Blurbing It Out

This time around, I went with Blurb. To read about the last time I published books, and how to do so yourself, read here. I published a few books in the past month, Do You Dare Eat That, PorFA! (ISBN 9781715282417),on Amazon, M’s Adventures in Peru — A Love Letter (ISBN 9781715299149), on Amazon, and Tales, Tall and Short, About Food in Peru (ISBN 9781715324087), on Amazon. I published them all on Blurb.com — you can too.

It is fairly easy to publish on Blurb. You can upload a print ready PDF with photo and illustrations all included or you can use their software to layout your book. I found that the layout program was a bit clunky for me as I find it easier just to use one of the book templates in my word processing system. The only tricky thing so far has been figuring out the sizes. Luckily, the Blurb computer figures it out for me. Unlike in the old days of the printing press when the broad sheet could be folded and cut into 16 pages, Blurb uses six as the divider. If you upload less, Blurb will add blank pages at the end.

You can even upload the cover and back cover in the same PDF. I did and Blurb worked with me. It even troubleshoots pre-flight (printing). My page size was not quite what it was used to using for the “bleed” (variable area around the outside of the page) even though I made the size of the books according to what I thought was a Blurb size. Blurb’s computer just quickly says that it is not a standard size. When you see this message, you just choose the option to have it auto-fix it and it does. The books turned out great. Blurb also tells you if the images you are using are too low quality, too low in pixels for printing. You can adjust them right there by replacing or re-sizing. I still went with one that was “lo-res” and it turned out fine. I was concerned that it would look pixelated, but it did not.

The minimum page count is 20 pages, but you can go as high as you want. I think, but do you want to publish a 600 page book?

For the photo type of book and the hardbacks, the prices are higher. The cheapest, with the highest profit margin for you, is paperback. The good thing about these paperbacks is that it includes color photographs in the cost. If you buy more than 10 books at one time, you get a discount. Blurb will even mail out the books for you! Once done setting it up, you can buy it for yourself and send out the link so others can purchase it. Books are hard to find on Amazon so it’s best to search by ISBN or author name.

Then, when you get to the next process which is where you set it up for sale or not. If you do want to sell it, you can choose to hard back, paper back, paper type, and your profit margin. You can also choose an ebook for five bucks. The book will then be on sale on Blurb with an ISBN of its own. Yay! If you click on the “Ingram” publishing option, the book will be distributed through the Ingram distribution system, a central warehouse system. It takes about two weeks for the book to show up on Amazon. When it shows up on Amazon, they add their markup.

My children’s book, a 7 x 7 inch photo book cost around $26. If I buy it and send it through Blurb, I can get a quantity discount but it’s rare that I’m sending more than ten books to the same place. The “coffee table book” of M’s Adventures in Peru cost $42 because it’s a hardback with outer sleeve. Wowsa. The cheapest was the standard paperback size for the Tales, Tall and Short, About Food in Peru, at around $16. I set a small “profit” on that and marked it up accordingly.

The paper versions of the books look good and even the images that the Blurb software warned me were “low resolution” turned out okay. I will be printing more with Blurb, but I’ll probably move all the books to the paperback size.

Every Dish Name Has A Story

Some Peruvian dishes have funny names, and all the dishes have a story. It’s useful to know what is what. Many of the dishes originated in the working class and I have been doing my own experiment to see if it’s true (more on the class system later).

Suspiro limeño = sigh of a person from Lima: the classic pudding dessert from Lima
Causa = cause: a layered cold potato dish whose origin is supposed from the women helping their men with fighting for the cause in the 19th century.
Leche de tigre = tiger’s milk: the lime marinade used for ceviche.
fullsizeoutput_1b1Chicharrón… de pescado = pork crackling… of fish (in the photo, the leche de tigre has chicharrón of fish on it): this is the terminology used for deep fried fish or chicken, etc. Much like “chicken fried” in the U.S. Chicharrón is also used to indicate the substantial pork roast cuts that include the crackling. Also the name of the sandwich (often served for breakfast) with the same pork roast slice.
Jamón de pavo = turkey ham: turkey deli meat that is processed to taste like ham.
Malarabe = bad arab: a soup from the north of Peru.
vwSVNPoeR5adOl2dpSkb34hAGqV0MLDKsFzlPQCBkoe46ZlpVvMKqI4BBzGftG-lHKN2vDzQzFJTT87WGRVBZXnqtdbrmlmmUr4kqGOf7iak0Zec2O1_p7udHGwcq5ek4nSMrxpf-JtJnYsv4No6KCPJvcyR8Jz0ku1_xBj7ydqlvDvJRXTrHLpWG1King Kong: a King Kong sized alfajor sweet.
Revolución caliente = hot revolution: a pastry sold at night, with its own song. Steeped in history.
Champú = shampoo: a dessert
Aeropuerto = airport: a stir fry dish so named because a lot of items land on the plate, mainly noodles and rice. This dish was named in the 1990s.
Siete colores = seven colors: a dish of seven colors, made with the following dishes — cebiche, tallarines rojos (pasta in red sauce), cau cau (made with tripe), papa a la huancaína (potatoes with yellow sauce), chanfainita (a dish often made with lung), arroz con pollo y ocopa (a peanut based sauce).
fullsizeoutput_1c1Mostro (but a variant of the correct spelling of monster. I was excited to see the dish on a menu — proof that the dish actually exists) = monster (pollo a la brasa y arroz chaufa): a spit roasted chicken quarter on a mountain of fried rice.
Mostrito = a small monster: an eighth of a roast chicken on fried rice. I was disappointed that a small monster wasn’t a larger whole chicken, but that’s me with my sense of humor…

The last two dishes are most recent and many people have not heard of them and when I ask where one can find them, I’m told “in the outskirts” which is the euphemism for the “hood.”