I have a tendency to get overexcited. I also have a tendency to get caffeinated up and then get overexcited and I typically have a mess on my hands once that caffeine has left the building. One day I received a 12 pack of Doubleshots from Amazon and I went through I think 4 of them. Wowzers! Now that is a ton of caffeine for me. A TON. I normally allow myself a total of 2 caffeine beverages a day, typically one coffee item and one Coca Cola. So to say I was buzzing was a bit of an understatement.
My energy rolled over into the evening and then the wee morning hours where I was literally unable to sleep. It was awful. It taught me a valuable lesson. While I was awake next to a sleeping Rob I looked at my Instagram accounts and realized just how truly like modern day photo albums these accounts are. And then I panicked. What happens when this fad is over? Will all of my photos just disappear one day? Googling and flipping out I found Chatbooks in the app store and promptly downloaded it and then ordered my first two books that very night.
Now I instantly knew that I wanted to write a post about these books but I didn’t know good the book I was going to get in the mail would be. $8 isn’t bad but if it’s a printed nightmare that’s a total waste of money. When I received my first book in the mail I got really, really excited. Are Chatbooks a good deal? Yes. Are Chatbooks good quality? Yes. Would I recommend Chatbooks to you? Yes.
Of those two books I made one was for “Our Lives So Far”. They are pics of Rob and me and the past 16 months we’ve been together. There are pics of our trips to Arkansas and Louisiana and Oklahoma and pics of our animal “family”. It’s 60 of my most favorite images inside of one book. It’s pretty fabulous.
But the first book I made was one that I could show to just about anybody. You see people ask what I do for a living and when I say I’m a blogger I get an “oh, so you sit at home and play on your computer while Rob works hard to keep you in a nice house and good food” type of a thing. It’s amazing how during my ENTIRE time as a blogger nobody ever goes straight to “you can make a living doing that? Cool!” They almost always assume that I’m freeloading off of somebody and playing in the internet sandbox. It’s so frustrating.
So then I started saying “I am an online content creator in the craft industry” and it’s amazing how quickly their eyes glaze over. Sure it sounds like an actual profession that might pay the bills but it’s so stuffy. The “I basically put glitter on stuff and people pay me to do it” seems to be the best response I’ve dealt out to date but then they inevitably ask if I’m any good at it and I sound like an a-hole when I’m all, “yeah I’m pretty okay at it”.
It dawned on my overactive mind that I could make a book filled with some of my Instagram pics of just my favorite work projects I have made and then I could SHOW it to people. “So, Allison, what is it you do?” BOOM! Book in hand. Look at it.
Does it work? Heck, yes it does! And it’s so exciting that people understand what I’m about within a few flips of those book pages. The very first person who saw that book was the owner of a fabric store here in Brownsville. I got the question and I said, “would you like to see a small book with some of my work in it?” and I pulled it out of my purse. He grabbed it and carefully and thoughtfully looked over all 60 pages of 60 different things I have crafted in my 4 years working on this website. Then he got excited and GAVE me a free zipper and showed me a YouTube video of what I should do with it! Now wasn’t that sweet? Normally I’d say I cover things with glitter and he’d give me a side eyed look and keep cutting my fabric but instead I showed off my work and instead of being treated like a flake, I as treated like a professional with a collection of DIY and craft projects worthy of being made by a professional. Because that’s what I am as silly as it may seem… I’m a professional crafter.
Now really quickly I’m going to show you a bit about the app and how it works. It’s really very, very simple to use.
You can add photos to your books from 3 places, your Instagram account, your Facebook account and your favorited images on your camera roll (this is on an iPhone – the wording may be different for different types of phones).
You can make a book from just one of those sources or from all three. It takes a while for the images to import, especially if you have over a thousand like I did.
Now on the photos that you have long captions for, the caption will appear on the page beside the image rather than under it. In the top right corner of the app is a “select” button. Then you tap the items you want to delete and choose to remove them. You can see that I had 166 included and 1348 excluded. Now these text pages also take up a page in your book. Each book is 60 pages period unless you place a custom order.
I set my account up so that on my Dream a Little Bigger Instagram account a book is automatically created once 60 pics are shared. My first book printed so there is a lock beside the “Volume 1”. My volume 2 is in progress and it’s added 33 images automatically that I’ve shared to my account. Now before it prints I’ll get a notice so that I can go in and delete any pics I don’t want in the book like sponsored photos. They pay the bills but I don’t need them in these books as they are basically my portfolio.
When submitting your book for printing you get to select which of the pics from inside to be the cover and then you can change the way the pics themselves print. You can have the captions as they appeared in social media below the images but I opted to have that area blank. After all, I hashtag the crap out of my pics and you don’t want to see #catsofinstagram #catsofig #catlovers and all of that nonsense, do you?
Above and to the left is the date the photo was taken. To the right is the geotag if I tagged the pic originally.
The spine holds the name you set for your book and you can flip through the book before it prints to be sure you’re happy with it.
The print quality is really very good. Now know that the print quality of the photos is not perfect but that is to be expected as these are photos made for the internet NOT printing. Be sure to keep that in mind.
Lastly there are different delivery options. I chose to add $2 to the cost of my first book making it $10 total. I got that book within a few days, maybe 3 or 4 business days. The next I left as is with the $8 shipping and that book took at least a week longer to receive. It was no big deal but if you need your book quickly, say for a gift, I’d suggest adding the $2 (or there is an even faster option available) to ensure you receive in time.
In the end I LOVE my Chatbooks. Love, love, love and I’ve started making one for just cat pics and another with just pooches. How fun will those be to have? And someday when the internet goes down and we’re living like it’s Mad Max or something, I’ll be able to toss my pic books in my bag and look through them without the internet :) Now I’m not an affiliate but I do love this app and I plan on ordering a TON more. If you use my “share the love” code VAERCUNM I’ll get $1 off of my next book! And be sure to grab your share the love code so that you can get a buck off when you start ordering, too!