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Dec 12, 201307:29 AMAfter Hours

with Jody Glynn Patrick

Christmas photo books and wishes

(page 1 of 2)

My holiest of holidays is right around the corner and yes, friends, I again made books for the grandchildren. I photographed them, collected little pictures they made for me, and wrote down funny things they said or did. Then, as I have done every November since their consecutive births, I published a book showcasing their shiny new teeth, imaginative artwork, and adventuresome exploits.  

I was most apprehensive this year about making a book for Colin — his first, since my daughter recently married his father. He’s an intelligent little chap, 8, a wee bit shy. Last Christmas he saw Patrick’s book collection and asked if he’d be getting a book, too, when I became his nana. Of course, I told him, but I secretly wondered how I would get enough photos, when I only see him sporadically.

His wonderful family came to my rescue in the nick of time. His dad emailed photos going back to Colin’s infancy, and his grandparents mailed photos, too. Then, to give the other kids a reason to clamor to see his photo book (a family ritual during the holidays), I added age-appropriate jokes on every page. Here’s a sample photo of Colin with stepbrother Patrick, to which I added the joke: “Question — What sounds like thunder and smells like rotten peanuts? Answer — Elephant farts!” They’ll think that is really, really funny. Ho, ho, ho!

Grandson Nathanial is also 8 years old. My son’s son loves to play games, so each photo page features an “I Spy” quiz or a suggestion to the adult reader to ask him to teach them a game, etc. I also included the lyrics to the song “What Does The Fox Say?” with the instruction that he sing it aloud. He’ll get a real kick out of that, and his sister Natalie likes to dance, so their annual Christmas performance promises to be a hoot.

Natalie’s pages invite the reader to make up a story about what she was photographed doing, from baking to gardening to spelunking, and to ask her to make up stories about the baby dolls in the pictures. She’s 7, and learning to read. Too many of us flip by the photos too quickly for her to fully enjoy the splendor of seeing herself in print, so this year I installed some brakes on the pages.

Alexander is 5. He recently came with us to our second home, in downstate Illinois, where we had great fun. He confided during that visit that his mom (my youngest daughter) was worried that I was taking him back to hillbilly land to get to know our Duck Dynasty side of the family (versus her father’s side of the family, which ponied up sophisticated lawyer and doctor influences). Sensitive to her urban sensibilities, I bought him a camouflage tent, toy rifle, and a Duck Dynasty hat and then texted her a photo and message: “Don’t worry! Honey Boo Boy is in good hands with us all here.”

That photo made the back cover of his book this year:

(I swear, these kids’ books are gifts that keep on giving!)


Dec 14, 2013 07:49 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

From Jody: Lots of readers are emailing asking what software to use and how to publish. Here's what I use:

Cost depends on page count. I average $50/book for 100 pages, including image wrap cover (the finest), standard paper and shipping. Many times during the year, I have coupons for 20-30% off order, and I make books ahead and then wait for coupons!

I use Blurb. Go to & download their software (free) - Booksmart. Booksmart is your template; you can create several books at the same time. You can import photos from your computer, or from Flickr if you use that cloud storage system.

You can pick from lots of choices for book templates. I pick "wing it" to start without style restraints. You get pages to work with & templates for all page types (title page, edit pages, photo pages, etc.); lots of choices for layouts for each page. You can edit any layout by clicking on the page; go above to the area that says "edit layout". Click it to add/edit textor image boxes. After changing a layout, you can choose "apply and save to my layouts" which saves it as a future choice. SUPER easy.

Editing tips: Check the "see trim lines" box so you don't accidentally cut off text or images. To make pictures bigger, click photo and use the slider bar at the top. The slider bar at the bottom lets you make the book image bigger on your screen to work. The entire book scrolls at the bottom of your screen; you can add pages any where in the book by clicking on of those pages and when it is highlighted, selecting "add pages" from menu at the top. It will put the pages where you clicked.

To order the book, hit a button "order" and it walks you through steps & uploads the file. Within 10 days, you have the book. You can also order an ebook for about $10 which you download on ipad.

Happy publishing! (Note, if you want it done professionally for hire, for convenience, let me know. That's a service I provide, but you CAN do it yourself and it will mean a lot to you.)

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About This Blog

IB Publisher Emeritus Jody Glynn Patrick blends work and life in this very clear departure from her other writing for In Business magazine. Awarded national recognition for both her previous work as a newspaper columnist and her journalistic leadership at IB, she brings us all back "Closer to Home" with her insights and remembrances. A nice place to be "After Hours." Check back often!

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