Creating a Blog Book from WordPress

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Creating a Book from Your WordPress Blog

In my ongoing quest to simplify capturing blog content in print form, I turn to Blurb and WordPress.

Blurb photo booksNow, in a previous post, I talked about how Blurb has a cool slurping tool that will import your blog from shared blogging platforms like WordPress.com, Livejournal and Blogger. But if you’re not on any of those platforms, what do you do? Options include exporting  your content to a PDF then converting to text, or just doing some good old fashioned cut and paste before copying into your blog book template.

However, the happy people at Blurb let me know that there’s a workaround that helps us WordPress bloggers who are self-hosted (that is, we’re running WordPress but pay for hosting with a third-party web hosting company). Blurb has written about the steps here, but I thought I’d go through them myself and see.

To Slurp or Not to Slurp

To recap, I think this process is amazing for bloggers who want to capture their work in print form, as either an archive, a Year in Review, or as a showcase of special content, like Gluten Free Treat Recipes.

But, if you’re wanting to create a book with narrative, one that leads readers through a process or expands on a concept, I wouldn’t slurp. Instead, I’d spend time curating your content, editing ruthlessly, and adding new material. Remember, if you’re asking people to buy a book, they have “book expectations”, which are very different from blog reading habits.

Slurping a WordPress Blog

Here’s a blog (my husband’s), called My Life on the Deck.

My Life on the Deck Blog

And here’s the result imported into WordPress.com.

My Life on the Deck

And now here’s what happened when I slurped it into Blurb Booksmart:

importing a blog into Blurb

Final Result

Blurb blog book Here’s the cover and a two-page spread. After  a lot of trial and error, I chose a small square book with smallish image boxes. Why? My uploaded images were not of a high enough resolution for some of the bigger, full bleed layouts. Make sure you take this into consideration.

What I did post slurping:

  • Applied the Gazebo theme
  • Created my own cover layout
  • Tweaked the text spacing a bit

Blog to book final layout

A couple of things I learned:

  • Unless you uploaded high res images to begin with, you get a lot of low res warnings which is why I had to choose a small square book and small image boxes. This wasn’t what I envisioned at the start of the project so I consider this a compromise.
  • Auto populating (when Blurb flows the text and images into the book for you), doesn’t give you a choice of default page layout. You have no idea ahead of time which layout Blurb will use. This can be frustrating!
  • For manual, page by page populating, Blurb brings the posts and the photos in separately so you have to know which photo belongs with which post.
  • Slurped text still might need some tweaking for spacing, removing captions, etc. Also a pain, but if the book is for archive purposes, you may choose not to do such deep dive tweaking.

In a Nutshell: the Process

  1. Export your WordPress posts and pages by selecting Tools > Export.
  2. Sign up for a free WordPress.com account (hint, if you use Akismet spam filtering, then you already have one).
  3. Make a note of your WordPress.com username and password.
  4. Create a temporary blog on WordPress.com by clicking My Blog > Create New Blog.
  5. Import your posts into WordPress.com by going to Tools > Import > WordPress (you may have to wait a wee bit for this process to complete.
  6. Import your temporary blog into Booksmart by selecting Start a new book > Book Size > Blog to book.
  7. Select WordPress.com and enter your username and password. Then select your blog from the list.

 Blog to Book Design Ideas

If you’re looking for some blog to book design ideas, go visit Carrie at Your Blog to Book. She has some great advice on laying out posts and images. Her designs are very hands on and personalized; you won’t get layouts like hers by slurping, but seeing what’s possible in Blurb inspires me!

More articles you might like:

Does this process seem fairly well automated or do you think it’s too much fiddling? Lay it out in the comments!

Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Blurb because I love and use their self publishing platform. The links you see in this particular post are affiliate links, meaning if you click one of them and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. If you would rather not do that, no problem! Just click this regular old Blurb link and head on over to the nice people at Blurb and check out their wonderful products. Thanks for stopping by!

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