Sunday, June 22, 2008

The post about a blog that became a book (how to make your blog a book)

This is an interesting moment in the life of this blog. I started this blog back in December 2005 with these first few paragraphs
I kept a running diary on my computer. It was running nicely, all set up in Excel. But then, my computer died. And with it, I lost the ability to track how many kilometres I'd run. In many ways, it's liberating, sorta like running without my GPS Forerunner.

But with a possible marathon on the horizon (my first, more on that later), I thought it's time to get serious about this running life again: Diet. Mileage. Gear choice. Intervals. Long runs.

So, in time for the new year, it is reborn in this blog.
About a month and a half ago, my work laptop imploded. I lost all data on its hard drive, wiping out a year and half of work including the documents and files related to our site's redesign. Plainly, it sucked to lose all that work. I've also lost various hard drives since I started using computers, say, since 1982 when my dad bought me and my brother a Commodore Vic-20.

So this latest loss of info got me thinking about backing up my digital life and I snapped up an external hard drive to do so. My Digital pictures are already on Flickr Pro account, my files from university and even earlier and of course, this labour of love, this blog. But backing up to another hard drive has its follies. You could lose that just as easily. Geez, could you imagine losing 2.5 years of blogging. That's hundreds of pictures and, in my case, almost 700 posts!

So I started looking at how I would suck in all my posts via RSS and storing them somewhere (digital, of course). Then I thought about how I would just print each blog post and end up with a hard copy of it all. Not a bad idea.

Then I came across's BookSmart, one of several services out there that allows you to publish your own book. I'll do a review of it soon because I didn't find a lot of opinion out there while I was putting mine together. Most people who use the service do picture books, only 69 as of this writing were categorized as "blog books."

Blurb has one great tool (see how it's done) in that it lets blog owners to log in and suck in their blog posts. No cutting and pasting. It now supports Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad, and It's so smart and effective in that it not only allows you to choose how to import, it also lets you import images that you post in your blog.

The book-making software BookSmart is free (download here) and it's really easy to use. This is from a guy who spent years at newspapers (and at magazines) toiling over picas and points while using Adobe PageMaker. I sucked in all my blog posts, started to eliminate alot of the mundane posts (yes there are lots of those) and was able to choose from tonnes of layouts. I was able to import images from Flickr and finally use all those photos from races that I bought the digital rights to. This old layout editor was having a blast choosing the templates and putting together the cover, the sleeve, the photo spreads. Within two weeks (including on one plane trip) I was on my laptop putting this together.

Here's the result.

Uploaded it earlier this month and got my package a few days ago. I ordered two hardcovers (one with dust jacket, the other with an image wrap). The finished product is fantastic. The images look great. The paper is good quality and, well, it's great to capture this labour of love in book format.

So, introducing, A run blog: A whole lot of soles, chronicling my first three marathons.


Sonia said...

ok, now that's COOL!!!! Very cool!! Love it and the prices are pretty reasonable!

Arcane said...

hey that's really neat! For saving pictures, I burn all my pictures to a DVD and then store it in a safe deposit box. Every year, I reburn all my pics to another DVD so I have multiple DVD's of the same pics as a backup. I then intend to toss out the DVD's when they get to be three years old. With burnable DVD's being so cheap, it's good insurance.

Sonia said...

Oh I forgot, I tagged you...

Triseverance said...

Pretty cool, kind of like the coffee table book about coffee tables that is a coffee table. :)

Marky Mark said...

Oh my-something else for the obsession-I'll suggest it for my next birthday--very nice product!

Anonymous said...

nice book