wiliamhoard's Posts

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Where did "Hire an Expert" go?
BlurbNation Member Forum

Hello BlurbNation:

As you know by now Blurb redesigned their site and dropped off the link to our directory. Several of us have been in touch with Blurb help desk to get it re-opened, with mixed results. But yesterday I received a response to my latest plea that is hopeful. I believe they will respond favorably if they hear from enough of us. The time to act is NOW.

Posted by
wiliamhoard
Nov 26, 2013 10:28am PDT
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wiliamhoard
 
Where did "Hire an Expert" go?
BlurbNation Member Forum

I just noticed that, with the latest web site redesign, the link to “Hire an Expert” is all but impossible to find. I’m hoping this is a simple oversight, and easy to remedy. If not, it will be interesting for you (Blurb) to watch for a change in volume, even as we go into the busy season.

Because most books designed by us Blurbnationals are uploaded to our clients’ own Blurb page, you have no way of knowing how many books are recaptured from people unable or unwilling to design their own books, and who have turned to all of us for help.

Until now this has been a win win win. I strongly recommend continuing to support the program, even with nothing more than an easy-to-find link to the directory.

Posted by
wiliamhoard
Oct 23, 2013 11:52am PDT
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wiliamhoard
 
Is your book business profitable?
BlurbNation Member Forum

Mark, for my business, the Blurb directory has generated enough work to give me much needed experience, and a modicum of credibility. But the typical Blurb ‘spillovers’ into the directory where they find us do not have the scale of intent to make it profitable for most of us.

We all know first hand how fragile the directory is, and we need to take steps to leverage off of it. I am constantly looking for new ways to market the skills I have developed here. I feel we need to attract deeper pockets with sustained business relationships elsewhere.

Having said that, I am OPEN for ideas. Everyone? Anyone?

Posted by
wiliamhoard
Mar 31, 2012 5:17pm PDT
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wiliamhoard
 
Blurbnation "Experts' - the future
BlurbNation Member Forum

I am in full agreement with you Joe.

Kathy, I think we would all be happy just to see you keep the directory running, even if you have to suspend any form of quarterly reimbursement. You might even consider shutting it down temporarily, and restarting with a new simplified program, perhaps with more stringent qualifications for designers, and with a limited number of ‘spaces’ available, to keep your data management costs down. This would also eliminate all those tedious complaints from the lower 80% who never see a single request thru the directory.

In any case, closer communication with those of us whose revenue is largely derived from the directory will no doubt result in a win win win.

Posted by
wiliamhoard
Aug 4, 2011 4:12pm PDT
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wiliamhoard
 
After the directory is gone - what's next
BlurbNation Member Forum

Please join CWN’s (Christine) Facebook group at
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_199356700110112
It may be very important that we stay in touch with each other moving forward.

So many of us have depended on the directory for a significant revenue stream for our businesses. As a group we may have a surprising amount of clout elsewhere.

I believe it is time to think outside the box. Let’s look for and discuss every conceivable option. Mark Sequoia has already officially signed off. Please everyone, let’s stay in touch off-line…

Posted by
wiliamhoard
Jul 12, 2011 5:17pm PDT
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wiliamhoard
 
Will miss you
BlurbNation Member Forum

It is probably too late for this now, but I’m wondering; if maintenance cost is the reason for shutting down, why yo don’t just start charging us an annual maintenance fee, to be in the directory? This would at least minimize your overhead while eliminating many not-so-serious members, thus creating more projects for those who remain. You could also charge a one-time registration fee for new members to the list, with the same benefits.

If the alternative is to lose the directory, I would gladly pay a reasonable annual fee to sustain the program. What do the rest of you think?

Posted by
wiliamhoard
Jul 5, 2011 3:04pm PDT
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wiliamhoard
 
Will miss you
BlurbNation Member Forum

Kathy,
As a last resort, is there a possibility that we can work as a group to communicate with CrowdSpring to explore solutions to the issues involved with this transition? Even a survey or questionnaire from you or them to gain some understanding of how we tend to interface with our clients, to bring them in. Clearly, expecting our typical client to formulate so many details on their own, and expecting us to create a collection of concepts based on their input, without the ability to communicate directly with them, does not seem even remotely workable. Perhaps this would fly with professional book publishers who know all about getting a book produced, but, of course, those pros do not need us!
Your thoughts?

Posted by
wiliamhoard
Jul 1, 2011 6:39pm PDT
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wiliamhoard
 
FACEBOOK Group for BlurbNation Designers
BlurbNation Member Forum

Christine, I’ve just signed up too.
Thanks for setting this up!
I’m also on LinkedIn…

Posted by
wiliamhoard
Jun 29, 2011 5:16pm PDT
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wiliamhoard
 
Will miss you
BlurbNation Member Forum

I’ve just spent some time looking at how CrowdSpring works, and it is definitely a VERY poor fit for our customers, the services we provide and the product we help Blurb to produce. Several people mentioned the issue of expecting our clients to figure out so many details to even get their potential project listed, including setting a reasonable price. These are the things we actually bring to our clients to get them to sign on with us and to keep them at Blurb. Once they understand what it really takes to get them the book they’re dreaming of, they are always willing to pay much more than their initial ‘guesstimate.’ I do not sell my services by being so cheap I am forced to turn out slop. I get excited about a prospect’s idea for a project, and begin educating, informing, strategizing, scheduling right away; becoming their partner in the process. I’m sure most of you operate the same way.

In CrowdSpring we’ll be giving our ideas to the lowest bidder, wasting hours and hours with no hope of any actual return.

I agree with everyone who is pleading for you to just keep the Hire an Expert directory running, even on autopilot if necessary. Do what you need to do to save your precious dollars, but shutting it down will have disastrous results for all of us, and most importantly, for Blurb as well.

If we all end up migrating to your competition, you will no doubt loose many thousands of orders every year. Easy enough for you to run the numbers to confirm this. If you think hundreds of new ‘designers,’ unfamiliar with the Blurb workflows, stressed out by having underbid their work, are going to be less trouble than we are, well good luck. You will see quality issues spike off the chart.
Sadly signing off,
William

Posted by
wiliamhoard
Jun 29, 2011 4:42pm PDT
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wiliamhoard
 
Shipping Commendation
BlurbNation Member Forum

Joe you are not alone in appreciating the incredible service we are now getting from Blurb’s printers. And now that the busy season is over, it is even better. In the last two weeks I have ordered books on (both) Sunday nights and they have arrived on the following Thursdays!! I shall try not to expect this every time…but I’m getting a little spoiled.

Posted by
wiliamhoard
Jan 13, 2011 6:57pm PDT
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wiliamhoard
 
The future of BlurbNation....
BlurbNation Member Forum

Great questions Tony. It is clear to me that Blurb would profit greatly from adding support to the marketing of the BlurbNation folks. With posting the directory and making it fairly easy to find (but without ANY marketing support) we have generated over 2,500 individual titles, just off the first three pages on this 25 page directory! Who knows how many actual Books this generated, considering the frequency of multiple copies?

If Blurb separated the directory into pre-search specific categories, thus creating a series of sub-directories to bring more designers to the top, and followed your suggestions to support the thing, we would all benefit greatly, most of all Blurb.

Your thoughts Amanda?

Posted by
wiliamhoard
Nov 5, 2010 7:47pm PDT
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wiliamhoard
 
Your dream client
BlurbNation Member Forum

Image size is an ongoing issue with bloggers, of course. I’d suggest reminding them to keep an organized file of high res. images of every pic they post – especially if they think there might ever be a chance of going to print. BTW, I have referred a couple of prospects to you recently, since I know you are our blog-to-book specialist. Hope they converted to books for you!

Posted by
wiliamhoard
Sep 8, 2010 7:02pm PDT
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wiliamhoard
 
Need Beta Testers!
BlurbNation Member Forum

Sounds like fun to me too! I just filled out the Gizmoform.

Posted by
wiliamhoard
Aug 6, 2010 4:41pm PDT
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wiliamhoard
 
More on the Designers Directory
BlurbNation Member Forum

Actually I do agree with you Amanda regarding the quantity vs. quality issue, and with you Sandra that the world is big enough for us all. The feature page is a nice way to expose prospects to the range of services available, and that’s a good thing for all of us and for our clients.

But it becomes counter-productive if it remains unchanged for months on end, always listing the same folks that the prospect will see on the next page anyway.

I don’t envy you Amanda for having to deal with deciding the ‘quality’ of designers based on such limited information. But any attempt at creating a more dynamic and interactive ‘feature page’ will be an improvement at this point.

As many have stated here, this directory is no guarantee (nor should it be) of any significant amount of business, no matter where you appear in the list. The primary marketing strategy for all of us is up to us. We all do need to sell ourselves in every way possible. I have been told by some contacts via the Blurb directory that they sent out up to ten inquiries before deciding on a designer.

We all need to specialize enough to differentiate ourselves, so we can attract some business without settling for minimum wage. This is a fun gig, and I often work for less than I should, but I really don’t want to spend my time competing with the rest of you. Sandra has it right. There is room for all of us. We just need to find our niche!

Posted by
wiliamhoard
Mar 23, 2010 6:30pm PDT
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wiliamhoard
 
More on the Designers Directory
BlurbNation Member Forum

I just looked through our entire list, to see if there might be a logical approach to this numerically. My goodness! 192 designers is a lot of folks to try to feature! Perhaps it is not realistic for a designer with only 6 or 8 books under his/her belt to expect to get much (any?) business from this directory. It also might look kinda silly for Blurb to feature a designer who is obviously not really committed to the process.

At the moment 112 people out of 192 have done ten books or less with Blurb.

Eleven pages might be a good breaking point. Amanda would rotate everyone with over ten books through the Home Page, a few at a time until the re-design happens. This rewards those who deserve the help and encourages those with less books to get a few more on their list. There are about 30 designers within 2 books of qualifying for this standard.

Your thoughts Amanda? Everyone?

WH

Posted by
wiliamhoard
Mar 1, 2010 1:42pm PDT
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wiliamhoard
 
More on the Designers Directory
BlurbNation Member Forum

Amanda, I know you are working towards many revisions to the web site all at the same time, including refining the directory. And we have discussed several good ideas concerning the directory already. I heard a startling statistic recently:

Only one percent of search engine users click thru to the third page.

If this is true, I suggest we get as many of us as possible on those first two pages, to help us, and to give our (your) customers a broader range of options before they give up. I just noticed that the information about each of us rarely fills the allotted space. True, our pictures / logos are nice and big, but if they were 25% smaller, along with the vertical space allowed for each ‘ad’ and if the list were extended to 15 or 20 per page (instead of the current 10), 2 or 3 times as many bookmakers would be getting some business.

Your thoughts?

Posted by
wiliamhoard
Feb 24, 2010 6:08pm PDT
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wiliamhoard
 
Evangelist kits?
BlurbNation Member Forum

Great ideas Amanda,

And as Andy said, never hesitate to keep the dialogue going. We all appreciate you taking charge of this.

I tried to come up with a brochure to send out for quite awhile, until it occurred to me that, at least for prospects wanting several copies, or those likely to spend quite a bit on design, sending them an example book was the way to go. So I designed a “book about books” which I then personalize just for the prospect – with their name on the cover and in the text. You can see the generic version at http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/996506

This has proven to be very effective, as it shows off the quality of the books and the viability of personalization at the same time.

But over time I have spent a lot of money paying full price for these not-for-sale super cool brochures. It would be great to have a mechanism whereby we could get a deep discount for this kind of marketing tool. I’d make more of them, and get more clients, if I could afford to do more.

Along the same lines, I would love to get a discount on books that are just proof copies. I’d even take an unbound copy so at least I could adjust my images for those pesky Indigos!

William

Posted by
wiliamhoard
Feb 11, 2010 7:53pm PDT
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wiliamhoard
 
Newest member of the Blurb team: Me!
BlurbNation Member Forum

Oh my god Barbara. I am embarrassed. You are so right about Gutenberg!
Thanks for the great info… I guess he was the Bill Gates or Steve Jobs of his day.

Thanks,
William

Posted by
wiliamhoard
Feb 1, 2010 8:22pm PDT
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wiliamhoard
 
Public Bookstore
BlurbNation Member Forum

I’ve been expecting Blurb to update the logo with pokadots any day now…

Posted by
wiliamhoard
Jan 27, 2010 5:37pm PDT
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wiliamhoard
 
One. Big. Idea.
BlurbNation Member Forum

Great question Amanda.

My answer is SALES. Sales of my services, and sales of my books, and sales of my client’s books.

Could we upload a text version of our books so they’d be searchable by Google? Are the keywords we enter in our book descriptions even searchable by Google? I know we’re talking about a LOT of books here, but I rarely find any of my content on Blurb thru Google, but find my own web sites easily and often.

Posted by
wiliamhoard
Jan 27, 2010 5:35pm PDT
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wiliamhoard
 
Newest member of the Blurb team: Me!
BlurbNation Member Forum

Hello Barbara,

I have always admired your logo. (Maybe because I’m a New Yorker Mag. fan).
Yes – there is no better feeling than the praises of a really happy customer! Makes me work hard too.
Just a nit picky FYI – Gutenberg invented no machines. But he did invent moveable type, which meant that us really old guys started out in this business setting type by hand with a composing stick.
Thank god for the digital age!

Posted by
wiliamhoard
Jan 26, 2010 7:29pm PDT
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wiliamhoard
 
Public Bookstore
BlurbNation Member Forum

I figured as much Amanda. Be sure to wear your cyan pokadot dress!

Posted by
wiliamhoard
Jan 25, 2010 8:31pm PDT
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wiliamhoard
 
Public Bookstore
BlurbNation Member Forum

Furthermore with this linkage in place, I’ll bet Blurb will be pleasantly surprised to see how much business comes thru us to them. Now there is no way for Blurb to know how many books would just not have happened any other way. Who knows, this might inspire Blurb to encourage us to attract even more business for them, by offering an incentive program; discounts on future purchases, or perhaps even a modest commission payment process. Sounds like a Three Way Win!!

Posted by
wiliamhoard
Jan 25, 2010 11:09am PDT
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wiliamhoard
 
Frustrated with inquries
BlurbNation Member Forum

Hi CWN,

Interesting that these people are CALLING you, huh? I have converted some of those similar phone calls into projects, because I’ll actually talk on the phone with them. Since Blurb doesn’t believe in phones, the phoner-types just call us, because they are so desperate for a real-time conversation.
I’m not necessarily suggesting that Blurb install a phone bank either. I actually have picked up some business this way!

William

Posted by
wiliamhoard
Jan 22, 2010 6:15pm PDT
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wiliamhoard
 
Newest member of the Blurb team: Me!
BlurbNation Member Forum

Hi Amanda – We’ve been corresponding via email, but i just wanted to weigh in here as well.
Again, welcome to the world of Blurb! As Sally just said, we really are lucky to be doing this. It is just a wonderful experience to help others realize their dream of making a special and unique book. I’ve been making books with Blurb for a couple of years and have just decided to go at it full time.

As we all know, as great as the designer directory is, we all have to do our own marketing and new business development, so I’m taking time to ramp that up now. As for the Facebook question, I tend to agree with Heather and Sally. I like the more personal and semi-private space inside our BlurbNation. If we were going to another site as well, I’d prefer LinkedIn, as I already use it for business networking.

I look forward to seeing you here in Seattle next month Amanda. Just let me know when you’ll be here…

Cheers,
William

Posted by
wiliamhoard
Jan 22, 2010 11:33am PDT
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