The Secret Ingredient for Self-Publishing Success

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Linda Spiker has her finger in quite a few pies – literally. She’s a mother, grandmother to one, yoga instructor, blogger, chef and owner of an organic cooking school and online organic kitchen store. She’s also a published author with two beautiful Blurb cookbooks with accompanying ebook versions of each.

Linda kindly took a few minutes to talk with us about what led her to Blurb and the unintended success of both her cookbooks and ebooks. Take a moment and hear from someone whose self-publishing journey has led to some pretty great places.

Here goes:

Blurb: What was your objective behind publishing your cookbooks via print on demand? Was it to promote your cooking school and build your fan base?

Linda: It’s going to sound strange but the objective behind my books was to reduce business! Unusual, I know.

I own and operate my own organic cooking school and online store. Teaching classes is kind of a three-ring circus between prepping and cooking a four-course meal and then sitting down with the students and enjoying a great feast. It’s fun and my classes were becoming very popular but quite frankly, I couldn’t keep up with demand.

I thought that by putting my menus and recipes – as taught – into a cookbook and ebook, I might be able to slow down on teaching classes as people could just buy the books instead booking a class.

Blurb: How did that work for you?

Linda: Not so well, the book actually boosted business. So I’m busier than ever!

Blurb: Not a bad problem to have! Can you tell us how you came to Blurb?

Linda: A friend recommended Blurb. I checked out other services and actually spoke to customer support teams at a few other self-publishing companies but

I chose Blurb because my book is basically a photo book – cooks buy cookbooks for the photos of the amazing food as much as for the recipes. And no one does photo books better than Blurb.

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Blurb: We’re blushing – thanks. You published with our Volume Discounts program. How did you find out about it?

Linda: Easy. I found it on the Blurb site and since I was doing larger print runs of 250+ books, I qualified for custom account management. I worked with a great account manager who talked me through pricing questions and acted as my liaison with customer support on design or ebook questions. I also qualified for volume discounts, enabling me to make more of a profit from each sale.

Blurb: You’ve done two cookbooks with Blurb and both are gorgeous. Can you tell us how you managed the photography?

Linda: I worked with Christine Olson, a local photographer.

It’s worth it to invest in good photography for a cookbook, but it’s also worth it to make sure the printing of your book is equally good. Blurb has that down.

Blurb: How do you market your books?

Linda: I market them on my website, my Facebook page and through my blog – all of which can be found at www.theorganickitchen.org.

Blurb: You also have video tutorials. How do you use those in marketing?

Linda: Yes, those videos are on my site. Down the line, I want to make an enhanced ebook and incorporate those videos into a new cookbook.

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Blurb: What about Pinterest? Do you use that?

Linda: I post photos and recipes. You can follow me on Pinterest at the Organic Kitchen. The photos all link back to my site, which also features my book, so great cross-marketing.

Blurb: About how much time do you spend a day or week doing social media marketing?

Linda: I try to do one or two Facebook posts a day – some are recipes, others are just healthy eating tips. I also write weekly (or more) blog posts. Again, some involve recipes and I might add something like, if you enjoyed this recipe, check out these similar ones in my book…At the moment, I’m trying to figure out how to monetize my blog and I’m looking into Blurb’s affiliate program.

Blurb: How about your ebooks? How’s that going?

Linda: Great.

The ebooks have been a great adjunct to my books. Every time I sell one it’s just gravy. There are no upfront costs on my part – no printing, just click and it’s sold. It’s like free money for work already done.

Blurb: Any plans for your books in the future

Linda: Well, a traditional publisher recently saw my books and offered me a publishing deal. I’m now going to be in their spring 2014 line. I’d actually emailed this publisher before and they weren’t interested but once they saw my beautiful Blurb book, they changed their minds. I have no doubt that it was the high quality, beautiful printing and high-end production of the book that made it happen (not to mention that great recipes and my charisma : )

Blurb: We couldn’t agree more. Thanks, Linda. Here’s to you and your great books!

 

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