Saturday, July 23, 2016

Five Things to Love about Blurb Trade Books

When I wanted to self publish a short story recently, I went to Blurb, my favorite online custom book publisher, to see what formats were available. I chose to do a 5" x 8" trade book. Here's what I liked about the experience:

1. Ease of the Bookmaking Process

Book wright is Blurb's free application for bookmaking, and I found it intuitive and a pleasure to work with.

2. Price

The price of these trade books is reasonable; in fact, before I factored in the shipping cost, it seemed almost too good to be true. The smallest of their 3 trade books, in soft cover, standard color, 24 pages, is $7.47 plus shipping, which varies depending on where you live. The shipping to me in Missouri was $5.99 (I think west coast residents get off a little cheaper) and the tax was $0.89, bringing the total to $11.74, which still doesn't seem bad considering this is a small run of a custom book. Additional pages are available for an additional cost per page.

You can see the price options here; the most economical option, Economy B&W, is $2.49 per book.

Blurb has volume discounts for as few as 10 books, with frequent other discounts on their website.

3. Quality

I chose Standard Color Printing, which uses a medium weight matte paper that allows little bleed through. The printed text is sharp and clear, and my black and white photos are of good quality. I have yet to try color photos.

(Blurb's photo books have more and better quality paper options; they are also more expensive.)

4. Responsive customer service

When I had a question about the process, Blurb's customer service via e-mail was quick, friendly, and easy to understand.

5. Ease of Setting Up Book Sales

Blurb makes book selling available online through their bookstore, which is easy to set up. These little books make great gifts, and even if you're not anticipating many sales, if you post it in their bookstore, you can make the book available for viewing online in a nifty page-turning format.

For those who are serious about selling their books, there are also the options of selling them on, Ingram, or Apple iBooks.

My book is a simple story of faith's beginning in the heart of one small girl. And that girl was me. You can see it here:Heart Change by Connie Smiley

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Clouds Hang Poised

The Clouds Hang Poised

Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of Him who is perfect in knowledge?
Job 37:16

Linking with Skywatch Friday

Friday, July 8, 2016

Day Job

Gray Vulture

A faint tapping sound came from upstairs, like the sound of someone knocking on the window. When I went up to investigate, I saw a Black Vulture at the large window in the living room, tapping softly. I was pretty sure I knew what it wanted.

About a week earlier, Don, bless his heart, had hit the wall about the squirrels that were taking over our bird feeder. It's squirrel hunting season here, and Don's a hunter, so I'll let you fill in the blanks. Having eaten his share of squirrels in his youth from necessity, and not from love of the meat, Don opted to donate these to our local clean up crew, the vultures. For a while, every morning, one squirrel was disappearing from the feeder and appearing, belly up, on a tall stump out from the kitchen. The vultures were efficient at disposal.

But now there had been a two day absence of squirrel meat, and the vulture at the window seemed to be asking politely, 
"Did you forget something?"

The next day, and for some time since then, there have been two Black Vultures here regularly. 
They are a lot like pets, in that they expect to be fed. 

Unlike Turkey Vultures, Black Vultures are almost handsome, with their amour-like head gear and white stockings. 

They perch on our deck... 

preen themselves...

drink from the birdbath...

lounge on the stump where the squirrels have appeared...

stretch, and generally make themselves comfortable.

 One of them even tried to take a bite of our door mat.  
It may have been a ploy for sympathy, as in "See how hungry I am?" 

Occasionally, they get demanding, flying up and striking the window with force, but for the most part, they are friendly, and even let us join them on the deck if we stay quietly in our corner.

Of course, with all this activity, squirrels are not coming around as much. The vultures haven't seemed to figure out that their frequent presence is contrary to their interests. So, until they do, we'll enjoy the entertainment. Soon enough, they'll get hungry and find it necessary to return to their regular day jobs--policing this area's highways, county roads, farms and woodlands for opportunities to put on their bibs and get back to work.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

King of the Forest

This little fawn, with a glint in his eye, is a feisty one.

He came out with his mother this week, late in the evening. 

There was a short stand-off with a turkey, until the turkey stood his ground...

and the fawn scampered away.

When the doe was tired of babysitting, she gave the fawn a kick, 
and the little one responded by kicking back, and almost climbing on his mother's back. 
The turkeys were polite enough to pretend not to notice.


We'll be watching this one.

One of these days, we expect, he'll be ruling the forest.

Linking with Saturday's Critters