The photo shows the first book I self-published with blurb.com. It's my mother's memories of her childhood. She wrote the essays over a number of years and I gathered them together, edited and arranged them for this book. It won the Ferguson Kansas History Book Award in 2010.
My original thought was to publish this so family could get copies, so I went with a print-on-demand publisher. With P-O-D publishing, you only buy as many copies as you want and they print just that number. It is different from vanity presses where they print a large batch which the author pays for and then try to sell all those copies. Many people end up with boxes of unsold books cluttering up their basement in that scenario.
I tried Lulu but couldn't figure out their software. At the time I put this book together, I didn't know about CreateSpace, so I didn't opt for that. I chose Blurb as their BookSmart software was easy to use.
First I created the book in hardback with color photos but that proved rather expensive, so I converted it to paperback with black and white photos. Blurb support came to the rescue a few times when I got stuck, but most users of Word and of photo programs will find it fairly intuitive.
I've since created a biography of my father, a book of poems for my sister and a wedding photo book for a niece using Blurb's BookSmart.