On Friday when I reviewed fellow blogger and book designer Joel Friedlander’s new book, A Self-Publisher’s Companion, Expert Advice for Authors Who Want to Publish, I promised I’d publish the four questions I asked him about his experience booking a blog. (If you don’t know what that means, please refer to this post.) You see, I didn’t just want to review his book, I also wanted to know what he’d learned from the experience.
Why? Because I respect Joel. He’s an experienced designer, author, self-publisher, and blogger. Now that he had recycled some of his blog posts into a book, I wanted to know what he thought of the experience and if there were any tips he could offer the rest of us. Plus, I wanted him to inspire you (and me) to follow in his footsteps—or tell us it wasn’t worth the effort, if that was the case.
So, here are my questions to Joel, and his thoughtful answers, which he also published in this post on his own blog.
1. What made you decide to “book your blog?”
I was getting frustrated with the difficulty of making anything out of the hundreds of articles I had written. I knew that there was a lot of great content, but I felt that people couldn’t get to it. It also felt incomplete, as if I had put in a lot of time and energy creating a lot of pretty cohesive writing. I wanted it to add up to more than the sum of a lot of blog articles.
2. What are three tips you’d offer bloggers who want to book their blog?
a) Take a new look at your blog archive, and try to see the themes running through the articles.
b) When writing a lot of articles it’s not unusual for your writing “voice” to vary. Watch how different articles flow together.
c) Look beyond the way the articles are formatted, to the text itself. You can always change or eliminate lists, bullets and other attention-grabbing devices.
3. What are the one or two most important things that make the booked blog publishing process successful?
Well, I’m not sure I’m ready to answer that one, since my book has only been out a couple of weeks! But I think you have to mold your manuscript to the over-arching themes that you most want to address. The book needs a focus of its own so that the individual pieces have an obvious role to play in the final work. Articles that used to exist on their own have to be able to advance your main theme.
4. Why do you think other writers or bloggers should consider booking a blog or blogging a book?
When I was writing the introduction to the book, I talked about the similarities between blogging and self-publishing. I think bloggers are in an ideal position to move into book publishing. Most bloggers are do-it-yourself inclined, tech-savvy, social-network-connected and knowledgeable in keyword research, search engine optimization and all the other internet marketing tools we need to learn. Print publishing and traditional e-book publishing has been pretty much ignored by most bloggers, and I think that’s due for a change.
Given Joel’s experience, and my own positive experience repurposing blog posts into information products, I’d like to encourage anyone who has a blog—whether you are blogging a book or simply blogging—to look over the content you already have created and find “groups” of content, themes in your posts or topics upon which you’ve written in large quantities. Think of how you might use this:
- as a special report you sell or give away to gain subscribers
- a short e-book
- as an e-book, as a recording and a video script (There’s power in threes!)
- as a chapter in a book
- as a short booklet, as a tip book
Then copy and paste those posts in to a Word document and start editing!
Get green! Recycle your content!