Traditionally, Blurb has been known as a go-to book self-publisher for photographers, artists and authors. As of today, the company has expanded their services to include a Dream Team of recommended consultants, ranging from copy editors and proofreaders to professional book designers to photographers and illustrators.
“Over the years, we’ve had people call us and ask for recommendations. ‘Do you know a great copy editor?’ or ‘Do you know a great food photographer?’ We have the demand side,” explains Blurb CEO Eileen Gittins. “The goal here with the first wave of [the Dream Team] is focused on helping get the title completed, to get the book done; bringing talented people with demand expertise to fill in the gaps for those who have a book concept, but themselves are not photographers or designers.”
The team of 50 is currently divided into two clusters of consultants. The first group is editorial, with proofreaders, developmental editors and ghostwriters. The second are illustrators, graphic artists and niche photographers.
As they move forward, the company will evaluate the needs of clients to know how many additional consultants need to be brought in and what areas of expertise they’ll need to fit into. Additionally, a phase two of the team will bring in consultants with knowledge in marketing, social media, and setting up book tours and speaking engagements.
So how do you get in touch with a consultant? A creator enters their name, contact info and project details. Then, the creator searches for the needed contributor. When you find someone you’re interested in, Blurb then sends an email directly to the contributor for follow-up. From there, creator and contributor work together to address how to fulfill the needs of the project.
While Blurb is setting up the consultant marketplace, they’re charging NOTHING in transaction fees. Their goal is to put more books into production, and more books are finished when the creator has the right support system. Once Blurb has initiated discussion between the two parties, it’s then the responsibility of the creator and consultant to negotiate a fee.
While many photographers will be able to use the marketplace to put their work into publication, you may be asking, how can I become a part of the Dream Team?
As Blurb gets a handle on the demand of different types of photography, they’ll be adding consultants, and you can apply now to become a part of the team. But there is a vetting process.
For consideration, you will need to provide references, links to published work and a bio. “Describe who you are, the work you like to do. And we’re looking for that to be more than a paragraph. We want people to get a real sense of the things that interest you. What you like to read, where you like to travel, stuff like that that makes you a real person,” says Gittins. She also emphasizes the role of references. “In the world of abundance, when you have a thousand responses, the filter is the value, and what Blurb is trying to do is act as a bit of the filter. [Consultants] have to give us references, which we will check. And often we know people that know people, and we’ll call them, too.”
Gittins also specifies, “There’s no plan to go from 50 to 5,000. We’re going to be very careful about understanding what people want from Blurb, and that’s how we will decide. It’s not that we don’t like someone’s work, it’s just that we aren’t having a demand for people who photograph glass in a studio. We might have demand for people who are really great food photographers. So we’ll find out what the demand is, and that’s what we’ll be asking—for people to have a specialty.”
Check out the initial phase of the Blurb Dream Team here: www.blurb.com/dreamteam/collaborators