A Blog-to-Book Success: Catching Up with WordPresser-Turned-Bestseller Jared Gulian

Last November, we chatted with New Zealand blogger Jared Gulian, who snagged a publishing contact for a book based on his WordPress.com blog, Moon Over Martinborough. His book of the same name, released last month, has climbed to #4 on New Zealand’s bestseller list for nonfiction. We caught up with Jared amid this exciting, eventful month and talked to him about his experience so far.

Moon Over Martinborough

Your book, Moon Over Martinborough, was released on June 7. What has the past month been like?

It’s been absolutely insane in the best possible way. It started out with a launch event in the Martinborough village, where I live. The turnout was amazing. Everyone was very excited about the book, since it features Martinborough and its people.

After the launch, it kept getting better. I’ve been surprised by the level of media interest across New Zealand, and I’ve had interviews with three major radio stations, book excerpts in six of New Zealand’s regional newspapers, great reviews in several magazines, and an interview spread in the Dominion Post. Then TVNZ’s Breakfast, a major morning news and talk show, came out to interview me and film our olive harvest.

You can find links to a lot of these interviews on my blog.

All this attention has helped push the book to #4 on the New Zealand bestseller list for nonfiction, which is a dream come true.

As a result, more people are discovering my blog. Really kind people have said the nicest things on my blog, Facebook, and Twitter. Since my photo is on the cover of the book, I’ve also had people walk up to me and congratulate me. Several random strangers have told me they tore through the book in a late-night read because they just couldn’t put it down.

Any upcoming book-related events you’d like to share with us?

Most of the big events have passed, including a bookstore signing in Feilding, New Zealand; a 45-minute talk to the Celiac Society (one of my more glamorous bookings); and two storytelling sessions at the first-ever Martinborough Olive Harvest Festival.

Jared’s upcoming events

I’m working on a new event as part of my region’s upcoming creative festival, KOKOMAI. Another local blogger-turned-author, Johanna Knox, and I plan to do an “authors in conversation” event at the festival about our blog-to-book experiences.

Random House New Zealand also lists upcoming events on its website. It’s very strange to have an author profile on the website of a major publishing house!

Since your last WordPress.com interview, you’ve given your blog a facelift. Tell us about the changes.

Your interview with poet and author Kellie Elmore inspired me to up my game! I’d been using a retired theme, Contempt, which I’d outgrown. I wanted something cleaner and simpler. I also wanted to use a responsive theme so my blog could easily be viewed on any device.

I considered hiring a web designer, but in the end WordPress.com has so many great themes and customization is easy — I just did it all myself. I’m now using a customized Twenty Twelve theme:

Moon Over Martinborough Site

I learned about the About.me widget from the Elmore interview, and I really like it. I used the Milestone Widget for the countdown to my book launch, too. I’m also using custom menus and a custom background color, and Random House New Zealand assisted me with a new header that ties in with the book.

I’ve also added an Image Widget in the sidebar to promote the book, as well as a new page (on how to buy the book). The print version is available in New Zealand bookstores (or through New Zealand websites if you’re overseas). The ebook is available internationally.

I hope to get the attention of a US publisher, so if that happens it’ll be in US bookstores. Any interested publishers out there? 🙂

We’re thrilled about your blog-to-book success — what’s one tip you can give to aspiring authors on WordPress.com?

BookI have two important words: mulish determination.

In my experience, the most important thing is just to keep on doing it, and to keep on trying to learn how to do it better. Keep on blogging, writing, taking notes, talking to friends and strangers who write, and pushing yourself to learn more and improve your craft.

I found Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers really helpful. He talks a lot about the “10,000-Hour Rule,” which claims that the key to success in any field is practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours. That’s a lot of time before success hits!

So, practice that mulish determination and just keep on writing.

Thanks for chatting with us, Jared, about your book release and sharing your blog-to-book experience with us. Congratulations again, and we’ll follow along on your blog for more news and stories about the book and future projects.

Missing out on the latest WordPress.com developments? Enter your email below to receive future announcements direct to your inbox. An email confirmation will be sent before you will start receiving notifications - please check your spam folder if you don't receive this.

Join 93,262,549 other followers


Comments are closed.

  1. Michael Taggart Photography

    That is so exciting!

    Congrats on your success.

    It’s neat hearing about the 10,000 rule. I guess you can’t expect success to come too quickly.


  2. Andra Watkins

    Congratulations, Jared! You’re an inspiration to many of us. I wish you much continued success.


  3. Ms. Roberts

    Wow, I can’t wait to check out your blog! It sounds wonderful.


  4. angelinekyba

    This was fascinating — what success and how inspiring. It made me post immediately. I will have to keep up.


  5. Nina Amir (@NinaAmir)

    Great success story. I blog about blogging books and booking blogs. I wrote a book on the topic (How to Blog a Book), so I’m always on the lookout for bloggers like you who have gotten traditional publishing deals. I’m heading over to your blog now to see how to contact you for an interview! Congrats!


  6. timikaj

    Thanks for the knowledge and inspiration!


  7. mayyoufindwhatyouarelookingfor

    Well done, this is so exciting and inspirational 🙂


  8. Jared

    Thanks everyone for the kind comments. It’s been a great rollercoaster of a ride — heaps of fun and hard work in equal measures! I love WordPress.com because my book wouldn’t have happened without my blog, and for two reasons. 1) The blog gave me a space to play and learn from my readers so that I could become a better writer. 2) The blog gave me a profile that helped grab publishers’ attention. So thanks WorPress.com!


  9. bafallgren

    Congratulations! What a reward for your hard work. Keep up the good work.


  10. sarahswindall

    What an inspiration to future writers! Thanks for sharing. =]


  11. Kiran bantawa

    hard work pays off, hats off to Jared.


  12. ywwp

    Congrats. Inspiring to us. Thanks!


  13. WordsFallFromMyEyes

    Success is so delicious after perseverance. Congrats 🙂


  14. smitamadhusudan

    Your success story is truly inspirational for people who hope to write a book soon enough.


  15. colormusing

    Thrilling and inspiring!! Congratulations, Jared!


  16. Linette

    Fantastic and inspiring story. I just read the Happiness project which also started as a blog. I am just finding my voice about all things to do with fly in fly out, families and how we manage it all, and I must say the more I write the better it seems to get. Just today I’ve had 4 people choose to follow me. After 14 posts that’s so thrilling! Thanks for the inspiration and big love to you and yours!


  17. jesskho

    What can I say…nothing more than a BIG WOW. Congrats Jared!


  18. Gayle Harper

    Just what I needed to read!!! I’m engaged in the same process, although not so far along! My blog “Surrendering to Serendipity” is photos and tales from my 90-day road trip following the entire Mississippi River from the headwaters to the Gulf (90 days because that is how long it takes a single drop of water to make that trip). This is EXACTLY the kind of encouragement I needed today – thanks and BIG congratulations to you on your success!!



    Wow! Sound fantastic to hear all that’s happening with your book and again CONGRATULATIONS! As a new author awaiting my release date, I can just imagine the fun you’re having right now. I recently got my proof copy and I can tell you, it ignited my book fun to octane level. People are congratulating me already just by introducing the book by handing out promo items such as bookmarks and postcards. Keep it up.


  20. shanuwater

    Congratulations on your success.


  21. aerial2559

    Thank you for the helpful tips and congratulations on your success. 📝


  22. Trèsors De Luxe

    Way to go Jared!!! Hoot hoot!!! XO


  23. joaynn510

    Congratulations Jared! So ironic that I stumbled upon your interview from my WordPress dashboard today and took a moment to read as I was just thinking about a conversation I had with an author on Twitter named Nina Amir (@NinaAmir) who wrote a book titled “How to Blog a Book.” I’m in the process of getting her book to guide my endeavor. This is my ultimate dream to accomplish the same feat as you have and after reading your story I am that much more motivated, encouraged, and inspired to do so. Congrats again! Much success in your endeavors. Side note: I’m sure with all the attention you’re getting, a publishing company in the U.S. will find you and will be happy to publish your book. Happy writing! 🙂


Create your new blog or website for free

Get Started

%d bloggers like this: