Desperate times may call for desperate measures, but often desperate times really force you to think outside the box. That’s how Peggy Mackowski, co-owner with her husband David Mackowski of Quality Design & Construction, in Raleigh, N.C., came up with a book idea for marketing their company.

Peggy discovered Blurb, an on-demand publishing company from which you can create, then buy, one book or 50 books or more. Peggy created a 70-page book that includes project photographs and descriptions as well as information on how to choose a remodeling company, what to look for in a remodeling contract, bios of Peggy and photographer Ray Strawbridge, and a description of QDC.

The book is divided into sections -- kitchens, bathrooms, universal and aging-in-place design, other rooms such as sunrooms and basements. The key for marketing, though, is that each book cover is different, and the information inside can easily be changed out.

“For our glass shower enclosure vendor, I redid the front and back cover to reflect their products, and inside the book is a paragraph thanking them for working with our clients for many years,” Peggy says.

She did similar personalized treatments for four other vendors. The vendors love the books and will display them in their showrooms. “Hopefully they’ll show them to clients who might see projects they like and call us,” Peggy says. 

Each book costs $40 to publish, and Peggy says that it was much simpler than she had expected to put it together on Blurb,, using its booksmart software, which is free to download. Templates for cover, photography, and text are all there.