Mission Statement

This blog journals my quest of art, whether it is a piece of work that is inherent in nature or one created by artists known or unknown or that I created myself. During this search, I have come to appreciate the magnificence and generosity of God who in his infinite wisdom surrounded us with exquisiteness everyday...everywhere and inspired our human spirit to create beauty that feeds our bodies and souls. Come join me on my journey to find art through my travels and my own creative endeavors. Maraming salamat.

All rights to all posts and contents on this blog, including photos and artwork are reserved by jojo sabalvaro tan.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

More on Book Publishing

Ok, I pretty much finished formatting the content of my book and now I am ready to get it published. I converted my Word file into PDF and made sure that the text were embedded. As usual, I did my research on the internet and came up with three possibilities - Blurb, The Book Patch and Createspace (an Amazon company). I also tried a local printer here in the area. The experiences with each one are quite different.

My specs for the book:

  • at least 8 1/2 x 11 landscape
  • full color inside
  • gloss white paper inside
  • soft bound, perfect bind
  • gloss cover

Local Printer

I sent my file to them a month ago and I have not heard from them at all. Very poor customer service. Definitely, a no go.


Blurb ( http://www.blurb.com/)

Out of the online publishers, they were the only ones that would print in my desired landscape format. So I tried Blurb out first. Instead of uploading my PDF file directly, I worked in Blurb's Bookify program (very similar to Shutterfly) and built the book page by page using their pre-designed page formats which limited what I can do with each page. Sometimes I had to cut my narrative in order to fit into their text box. Similarly some of the pictures can only be shown partially, which is ok since it made it more artistic .I had to upload all the pictures to the site but I was able to cut and paste the narrative from my Word document into Bookify. I was able to choose a page color which made the pages more attractive. The book is a large format landscape (13" x 11") and I ordered it hardbound in linen with a dust jacket. The inside pages were nice and thick and my sketches turned out great (probably, the closest to the originals). This book was the nicest of the lot but also the costliest at almost $100. Certainly not suitable for mass distribution.
The cover of the Blurb printed book from Blubs' preview page

The Book Patch (http://www.thebookpatch.com/)

Book Patch only printed 8.5" x 11" books in portrait format so I had to reformat my file into 8.5" x 11" portrait from the original landscape format. Book Patch's process is fairly simple, as long as your PDF file conforms to their designated formatting requirements then you can just upload your PDF file directly to the site (after you've done the requisite identification stuff for your book, of course). So I made sure that my manuscript fit within their required margins, bleeds and cut space. You will have an opportunity to review your file on their interior reviewer program. I was concerned that all my sketches appeared yellow when I reviewed them and was afraid that they will appear yellow on the printed book. I wrote to customer service and they did some checking and did not really see any problems. They also suggested that I order a proof just to make sure. I received the proof and the sketches turned out without any yellow tinge and I was happy with it. The inside gloss paper used was nice and sturdy and the print appeared very clear. The sketches were close to the original, just a tad darker. I also designed my own cover and uploaded it to Book Patch as a JPEG file which turned out a little less sharp since I was working with a screen print.  It is not ideal but I had a hard time  with their process of building book covers due to my own impatience. My only concern was the binding on the proof copy fell apart at the bottom almost immediately after I received it. I brought the problem up to Book Patch's customer service's attention. By the way, I thought that their customer service people were very responsive and helpful.

The cover I designed for the Book Patch printed book

Create Space (an Amazon Company) - (https://www.createspace.com/)

Similarly, CreateSpace can only accommodate an 8.5" x 11" book in the portrait format. Also, all I needed to do was upload my PDF file. You do have to go through a book set -up step by step process. CreateSpace also provided an easy way to design the book cover so I tried that. They also have an interior reviewer and at first I thought that my sketches came out all blurry and I spent quite a bit of time trying to get my photos to their required 300 dpis. Whatever I did, the blurriness would not go away so I let the manuscript go through the approval process and had a proof printed. The cover is the same quality as that of Book Patch but I was a little disappointed with the paper of the inside pages. They were the thinnest of all the publishers. The pictures came out ok but not as good as the other two. CreateSpace also requires that you have an ISBN. You can opt for the free one they provide. CreateSpace has a massive distribution network and a royalty with a calculation that has my head spinning. They do have a calculator on site which helps you determine your selling price.

The CreateSpace book
Passport to Creativity: Exploring the World with a Watercolor Journal
Authored by Ms. jojo sabalvaro tan
8.5" x 11" (21.59 x 27.94 cm)
Full Color on White paper
80 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1502992307 (CreateSpace-Assigned)
ISBN-10: 1502992302
BISAC: Art / Techniques / Watercolor Painting

PASSPORT TO CREATIVITY - Exploring the World with a Watercolor Journal - a collection of watercolor sketches from all over the world extracted from the author's watercolor travel journal along with the author's observations of the places she visited. It is also a  travelogue with tips on travel as well as painting and travel journaling and sketching. 
The whole process was not easy and I chuck that up to inexperience with the business and processes of publishing a book on my part. I made so many tweaks and corrections to the "final' manuscript since every time I proof read it I find something that needs to be corrected or changed. You really need another set of eyes to read the manuscript since I found that I kept reading the manuscript the way I wanted it to be rather than how it is actually appears on paper or the screen. It is kind of like that test going around where you are asked to read a paragraph that does not contain any vowels yet you are able to read every word as if the vowels are there.
Obviously, the Blurb option is the most cost prohibitive, although the book was really the most attractive and professional.. . Book Patch is a better product due to the paper and print quality but Create Space has a better distribution network and a little less expensive.   The CreateSpace book is now available on Amazon. at a discounted price of $18. Two-day shipping is free if you have Amazon Prime. Link:  Passport to Creativity by jojo sabalvaro tan

Wow, I am now truly a published non-fiction book author. Time to order my handmade brass watercolor palette from Craig Young.


  1. All three books look good on the photos. Will you be publishing your book in the other two formats?

    A fan.

  2. How long did it take you from inception to publication. Is the book available at Barnes & Noble?

    A follower

    1. Sorry, the book is not currently available at Barnes and Noble.

  3. Congratulations! I will be placing an order for the book today.