Blurb is a solution for self publishing authors, and yet, it can also be a frustration. I cannot fault Blurb for their accessibility of their on line software, Booksmart, and the results it produces in book form. For what it is worth, you get more flexibility with their software than with many other DIY self-publishing solutions available, and that includes Createspace and Lulu. Granted, an author needs to be strong on the graphics and images they can provide to use with Booksmart, but once that is in place, the chances are the author will have a pretty well-designed book to finish with. The fact is, many author solution companies advertise an original cover design in their basic package, but when the author reads between the lines, they either end up with a pretty ordinary template-designed cover, or they are expected to provide the full photographic artwork. Blurb have used their grounding in photographic books very much in the options provided in their text interior novel format, used for my own book, Thais, for this review.
‘Thais’ was loaded up to Blurb’s server from the down loaded software in about 25 to 30minutes. I actually thought this would be quicker considering Blurb have been so used to graphic-heavy books up till now. Much like Lulu, you are prompted to update your author profile and book information before you set the ‘profit’ you want to make on each book sold from Blurb’s bookstore. You must order a proof copy, otherwise, Blurb warn that the book will be deleted from their server after 15 days. I ordered one proof to check and you then have the option to click ‘private’ or ‘publish’ on your book project. (You can see the full results of my book project in the right column of this blogsite)
For the true self-publisher, Blurb gives you an on line bookstore, but, ultimately, if you use your own ISBN and have registered this with Nielsens/Bowkers, you still have to promote your book. You will have to subscribe to Amazon Advantage, have your own supply of books which you can keep them going with, as well as the entire marketing on your shoulders. As yet, Blurb offer nothing more than their bookstore facility for author promotion, and one feels that this is sufficient enough for Blurb at the moment.
For the author, Blurb provides, at no cost, everything but the things that are critical to an author when publishing a book. So come on Eileen: your authors need ISBN’s, library registration, on line book data registration (retailers and wholesalers), and then Blurb can really start to be taken seriously. At the moment, there is not a single book listed on Amazon.
When it comes to book production, Blurb have it all, strong software (apart from a few small glitches), a good on line network profile, a quality print product, a fun attitude, a growing catalogue, tremendous on line tutorials and support backup, but now it is time they stepped properly up to the plate with their service and grasp the opportunities which are there for both publisher and author.