The business of writing: Successful Blurb authors talk self-promotion
Blurb books aren’t just beautiful objects—they’re also powerful tools you can use to promote your work. Your recipes, your photography, your collections, your passions. Yes, yes, you’ve heard pitches like this before, but here’s a difference—we’ve got real-world examples to back it up. Here’s a roundup of interviews with writers and photographers who have used Blurb in innovative ways to build their personal brands.
First, make serious money: Matt Eich, The Seven Cities
Meet Matt Eich, a photographer who created books with Blurb to fund his large, long-form photography project. Let's let Matt tell us how it worked:
Matt: “Books are the ideal way for me to communicate with my work, because I can distill a long period of time and a lot of questions into a sequence that has a rhythm and flow, like a song. It takes years of work, tens of thousands of images, and lots of blood, sweat, and tears, but when it’s all boiled down to 40–60 images in something tactile and real, it starts to feel as if all of it was worth something.
When working on these long-form projects, I always start mocking up a maquette—or book dummy—once I’ve gathered enough work. It allows me to start seeing what is there and what isn’t. It’s the closest and most intimate glimpse I can give people into my creative process. For the purpose of crowd-funding The Seven Cities project, I offered four different rewards to backers of the project that are in book form.
1) $150: 7 × 7 softcover book of mobile dispatches. For this book, I created an edit/sequence of mobile dispatches from The Seven Cities project that I had posted on Instagram under the hashtag #TheSevenCities and printed it using Blurb’s ProLine Uncoated paper.
2) $250: 8 × 10 hardcover book of The Seven Cities project. Drawn from work spanning 2005–2012, this edit was the groundwork for delving deeper into my community and gathering the stills, motion, and sound necessary to complete this project. The book is approximately 120 pages and was printed on Blurb’s ProLine Uncoated paper.
3) $500: I am selling two of the remaining Limited Edition copies of Carry Me Ohio, published in 2010 with a run of 100 books. Each of these two remaining books comes with three 8.5 × 11 prints of new images made from this project in 2012. These were printed through Edition One in California and originally sold for $85 each without a print.
4) $1000: A set of three books (The Seven Cities, Sin & Salvation in Baptist Town and Carry Me Ohio), all 8 × 10 hardcover, printed on Blurb’s ProLine Uncoated paper. This set is the most comprehensive printed collection of my work from 2005–2012 in three different projects that are all connected by theme and design.
For each of these book-related rewards, I will only print the number of books that are ordered, so if there is only one person who selects it, that will be the only person who ends up receiving these collectible books.”
Expand your reach: Linda Spiker, Seasonal Favorites from the Organic Kitchen
A Blurb book is a great way to get your work seen when you can’t show it off yourself. Professional chef (and teacher) Linda Spiker increased her reach exponentially with a book of her recipes and lessons:
Linda: “It’s going to sound strange but the objective behind my books was to reduce business! Unusual, I know.
I own and operate my own organic cooking school and online store. Teaching classes is kind of a three-ring circus between prepping and cooking a four-course meal and then sitting down with the students and enjoying a great feast. It’s fun and my classes were becoming very popular but quite frankly, I couldn’t keep up with demand.”
I thought that by putting my menus and recipes—as taught—into a cookbook and ebook, I might be able to slow down on teaching classes as people could just buy the books instead booking a class.
Blurb: How did that work for you?
Linda: “Not so well, the book actually boosted business. So I’m busier than ever!”
Branch out into ebooks: Aruna Khanzada, Curry Base
Here at Blurb, on of our mantras is “print books are just the beginning.” Meet Aruna Khanzada, a chef who has taken this to heart and leveraged the power and immediacy of ebooks to sell more copies of her wonderful cookbook.
Aruna: “I have no doubt the enhanced ebooks are going to boost the sellers’ economy! In this age of fast-growing technology and electronic gadgetry, there is a large market that isn’t interested in the written page, and that expects immediate access, that demands video instruction on the spot and the enhanced media ebook fulfills those demands. The ability to sell your work, adding whatever profit margin you want through the Blurb Bookstore, as well as the iBookstore, will definitely benefit sellers. There are still those who love the written page and are willing to wait for the arrival of their book, and that market will always be there. For those who don’t want to pay that extra for the printing and postage, the cost effectiveness of the ebook means more people will be willing to buy.”
So hopefully we’ve inspired you to get the word out about whatever you’re creating—from photography to recipes to stories and beyond.
PS Get more tips on how to promote your self-published book on our blog.