Most writers don’t seem to want to explore the world of blogging. They see it as just one more thing to do. The don’t realize that blogging affords them a superb way to promote themselves and their work–and to land a traditional publishing deal. A large number of bloggers are, indeed, getting offered blog-to-book deals. (Just look at Wiley’s list to see that this is true.) Plus, as writers, blogging is a natural extension of what they do–and handles some disliked tasks in a pretty easy manner. Not only that, blogging offers a great way to write a book quickly.
Since blogging a book happens to be my area of expertise–my first traditionally published book, How to Blog a Book: Write, Publish and Promote Your Work One Post at a Time, which is based upon a blog by the same name, will be released by Writer’s Digest Books this spring (and is now available for presales), today I’m back as your guest blogger. Read on to find out how to blog a book or to repurpose your existing blog into a book.
How to Blog a Book or Book a Blog
By Nina Amir
I don’t know of any better way for writers to get a book written quickly while promoting their work and building author platform than by blogging a book. In fact, blogging is one of the most effective ways to accomplish these tasks and to get noticed by agents and acquisitions editors in the process. Today, just as many—if not more—bloggers are landing blog-to-book deals as in 2009, which reportedly was the height of the blog-to-book trend.
A successful blog acts like a beacon to publishers looking for the closest thing they can find to a test-marketed book idea and to a vetted writer—one they feel they can count on to bring in readers, by which I mean book buyers. If you actually blog your book—or any part of your book—and attract a sizeable number of blog readers or subscribers, you also assure publishers that a market of eager buyers exists for that book once it appears in print.
The majority of blog-to-book deals come to authors who simply blog and garner a large number of unique readers and subscribers. It’s less common for bloggers to blog a book. However, for aspiring authors, blogging a book makes great sense. You kill several birds with one stone: You write your book quickly in post-sized bits (250-500 word pieces); you build author platform; you self-publish your work; and you promote your work. For writers who don’t like to build platform or promote their work, blogging a book offers a superb solution. They can do what they are good at—write—and what they need to do as well—build platform and promote their work.
How to Blog a Book
Here are some tips on how to begin blogging a book:
- Choose a topic: Choose a topic that interests you and that interests a lot of people. Also pick a topic you feel passionate about since you’ll be covering it for a long time—long past the conclusion of the book.
- Map out your book’s content. Do a mind map of the content for you blogged book. (See this post for more information.) Start with you topic and create lots of sub-topics and sub-sub topics. Group these into chapters.
- Break your content into post-sized pieces. Blog posts tend to range from 250 to 700 words (some are longer…like this one). Take the related sub-topics and sub-sub-topics from #2 that you grouped into chapters and break them down into post-sized pieces. Consider each sub-topic and its related sub-sub-topics as small bits of copy you will write. You will need many of these to flesh out your blogged book’s content and create a full manuscript.
- Create a business plan for your book. Make sure you identify markets on line and off for your blogged book, that you analyze the competition so you are sure you’ve got a unique concept as a blogged book (or blog) and a printed book or ebook, and that you create a promotion plan. (Find more information on how to do this in this post.)
- Set up a blog. You need a blog. If you don’t know how to create one yourself, hire a webmaster or a blog specialist. The free blogs, like those hosted by WordPress, are pretty easy to set up. I recommend you get a self-hosted blog.
- Start writing your blogged book. Compose your posts using a word processing program so you create a manuscript. Just write 250-500 words per day or several times a week. Post this to your blog each of the days you write. If you write an average of 350 words per day three times a week, you’ll have 1,050 per week. That’s 4,200 per month. In 12 months, you’ll have written 50,400 words—the first draft of your manuscript. Write and publish more posts per week, and your book will get it written faster.
When you’re done, start editing, revising, adding content, etc. Create new material as well, so your book has additional copy that can’t be found on your blog.
How to Book a Blog
Here are a few tips you can use if you’ve been blogging consistently and would like to repurpose your blog content into a printed book or ebook, which my colleague Joel Friedlander, a book designer and author, calls “booking a blog”:
- Identify a topic for your book. Your blog may be finely honed to one topic making it easy to choose a topic, or you may have covered many diverse topics. Choose the one topic you think will make the best book. You may want to go through step #5 above to help you evaluate your book idea’s success potential prior to beginning the project. Or look at your blog analytics to see which posts received the most page views over time to help you decide what your readers might be most interested in reading off line.
- Create a Table of Contents. When you blog, you catalog posts into categories. The titles of your categories may serve as chapter titles or simply repositories of major subject areas that should be chapters in your book. Look through your categories to identify subject areas to cover in your chapters. Then create a Table of Contents.
- Create a manuscript. Create a document in a word processing program for you manuscript. If you prefer, create one for each chapter. This will become your first draft of your book. Do whatever you want to prepare to begin dropping in blog posts you will be copying and pasting from your blogging program.
- Look through your categories to identify relevant blog posts. Go back to your categories and begin opening old blog posts relevant to the book and copying them and then pasting them into your word processing document.
- Search your blog content using tags to find more relevant blog posts. Copy and paste these into your into your manuscript.
When you’re done, start editing, reorganizing, revising, adding content, etc. Again, create new material as well, so your book has additional copy that can’t be found on your blog.
Whether you blog a book or book a blog, you’ve used your talents as a writer to write, publish and promote yourself using blog technology.
About the Author
Nina Amir, Your Inspiration-to-Creation Coach, inspires writers to create the results they desire—published products and careers as writers and authors. She the author of the forthcoming book, How to Blog a Book: Write, Publish and Promote Your Work One Post at a Time (Writer’s Digest Books, April 2012) and the popular workbook, How to Evaluate Your Book for Success. Additionally, she is a freelance editor, and writing, book, blogging, and author coach who blogs at Write Nonfiction NOW and How to Blog a Book and writes the National Jewish Issues and the National Self-Improvement columns for www.examiner.com. She is also the founder of Write Nonfiction in November, a challenge and blog, and the weekly writing and publishing expert on Michael Ray Dresser’s popular radio show Dresser After Dark. Find out more about her at ninaamir.com or at www.copywrightcommunications.com .