Blog Blazers

Just over a year ago, Stephane Grenier emailed me asking if I'd be willing to answer a few questions on my success as a blogger for a book he was putting together. That book turned into Blog Blazers, a collection of interviews with bloggers from across various industries.

Although the questions asked are the same for each blogger, it's interesting to see the similarities of how each person has achieved success with their blog. It features interviews with Seth Godin, Jeff Atwood (Coding Horror), Dan Lyons (Fake Steve Jobs) and Dave Seah (who's writing I've enjoyed since he joined 9rules) — along with another 35 bloggers who share their stories.

Stephane, as it turns out, lives just a few streets from me. Although we knew we lived in the same city, we didn't realize how close we were to each other until after the book was done. I actually ran into his wife at a birthday party my son attended. At the party, she approached me (since she recognized me from the book) and I learned some more backstory that I found quite fascinating.

Blog Blazers was independently published, put together front to back with Stephane's own money. This is much different than the books I wrote, where there is a team involved in publishing and distributing the book. Stephane did it old school. He even got George Foster to do the cover design. Foster did a few of the Chicken Soup for the Soul covers and has a career doing just that: book cover designs. I'm surprised and maybe a little amazed that you can have a career just designing book covers. I found this a fascinating facet of the story his self-publishing.

Stephane Grenier should definitely talk more on his experience of self-publishing, especially as an extension of those looking to self-publish via ebooks. And what better way to do it than to blog about it …?

Published February 14, 2009 · Updated February 14, 2009
Categorized as Other
Short URL: https://snook.ca/s/929

Conversation

11 Comments · RSS feed
RH said on February 14, 2009

I didn't know about the "Blog Blazers: 40 Top Bloggers Share Their Secrets." Looking at the page I will look at the bundle as well, it is time for me for reading a new book anyway ... I hope it'll also mention, at least some info on this matter, if it's advised to leave comment avatars/gravatars (the code within html which shows the avatar images) in blog comments or not; as it seems that many blogs which don't show avatars have higher PR and also keep PR on old posts deep in the site.

Chris Wallace said on February 16, 2009

There are also quite a few self-publish sites out there that do print-on-demand as well as marketing your book.

Check out lulu.com, u-publish.com, and xlibris.com.

Of course it's going to cost some money to do it, but it still costs to fully self-publish as well.

Stephane Grenier said on February 16, 2009

If you're interested in some more back story, and to answer Chris's comment, I did look into POD initially but decided against it. I even wrote a full post on my decision at: http://www.followsteph.com/2008/08/27/book-update/

Of course since I wrote that post things have changed considerably. In it I wrote that it cost at least $15,000, well it was much more than that. Not a percentage more, but multiples more (enough to buy a brand new Lexus or BMW). And in terms of time, it was over 2000 hours. And this also doesn't include any money for marketing (or time). So it's a big endeavour.

As for George, he's really good at what he does. I would recommend him any day. There's a reason why he can make a living designing book covers ;)

Kyle Neath said on February 16, 2009

Wow, I was just cleaning my room and found a copy of this book in one of my bags. Wonder where I got it from...

I guess I'll have to sit down and read this thing.

Design Portfolio said on February 18, 2009

Where can this one can be bought? I was looking in few mine foreign bookstores and nobody really heard about it. I told them to ask at their supplyiers but there was also no success. Any clue for people in Europe?

Michiel Van Kets said on February 22, 2009

sorry for being skeptical; do you get a % of the profit?
if not; you got screwed, if so ... how do we know it's indeed any good, as your judgment about it is no longer independent?

no pun intended, but whenever there's a book out going like: the secrets, how they got rich and all that kind of talk; I just think: crap!

although it's intriguing of course; 40 successful bloggers and of course the same questions for each; I like that, it puts everything in perspective ... but those kind of hard selling titles are putting me off, makes me think it's just another rip off book.

Jonathan Snook said on February 22, 2009

@Michiel Van Kets: I don't get a percentage of the profits but considering my level of effort vs the author, I don't in any way feel that I got screwed.

In any case, the way to find out if anything is good is to try it for yourself. In fact, if you reread the post, you'll notice that I've left my opinion of the book itself almost entirely out. Separate from that, having a slew of people saying "best book evar" still gives you no guarantee that you'll enjoy the book. (In fact, your expectations are likely to be set so high, that they'll fail to be met.)

Here's the thing: try not to think too hard about conspiracy theories. This is just a book that a guy, Stephane, put a lot of his time and money to make happen. If you think you can learn something from it (and is worth the $17) then by all means, buy it. Otherwise, it seems hardly worth the effort to complain about it — especially if you have no intention of even checking it out.

Tina said on February 28, 2009

I haven't heard of the book before reading your post about it. I'll have to look for it! It sounds interesting.

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Dape said on March 18, 2009

Blogging is one way we communicate with each other for one reason or another. The book that you mentioned looks quite interesting because as you say it gives various accounts from different people on there experience of blogging. I Recently bought a book called 'Blogger' a guide to Blogging. The book basically gave a basic guide on how to make money from blogging via third party advertising. To be quite 'frank' or 'David' in my case it was the most boring book I have ever read.in my life. Then it dawned on me the Authors sub title 'make money from blogging'. Yes I thought, you certainly made some money out of me Blogger, or should it be called blagger, thanks for the experience.

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