If you are a writer wanting to build an author platform with traditional and social media so you can attract an agent or publisher and land a traditional publishing contract for your book, approach your blog with a new strategy.
That’s right. Compose your book from scratch, post by post, on your blog. While this works really well if you are a nonfiction writer, if you write fiction you also can break your content down into post-sized bits and publish it regularly over time on your blog. In either case you make yourself and your blog—actually your forthcoming book—imminently findable on the internet.
The Key: A Successful Blog
And that’s the key. In this tough media environment, journalists prefer to find their own experts; they look at the press releases sent or emailed to them less and less often. Instead they watch their Twitter stream and conduct Google searches for the authorities they need on particular topics.
In similar fashion, agents and publishers troll the internet looking for test-marketed book ideas. They find these in highly successful blogs—blogs with lots of readers or fans who also will purchase a book based on the blog. In both cases, when they find what they are looking for, the journalists, agents and publishers contact the blogger.
If you build traffic by blogging a book—and you get “discovered” by an agent or publisher, you’ll know you managed to successfully publicize your book and build author platform. You will land a book deal for a book you’ve already written (or partially written) in the blogosphere. When you complete the first draft of a marketable book on your blog you are ready and able to give a publisher what he wants—a viable manuscript to turn into a book that will sell.
And when the media calls you honestly can say you are an author expert because you have blogged a book.
How to Blog a Book
How do you blog a book? Here are eight simple steps to get you started:
- Evaluate the marketability of your idea. Make sure the book you want to write, or in this case blog, is viable. Is there a market for it? Does it add value for readers? Does it solve a problem or provide a unique benefit? Does it tell a story that must be told?
- Create a content plan. Decide on the topics you will include in your book. Get as detailed as possible. Brainstorm every idea or subject you might possibly include. Then create a table of contents, or an outline that is broken into post-sized bits.
- Decide on content that will appear only in the digital or printed book. Look at your content plan and decide what pieces to hold back or create especially for use in your printed book or ebook as an incentive to loyal blog readers (and to publishers) to purchase the book. For nonfiction, this could be a few extra chapters. For fiction, your second draft might offer a bit longer or shorter version, a few more scenes, an epilogue, etc.
- Break your content into blog-post sized pieces—300–500 word chunks. For nonfiction, create subheadings (blog titles) for each. For fiction, give each scene a title. (Novelists might need to write 500–1000 words for each post, but do not publish an entire chapter.)
- Create a blogging schedule. Decide how often you will write, such as two days a week or seven days a week. Commit to the schedule.
- Write one blog post on each day of your blogging schedule. Compose these in a word processing program in sequence so you create a manuscript in the process.
- Publish your posts. Copy and paste your blog post into your blogging program and publish them on the scheduled days.
- Publicize your posts. Share your blog post via your social networks, like Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and Pinterest.
Blog Your Book Fast
If the average nonfiction manuscript contains at least 45,000 words and your blog posts will average 350 words in length, you need to write about 128 posts to complete your manuscript. That will take you about six and half months if you write five posts per week. In that amount of time, you likely will drive your blog up in the search engine results pages simply by writing about your topic day in and day out. This will make you more discoverable. It will also make you an expert on your topic. And it will make you an author.
By thinking and acting outside the box, you make it much easier for the media, literary agents and publishers to find you. And you do so simply by blogging, or rather by blogging a book. You complete the first draft of a manuscript, too. If you don’t get discovered by a publisher in the process, you can write a query letter and an attention-getting proposal and approach a publisher yourself. Include your great blog readership statistics in that proposal as part of your platform description, and you increase the chances of landing that book deal. Then, contact the media and tell them about your great accomplishment: You blogged your way to a book deal.
If you want to learn more about blogging a book, purchase your copy of How to Blog a Book Revised and Expanded Edition today!