POD self-publishing venture Blurb continues its evolution into a trade book platform, announcing the recruitment of industry veterans Molly Barton and Richard Nash. The pair will work as consultants, overseeing a new marketplace on Blurb that features skilled industry professionals who can be hired to support new book projects.
Called “The Dream Team,” Blurb’s new skills marketplace will launch with 50 professionals based in the U.S., U.K./E.U, Canada and Australia. The recruited professionals will be able to offer expertise in copyediting, ghostwriting, developmental editing, photography, children’s illustration, general illustration, design, e-books and more. Blurb will serve as a facilitator, setting up the marketplace where would-be authors—individuals or businesses—can find people with specific skill sets who can help produce their book projects. Experts included in the Dream Team will often have multiple skills, and will show up in multiple categories.
“People need stuff: editing, cover design, proofreaders. They’re really looking for recommendations about who they should use,” said Blurb CEO Eileen Gittins. “We get these requests from businesses and from individuals. Richard and Molly are helping us vet the experts. If you need an editor in Dubai, they can help you.”
The service is free—Blurb will not charge or take a cut of the transaction. Financial terms will be negotiated between book producer and Dream Team professional.
Nash, former publisher of Red Lemonade, Softskull Press and a digital publishing expert, and Barton, former global digital director at Penguin and founder of Book Country (Penguin’s online writing community and self-publishing venture), will identify and vet the experts included in the Dream Team marketplace.
Gittins said Blurb conducted a study across 40 book projects on the site, and it show that there is a 10% completion rate for a project done by a single person. When someone hired one expert for their project, the completion rate rose to 30%; the completion rate rose to 90% when the project added two professionals.
There will be background information, photos and other information listed for each expert included in the Dream Team, along with a contact form. Blurb is also soliciting more experts (there’s an application form to join). “We’ll add new experts to the team after we learn the demand. We may need more German speakers or designers,” Gittins said.
As self-publishing offers more books with the potential to be sold through traditional channels, Blurb has joined other ventures like BiblioCrunch and Book Machine, that have also setup international book production skill exchanges.
Blurb continues its efforts to expand its platform from books produced for personal use to books being offered for sale. The site is also partnering with NaNoWriMo, the annual write-a-novel-in-a-month event, expected to attract 400,000 participants. Writers that sign up for NaNoWriMo via Blurb’s Coffee & Quill Society, an online community for Blurb members, get support that will help them publish their book in print and e-book form for free.
Gittins said Blurb is out to help its users produce, “a book worthy of the writing that went into it. We want them to know we can help them and it’s all free. We can provide daily info to help them get to the finish line.”[Correction: an earlier version of the story implied that Molly Barton and Richard Nash were Blurb staff. Both of them are working as consultants to Blurb.]