Wednesday, 23 September 2015

POV: The Second Step : Blurb & The Hầu Đồng Book

My second step in the long process of publishing "Hầu Đồng: The Spirit Mediums of Viet Nam" was achieved today when I received a 13x11 inches 28 page hardcover test photo book produced by Blurb (or more accurately, produced by me and printed by Blurb).

I produced the 28 pages (of which 19 are color photographs) using Blurb's BookWright software, which is adequate and not too difficult to learn in a few minutes. The photographs were post processed in Photoshop, refined in Color Efex and the text was written using Photoshop text tool.

I found the suggestion from Filipe Bianchi that the text ought to be divided into columns for a better flow to be right, and I'm glad it worked very well aesthetically. However, I used a font size that was too large. It looked fine on Book Wright when I was prepping the book, but in reality it was too large. A smaller font will be used on the book's next itineration. I am restricted in which font I can use because few fonts allow the accurate rendering of some diacritic Vietnamese letters...and in Vietnamese the à is totally different in meaning than á.

Another problem with a smaller font is that there'll be more space on the text page...unless I add more text, or use a small image to fill that space.

Unfortunately, the paper I chose is expensive...but one gets what one pays for. The Proline Pearl Photo paper is semi-gloss, heavy and feels like photo paper. It's manyfactured by Mohawk Fine Paper. The color rendition is accurate, and I'm quite pleased with the book's overall look.

The font for the captions under the photographs also needs to be smaller. I have not yet decided if the photographs will be full-bleed, filling the whole page (as the image on top shows) or be surrounded by a white frame (as above). If the former, then the captions will have to be layered on top of the photographs...perhaps in white text.

I am happy with the Image Wrap cover options. My two other books printed by Blurb have Image Wrap covers, and I much prefer it than the Dust Jacket option. I will refine the positioning of the images on the front and back covers, as well as the back text which also needs editing.

There is no question that the Blurb option is probably the best for a Print On Demand book. There are some downsides though...and on the top of that list is the price. It is expensive, particularly if one opts for the top of the line paper etc.  However, choosing a soft cover, a smaller landscape size with a standard quality photo paper will cost around $40 for 100 pages. An Ebook option for the iPad etc is also available for $10.

All this is food for thought.