There’s no shortage of freelancers, consultants and service providers for authors looking for help with their publishing projects. But evaluating them all is a forbidding undertaking, and Blurb is aiming to fix that.
With the launch of its “Dream Team,” the publishing platform offers to connect authors with vetted publishing professionals who come recommended by reliable sources.
In this case, those sources are industry leaders Richard Nash and Molly Barton, whom Blurb brought on assemble the first lineup of fifty independent publishing experts now available through a “Hire an expert” feature on Blurb’s website.
Access to the Dream Team is available for free to all authors seeking professional assistance, not just those already publishing with Blurb. Blurb does not collect a fee at either end of the relationships it hopes to foster; experts selected to feature on the Dream Team don’t pay Blurb for the privilege, either.
Blurb CEO Eileen Gittins explained the idea for a recommendation-backed freelancer portal came from a growing number of authors contacting Blurb for recommendations for cover designers, copy editors, proofreaders and others. The incidence of those requests has increased, she said, “especially over the past twelve months.”
Blurb discovered many authors were using Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms to help them cover the costs of external publishing services, which Gittins said further motivated Blurb to bring that process under its own roof.
The first fifty Dream Team professionals specialize in various aspects of the creative process, helping authors develop and package their content. Users can connect with them based on the services they’re seeking, with experts organized according to their professional role, even though many of their skill sets happen to overlap.
A second phase will follow, with the addition of more experts on the business side, to help with marketing, publicity and other post-publication needs.
Still, Blurb is “not looking to have this be thousands of people,” Gittins added. “Thats’ the “whole point…It’s not about abundance. The filter is the value.” Over time, Blurb will add ratings features to collect and redistribute additional feedback from customers on their experiences working with Dream Team experts.
Even though Blurb isn’t receiving any revenue from the Dream Team, the service may still help grow its customer base. Gittins cited recent findings from another publishing start-up suggesting the likelihood that authors will publish their work increases in proportion to the number of professionals they hire to assist them.
See the Blurb Dream Team here.
BLURB’S VETTED DREAM TEAM NOW AVAILABLE TO HELP AUTHORS AND BUSINESSES PUBLISH THEIR OWN BOOKS AND MAGAZINES
Industry experts in editing, design, cover design, illustration, ghostwriting, and more improve project quality and completion rate for indie authors and businesses
San Francisco, Calif. — November 7, 2014 — Blurb, the independent book and magazine publishing platform, today announced Dream Team, a marketplace of creative industry professionals with expertise in copy editing, developmental editing, book design, art direction, illustration, photography, cover design, ghostwriting, ebook conversion, and more. Authors and businesses can now assemble their perfect team of collaborators to help them both complete their projects and improve them along the way. Higher quality books and magazines will drive more demand and promotional opportunities, ultimately increasing sales and revenue for Blurb authors. Businesses of all sizes will benefit by producing branded books and magazines that help meet critical deadlines and are highly professional.
Introductions to the vetted Dream Team collaborators will be available free of charge as part of the most extensive publishing platform available to independent authors and businesses today. “We are fortunate that we have strong demand within our community and thus will financially benefit from increased title completion rates as well as higher unit sales, which allows us to offer the service for free,” said Blurb founder and CEO, Eileen Gittins.
Blurb has tapped publishing industry veterans Richard Nash and Molly Barton to handpick and vet the Dream Team collaborators, populating the group with a range of experience that offers a commensurate range of price points while meeting the Blurb community’s quality expectations.
“Just because one is self-publishing doesn’t mean one should do it all by oneself,” said Gittins. “Over the years Blurb has been asked for personal recommendations for editors and designers, so when it came time for us to launch a service we decided to continue with the same individualized approach. We feel strongly that hiring an editor or a designer is a deeply personal thing. I can’t imagine being assigned to someone or worse yet, assigned a number of hours of editorial help as part of package,” Gittins concluded.
While Dream Team is an obvious fit for authors looking to sell their books, it is also ideal in the B2B space for those who wish to publish magazines, books, and ebooks for business development, fundraising, advertising and promotion, sales support, gifts, and more. Dream Team can help businesses complete their projects faster, and ensure that the finished product is excellent.
“As business books continue to make up a growing percentage of our revenue, having the right programs in place to support this community is critical,” said Gittins.
Blurb’s inaugural Dream Team is composed of 50 experts concentrated in the United States, the UK/EU, Canada, and Australia, many of whom offer expertise in more than one category. There are some collaborations that will benefit from face-to-face opportunities to meet, thus the goal is to have geographic dispersion. Additionally, at launch the Dream Team experts will support projects in English, French, and Dutch.
Dream Team collaborators are a highly curated group of professionals who have supplied references, links to publicly available examples of their book/magazine work (digital and/or print), plus a bio and photograph of themselves. Blurb users will be able to access the profiles for each of the experts and then fill out a project description requesting an introduction. Blurb will automatically forward the requests to the respective Dream Team collaborators; at that point all communication will happen directly between collaborator and author/business. The parties will agree to their own terms and fee structures.
Blurb will expand its Dream Team group as it learns where demand is greatest. Prospective collaborators are welcome to submit their qualifications via the Blurb website. In addition to expanding within the existing expertise categories, Blurb will add new categories in subsequent phases. “Our first group of Dream Team collaborators are focused on publication creation; the next phase will expand to include the business side of publishing, including business managers, publicists, social media, and marketing professionals, and the like. These folks will help drive discovery, audience development, and book/magazine sales,” said Gittins.