In episode 424, Matt Briel teaches us several ways to use a book as a growth tool for your business and how to go from idea to published author.
We cover information about the value of publishing for credibility and more visibility for your brand, discuss the advantages of being a published author, how you can add this additional income stream to your brand, and finally, the best way to create a physical touchpoint for your digital fans is through publishing.
Write Blog Posts that Rank on Google’s 1st Page
RankIQ is an AI-powered SEO tool built just for bloggers. It tells you what to put inside your post and title, so you can write perfectly optimized content in half the time. RankIQ contains a hand-picked library with the lowest competition, high traffic keywords for every niche.
Bio Commonly described as equal parts loud music, Disney culture, tattoos, and book nerd, Matt Briel is an entrepreneur and the Vice President of Marketing & Communications at Lulu.com. After more than 15 years leading Sales and Marketing teams in the Media & Publishing spaces, he’s developed a unique passion for helping creators become more successful by leveraging books as a catalyst for opportunities and sustainable revenue.
- Publishing a book gives you increased visibility for your brand.
- Earn credibility and authority for your niche/topic.
- The book is the new business card.
- Books give you another income stream
- There’s a physical touchpoint for digital fans with a published book
- When working with Lulu, you keep your customer data as you grow your business and revenue streams.
Click for full script.
EBT424 – Matt Briel
Intro: Food bloggers. Hi, how are you today? Thank you so much for tuning in to the EAT Blog Talk podcast. This is the place for food bloggers to get information and inspiration to accelerate their blog’s growth and ultimately help them to achieve their freedom, whether that’s financial, personal, or professional.
I’m Megan Porta, and I’ve been a food blogger for over 12 years. I understand how isolating food blogging can be at times. I’m on a mission to motivate, inspire, and most importantly, let each and every food blogger, including you, know that you are heard and supported.
Have you ever considered self-publishing a book or a cookbook? If so, and even if you haven’t, you’ve got to listen to this episode because if you haven’t, you’ll be convinced by the end that this is a project you should dive into. Matt Briel from Lulu joins me in this episode and he talks about how books are a great way to build your brand. Not only can they provide an extra way for people to consume your content, but they can also provide you with more business opportunities, which we’ll get into inside the episode. Toward the end of the episode, he digs more into what Lulu is and what Lulu Direct is, and how food bloggers can utilize these tools to get cookbooks published really quickly and really easy, and in a way that you do not have half of your profits taken away from you. I know I was really excited at the end about completing a project like this, so hopefully you find this inspiring as well. Especially if you are looking to diversify your revenue and projects going into Q4 2023 and beyond. This is episode number 424, sponsored by RankIQ.
Sponsor: Food bloggers real quick. Want to hop in to tell you about an exciting opportunity for all of you travel lovers out there. A lot of you foodies are also big on exploring our country. If you plan on exploring New York City anytime soon, this might be a great opportunity for you. If part of your audience relates to travel, they could benefit from this as well. The New York City Borough Pass is the best way to experience the unique cultures and stories of New York City. This site-seeing Pass for sustainable cultural travel provides access to a diverse roster of attractions, tours, and performing arts venues in each of the five boroughs of New York City.
Like the Alice Austin House Museum, where you can explore the life of the L G B T Q Icon or the 250 acre New York Botanical Garden that houses over 1 million living plants or the city Reliquary Museum with its quirky and hyper-local New York City collections. The best part? Eat blog talk listeners, receive a 10% off of 1, 3, 7, and 90-day options with the code EATBLOGNYC so you can choose the perfect duration for your adventure in the city. What are you waiting for? Get your New York City Borough pass today and discover the beauty of the people and places that make New York City one of the world’s most vibrant and exciting destinations. Go to nycburroughpass.com to get yours now. NYC burrow pass.com. Use code. EATBLOGNYC.
Megan Porta: Commonly described as equal parts loud music, Disney culture, tattoos, and book nerd, Matt Brial is an entrepreneur and the Vice President of marketing and communications at lulu.com. After more than 15 years leading sales and marketing teams in the media and publishing spaces, he has developed a unique passion for helping creators become more successful by leveraging books as a catalyst for opportunities and sustainable revenue.
Matt, thank you so much for joining me. How are you today?
Matt Briel: I’m doing great. Thank you for having me, Megan.
Megan Porta: Good. We’re going to talk about publishing a book to grow your business and do many other things for your business, hopefully. But first we want to hear if you have a fun fact.
Matt Briel: Fun is probably a different definition for everybody. But a fun fact about me is that I love the actual process of starting a business and creating something. So the physical and creative act of starting a business from beginning, ideation, genesis, however you wanna refer to it, to me that is the most exciting thing in the world to start a business and create something and then, all the things that transpire after that, I lose a little bit of my love there. But I just love being involved in starting things, starting businesses, and creative projects and endeavors. So I created my first company or business when I was in high school. It was a skateboard company. I didn’t necessarily work regular jobs. Sometimes I did. I had my own skateboard company that my father helped me with. My father was an entrepreneur, so that helped. I’ve had lots of other businesses along the way. Then the same for my kids. They’re all creative, so I’m really lucky. They all paint and draw and do fun things. But I just love the process of creating and starting businesses.
Megan Porta: So I have a son who’s 13. I can see he has that entrepreneurial gene, that spirit. So I encourage him, but I don’t wanna push it because then I feel like he’s just going to have a block to it. No, I’m not going to do it because you tell me to. So I’m trying to ride that balance between encouraging and pushing. Do you know what I mean? It’s really hard.
Matt Briel: Yeah. So I have twins that are turning 13 next month actually. They’re both, again, very creative, in painting. Their big thing right now, which is really fun, is they’re really into graffiti. They’re very good at it. So my garage obviously is covered in graffiti.
Megan Porta: Oh, that’s awesome.
Matt Briel: But the way that I get around some of what you just said with them in general, but also with that is that I try to just show them the benefits or the results of it. They’re at that age where they really want money or they want new shoes. So it’s less pushing them to be entrepreneurial and do the things that you should do as an entrepreneur and more about hey, these are the benefits or the results if have fun doing this. I think that’s really helped. Because you’re right. I always thought that I would be the cool dad because of being covered in tattoos and things like that and that they would want to do whatever I wanted them to do, but it’s the exact opposite. You’re right. So you can’t push too hard.
Megan Porta: My son is so strong-willed, so I literally can’t say anything that he’ll agree with. I could say, let’s go to Disney World tomorrow, and he’d be the total opposite. So we have to play mind games with him a little bit.
Matt Briel: I will go to Disney World tomorrow with you. Anytime.
Megan Porta: Alright, sweet. Hopping on a plane. Okay, so Matt, I hope I get this right, but you’re the vice president of marketing and communications at Lulu, correct?
Matt Briel: On a good day, yes.
Megan Porta: On a good day. Okay. So we’re going to get into what Lulu is in a little bit, but first, let’s talk about books in general and how they can help to build food bloggers businesses, really. So what would you say, how are books a great way to build a brand? Because we all have these brands.
Matt Briel: Yeah, absolutely. This is my favorite topic, so this is an easy one. It’s actually a pretty long list, but I’ll just stick to a couple of the most beneficial ones and the ones I think your audience will benefit from. There are several things that a book can do for you. Increasing the visibility of your brand, that’s an easy one. Having a book out there with your name or your brand name on it that’s a pretty obvious one. But what a lot of people don’t think about is the amount of credibility and authority that brings to you and your brand. Having literally written or wrote the book on that particular subject or genre. I think a lot of people have already heard it a lot, but books are the new business card a thing that gets thrown around a lot these days on LinkedIn and some other places. But it’s true. Having a book is much better than handing somebody a business card or saying, Hey, I’m good at this, or I do this, or you should follow me because of this. If you’ve literally got a book in your hand that you wrote, that’s a much better intro or segue. Books are really great for, especially in the arena of food blogging and some of the other blogging verticals, for monetizing your content. For a lot of people who have not tackled that yet, it’s one of the easiest ways to monetize your content. You’ve already got written content as a blogger, so it’s a really easy transition. Many others struggle with how to productize what they’re doing. They don’t know how to make a product out of what they’re doing. They might have a really great blog and a newsletter subscriber list of however many people, but no tangible product yet. They’re struggling to figure that out so books are also a great way to do that. Then one of the really great things too for food bloggers specifically is books create that physical touchpoint for all of your digital fans. So you have people that you are connected with digitally through your blog and a lot of your other efforts, and if you’re lucky, you get to see them at events or conferences, but creating that physical touchpoint for them, by way of a book, whether it’s a cookbook or something like that, is a great way to continue building your community around your content.
Megan Porta: I think all of those things are definitely points that food bloggers want to hear. Those are all things we want. We want increased visibility, and authority. Monetization, touchpoints. So yeah, it all sounds great, but I think a hangup in our space is a couple. So we have content on our blogs as you mentioned. A lot of people hesitate to take that content and turn it into a physical book. Do you know what I mean? They think that they’re duping people or being sneaky or something like that. What do you say about that?
Matt Briel: I think it’s not just in the genre of food blogging, but I can see where that might be a prevalent one. I don’t think there’s any real validity to that though, because you could actually apply that to a lot of other areas or just about any industry or genre. You’re going to have people who are out there trying to lead the charge and they do feel some of that, either imposter syndrome or just, again like you said, that idea you feel like you might be duping somebody. Nothing’s further from the truth there. Again, if you’re working hard to build a follower base or a group of fans and you have people that come consistently to read your blog or your newsletter, every time that we’ve seen somebody launch a product as a book, it’s been met with open arms from their community and they’ve never really had that we’ve seen or heard from, feedback comes back in the way of, oh, this is a sham or what are you doing? I could just access this on your blog, or I could get this from anywhere. It’s the number one way to really separate too, just the curious eyeballs from the people who really, truly want to support what you’re doing because they find what you’re doing is valuable for them.
I think some of that stems from a deeper place where a lot of creators and entrepreneurs do often feel this sort of imposter syndrome. I think that’s natural though, and I think that’s probably what’s pushing those other thoughts to the surface about maybe duping people. But in general, really we’re a world right now that really embraces individual creators. We’ve seen that now more than we ever have. I’ll share some statistics with you, now or later about, just food blogging content in general where you can see, clearly from 2020 on, the onset of Covid where people were home a lot and all these other things were happening where people really want to support individual creators.
Megan Porta: Yeah, that is so true. I think it’s mostly a mindset block that we individually have to get over because people do want to support us and they love our content. We just have to get past that. But it’s easier said than done, right?
Matt Briel: That’s true, yes.
Megan Porta: Yeah. I have a blogger friend who, I’m just gonna say her blog because I will probably reference her a few times, Monica from The Hidden Veggies, she’s amazing. But she actually uses Lulu on some level because she was creating these amazing eBooks for people. People were like I want a physical book. Mostly content from her blog. I think she does have some exclusive recipes, but yeah, it’s mostly just taken from her blog and transferred to the ebook. As an experiment, she started creating physical books and they do really well. She was shocked that she sells quite a few of them. So I think this is something to experiment with if you’re a content creator, really.
Matt Briel: Yeah. Again, back to what we were talking about earlier, yes, of course a lot of this content is gonna exist on your blog or your podcast or whatever your medium of choice is. For Food Blogger specifically, of course, somebody can go back and open their laptop or their phone and pull up your blog and then access that recipe or that article they remember that you posted six months ago. But all of that sounds complicated already coming out of my mouth. What if they could just pull your book off their shelf in their kitchen or their living room and flip right to that page? So forget about the support of indie creators or the other. From a sheer practicality sense, just having that immediate physical touchpoint and access to that information is valuable to a lot of people who are considered your fans.
Megan Porta: Yeah, that’s so true. People like having that physical thing in their hands to look at, especially when it comes to cookbooks, I think. So what are your thoughts about traditionally publishing a cookbook versus self-publishing?
Matt Briel: My thoughts will be mixed, obviously and clearly. Of course, the caveat here is that I work for a self-publishing company and I believe in it wholeheartedly. Traditional publishing in general, whether it’s for, the food genre, whether that’s health, wellness, nutrition, or cooking has generally not been that nice to those creators over the years. What I mean by that is we talk to people all the time and we know people who’ve had traditional book contracts for their cookbooks or their food-based or food parallel books. Typically what happens, Is what you get back from your publisher is not what you turned in to them, to put it bluntly. More times than not the cover’s completely different. A lot of the wording has changed. The formatting has changed. Some of the integrity of the work that you’ve created has obviously then changed. From a financial standpoint, it’s definitely not what it used to be. Even back in the hey days of publishing, cookbook creators and or food-related content creators, they didn’t get those huge advanced payouts like, fiction writers did, or other people. So these days, your advance is small. Probably won’t advance out of it. It is just not a very easy scenario for the average content creator to pursue. It’s really just an, I’d say, an unnecessary path these days.
Self-publishing sort of kicks down all those barriers to entry, but more importantly, it just gives you total control. That’s the biggest thing these days if you’re a content creator or a food blogger, you’re trying to build that audience and hopefully, you’re doing a good job of it. But when you hand that control over to somebody else, whether that’s creative control or control over your sales channels or any of those other aspects of your business, you’re basically taking a negative step. You’re going backward two steps from the work you’ve been doing to build that audience to sustain yourself long-term. I would push self-publishing over traditional publishing any day, and I’d love to have those conversations with people. But when you start doing the math and you start thinking about the long-term sustainability of what you’re doing, especially if your goals are to do this long-term, it’s not a good avenue to pursue.
Megan Porta: I know a lot of food bloggers who have self-published very successfully, sold so many copies, and as you said, they’ve had complete control over their content. Everything looks exactly the way they want it. So I don’t know what I have traditionally published. It was not my favorite experience in my lifetime. If I published again, it would definitely be self-publishing.
Matt Briel: I will say, there is an opportunity there with traditional publishing if your sole goal for that particular project is you just want to get your name out there in a way that you might not be able to do so quickly through your own methods.
Megan Porta: That’s a good thing.
Matt Briel: You’re offered a very appealing and lucrative contract and you’ve paid very close attention to the contracts and you retain most of the rights. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but those are few and far between these days. They really are. Again, most of what we hear from people who were traditionally published for cookbooks or books that were, again adjacent to the food space over the last 10 years have just basically been just shy of horror stories for the most part.
Megan Porta: Yeah, unfortunately. When you self-publish, you can go on your own timeline. You don’t have to adhere to someone else’s ridiculousness. My timeline was four months, with 75 unique recipes in four months. I’ve told this story on the podcast before, but that period of time for me was followed by this wave of depression. It was a horrible time in my life, so I associate publishing a book with horrible feelings.
Matt Briel: Oh, that’s terrible.
Megan Porta: I would like to rewrite that story someday.
Matt Briel: Yeah. Honestly, just that alone, hearing you say 75 unique recipes in such a short period of time. The first thing I think is burnout. That’s terrible. But I promise you, being able to go at your own pace and like you said, you retain all that creative control. It’s a much different experience. When you combine that with all of the technology that exists now for being able to sell direct, print on demand, even use artificial intelligence, use Chat GPT to help with certain things, man, it’s a completely different ballgame now.
Sponsor: Hey, food bloggers. Whether you are a foodie podcaster, or just a food blogger who doesn’t yet, have a podcast, you might be looking to spice up your social media account with unique and exciting content.
If you want that secret edge that makes you stand out in your niche, I might have the answer for you. Catarina from Creators Abroad can help you streamline your podcasting and or social media endeavors with audio editing, video editing, or social media strategies. She specializes in working with food bloggers, tailoring her content creation packages to their needs. Whether you want to explore something new, like creating a gripping podcast, or if you want to refresh your social media strategies by creating scroll-stopping video content for platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, she has got you covered. If this sounds intriguing, get in touch with Catarina.
Receive a 10% discount off your first purchase by using the code E B T 1 0 1. Offer lasts until September 1st, 2023. Go to eatblogtalk.com/resources to get more information about Catarina’s services. Again, eatblogtalk.com/resources and click on Catarina’s link. Now let’s get back to the episode.
Megan Porta: Don’t you think that having a book, especially for food bloggers, that’s filled with really awesome qual high-quality recipes and information, it’s a way to not just grow your blog, but I see it as a way to find other opportunities in your business. If you have a book, you touched on this earlier, people take you more seriously. So you might get speaking gigs or you can use it in other ways outside of just your blog growth.
Matt Briel: Yeah, 100%. Within this vertical of food blogging and outside of that, by the way, one of the biggest things we hear from people is that conferences and events and things are really big again, with travel opening back up. We were all just Tastemakers not too long ago. People really want to do that. They want to be able to do some speaking or give a session or be involved somehow. You really do need that extra piece of credibility, of validation. Above and beyond that though, having that book not only gives you those things and gives you that sort of leg up, to get your foot in the door, but in some cases, it’s required. So there are a lot of conferences and events where when they’re looking for speakers or when you’ve applied to be a speaker or a session holder if you don’t have a book, you won’t make it past the application level. It doesn’t matter these days if it’s traditionally published or self-published, but if you don’t have a book, you’re not gonna make it past the front door.
Megan Porta: That goes for podcast guesting as well. If you want a spot on some of the bigger podcasts. I think having a book is credibility there as well.
Matt Briel: Yeah, a hundred percent. It makes sense to a degree. We don’t like gatekeeping in general. There has to be some in some cases. If that’s the one and it is fairly easy these days to do it then, I can get on board with that a little bit.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Is there anything else you wanna touch on? I want to ask you a little bit about Lulu, but I wanna make sure that we’ve covered everything about just the general topic of publishing a book for food bloggers, which is a great business approach.
Matt Briel: Yeah, absolutely. Back to what you were saying a little bit earlier with regards to, this sort of feeling that publishing a book feels like I might be duping my fans or followers. Then some of the other things we were saying. This sort of genre, this vertical of food, blogging has experienced explosive growth over the last three years. That’s good and bad, mostly good. It should serve as a benchmark or not even a benchmark, I’d say a green flag being raised out there for all of your listeners and people who are food bloggers, that there is an appetite for this content. Especially in printed form.
Our numbers alone, from just from 2019 to 2020, the end of 2020, there was a 200% increase in the number of books that came through Lulu to be published that were labeled either cookbooks or food and nutrition-related books, which is massive. We’ve never seen a jump like that and sales numbers alone we’re very close to that. Then since that point, in 2020, over the last three years, we continually see 30 to 40% growth, year over year just for that category of book. This isn’t just hyperbole or people saying, yeah, you can do it, you can do it. These are legitimate metrics and statistics and that’s just for Lulu.
Imagine, if you didn’t use Lulu and you were using somebody else, that’s probably very similar. But the point is, the appetite is there for that content. It’s there. People want it. I think that by creating that physical touchpoint and using these types of tools and technology, it is easy to get your content out there and be a part of that marketplace.
Megan Porta: I love that diversifying revenue and projects is more important than ever with AI coming up and there are some concerns with, are we gonna lose traffic and blah, blah. I could go on and on about that. So I think that considering this as an avenue for just adding additional income to your business and an additional valuable product to be able to give to people, is so huge. So I think this is a really relevant topic and I love what you said about there’s an appetite for it. So knowing that, plus knowing that we should probably be diversifying, it’s a no-brainer.
Matt Briel: Absolutely.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Okay. I have some questions about Lulu. So would you mind just describing what Lulu is for my audience?
Matt Briel: Yeah, absolutely. So at our core, Lulu is a self-publishing company. We were started in 2002, and since then we’ve just continued to grow and innovate. But again, at our core, we are a self-publishing company. People use us to publish books on any number of topics, from fiction and poetry, all the way through to, manuals on how to fix certain types of automobiles or airplanes. We utilize print-on-demand technology, which means books are only printed as they’re ordered, so it’s a little bit better for the environment. We are a B Corp, which means we adhere to some of the strictest social and environmental standards that a business can be held to. We take that one very seriously. But again, at our core, we are a self-publishing company and most of the work we’ve been doing over the last five years has really been in the space to increase the availability of e-commerce tools and access for creators to be able to sell their content direct and cut out all of the third-party middlemen. Amazon and some of the other third-party retailers where you would normally just publish your book and put it up for sale.
Megan Porta: Okay. Lulu Express, I know it’s part of Lulu and that is turning into something else. Would you explain what that is?
Matt Briel: Yeah, so originally Lulu Express was a part of the business we created years ago as an initial test for something we’ve already delivered now. But it was just a way for people to very quickly, who didn’t necessarily want to publish the book out to the public in a retail market, maybe they just wanted to take their book, upload it, and order. 500 copies for themselves for an event or something like that. So Lulu Express, you’d literally go in and upload your files and then place an order for however many books you needed. So it was more about book printing vehicle versus publishing and distribution.
What we’ve done is we took Lulu Express, we wanted to take that concept and turn that into selling direct or having the ability to sell direct with the same sort of ease and convenience of Express. So Lulu Express has morphed into Lulu Direct. All that really means is that anybody that was using Lulu Express, by the end of this month, they’ll automatically be redirected to just log into a standard Lulu account. All of their files are already there. Nothing’s really changed. It’s gonna look primarily the same, but now they’ll also have access to all of the tools needed to sell direct, all of the tools needed if they wanted to sell on Amazon or some of those other marketplaces, which we can facilitate. So yeah, it just turned into Lulu Direct.
Megan Porta: Then for Lulu Direct, what integrations are there as far as getting sales?
Matt Briel: Yeah, so right now Lulu Direct offers plugins for Shopify, and WooCommerce, which covers all WordPress users. We will be pushing out integrations for Wix, Zapier, and a few other e-commerce platforms over the next six months. Then we also have a direct open-source print API. So for those that have a little bit of developer knowledge or access to a developer or are just very technically inclined, you can actually just take your existing website and connect to our print network directly using that print API. The benefits to using Lulu Director or API and how that works is basically what that means is every time somebody bought one of your books from you on your site, whether you’re using Shopify or WordPress or whatever, that order data just gets transmitted to us directly on the backend, and we print and ship that book out for you. You’re not doing the packing and the shipping or any of that. It’s all automated behind the scenes through us. The best part about this is we white-label all of that. So you can upload whatever you want your package data to say. So it could be coming from, Eat Blog Talk, not Lulu. That helps people continue to grow their brand and awareness of their brand so that their customers are receiving their cookbooks or whatever book it might be, from them, not from Lulu necessarily.
Megan Porta: Okay, so why would someone pick Lulu or Lulu Direct over Amazon?
Matt Briel: That’s a great question, and that’s the main one we get asked all the time. The number one answer for that, or the most valuable answer is that using Lulu Direct or just selling direct in general, but hopefully using Lulu Direct, you keep all of your customer data and that is the most important thing that you could possess as a brand owner, as an entrepreneur, as a creator, is that customer data. Because that’s how you’ll continue to grow and build your business and your revenue streams. When you use a third-party retailer like Amazon or anybody else for that matter, they keep all that customer data and that’s their real business.
So you might have already had a book on Amazon and sold whatever amount, let’s say 10,000 copies over the last few years. That’s great. Chances are you probably pushed most of the people to Amazon to buy the book. So it’s not like they generated a lot of traffic for you. On top of that, you have zero knowledge of who those 10,000 buyers are. None. So when your next book comes out, which hopefully it does, you don’t have that list of 10,000 buyers to go out to and remarket and say, hey, hopefully, you love my first one. I’ve got another one dropping soon. You don’t have any of that data. So the most valuable thing you gained by using Lulu Direct is your customer data. Secondarily, obviously, you keep all of your profits instead of splitting them with Amazon.
Megan Porta: I have no idea what the Amazon profit split is. Is it high for Amazon?
Matt Briel: It’s rough. I actually just made a post on LinkedIn the other day where I broke this down. Obviously, it’s caused a little bit of controversy with some people. There are a lot of people who really just think Amazon is the bee’s knees for them, and it might be, but chances are it’s not. So I’ll give you the same breakdown. If you had written a small cookbook, let’s say we’ll use the size that I used for the example, which is six by nine 100 pages, and you set the price at $15.99 for retail.
If you sell that book on Amazon at $15.99, what you’re going to walk away with after Amazon takes their distribution and manufacturing cuts, you’re going to walk away with $7.44 cents of that $15.99 and zero customer data. If you sell it directly to your customers using Lulu Direct, what you’re going to walk away with in profit is $11.19 cents and all of the customer data from that transaction. So you’re going to make about $5 more off the book. You’re going to keep that customer data so you can remarket to them and build that audience that you’re working to build. So their cut is not insignificant by any means. In that example, what Amazon walks away with is $6.40 cents in distribution fees, which I’m putting in air quotes, but you can’t see that. Then obviously the cost of manufacturing and shipping the book.
Megan Porta: Okay. From what I’ve heard, Lulu Express now, Lulu Direct is super easy to use as well. Do you hear that from your customers a lot?
Matt Briel: Most of the time I don’t want to get on here and just paint this too good to be true picture. It is obviously too good to be true in some cases. Mainly when it comes to book covers, right? The old adage can’t judge a book by its cover is completely false. So if you’re not design-oriented, you definitely want to get some help with that book cover. There can be a few little things where, again, uploading a book cover might be a little bit complicated if you’ve not created a cover before. Or if you’re just, again, not artistically inclined. Get a little bit of help with that. Things like that when it comes to making sure the interior file, so the inside of your book is formatted in a way that’s pleasing to your end user. Again, if you’re not design-oriented, you’re definitely going to want to get a little bit of help with that. The good news is, freelancers are everywhere and there are a lot of experienced freelancers out there with creating books and it’s not going to cost you an arm and a leg. So you very easily could spend a small amount of money and put out one of the most beautiful cookbooks on the planet, and it is relatively easy. Yes, the steps are a, it’s free, so we don’t charge any upfront fees. We get paid when the books print and sell. So that makes it easy out the gate. You’re not gonna pay a bunch of money upfront to us at all ever. Then it’s just a matter of uploading your files. You have two files, your interior, and your cover file. Once those are uploaded and passed through the system as approved, and everything looks good, you just order a proof copy. We encourage everybody to order a proof copy. I don’t care how good you are. You should never hit that publish button without having held the physical copy of your book. But again, you’re talking print on demand. Very inexpensive to order one copy of your book, get it in your hands, make sure you like it, and then if it’s all good, push that thing out to the general public and start singing the praises of it and hopefully those sales are coming in. But yeah, it’s pretty easy.
Megan Porta: I’m sold. My wheels are turning now. What can I create tomorrow?
Matt Briel: Everything.
Megan Porta: Yeah. What would you say to the question, this is too overwhelming. How do I even get started with something like this?
Matt Briel: Yeah. Again, I don’t wanna come on and paint a picture like this just snap your fingers and it’s done. It can be very overwhelming, especially again, for people who are still trying to tackle the idea of monetization or productization. This is all new and foreign and it can get overwhelming very quickly. But, we have a great team of people here who love to help and there’s a lot of work we don’t do here for you because we are a self-publishing company, but any of that work that we won’t do for you, we’ve already vetted some really great freelancers and people who can do it for you if you need it, but just the general logistics and mechanics of how to do this. We have a great team of people here that’ll sit on the phone or chat or via email with you, and help you get through it every step of the way until you’re comfortable with the final product.
Megan Porta: Is there anything else you wanna leave us with as far as just encouraging people to dig into a project like this or anything about Lulu?
Matt Briel: Yeah, I think, again, just people who are serious about this, and I know a lot of people start doing blogs or podcasts or things like that. It starts as a hobby or, a quote-unquote side hustle. But again, the appetite is real for this type of content. The sooner you tackle the monetization and business side of what you’re doing, if you want to do this long term, the better off you’re going to be. Making use of the tools that exist right now and not being afraid to just jump in and do it, that’s really how you’re gonna springboard. One of my favorite quotes, because I’m a Disney freak, is from Walt Disney. I love this quote and I try to live by it. He says the way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. Just jump in and do it and if you need help, reach out and find people to help you. There are groups, like you said, you’ve got a mastermind group. There are groups everywhere that deal with this type of activity. The platforms or technology that you find that you want to use along the way, more often than not have resources or can point you in the direction of resources. People are doing it. As you said earlier, people are making a lot of money doing it. More importantly, they’re adding a lot of value to their life and the way of freedom and flexibility and not being tied to a cubicle anymore. Or, having more time to spend with family or going on vacations and, again, you just got to jump in and do it. So I think that’s, probably the best advice I could give is don’t be afraid of it. Jump in and do it.
Megan Porta: You just closed all by yourself. I was going to ask you for a quote, but you just did that naturally. So thank you, Matt.
Matt Briel: Sorry.
Megan Porta: Saved me some work. No, that was amazing. That was an awesome way to end. So thank you for all of this. We really appreciate all the value you shared here today.
Matt Briel: Thanks for having me Megan. It was fun.
Megan Porta: Yeah, this was fun. We’ll put together show notes and we’ll put all of the information that we talked about today inside of those. You can go to eatblogtalk.com/lulu to find those. Can you tell everyone where to find you, Matt? Also, I was trying to find, as we were talking Lulu Direct and I wasn’t sure if where exactly to find that part of Lulu, but yeah, just explain all of that to us.
Matt Briel: Yeah, sure. So Lulu Direct is basically just a part of Lulu. So if you go to lulu.com, at the top, you’ll see a link that’ll say, sell on your site. So that’s what gets you to Lulu Direct, is when you want to sell on your own site. You can find me on LinkedIn. That’s where I’m at most of the time. I don’t spend a lot of time on Twitter, some of the others, but you can find me on LinkedIn under Matt Briel. Again, lulu.com is the main entry point. We do have a separate landing page set up for people who are specifically interested in using publishing to grow their business, and that is publishedforgrowth.com.
Megan Porta: Okay, awesome. Everyone go check it out. And thanks again, Matt, for being here. Thank you for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode.
Outro: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eat Blog Talk. If you enjoyed this episode, I’d be so grateful if you posted it to your social media feed and stories. I will see you next time.
💥 Join the free EBT community, where you will connect with food bloggers, gain confidence and clarity as a food blogger so you don’t feel so overwhelmed by ALL THE THINGS!
Want to achieve your goals faster than you ever thought possible? Stop by Eat Blog Talk to get the details on our Mastermind program. This transformative 12-month experience will help you accomplish more than you would be able to in 5+ years when forging ahead alone.
Click the button below to learn what a mastermind program is, what your commitment is and what Eat Blog Talk’s commitment to you is.
📩 Sign up for FLODESK, the email service provider with intuitive, gorgeous templates and a FLAT MONTHLY RATE (no more rate increases when you acquire subscribers!).