Sunday, November 21, 2010

Making a Book of My BJP Work from Last Year...

bead embroidery by Robin Atkins, detail from BJP piece, Stay in Touch with the River
Two years ago, I used My Publisher to make a hard-bound, photo-book showing and telling about the pieces I made each month during the first year of the Bead Journal Project. I was reasonably satisfied with the book, although a little frustrated with the lack of layout options offered by My Publisher. You can see a virtual copy of my first book here.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to make a second book, using My Publisher again, this time to show my Bead Journal Project pieces from last year (2008-09). My book arrived in a mail Thursday! It's better than I thought it would be... top quality all the way!!! Here's a not-so-great photo of how the cover looks with the dust jacket on the book.

BJP book by Robin Atkins, cover
And here's the title page, or maybe it's better designated as the acknowledgement page. Note that there's a beautiful, semi-transparent, blank page between the cover and the first page of the book, and another like it at the end, a nice touch!

title page of BJP book by Robin ATkins
Here's what most of the spreads look like in my book, two columns of text on the left explaining about the piece and a picture of the piece on the right.

BJP book by Robin Atkins
Sometimes, I used a double page spread to show detail photos of the piece, like the one pictured below.

BJP book by Robin Atkins
My 34-page, coffee-table-sized, hard-cover book with photo dust-jacket cost me $48 for two copies (on a 2 for 1 promotional special). That's a chunk of money. Yes, it is. But, I'm so pleased to have both of my books. I keep them in the house; whereas my beadwork is in the studio. If ever there were a fire or if somehow my beadwork was destroyed, the books would be like gold to me. Also, I've given copies of them (always purchased when My Publisher has a 2 for 1 promotion) as gifts and they seem to be much cherished. So to me, they are worth the cost.

If you'd like to read/see a virtual copy of this book, where you can flip the pages one-by-one, it's here. In case you might wonder, once a book is published with My Publisher, the rights to it and the money from sales of it go to My Publisher. In other words, if anyone should decide to order a copy of my book (a very flattering thought!), the total amount goes to My Publisher. There are no author royalties! These are vanity books, pure and simple.

Are you curious about the process? It's fairly quick and easy...

In my case, I started by gathering my photos into a file. Then, using Photoshop, I reviewed each photo, sizing it for publication. The full-size pictures of each piece are sized to 9" high at a print-ready resolution of 300 ppi. If any picture was slightly out of focus or something about it was off, I deleted it from the file.

Next I made a photo collage (in Photoshop) for the printed dust jacket of my book. I cropped parts of the full-sized photos and layered them on a dark background. After fitting a part or all of each of my 12 pieces onto the 11.25 x 8.75 inch background, I added the text. Making a collage like this is not necessary, as you can simply use a single photo for the dust jacket along with a text box provided by My Publisher for the title. Or, you can choose not to have a dust jacket at all, a less expensive option.

After all my photos were labeled and ready to use in a digital file, I went to and downloaded the program into my computer. Once downloaded, you can open it at anytime, work for a while on your book, save your progress, close it for the night, open it again the next day, etc.

For each page or each section of the dust jacket, you have a choice of layouts. You also have a choice of using the layouts, sized in standard ways, or to use them in a flexible way that allows you to re-size the photos and text boxes (as I did). For text pages, I used a two-column layout and wrote my text as I went along, applying standard formatting in a way very similar to MS Word or posting here. For photo pages, I uploaded my photos (in a way similar to uploading photos with Blogger), sizing them with the click-and-drag at the corners method.

When finished uploading all the photos and writing all the text, My Publisher provides a way to view the book in virtual form, just as if you had it in your hands, turning the pages. It's still possible to return to the editing window to make changes at any time. When the book seems as good as it can get, just hit the purchase button.

A week later, it's in my hands, crisp, professional-looking and beautiful! Be still, my vain little heart, this is such a treat!!!!!


  1. Oh my gosh, Robin. This is so wonderful! I love your book and I so appreciate the step by step description of the process. I want to make one too!!! I am just returning to my blog after an entire year of moving!!! So looking forward to catching up with you...

    Much love,


  2. That is really wonderful, but something I cannot afford to do right now. But who knows what the future holds.

    Enjoy your book, it is beautiful and inspiring.


  3. Anonymous6:07 AM

    How neat! It sounds like a big project, but what a wonderful end result to have and hold. Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. This is a great idea, Robin! Your book turned out SO nice!! A great keepsake, isn't it!

  5. Your beadwork is fabulous and putting it in a book is a great idea. What did you do with the original beadwork pieces? You should frame them, then you could have them in the house too.

  6. This is so beautifull, and you desever a (non-sugarry, non-caloric) treat my dear friend!

  7. Your book looks beautiful! You might want to think about using or next time. You retain the rights to your book & you make a profit when each copy is sold. You deserve it!

  8. Thank you for sharing your beautiful bead work with all of us, I just love them all!!

  9. NIce work, Robin! You make writing/publishing a book look so easy!


Thanks you for joining the discussion on this post today!