Jun 062009

Yes, I have finished SoFoBoMo some days ago, but this time I want to go the whole way. I want my book printed, and the company that I try at the moment is Blurb.

You may remember that I had trouble with my InDesign template, because when importing the PDFs into Photoshop, in order to save them as PNG files that can then be imported as full bleed images in BookSmart, the backgrounds came out transparent, and Photoshop’s import default of “Crop to Bounding Box” produced different sizes for different pages.

You may also remember, that I had trouble setting the color of the spine and the flaps of the dust jacket in BookSmart.

Well, in the meantime I have solved all these problems. Here are some notes that may be helpful to others:

PDFs exported from InDesign have a transparent background. A PDF reader will not show the problem, because it has an implicit white background, but you are affected when you import the PDF into Photoshop. I found that the problem can easily be solved in the most elementary master page in the template.

InDesign has a concept of basing pages on “Master Pages”, thus when you change a master page, all pages based on it, get the change as well. But it goes further, because master pages can be based on other master pages. In my SoFoBoMo template I have an empty spread as the most basic master. Based on that, I have added a master spread with page numbers, based on that master spreads with text, master spreads with text and images, and so on. Thus, the only thing to do, is to insert a full page white rectangle on one of the pages in the empty spread, copy it to the other page, and you’re done. All other pages are based either directly or indirectly on these empty masters.

For the PDF and for Issuu this makes no visible difference, but in Photoshop, the PDF pages are now imported correctly as a flat image with white background, and they are of course all of the correct size.

The problem with the colors on spine and flaps of the book was also solved easily. First you have to know the correct color. Open the book in InDesign (or whatever you use), sample the background color of the cover and write the RGB values down. This is necessary, because in BookSmart you can’t sample color values from an image.

Now open BookSmart and go to the cover. In the toolbar, there is a button named “Backgrounds”. Don’t take one of the preset colors, but instead choose “More Options”, and in the color selector that appears, simply enter the RGB values that you have written down before.

This sets a background color for the whole cover, but only spine and flaps will be affected. The front and the back are full bleed images from your PDF anyway.

Problem solved, but this just opened another problem: How to replace the book, that’s already on Blurb.com, with the new version? I didn’t find anything in the menus, neither in BookSmart (which uploads books, but other than that is not concerned with anything on their website), nor in the menus of my account page or the detail page of my book. I couldn’t even change the old book to “private”. Bummer! If I uploaded the new version, I would have two identical books, with the only difference that one has a faulty dust jacket!

Some research in their forums revealed that there is no way to replace a book on Blurb.com. You just have to delete it and then upload the new version.

OK, this left me none wiser. There was no way to delete a book. I figured that this must be, because I have an order running, but then, how do you update a successful book? One, that has always some orders running?

It turned out that I was wrong and the problem lay elsewhere. While I tried all the menus on their site, I found a menu entry “Announce”. This is meant to make Blurb send emails to addresses you specify, but in order to use that service, your own email address must be verified. Mine was not, thus I went to “My Account / Account Info” and requested verification. They sent me an email, I clicked the link in the email, my address was verified and … suddenly I could remove my book!!

Thus, remember: When you set up an account on Blurb.com, you are not prompted to verify your email address, but without verification, you can’t administer your own books.

As regards the Image of the Day, well, we had a somewhat rainy day 🙂

It’s been shot from under an umbrella, using the new Tokina 11-16/2.8 at 11mm, f4.5, 1/15s and ISO 200, handheld and with a polarizer. In post-processing I used PhotoLift to strongly push local contrasts, some selective blur, a host of curves and levels adjustments, some local with masks, a vignette, some photo filter layers, various Hue/Saturation layers in different blending modes, and I guess this was it 🙂

The Song of the Day is “The Rain Song” by Led Zeppelin. I have it on the 4CD box “Remasters” and on their original fifth album “Houses of the Holy”. YouTube has a version from from the soundtrack to the concert film “The Song Remains the Same”.

  3 Responses to “967 – The Rain Song”

  1. This is a lovely photo. I was especially attracted to it for everything seems just right: the colors, composition, touch of fog. Very nice.

    I also appreciated reading through your processes for your SoFoBoMo book, since I'm starting to put my book together and will be facing some of the same issues, no doubt.

  2. Andreas, thanks for pointing out some of the traps that show up when trying to blurb the pages from a dtp program. Seems there is a lot to take care of when I have to perform this task.

  3. Thank you. Well, I'd say it was easier than I thought. Of course the proof is in the pudding, and we'll see when I receive the second copy of the book, the one with the fixed dust jacket 🙂

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.