I want to introduce you to a website I have been using now for really quite a long time, this company is called Blurb and what I do is print books, they are one of the companies driving technology behind the self publishing revolution that happen in the last 5 to 8years. As it happens I have been using this site since I think 2002 something like that and I do all of my paper backs in hard covers.
So what Blurb has done is make the process of making books very simple, let’s start by looking at the sort of books you can make here. Certainly you can make photobooks, which is what you can now do in a lot of different places, you can do this through apple, you can this through many companies now who have made the margin in this business vanish, so photo books certainly you can do. But the part I am interested in that is unusual about blurb are the trade books, these are the kinds of books you find in book stores, these are pocket size books, trade page backs, hard covers, as well in the world of publishing your own book and this is where I think blurb really comes into its own.
So let’s say for a second I want to create a book, maybe about 120 pages, so if I go back to the Blurb website I can calculate the price, and it tells me that I will get a 100 copies of the trade page back which is the one am interested in, (in black and white) for $599, thats about 6 dollars a pop, I want less then the price is going to go up to about 8 dollars a pop. Think about it, I can upload my e-book to this website and get even a single copy for as little as 8 dollars.
So let’s look at how to do this a little more specifically, but first see how Blurb have come a variety of different ways of doing this. The easiest I think is what I call Booksmart. Booksmart is when you download an app to your computer, and create the book using the app and then upload it to the blurb system. They will then print it out for you and send it to you. The other thing that I use a lot is the “Indesign” plugins, now I am not expecting you to know how to use Indesign, the best way is to hire someone who knows how to use it from a website like Fiverr or Elance.
For example, if we go to Elance and I want to find a designer I just type in “designer” and Elance will tell me in this case that there are 3600 designers waiting to help me. If I type in indesign I become more
specific and now there is 3,362 designers who know indesign, if for example I narrow my search
to just the United States, it comes back with a small number of people, 1300 people who know how to use indesign and live within the US.
But let’s go back to Blurb, so let’s say I just want to create a paperback, how will that work? Well I can start by downloading BookSmart, when you have this app installed you can start a new book from scratch. For demonstration I am going to use an old manuscript of mine from a book I have written called The Google
Gamble, so I just type in the title and my name, and In this case select a trade paperback which is the standard size you use in book stores. Next it ask what kind of layout do I want… do I want something blank, do I go for my own or start from scratch, do I want to use one of their portfolios, such as photobook or guestbook? I could even use a blog where I go straight to a blog on the web and it will draw the content for me, in this case I have a word document which is how I recommend you begin. So I tell the program I want a word document and click to continue In a matter of seconds, magically Blurb actually lays out my book for me in various formats.
Then I am going to go ahead and select the style of cover. I’ve got lots of options here, for example if I want to change the font on cover I could and I could begin to play with the layout if I wanted to.
There are some basic layout tools that you can use. For me to do a complete book I will hire someone to do the design using a service like Fiverr or Elance, more likely Elance, you can see it put together very quickly and have a sequence of pages laid out beautifully and ready to go and with a very small amount of work.
So once you get a cover that you like and you got some copy that you like you can press ‘previewbook’ to flick through one last time to make sure it’s how you want it, then you click to order the book. This is where it’s amazing, but once you have got that done you simply log in to your account on Blurb and you will upload it there for you for free.
What’s great is when you upload a particular book it automatically creates a sort of a sales page for you. Other people can preview the book, this is very powerful and I can select how many pages are pre-viewable when it goes full screen and you can see my cover and into the pages. Someone could have a look and make a decision whether they might like to buy. I could just show the first 15 pages of mybook or I could choose the book’s language.
I can choose my own pricing which is what’s so powerful, I simply select my markup and there is my final price $14.99 and then using a special link I could actually pop a promotional widget into my blog or my Facebook page, and it is now live
That’s why I find Blurb to be such a fantastic and easy to use system and you can see it’s so easy to get your book published online and on sale and ready to go in a matter of a few clicks using a free account and free software to do it. By the way the side benefit is when you sell these books Blurb just sends you a check for the difference between the cost price and the sale price at the end of every month, not a bad way to get a check at the end of the month. I encourage you to check it out.