Break the Format

Free your book
(from the same old format)

From DIY brides to SXSW entrepreneurs, this week we’re focusing on how to start a revolution and break the format—and free the book.
Break the Format - DIY Wedding

Say “I Do (It Yourself)”—
DIY wedding books

While a wedding represents the epitome of tradition, your wedding book doesn’t have to. A singular event in your life (hopefully), you’ll want to treat it as such, documenting it in the best and most unique way you can.

Most often, wedding albums are put together by the wedding photographer. Those professional shots can be amazing, but they only tell the story of the day through someone else’s eyes. A Blurb book lets you tell the story of your wedding the way you want it to be remembered. It doesn’t have to be what others expect. You can break the mold, break the format, and go ahead and do something different. And remember—it doesn’t have to be wacky for it to be uniquely yours.

Take a cue from the personal touches that made your day special, and capture the same spirit in your wedding book. From your Japanese lanterns and the wedding photo booth to your festive flower favors and monogrammed seating cards, you’ll nail it on the big day. And you want your book to showcase those delightful details.

Think about the book you want to look at years from now, the one that captures the fun, the quirky, and the different. Make a photo shot list for the day, give it to five friends, and see what happens. The official photographer can’t be everywhere, and you’ll probably be a bit preoccupied navigating up the aisle, saying hello to everybody, and—let’s be honest—having the time of your life.

In addition to a print book, make an ebook full of audio and video. Think of it as your interactive wedding video—one your friends might even want to watch. You can even ask your friends to send you all of the videos they took on their phones and add those to your ebook (you may have to do a bit of careful editing, particularly on the ones taken late in the evening).

Break the Format - DIY Wedding Guest Book

And don’t forget that one doesn’t necessarily fit all when it comes to sizes and formats. A coffee table book documenting every shot is perfect for your new home, whereas an edited version with more traditional shots will please parents and grandparents. A smaller version with all of the rehearsal dinner shots and behind-the-scenes candids (maybe even the bachelor and bachelorette party pics) is a perfect thank you gift for the wedding party. Want to learn more? Meet a couple that went beyond the format and made a special version of their wedding book just for their parents.

Break the Format - DIY Wedding Book Variety

However you choose to document your big day, don’t let convention be your ball and chain (er, maybe that’s not the best metaphor to use). Whatever you decide, try doing it yourself. Be different, take chances, and break the format.

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July Newsletter Break the Format
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Make a book for man's best friend—the iPad

Authors (and we believe you’re all authors), let’s get serious. We love books. But sometimes you gotta break the rules. And that means you gotta break out of the book. There’s a new way to present your stories—enhanced ebooks. We’re crazy about ‘em because they offer a revolutionary way to bring your photography and words to life with all kinds of rich media: Video, sound, narration, animation, and music.

We’re not just making this up—it’s happening in real life. Here are some successful authors who have created captivating ebooks with Blurb:

“The idea of writing and illustrating a book that could quickly become either print or electronic was very intriguing. Then I learned that Blurb gives me the possibility of adding a video to my ebook! That was a terrific opportunity: I could use speech, music, and sound effects and add animation to explain something that would have been much duller in static images alone.”
How to Make Cheese | Nigel Colmes

“Creating my own ebook was a much more creative process than the time I spent with professional publishers on my prior books. It is fundamentally different than handing over a stack of photographs and having a publisher drive the entire creative process—even naming your book. This enhanced ebook is my creation from the cover to the back page.”
The Dog Photographer | Amanda Jones

You want more? We’ve got more enhanced ebooks.

That’s nice, but how does it work? Here’s how to make an ebook

We’re so serious about enhanced ebooks that we put together the perfect tutorial in enhanced ebook format (How’s that for meta?) that makes the process intuitive, creative, and fun. (We said we were serious. Serious about fun.)

But, super-quick, here’s the breakdown:

Break the Format - How to Make an eBook Infographic

  1. Once you’ve used our tools to design your book (don’t sweat it; we’ve got a ton of support for you on this part), just head to your book’s main page and click where it says “Convert this book to an ebook for the iPad.”
  2. The ebook editor will load and guide you through the steps of reviewing your ebook. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
    • Most books will convert in just two to three minutes.
    • A few books may take as long as 30 minutes to convert to ebook (these are the serious labors of love, we think).
    • The conversion will happen in the background, so it's perfectly okay to leave your computer and come back later. Just remember to come back eventually.
    • We'll send you an email when your book conversion is complete.
  3. Add in your photos, videos, and audio files (here’s where the magic happens), click "Complete and Publish" in the lower right-hand corner, and head to checkout.

That. Is. It. You’ve not only made a book, you’ve broken out of the book. Well played, author. Well played.

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July Newsletter Free Your Book
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What happens in Vegas…can happen anywhere:
Get inspired by the creative sparks set to fly at SXSW V2V.

Smart entrepreneurs, startup visionaries, creative innovators. Those are our type of people, and they’re all meeting up in fabulous Las Vegas at SXSW V2V to connect, learn, and get inspired. We’re inspired just writing about it. (And we’re not going to lie to you; we have a thing for Vegas too.)

Here's how they describe it:

"SXSW V2V is an extension and re-imagining of the legendary SXSW experience with an emphasis on the creative spark that drives entrepreneurial innovation. This four-day event brings the startup and venture capital communities together with the creative industries that have helped to make SXSW so special. V2V serves innovators and entrepreneurs from across all the industries at the core of the SXSW Family of events—technology, music, film, fashion, health, education, sustainability, and more—as they learn the skills, make the connections, and find the inspiration to take their ideas and talents to the next level.”

Events like SXSW V2V always get us excited. And thinking. Thinking about how businesses can stand out in a crowd. Turns out, we know a thing or two about that. A lot of businesses have used Blurb to create an ebook for the iPad with audio and video to showcase their business in a novel way. Imagine narrating your success stories or including a video of your best project. Interviews with satisfied clients, portfolio slideshows—anything you can imagine.

Break the Format - SXSW V2V Living Homes

Here’s Steve Glenn, founder and CEO of LivingHomes, a company that builds prefabricated, sustainably designed homes, talking about his enhanced ebook as a way to promote his projects past the traditional monograph book:

“With the enhanced ebook format, we are able to add time-lapse video of the unique way that our homes are installed, as well as walkthroughs of the homes. Adding video to a photo-intensive book was surprisingly intuitive.”

We know—you’re thinking, “The conference starts on August 11, who has the time (or design skills) to create an ebook? Don’t you need to hire a developer for that?” Relax. You can do this. And here’s something we put together that shows you exactly how to do it. You can create your book in just a few days—and have your ebook in minutes. Interested in learning more? Explore how to make an ebook with Blurb that tells your story in a whole new dimension. Because even if you’re not going to SXSW V2V this year, you can still get inspired, be innovative, and generate your own creative sparks. Because what happens in Vegas can happen anywhere.

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July Newsletter Free Your Book
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A book you’ll only find at Blurb: Rouleaux by Anastassia Elias

Break the Format - Rouleaux

Not to get too personal, but how many toilet paper rolls do you throw away every year? For French artist Anastassia Elias, that answer is probably pretty close to zero. The multi-talented artist has found a wholly unique way to reuse these commonly trashed items: by turning them into stages for her tiny dioramas. Getting her inspiration from film, travel, and everyday life, she crafts each figure from a paper specifically chosen to match the material of the roll. She recently published a Blurb book, Rouleaux, that collects these pieces. Not only do the photos show off the intricacy of her work, her lighting turns each one into a dramatic shadow play. Anastassia Elias, who also counts painting, photography, collage, string art, and sculpture among her talents, was kind of enough to take some time out from her work to answer our questions.

Break the Format - Rouleaux Spread

Blurb: Do you remember the day when this idea first occurred to you?

Anastassia: "I don’t remember the exact day when I found the idea. One day I looked at an empty roll and wondered if I can do something with it. This cardboard cylinder could become an interesting frame to create something inside. And shortly after, I had an idea. It was in May 2009."

Blurb: About how long does it take to make each piece?

Anastassia: "Once the idea of the scenery is found, I need a few hours to make one piece, three to four hours on average."

Blurb: Do you sell the individual rolls, or are they meant to be displayed as photographs?

Anastassia: "Yes I sell the rolls. Anyone interested to buy them can contact me."

Break the Format - Rouleaux Process

Blurb: Did you enjoy the process of putting your photos into a Blurb book?

Anastassia: "For my first book, Rouleaux, I first tested Blurb BookSmart. It is very well done and offers many models of layout. Despite its richness, I finally decided to make my book as a PDF. I reserve BookSmart for my next Blurb book. I was looking forward to discovering the printed book and after receiving it my expectations have been fully met."

We’re incredibly thrilled to have Anastassia’s book in the Blurb bookstore. Check out a full preview there and pick up a copy—it’s only $22.26. We also recommend heading over to her website to check out more of her incredible artwork.

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July Newsletter Free Your Book
Break the Format Get Started Break the Format Get Inspired Break the Format Get Information

PS We're expanding the way the world thinks about books. Have you made something amazing? Share your book with us. Just use the hashtag #freethebook.
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