone from vanity publishing a book of photos.

Blurb has been around since 2005 as an online publishing and marketing platform designed to make it easy to design, publish, market and sell professional-quality books. The deal is, using a number of tools, you can customize every last square inch of your book. From the photography to the fonts, the design is entirely yours to dream up.

Added to the mix, Blurb’s bookstore and online marketing tools let you market and sell your books, and keep all of the profit. The company’s social and community features let you create and share Blurb books among friends and colleagues.

Blurb includes a team of design, internet and media veterans who will help you.

Blurb says it’s a tool for creative types who are storytellers by nature.

The price to produce a small book starts at $13.95 per book. Add a hard cover and the price goes up. Add more pages, change the type of paper or increase the physical dimensions of the book, and the per book costs climb.

Now the company has launched a new mobile publishing application, Blurb Mobile. The company says the app is designed to enable easy and fast story creation using rich media content, including photos, videos and audio, with the stories shared via the author’s existing social networking channels (including Facebook and Twitter), by email, or via their own Blurb channel.

The Blurb Mobile iPhone app is said to enable easy media editing, including rotating, cropping, scaling, and drag and drop sequencing, plus geotagging, which can link the story to a location on a map. Once the media has been composed, the author can add text and voice captions to each of their images to create a complete and highly personalised narrative. Additional personalisation includes the ability to choose from seven unique visual themes.

Blurb says a Blurb Mobile story can range from sharing a personal moment with friends and family, to a real- time report from a front-line photojournalist covering breaking news.

“To date, the medium of choice has been the printed book,” says said Eileen Gittins, Blurb’s CEO and Founder. “But that’s all changing. With the release of Blurb Mobile, people will now be able to capture life’s great moments – large and small, in wonderfully rich story form and then share their stories on the fly, using any media on their phone including voice, video text and image. All in under 90 seconds.”

It’s all about entertainment and personal storytelling that can be instantly shared with friends, family, or a broader audience, notes the company.

“We recognize that these stories are inherently social,” adds Gittins, “so you will see our platform evolve to support social elements such as commenting, following, re-sharing and more.”

Currently available on the iPhone, Blurb Mobile is free to download and each customer receives a story channel on Blurb.com/mobile to share their stories. In addition, Blurb Mobile Plus provides an in-app upgrade path for customers seeking additional photo, video and audio capability. All stories can be made public or private.

For more info, go here.

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