Blurb Launch Dream Team Marketplace with Vetted Collaborators

blurb_1DIY self-publishing services provider Blurb has launched a marketplace to help authors find creative publishing professionals. The new marketplace is called Dream Team, free to access, and will introduce authors to a list of vetted professionals which were handpicked by publishing industry veterans Richard Nash and Molly Barton. Initially the marketplace will feature collaborators focussed on publication creation, but will later expand to include the business side of publication (marketing and promotion).

From the press release:

Blurb is also inviting prospective collaborators to apply for inclusion in the marketplace.

London, — 7 November, 2014 — Blurb, the independent book and magazine publishing platform, today announces 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. 

Dream Team is designed to introduce professionals to authors and businesses allowing them to easily identify and assemble a handpicked team of collaborators to help them complete their projects to a higher standard–driving more demand and promotional opportunities and ultimately increasing sales and revenue for Blurb authors. Businesses of all sizes will be able to more easily produce branded books and magazines that help meet critical deadlines and are highly professional. 

“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. Having access to the right publishing talent is one advantage that traditional publishers have previously held over self-publishing platforms but we feel strongly that hiring an editor or a designer is a deeply personal thing. That’s what the new Dream Team will offer, easy access to the right talent for you. 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 for those in the B2B space who wish to publish magazines, books, and ebooks for business development, fundraising, advertising and promotion, sales support, gifts, and more. Dream Team will 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 was 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 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 has tapped publishing industry veterans Richard Nash and Molly Barton to handpick and vet the initial 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.  Richard Nash is VP of Community and Content of Small Demons, founder of Cursor, and Publisher of Red Lemonade. For most of the past decade, he ran the iconic indie Soft Skull Press for which work he was awarded the Association of American Publishers’ Miriam Bass Award for Creativity in Independent Publishing in 2005. Molly Barton is a consultant who previously served as Global Digital Director for Penguin, where she envisioned and launched cutting edge digital products – everything from an API for the Penguin Classics, mobile apps including a poetry memorization game that has been downloaded 500,000 times, to a disruptive community-curated publishing platform, Book Country.  

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 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 – offering new job opportunities for all those whose skills can be applied to publishing. 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. 

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