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Old 08/25/2009, 08:55 PM   #28
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How I did the Book.

It's kind of a long read but I had a member of the SAAC group interested in doing a book and asked me to explain the process I went through so I started typing it all out, not in very good order but I tried to capture as much as I could bring to mind while typing and once I was complete I thought I might as well post it here for a little insight if you want to read it all. There are a ton of other little things that go into the book making but this was my process in general. At least I won't have to retype it now if someone else asks, I can cut and paste and I got really good at that during the book. Cory

Ok here goes, not knowing what you have for computer skills or computer equipment and software I will talk in terms of what I have and used. The project took me about 3.5 months and I compiled 52 or 53 members stories and photo spreads. They wrote the stories and sent them to me along with pictures, I proof read, spell checked and was the organizer of the information and photos.

First I would say you want a big enough computer to hold a lot of pictures and pictures take up a lot of space and you need specific sizes of pictures to work in the book, probably the hardest part of the book was getting them to send the right size, not many but some just didnít have a lot of digital picture knowledge, including myself. I went down and bought a Maxtor external hard drive to insure I had a big back up with lots of room so I didnít lose anything.

It takes patience and compassion to deal with everyone as you will get very computer literate members and then you will get those that have a longing desire to be a part but have no computer skills and it takes some compassion to work them through it. I actually had to set up a photo shoot to get all of Bob Teets the HCS Registrars photos taken in Colorado because he had little or no digital photos.

The first thing I did was announce the book on the web and asked the admin to sticky the topic and then I explained how to be a part by asking them to email me with ďYou In BookĒ in the title and I set up a rule in my email to automatically send any email with this in the topic to a folder so it wouldnít get lost or deleted by accident. I just got names to start and asked that no one send me any stories or photos until I requested them as I didnít want to get flooded and miss something in the email. If I requested 3-4 at a time I was specifically watching for them and expecting them to come in and that way if they didnít respond I could contact them and find out why to insure I never missed anyone sending me their information.

As they came in I created a photo album and gave each person a folder in the album with their name on it and transferred all their photos to that folder. I then took their story and pasted it into the Word document. I had an email folder for each person individually and two folders called in process and complete. I moved all their information to the in process to start and once I had enough to start 4-5 people, I did up the introduction chapters and all the stuff I wanted in front and then did their chapters one at a time and as I completed 2-3 I would request the next 4-5 people send me their information so I was prepared as I completed, as it moved on I could request 10 at a time as I got quicker. I would move the completed ones to the completed folder to give me a visual in email and color them on the Excel spread sheet as well.

I used a Microsoft Word document to compile the stories as they came in and on occasion I would get the stories in a format that I didnít have and couldnít open so I had a back door email group from the web site (Thanks you guys/gals) that I would fall back on and typically one of them would have the means to open it, that or I would walk the person through cutting and pasting it into an email. I used Microsoft word to change all the font so it was the same size and the same font because it comes in, in a variety of fonts and sizes and then used it to spell check it as well because Blurb has a spell check system but you canít teach it anything meaning it doesnít recognize names etc and you canít tell it to skip them all or add it to itís spell check list so it stops constantly on every name or place or whatever so spell checking in Blurb is not easy which opens you up to mistakes once you cut it from Word and paste it in the book. At least you couldnít teach it names with the version I was using, Blurb software is pretty easy to use and pretty awesome and they continue to improve the Blurb software so it may be better by the time you were to get to it.

I also started the Excel spread sheet and listed each persons name on it with their email address and the date their information came in and I colored the cells yellow once they were complete. Simply a visual tool for me to keep track.

I created an Email Chain in my email called GTCS Book so I could email updates and ask the entire group by only having to use one email address rather than list them all separate.

As I described I had separate Email folders for each person that I moved from the in process to complete as I did them.

Once I got down to the last half a dozen or so I established a deadline for anyone to enter and participate expecting to get some last minute entries which I did, I got one lady that entered on the last day and 2-3 that asked to be a part within a few days after the deadline which I let them in and did their chapters. The deadline was simply to put closer to it and I expected some to enter after so it was fine as long as I wasnít done. Once I was done I would not have accepted anymore but I didnít have to worry as no more came in.

A brief description of Blurb, you have to pick the size of book you want and you canít change once you start without starting all over. I did two complete books and had to do them both separate of each other so I could offer two sizes. Blurb book software is free to download and use, it is very easy if you have computer skills, it will let you cut and past the stories right in very simple, thatís why I used Word to do all the font and spell check so I could just cut and paste it in. Then you can select the page type you want, text, photo, text and photo mixed in a large variety of layouts all at your choice, to put the pictures into the picture pages you simply drag them from your photo folder to the page and there they are, you have to move and adjust the size until it looks like you want it as it will apply the photo at itís narrowest points to the slot which means it will go beyond the edge on the widest spot of the photo if the photo isnít the exact shape as the photo slot but you can reduce the size and it works very easy. There are a lot of little quirky things that it does that you have to keep checking like page numbers and headers. If you insert a page randomly it can mess up the headers or page numbers but itís easy to fix and I can walk you through that stuff if you try it.

Itís a lot to digest so read it a couple of times and ask any questions you may have.

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