Indulge your creativity—whip up your very own book

One part imagination, one part ambition, and one part book-making know-how (here’s where we come in)—that’s the recipe for a delicious book. Books for friends, books for clients, books for fans, books just for you. Whatever you’re trying to say, we can help you lay it out in a book. Read on to see what you could be cooking up with Blurb.

Thank them right:
Quick books for friends and family for Thanksgiving

It’s just the beginning of September, we know, we know, but trust us—it’s the perfect time to whip up a little thank-you book for the thankiest holiday of all—Thanksgiving.

Imagine making a little book to put at each plate at the dinner table before dinner is served—people will like them much better than they will a sweet potato casserole or a dish of green beans (unless your green beans are way better than the ones we make).

Here are three ways to get you started (and finished in just a few minutes):

Make a book from Instagram with your favorite shots and your best filters.

Make a book from Facebook that includes captions and comments.

Make a book from our templates that are simple, stylish, and elegant.

Just pull together your favorite shots of your favorite people, put them together in a 7 x 7 inch photo book, add some captions, and you’ll look like the cat who ate the canary on Turkey Day. (Just take a minute and picture that. Yeah, we know it’s weird. At least we didn’t say “turducken.”)

Food blog to food book:
Turning your blog into a beautiful book

One of the best ways to get publicity for your blog is to turn your digital content into a print book your fans can treasure when they're away from the internet. (We hear there is such a place as “away from the internet.”) And Blurb makes it really easy. Let us introduce you to some bloggers who did it in style.

Blog Aid for Haiti

Here's one of our favorite examples of a great food blog that became a great book—in support of a great cause. After a devastating earthquake in Haiti, a group of mostly Canadian food bloggers got together to help. They pooled their best recipes, created a wonderful book with Blurb, and got the word out via their blogs and social media channels. They even got a little help from us.

The result? Fundraising magic. The Blog Aid cookbook was a spectacular success, selling 1,818 copies in a little over a week and raising, with matched funds from the Canadian government, a stunning $47,166.00 for Haiti relief. That's the power of self-publishing (and philanthropy).

Gluten-Free Goddess

Recently, we spoke with one of our favorite food bloggers turned food book-maker, Karina Allrich of Gluten-Free Goddess. She shared with us some quick tips about what to keep in mind when creating your book.

What tips would you give to someone who has never made a cookbook before about making their book?

Take the time to create big, beautiful photographs. Photography makes a cookbook more appealing. Browse food blogs to familiarize yourself with the various styles of food photography. Light the food with soft, natural light. Use a decent digital camera. Learn how to edit photographs, and adjust contrast and color. Save your images in 300 DPI.

Want more? Get some food photography tips from a pro.

The recipe for food book success

Ready to turn your food blog into a beautiful cookbook? We're thrilled. The first thing you're going to want to pay attention to is formatting. When someone is using your recipe (and that's the point, right?), it's absolutely vital that they can read and understand it. Not only that, but they need to be able to follow it easily while they're in the middle of doing six different things in the kitchen. So make sure you're doing your best to make things clear:

  • Format each line exactly the same so your recipe is easy to scan
  • Numbers, bullets, etc. make instructions easy to follow (like this list; we tend to take our own advice around here)
  • Keep it short—paragraphs should only be a couple of lines long
  • Separate your ingredient list from your instructions

Once you nail the main ingredients of your book (recipes and photos), the rest is gravy. (Excuse us, but did we just hear you groan?) Seriously, though—we hope we've inspired you to turn your own culinary content into a book that's uniquely you. And please, share the results with us with the hashtag #freethebook-we'd love to see what you've cooked up.

Blog to book in a flash

Make a book from your blogging platform of choice—Blurb supports content imports from Blogger, LiveJournal, and TypePad. From within our downloadable book-making tool, you can automatically add your blog's text, images, comments, and links (and keep out the stuff you don't want to add as well). You can also make an ebook to share and sell—even add audio and video into professionally designed fixed-format ebook page layouts.

P.S You can find the recipe for the Bourbon Croissant Bread Pudding photgraphed for this newsletter here >

Let's get real about making a book—here's the best of our how-tos

We're crazy about making books (obviously) but we understand that it can seem like a daunting process. Here's everything you need to get your cookbooks (or any book) started—and all wrapped up.

BookSmart book-making tool

Take our ever-popular, super-informative BookSmart tour.
See exactly how to get started downloading BookSmart.
Get advice on design and layout.
And get all the support you need every step of the way.


Serious design skills? Let's get you started rigth within Adobe® InDesign®.

Take a quick tour of our plug-in.
See how to get the best color in InDesign.
Get all sorts of how-tos and tips from experts.

IFBC 2013: Your chance to eat,
drink and be merry!

This year's IFBC, International Food Blogger Conference, is happening in Seattle over the weekend of September 20-22. Packed with informative sessions, the IFBC affords you the opportunity to rub shoulders with your favorite foodie bloggers and chow down on gourmet food and wine. And if you’re still hungry for more than that, you can learn a thing or two about food, writing, and technology.

We caught up with Sheri L. Wetherell, Co-Founder and CEO of Foodista (one of the organizers of IFBC) to find out what’s on this year’s agenda, the hallmarks of a successful food blogger, and how newbies and experts alike can create engaging content and grow their passion into full-fledged careers.

1. The IFBC is an amazing opportunity for food bloggers to come together. What’s your favorite part of the event?

We never intended to get into the event business, but here we are! I think I'm most pleased with the fact that we've built an amazing community of food bloggers who share a common passion: Food! I love that we are able to offer our attendees the opportunity to connect with and learn from the great cast of speakers we feature each year.

2. How will this year's event be different from last year's?

This will be our largest conference ever! (We sold out, and have a waitlist.) We're confident that it will still be the intimate experience that many love about IFBC. We maintain our three themes each year (Food, Writing, Technology), but this year we'll have fewer panel sessions and more single-speaker-led sessions.

3. What are the skills and interests a food blogger should bring to the table?

Technology! It's easy to start a blog, and many bloggers are great writers, but how do you get your blog read? This is the biggest challenge. It's a combination of art and science: One must be an astute writer, but they must also know what readers want to read and how to successfully "push" that content out on the web. I like to say that bloggers are more than writers; they are content producers. Their jobs consist of everything from recipe development, food styling and photography, post-production photography, web design, social media management, community development, advertising, and more. A blogger does it all, and often in their free time.

4. What’s more important: The pictures or the words?

Pictures. We eat with our eyes! You could have the best recipe and have written the most poignant story behind how you crafted your meal, but your image has to grab your readers' attention in the first place.

5. Is food blogging only for those that are experts in the kitchen?

Absolutely not. In fact, did you know that many restaurant critics don't cook themselves? Yet they write about food as if they went to Le Cordon Bleu. Even the novice home cook can share their foibles and successes when it comes to cooking. There's an audience for everyone!

6. What do food bloggers want to accomplish next?

Many (if not most of our attendees at least) dream of publishing a cookbook, but we encourage bloggers to consider other money-making options as well. It goes back to being a content producer. What skills do you possess that are truly marketable and can earn you money? Recipe development? Food styling? Food photography? Many bloggers simply focus on the writing aspect of their multi-talents and there are a lot of opportunities out there in the food industry!

7. If you could offer aspiring food bloggers and newbies one piece of advice, what would it be?

Write every single day. Even if it's just two sentences with a beautiful image. Publish, publish, publish! Writing is a muscle. The more you do it, the better you get. And, just like not going to the gym, that muscle can quickly atrophy from lack of use. From a technology perspective, search engines like to see original content frequently produced, so there's a big benefit there as well. In short, experts don't become experts by practicing their craft just a few hours each week.

Blurb Bookstore

Delicious Southwestern food meets equally delicious food photography in Fresh Food, a cookbook based on the blog Shoot What You Eat.

PoppyHaus is the blog (and book) of DIY mom Heather Jennings. Her book includes recipes and craft ideas aimed at delighting the little ones and their style-conscious parents. Color us delighted too.

World Foodie Guide blogger Helen Yuet Pang takes readers on a two-week journey through Japan’s culinary landscape. This is not a "what I had for lunch" blog, but a gorgeous (and useful) exploration of food, culture, and country.

Prepare for the coming cold months with Dreaming of Winter, a collection of incredible recipes from the eponymous blog. This book is heavy on comfort food and snowy landscapes. We’re ready for a nap just thinking about it.

Ever thought about just growing your own food? Jonathan Macpherson’s book, culled from his blog, chronicles the ups and downs of a computer guy turned farmer.

Michael Skoglund spent a year exploring the flavors of Spain. In Recipes from happy-land, Skoglund intertwines recipes, blog posts from his stay, and sumptuous food photography. This one puts us in happy-land every time we look at it.

Creative and Live inspiration from our photographer at large

Catch two live-stream video seminars from Dan Milnor, Blurb’s photographer at large, on Monday, September 16, 2013. It’s all part of creativeLIVE Photo Week, a jam-packed program of seminars and classes from the world’s top photographers. If you’ve never heard Dan talk photography, you’re missing out. Get more info >

The Documentary Portrait - 10:30 am

The Tools of Modern Storytelling - Monday Sept 16 @ 12:45 pm

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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