How many people do you know who say one of their goals is to write a book? A fair few I’ll bet.
And how many actually do it? If I had to guess, I’d say not many, maybe one or two max.
So what puts people off writing their masterpiece? Lack of time? Low self-confidence? General procrastination? These may be factors for some people, but I think a big part of it is that people don’t bother to write a book because they don’t think there’s any chance that it’ll get published.
Well that need no longer be a concern, because it’s now possible to publish your own book for free, and make money selling copies online.
Blurb.com is a self-publishing platform that allows you to design, edit and publish your own book with their easy-to-use book-making tools. You can create print books like novels, or full-colour photo books with pretty much any content you can imagine.
You can then list your book for sale via the Blurb.com website (you just have to buy one copy yourself). Each book has a base price, and you can then set a higher price for your book, and you will keep the difference. So if your book costs £10 to make (base price) and you set the price at £15, then you will make £5 for each copy sold!
I’ve used Blurb for my own projects on two occasions:
Publishing a Photo Book for Self Promotion
When I was doing pet portrait commissions, I needed a way to advertise my work, so I used Blurb.com to create a showcase book, demonstrating some of my best portaits, explaining the process of a digital painting, and of course providing my contact details.
A friend of mine then let me put this book on the table in the waiting area of her hair salon, and I got quite a bit of business from people browsing the book while waiting to have their hair done.
Creating the book was really simple using the Blurb BookSmart software. I just uploaded all the images I wanted to use and dragged them onto the appropriate pages. The whole process took no more than a few hours, and I received my finished book within a couple of weeks.
You can preview the entire book here: DrawMyFace Portraits (note, there’s no profit markup on this book, as I published it for promotional purposes, not to sell, but feel free to buy yourself a copy if you like!)
Publishing a Novel as a Personal Gift
The second time I used Blurb.com was after reading the manuscript of a novel my Gran had written, based on her own life.
My Gran wrote the book in the early 80s, and I knew she had tried to get the book published through traditional means, and got several rejection letters, after which she had stopped trying, and the manuscript had been left to collect dust on a shelf in her house until I finally got round to reading it last year.
While I was reading the book, I got the idea to get a single copy of the book published and give it to my Gran for her birthday. So my girlfriend and I began the task of scanning in the original typewritten pages, and proofreading the book to correct any errors created by the scanning process.
After that mammoth task, it was simply a case of importing the files into Blurb’s software, doing a final bit of editing, and designing a nice cover from the original photos my Gran had attached to the front page of the manuscript.
Again, the professionally printed book arrived within a couple of weeks, and my Gran cried when I gave it to her on her birthday. Her dream of having a book published had finally been realised. All the family now have a copy of Late Night Final, which you can preview here – Late Night Final by Elizabeth Somerville (there’s no profit markup on this book either, as it was only intended for friends and family to buy, but again, feel free to buy a copy if you like the preview!)
Publish Your Passion
These are just a couple of ideas based on my own experience using Blurb.com. Whatever your passion, you can create a book to showcase your talent, whether it’s a bestselling novel, a unique cookbook, or just a nice alternative to a traditional photo album.
If you’ve published your own book, on Blurb or elsewhere, I’d love to hear what success you’ve had with it, please tell us about it in the comments below.
Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you decide to buy a book from Blurb.com after following these links, I will receive a commission payment, which helps me keep this site running. If you’re uncomfortable with that kind of thing, that’s fine, no hard feelings. If you do make a purchase through my affiliate links, then thank you, I really appreciate your support!