31 Days Blog to Biz / day 28 – An interview with an ebook author… and a gift for you.

Blogland is amazing. We are blessed to have so many inspiring women pave the way for those of us still attempting to strike out on our own.

And today, we are fortunate to have one of our own DIY bloggers help us tackle one of the most popular forms of publication these days, The Ebook.

With us today is Shaunna, from her blog, perfectly imperfect. Painting furniture was the focus of starting up Shaunna’s blog 2 years ago, which also allowed her to showcase her other passions: family, interior decorating, designing and writing. So it comes with no surprise that an ebook was in Shaunna’s future.

Shaunna desired to author her ebook, “Creating your Masterpiece” because she felt there needed to be a beautiful and creative guide for anyone to have the confidence and learn to paint their own furniture.

Thanks for coming over today Shaunna!


How long did the process take you from start to finish?

I began laying my ebook out (writing an outline, forming content, beginning to work on projects and photography) in October of 2010.  In January of 2011, I wrote the ebook and began working with my friend and graphic designer, Lauren Cochran.  The majority of the work was done in 2 months…but that was hard work!  It was published and available for purchase on March 1.  So, from early start to finish, 5 months.



What kept you motivated?

Writing, creating a haven for my family, & people are my passion.  I mean, TRUE passions.  I’ve wanted to write a book since I was a little girl, and honestly, writing my blog was an early extension of that dream.  Knowing my readers could have all the info they wanted on painting furniture (and creating art in doing so) and be able to refer back to that resource was a huge motivation for me.  I feel free to tackle projects in my own home, which has given me happiness,  a sense of ease, and saved us money;  I want that for all of my wonderful readers and those who stop by my blog. Listening to good music while writing didn’t hurt either.


How did you manage to create new blog material AND new ebook material at the same time? Daunting!!

Well, again, I would say I was writing about something that really spoke to me…and something I had already written a year’s worth of posts about.  Practically, I was able to use a lot of my previous content, editing and adding much more detail to it.  The area that took the most work was the photography.  Since much of the ebook contained painting furniture tutorials, I had to not only write the content, but take coordinating photos, edit them, and consider how it would all lay out on the “page.”  It’s all about balance, really.  One day I would focus all of my energy on the ebook, and the next time the sitter came, I was writing blog posts and editing those photos.



What program did you use to write your book, then ultimately publish it?

I used DNL reader to create an interactive version with turning pages and videos on the pages.  There are many programs out there, and I will probably give another a try in the future.  I also created a PDF version, which is great for anyone because it requires no additional software to download (or to create), and people are able to download the ebook to their iPads and digital readers.

Did you need to hire pro (or any)  help for any of the steps?
I wanted my ebook to feel like a real, live design book.  This meant I wanted lots of photos and visual interest–you’ll find tips circled all throughout the book, etc.  Reading a book on how to paint furniture has the potential to be BORING, so I not only wanted to write it creatively, but I wanted the page layouts to draw you in.  I did work with my talented friend and graphic designer, Lauren Cochran, to design the pages in Photoshop.  It was the BEST decision I made, and she is so gifted…I love the way she brought my words and photography to life.



Some are converting ebooks to accommodate hand held readers these days… did you?

By creating the PDF version, we handled that part…and I’m so glad we did!  I love  the idea of someone painting to their hearts content while flipping back to my ebook on their reader.  Super cool.



How many books have you sold thus far? (you don’t have to answer this if you don’t want to LOL!!) 

Over 2, 000 and counting. 😉



I have dreams of doing a series of them. Crazy huh? Would YOU do it again?

Totally!  I loved the whole process, save a little of the tech support…that’s not my area, but luckily, I have this amazing husband who’s become my partner on the blog–and he happily handled the bulk of that.  There’s one thing you can count on from me–I’m always sitting around, dreaming up new dreams and wanting to push myself creatively.  I can’t wait to nail down my next ebook! 🙂



Do you also have dreams (like me) of writing a paper type of book?

Oh, this is my earliest dream.  I have written half of a novel, only to let it fall to the side…but I know I’ll finish it one day.  Now I also have dreams of writing about what I do–creating a perfectly imperfect home and about embracing what creating beauty in our homes is all about.  So, yes!!  Many, many dreams of my first book sitting on a coffee table in my living room. 🙂


What would you want to say to a beginner (holding up hand!) who wants to start their own ebook?

Don’t write an ebook as simply a way to make money.  Authors are successful because they are genuine and they write about what makes them tick.  That genuineness comes through in their writing, and whether overnight or over a period of time, they are celebrated and praised for their willingness to create.  From a DIY/Home Decor blogger’s perspective, there are a million topics you could choose to write an ebook on–but only do that if you’re excited to write and share more with your readers and the online community.  Choose something you’re passionate about.  Have insight to offer and have your readers in mind…your ebook will then take on a life of its own, and you’ll be so blessed for having written it.



Anything else?

Thanks so much for having me, Donna!  I feel quite giddy visiting here, and I hope this de-mystifies the process of writing an ebook a little and encourages someone to go for it!  I’m happy to answer any questions or help you guys in any way–happy writing!

🙂

Wasn’t that amazing? And it just gets better….

Shaunna wants to give you something.

5 of you will win a


“Creating your Masterpiece” ebook!

Simply comment below, telling us what the subject of your own ebook would be if you wrote one and you’re in!

Winner must have an email avail through their blog or in their comment in order to win. 

Winner will be drawn by random.org Oct 31st and announced shortly after.

Thanks for your amazing generosity Shaunna and for helping inspire this wonderful group with your info and gift!


All 31 Day posts to date are HERE.

Visit the blog’s sidebar archives for the individual listings HERE.


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  1. Wow, there is so much amazing talent out there in blogland.

    My book, well how to follow your bliss. Maybe that way I would be able to figure out the answer for myself. LOL.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  2. I am a cardmaker and would live to write an ebook gathering all the tips and techniques involved in the process into one place as there is a surprising amount of them!! Loved this interview I am so inspired now!!
    nicoleqmullen @ gmail.com

  3. Thanks for sharing such an inspiring interview with Shaunna West.

    Daily posting (the writing, photography, painting, making, doing) and daily reading of hundreds of posts written by so many talented bloggers has ‘jump started’ old talents, interests and training and I am fairly amazed by the change in my path. Who knew!

    “Not Retired Just Repurposed” seems to be a good title to start but it needs a bit more ‘kick’.

    Joy
    ecmcollectibles@yahoo.com

  4. Having just finihsed and released my own eBook, I know how much work has gone into Shaunna’s book. Mine was a book about how to take your craft addiction from the kitchen table to creative business. Ironically, it took me 9 months and it felt like giving birth to a baby. My book was my baby!!

  5. This wwwwaaaaayyyyyyyyy out of the realm of creativity, but I’d probably write about my 30+ years of employment in a big city police department. I was fortunate to have many assignments, all of them fun and exciting (and eye-opening) if you looked at the work with a resolve to not become too cynical. There are so many books already being written about the creative things I do in my life. I’d have to add bits about what kept me sane all those years, too, like all the stuff that’s in those other great DIY books. 😉

  6. Oh wow! what a great giveaway! I’ve thought of my book for a while and mine would be about a summer of thrifting, yard saling, and all around treasure hunting and the awesome stuff I would do with all my finds:)

    Thank you for such a wonderful series, Donna. I’ve been really enjoying it!
    Sarah

  7. What a wonderful idea..an e-book. I love to quilt and decorate with vintage quilts so of course I would write about my love of creating beauty for the future to enjoy…thanks for your inspiration.

  8. Enjoyed the interview and I enjoy & follow both of you in your blogs. Thanks for all your creativity and courage – such an inspiration!
    I’ve always dreamed I’d write a book. I know there are a few in me, but I have wrestled with the boldness to put them to paper. *Think…*Think…*Think… Maybe I’d call it something korny like “Facebooking the Proverbs 31 Woman”… I would want to be her #1 follower! Or maybe…”Finally giving in to my Passions” or
    “Creating – Where does the time go?”.
    Sorry, now I’m on a roll. Well, thanks for leading the way & have a blessed day!

  9. Very cool give away and great interview, thank you!
    As for an e-book, I would write about spirituality, finding it, losing it and finding it again.
    And if I were to ever write a printed book, it would probably be my memoir.

  10. Love this interview and your Blog to Biz series. If I were to write an e-book, it would be something like “Making Do with What You Have”. I would LOVE a copy of this fabulous book to read on my NOOK while I paint 🙂

  11. Wow! I would love to win this ebook! You both are so inspirational to me! Shaunna was awesome on Nate the other night! If I were to write an ebook it would probably be about teaching your kids to read. Thanks for the opportunity to grow my furn skills! My email is greenandthriftymama@gmail.com

  12. I love this series! Thanks for the 31 Days….I enjoy both blogs & being inspired everyday :)…….Hmmm….my ebook title might be “Gratitude, Graciousness, & a can of Paint” or “How to Survive the Suburbs”…LOL…or even “Why does Life Seem Like A SNL skit?”

  13. I’ve always wanted to write a young adult fiction book. Although, who knows when I would find time for that.
    mometlen[at]gmail[dot]com

  14. I’m loving this series and I’m so glad I’ve found your blog! If I were to write an ebook, I’d start with fiction. I would also like to write one about family meal time (recipes included). Thank you for the opportunity to win Ms. West’s book!

  15. Oh, please enter me in the giveaway! My book would be all about textiles and sewing for the home, ( slipcovers, window coverings, pillows etc.) |Love the ebook especially if you can use them with the Kindle or Nook!
    Thanks,
    Wanda
    Olde Crow Mercantile

  16. I think it would be neat to write an e-book on how to take a picture you find (or pin 🙂 and recreate it including a lot of tips on troublshooting and problem solving in the midst of a project.

  17. Mine would be a work of fiction for young adults. I love this series. Thank you for taking time to share.

  18. I would love to win the ebook giveaway, but I have so many things that I love it would take time to make a final decision. Textiles, signs, banners, stationary and many many more ideas are swirling around for me!

  19. My book would be about woodworking and trying to explain the reasoning behind correct principles of using wood and the do’s and don’ts. There are a lot of blogs incorrectly showing how to make something that will just not hold up over time… frustrating!!

  20. My novel would be about either my husband’s family or dog breed rescue.

    My non-fiction book would explore gardening to scale. Choosing plants and shrubs and trees that work with the size of the home and property.

  21. I would write an e-book about Handmade Flowers…all types….fabric, paper, metal, etc and all the hundreds of techniques there are to create them. So popular today and so “do0able” for anyone.

    Mary

  22. I might just write on renovating a used dollhouse – which I am currently in the midst of.

    Or how to decorate with vintage and used finds to create a cozy, unpretentious home.

  23. Great post! I guess if I wrote a book it would have to be on organized parenting. I’m always told I excel at this as my house hasn’t fallen apart, I make it to work & appointments on time & most of the time I can locate what ever someone’s looking for ( as long as they left it in our house )

  24. great interview! i would LOVE a copy of shaunna’s new ebook! thanks for the chance to win.

    i am an assemblage artist, i use found objects and repurpose them in a new context. i know there are a ton of books on this subject, but i would love to write a book about my own process in this art form.

  25. Okay, is this cheating? I hate writing, so creating a book of any kind has never been a dream of mine (a nightmare, maybe). However, I admire those of you who do write, as it allows me to live vicariously through your words.

    curtvonda(at)comcast(dot)net

  26. Such a great interview, I love Shaunna! If I were to write a book, it would be about adoption.

    Sunny
    expressionsbysunny(at)gmail(dot)com

  27. OKay I have to admit I love to be in the kitchen… not just cooking but creating and recreating! Funny since I avoided the kitchen like the plague growing up. See I have champagne tastes on a shasta budget (super cheap soda)! So I love to recreate all the exotic jams, jellies, spice mixes, sauces, cookies, candies, beverages, and breads that I can. I love the sights and smells of freshly ground spices and fresh herbs. But that is not all… I love canning jars, bale jars, and wood… old terra cotta, glass bottles converted into drinking glasses, homemade pasta, crocheted washcloths, embroidered flour sack towels… basically a handmade home! So I guess if I were to ever even consider writing an ebook it would be about those very things I LOVE… you know this may even be an inspiration for a new blog makeover!

  28. Mine would be about ….. DECORATING, with some staging/crafting ideas thrown in!!!

    This was great! Donna, I love your blog, I read everyday on my lunch break. You have been such an inspiration to me, I may even start blogging – and that was never a desire of mine, lol!!! Thank you for all you do!!!

    LindaB
    paintnpatch@aol.com

  29. One book dream of Ms.SpoolTeacher is to create a book of transparency for DIY custom window fashion. All of the standards of measuring and placement, rules and regulations, exceptions to the rule, estimating, fabricating, the art, using intuition, up-cycling, fabric characteristics, and all the little nuances that make one exceptional over another. Etc., etc.

  30. Hi Debra and Shaunna, I love this post, love both of your blogs and styles, and really appreciate the advice and encouragement we get from you! If I were to be able to write an ebook, it would probably be named the same name as my blog – Revisionary Life – and it would be about seeing potential in objects and in yourself, and making simple steps to change things to be what you’d like them to be.

    Thanks for this opportunity!

    Revi

  31. What a great giveaway. Thank you so much for providing Shaunna’s link earlier; I really enjoyed seeing her work!

    Hm, guess I’d have to try a children’s tale (involving some of my crazy citters) as a first foray into the e-book realm. My favourite books are children’s books because of the fantastic illustrations! But, I’d have to partner up with an artist!

    tagatix@gmail.com

  32. I’ve been eyeing Shauna’s e-book for awhile now and what a surprise to find you doing an awesome giveaway! My book would most likely be about paint techniques for transforming boring white walled rooms & furniture into something marvelous. Great interview!

  33. I would love to win this as I love crafting/creating of any kind! If i had a blog it would be a combo of cake making and surviving life as an air force ‘dependent’ also known as a wife!

  34. Very nice interview! I would write an ebook about gardening and gardens from my own quirky cottage garden viewpoint. You don’t need professional help to achieve a magical cottage garden in your own backyard regardless of your budget, space limitations and know how.

  35. Donna, If I wrote an ebook it would be entitled “Miracles never cease” because I am so non-techy..the content of the little miracle book? Walking with Jesus and the medical miracles within our family’s lives.. I admire all you tech-savvy folks!! Blessings, Becky J. abcjones@comcast.net

  36. Love reading both of your blogs. Now since this ebook has already been written I couldn’t rewrite it. That would have been my first thought since sawdust is my middle name. But I think I could write a pretty good ebook on how to repurposing clothing. I have been doing that since I learned to sew.

  37. Love, love, love your blog…you are such an inspiration…so much so that I am now working on a chair I had as a little girl for my granddaughters 2nd birthday…could really use the book for more ideas…LOL…would love to win!! My book would be something like “Gramma’s Ole’ Farmhouse Revisited”…or Be Careful What You Wish For”…Thanks so much for all you do, Geri bunkiepatton@yahoo.com

  38. Great interview Donna. Shunna’s book looks very
    interesting. If I HAD to write a book it would be on decorating and staging with a little sewing thrown in.

  39. I have already written a young adult fiction but it wasn’t very good. I need more practice. On to the next one! :7) The next one is about a changeling. Nice, eh? I’m still working on the details…

    Thanks for the opportunity. I saw Shannon’s book when it first came out and thought it looked good. Thanks for reminding me about it.
    Liz

  40. Since there are 70 people who commented before me I was going through them. There are at least 40 ebooks I want to read if they ever get written. Me, I even though my blog is all about my thrifting life, I would want to write an ebook about homeschooling. Tips to get started and how to hang in there.

  41. I don’t know if I could really write an ebook. If I ever got up the courage, I might write something about my journey through childhood abuse and learning the value of that journey. Not very creative, but something that I want my children to understand about me.

    Kathy
    kalee5080@sbcglobal.net

  42. I’m not really a writer, but all the diy’ers in blogland have really inspired me to try a lot of new things! I would write about them.

  43. Hi Donna –
    My focus for an e-book would definitely revolve around the “Do-it-Yourself Home”, from A-Z, with emphasis on Living Green along the way. Is that two books? Smiles… My Love and I are completely redoing our little log home/cottage from top to bottom. We started with the kitchen and used the Brown Paper Floor Method that I saw on Pinterest – It is the most beautiful floor I have ever had. We have thrown away all of our household chemicals and I created Green Cleaning Products. I am also making a line of Soaps, Lotions, Healing Salves and Body Creams and Body Butters (Heartsong Botanicals). This is a true “Cottage Industry”. Friends and Family have spread the word and now I find myself with quite a few large Christmas Gift orders. Life is Good!
    Hugs From Laurie AKA Idgie
    idgiescottage@msn.com

  44. The e-book I don’t think I will ever write would be about family history and the richness of family. Thanks for the opportunity to win!dorene (at)pine(dot)net

  45. Would love to read and digest Shaunna’s e-book!

    E-book potential? Taking your house from ho-hum to home run – filled with practical, “you-can-do-it-yourself” design principles and techniques….

    sharonhorn@charter.net

  46. Hhhmmm, my e-book would probably be a collection of essays about silly stuff I’ve done. Like finding out mid morning that my underwear were on inside out and my waist through the leg hole. No wonder those babies were creepin’. =o) apcarroll{dot}72{at}gmail

  47. Great interview, Donna. Thanks Shaunna . My book would be about having a workable room for all my crafts Instead on having stuff in every room.
    I took everything to the basement I am setting up a work room for me .
    It will take me for ever to get it together.
    Man I cant believe the stuff I have.
    Thanks to you Donna I am getting organized.
    ann/alba

  48. Great interview! Don’t think I have an ebook in me. My daughter in law just put one out called nikki, in stitches, a handmade holiday. I really respect all of you.

  49. Save my copy for someone …I bought her eBook after I had been painting pieces for some time. I wanted to see her methods, and I was not disappointed. Her instructions are clear and the photography is wonderful. I find getting the finished photo to reflect the patina of a piece to be the hardest part. I really enjoyed the book, and it is a worthwhile purchase for those that do not win it. Thank you again for the great insight!

  50. I follow both of you and think it is so awesome to see both of you working together. Even though I am new to blogging and it is all about being crafty, creative, and just having fun… I have to say I have thought about writing a book for a while. And it is way different than my blog. It would be on breaking free from childhood abuse with God’s love. And would touch on things like how I feel that these broken areas once healed open us up for creativity that I think through self doubt and low self esteem we are afraid to even try new things. That and how things that should have grown in us naturally as a child were stifled as an outcome.

    Deep I know…but it has been really laid on my heart for years. And eventually want to share things I have learned and share places where God has healed me in my own journey to hopefully help others.

  51. Would love to win Shaunna’s book. If I wrote an e-book it would be about haunding thrift shops and yard sales and estate sales and what you can find and then do with it.
    Lyn
    alteredarts at yahoo dot com

  52. Thanks Donna for the giveaway! Would love to read it….need some help in that dept. If I were to write a book….talking to teens about ABSTINENCE…that is what I’ve been doing for 17 years… Lyndaoflakeland.blogspot.com

  53. Great perspective and inspiration on ebooks. My dream book project would be focused on finding your creative side and enjoying the process with lots of sample projects.

    madedownsouth.blogspot.com

  54. Hi Donna-

    Thoughts of writing an e-book are always in the back of my mind. I have a lot to say, just don’t know the angle I want to take. I am just waiting for that Ah-Ha moment to set me down the right path.

    My best- Diane

  55. Strange as it might sound here, my ebook would be all about the choice to die well. I am all about win-win. Having a choice to die well is really all about win-win. So your blog of repurposing, re-newing junky stuff is win-win and inspires me. Life is about choices and I try to fill my life with beauty so I totally love all the links you provide. Well done.

  56. I love Miss Shaunna ! She was one of the first blogs I found & started following 🙂 I just painted my first little tiny night table with ASCP! For such little $ you can see all the techniques first hand….I’m a visual person so I like pictures & videos which is what her ebook gives you! Of course their is tons of writting to but you know what I mean! She ROCKS & her ebook ROCKS to!

  57. My book will be called “I Don’t Do Complicated” Because I don’t. It’s just not me but I do love and adore the ones that do. I constantly learn from them and appreciate all they share. Maybe one day you will find me changing up a room or better yet, my kitchen. Ha! But, in the meantime, I just like the small stuff that make mantels and desktops and small spaces more fun

  58. I never really put any thought into writing an e-book even though I’ve bought a couple. Still getting accustomed to blogging. Love thrift store shopping and reusing, re-purposing and seeing things outside the box so that could be the route I would consider.

  59. Donna,
    Thanks for all your inspiration and encouragement you’ve provided in your series. I really enjoyed this interview and I’m really interested in Shaunna’s ebook. I’m just now getting into painting furniture so it would be really helpful. I haven’t thought about doing an ebook, but if I did, I would do one about vegetable gardening and include recipes for preparing and preserving the food.

  60. I love your blog and would love to win Shaunna’s e-book. Writing an e-book on traveling and playing in the National Parks would be interesting. Think of the research that would need to be done. Kim skeems20@gmail.com

  61. This last month has been great! So much information and encouragement. Thank you!! As for an ebook, it would have to be about repurposing all the things I have found at thrift stores (I was haunting them WAY before it was “trendy” 🙂 yard sales and auctions. Please enter me in the drawing.
    Cindy
    tumbleweedsandthyme@yahoo.com

  62. Wow. I’d like to read some of these potential e-books. I don’t know what I’d write an e-book about, probably something about raising your kids to be spiritual champions.

  63. I don’t know that I have anything original to write about, however the things I am passionate about are my children, homeschooling, crafting and learning to eat healthy REAL foods.

  64. What a great interview. I would love to win a copy of Shaunna’s ebook. If I did an ebook it would be about creative and sustainable living.

  65. I would love to win one of these books! If I was brave enough to attempt my own eBook, I would probably do something on introducing women to the art of woodworking and using tools 😉

  66. This is such a great interview and you hit the nail on the head when you say to write what you are passionate about.. I’ve written an ebook to help people write their book more easily which I hope will help.
    Thanks again.

  67. Wow…I’ve ejoyed reading all the responses….would love to win her book if not will still purchase it♥ Learned alot from what I’ve read in the interview already….I would like too do an e-book about my grannies and one about my passion, sewing for them and crafting like :Funky Junk…..I love her work this will happen when I grow up:)!!! Thanks for the EReader information…..well perhap’s I get started now!!!