So you want to start you own book publishing empire. But who is going to write those books? And who is going to draw the illustrations? Let others do it for you! The anonymous online masses are brimming with stories waiting to be told and images waiting to be drawn.
Here are instructions on how to publish a fully illustrated coffee table book by collecting text and images with Amazon's Mechanical Turk, then printing the book on demand with Blurb.com. This instructable covers how to source, edit, layout, print and promote a book that is written and illustrated by others, for you.
Step 1: Brainstorm topics
How do you get other people to write and illustrate for you? Paying them helps. But you don't want to invest a fortune. The trick is to pay people a little for stories they want to tell anyways. They feel good for sharing their stories, you feel even better because you get content for your book.
First brainstorm some topics that people want to write about. My wife Tania suggested to make a book about pets. Specifically, cats. Every cat owner loves to tell you about how fluffy Zooey is, how cute it is when Gary drinks out of the sink, how amazing Socks' toilet flush trick is, etc.
In addition to thinking about topics for stories, also think about good visuals. Asking people to draw paper clips is unlikely to result in a lot of interesting submissions. If you ask them to draw a cutaway view of a combustion engine, they'll say no because that's too complicated. Babies, pets, stuffed animals, favorite places - keep it simple but emotionally rich.