In this issue:

Learn about book-making from three Blurb authors who penned stories through the lens of love.
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Who wrote the book of love? We did. (And you can too.)
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Books we love (about love) from the Blurb Bookstore.
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        telling your story

With Valentine's Day on the horizon we've been immersing ourselves in (book) matters of the heart and we LOVE what we've found—so many creative ways to say '"I love you" we can't even begin to count them.

Instead, allow us to inspire you with the stories of three Blurb authors who chose love as their theme; a playful book project by yours truly, the Blurb Marketing team; and a selection of Bookstore picks that will leave your heart all aflutter.


Learn about book-making from three Blurb authors who penned stories through the lens of love.


Love. It's been the inspiration behind many a story throughout history, and continues to be a key theme for writers of all types. Novel. Memoir. Poem. Children's book. Whatever story you have inside of you, chances are there's an element of love involved. This week we talk to the authors of three beautiful Blurb books that feature gorgeous illustrations and layouts to tell their tales of love. You may even be inspired to tell one of your own.



by Young Ju Choi

Young Ju Choi's Love tells the story of a little girl who planted a seed in her chest and learned all about love.

Love - Young Ju Choi

1. Your book is a wonderful story of a young person learning about love—what inspired the tale?
The story is a lesson told from my experience. I think that love is one of the most important principles in life, and kids should know how love works, and how to deal with it to have a successful life in the future.

2. You've featured lovely illustrations. Did you choose a specific paper type to feature those drawings?
My illustrations are mostly done in watercolor and I wanted to choose a similar textured paper to the watercolor paper. I couldn't find an exact same match, but I was able to use heavy weight paper, which I chose for my Blurb book.

3. If you could make the book all over again, are there any changes you'd make to the design or layout?
Next time, I'll use a simpler layout to separate the text and illustrations a bit more clearly. Also, I will try a bigger format for a
future book.


The Old

Man in Love

by Charles de Bernard

The Old Man in Love features Luke Jervis' illustrations alongside a Victorian tale of an old man in love with a younger woman.

1. You (Luke Jervis) and Charles de Bernard collaborated on this book together—where did the idea come from?
I have at least a dozen other concept-driven, small projects that need to get out of my head. My thought at the moment is that it would be really cool to get together a portfolio of about 20 images of each idea and put out a very small limited-edition book of each idea. This would be especially fun with an ebook if I have behind-the-scenes footage of what essentially amounts to playing pranks for adults and calling it art. Eventually when I put out enough of the small books I'll combine the most successful projects into a bigger "best of" book.

2. Love seems to be at the forefront of everyone's mind, especially come Valentine's Day. What message did you hope your book would convey?
Well, the original novel is about how the old man has really old-fashioned values, and how he is in love with a younger girl, but a younger man is in love with her. The two of them kind of make a mockery of his old ways. I hope the book conveys the message that there's nothing we can do about time changing things, but traditional ways should still be respected.

3. Your book has such a lovely balance between text and illustrations—did you use a specific template to highlight
this balance?

Yes, the text flow option helped a lot. I wanted to keep to an old Victorian style layout, so I studied a lot of Victorian books, and liked the idea of one big image that explains as much as possible of the text that is on the opposite page. A little ink illustration at the end of the text is used to kind of finish off each page with text. I found the software so helpful with putting it all together—I've always been a fan of drag-and-drop simplicity, and the quality of the finished book when it came in the post was amazing.


Mary Love

Elliott Lossett

by Gary Gruby

Wouldn't it be lovely to preserve a love story in a book, perhaps by showcasing old love letters? Well, in Mary Love Elliott Losset, Gary Gruby did just that.

1. Love letters are a lost art. What inspired you to put these together in a book?
One of Mary's daughters approached me with two shoeboxes of correspondence her mother had saved from the 40s. Her mother was in her 80s at the time, and her daughter wanted to compile them with photographs into a book. The love letters were fragile; the ink and some of the pencil text were disappearing, but they formed a story that she wanted to save. A story of the love and life between Mary and her husband. In that era, love letters were a way of courtship as well as the major way of communicating; their historical importance was touching.

2. Was there a specific format or template that helped you put these letters into a book?
I was familiar with Blurb, having used the site for my own "love letter," Portrait Of Senoi, about the small Georgia town where I chose to raise my family. After arranging some of Mary's letters in order with photographs, I scanned each, enhancing the text and adjusting contrasts and flaws in the photographs. I then photographed some of the backgrounds of antique cotton lace and rice paper imported from Japan. In Photoshop, I placed the letters and photographs on the various backgrounds. With these compiled pages complete, I downloaded the easy-to-use software from Blurb, chose a template from many options called landscape with an emphasis on the horizontal page set-up, and then began to assemble the book. I was very impressed with Blurb's exact color matching, which made the pencil and ink pages easily readable.

3. What were your learnings on the project? What advice would you give to others wanting to make a book out of a collection of letters?
Love letters, thank you letters, or letters of any kinds that families have saved from their past can be a treasure worth preserving. The handwriting styles and penmanship alone is a beautiful connection to our ancestors. My advice to those that would like to create a similar collection is to start by digitally preserving what you do have. Then—with or without the help of a professional—you will have the tools to assemble your personal history book, and Blurb (which is my first choice) is very, very easy to use. And for first-timers, if you make a mistake, it's no problem at all. It's very easy to edit projects. I have to admit, it's also really cool to receive a complete and finished book in seven days.



Who wrote
the book of love?

We did. (And you can too.)


There's nothing quite like being in love. From puppy love to everlasting love, few things define the essence of humanity more than two hearts beating as one. But as universal as the feeling of love is, everyone's experience with love is still unique.

So with Valentine's Day approaching, we ('we' being the marketing department here at Blurb) started thinking of the different books about love we've seen made with Blurb over the years. And we've seen a lot. (In fact, some of our favorites are highlighted elsewhere in this week's newsletter.) That got us thinking about making our own book: A collective celebration of the loves in
our lives.

So we came up with a book project idea to showcase how unique love is to all of us. And not only who we love, but what we love. And we'll be honest: We also wanted to demonstrate that anybody can make a truly unique Blurb book for Valentine's Day. We can talk the talk, but we thought it would be fun to walk the walk too.

Our book is called Love in Venn, (apologies to Robert Johnson) and it's based on a pretty simple concept: Use classic Venn diagrams to illustrate how the best relationships are those that allow the partners to maintain their individuality while also exploring and celebrating the things they have in common. (That's our theory anyway.)


From lovely idea to a book of love


So how did we get here from there? After coming up with the idea, we gave everyone a little homework. Choose a few areas of interest that have meaning to you and your loved one (like favorite musical artists, foods, etc.), and itemize both unique and overlapping interests in those categories. Then it was time to pretty the information up a bit and create some simple but elegant Venn diagrams.

Once we had a fairly unified design in place, we laid out the various pages in BookSmart, Blurb's free downloadable book-making tool. Some careful proofreading and editing later, and we were ready to publish. Working together was fun and gave us an opportunity to learn more about each other, but anyone can follow the same basic steps to create their own unique book of love.

So, in short:

  1. Ideate
  2. Create content
  3. Design and lay out the book
  4. Edit and proof
  5. Publish

Of course, you can make a book for someone you love at any time of the year. But if you want to go rogue and break free from the flowers and candy gifts that typically define Valentine's Day, consider making your own unique book of love for the one you love.



Books we love (about love) from
the Blurb Bookstore

Love you because - Kai Bartesky
I Love You - Andre Barra
Pairs: Love Poems - Mary Yull


In Love and LOMO - René G. Boscio
The Story of Love Kitten and Swear Bear - Christine Bui


1. Love You Because
Kai Bartesky

2. I Love You
Andre Barra

3. Pairs: Love Poems
Mary Yull

4. In Love and LOMO
René G. Boscio

5. The Story of Love Kitten and Swear Bear
Christine Bui




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