I have to admit that when I began writing my blogged book and creating a manuscript I kinda winged it. I had my ideas about how it should be done, and I followed them. I wrote about them as I did so. However, I didn’t have a model to follow. No one was writing or blogging about blogging books or booking blogs—not until I was done with my first draft. And even then, the information was sparse. I learned as I went by trial and error; later I gleaned what I could by those who were repurposing blogs into books.
If I were to do it again, I’d do it differently. In fact, I’ve even learned some things since my final draft went off to Writer’s Digest Books. (How soon can you do your 2nd edition?) So, today I’d like to offer you some tips that you can use when creating your blogged book manuscript. There’s no reason for you to wing it when someone has gone before you.
- Plan out your book’s content in advance. Have a table of contents, a chapter-by-chapter synopsis or summary of each chapter and subheadings for each chapter mapped out prior to beginning your book. The subheadings work as blog post titles; thus, you should have quite a few per chapter.
- Create an actual manuscript. As I’ve said before, as you post “installments” of your book on line in the form of blog posts, you want to write them in an actual word processing document. In this way you will create a manuscript you can later revise and edit for the printed book or ebook. Set this up in advance by chapter with your chapter summaries on the first page of each chapter and each of your subtitles (the titles of your blog posts) listed below. This will make it easy for you to compose your posts each day. You can add additional posts if you think of subjects you missed in the planning stage of your book.
- Create categories that correspond with chapters or primary subject areas. I made the mistake of not doing this in advance, and my blog could probably be more organized. Don’t use chapter titles for your categories, though, because they are not good search engine terms. Set these up in your blog program in advance.
- Create a list of tags. I didn’t do this either, and I wish I had. This will make it much easier for you to search out posts if you ever need to do so. (For those booking a blog or planning to simply blog and then later book your blog, well thought out tags will help you find posts to place in chapters at a late date.) You can add tags, but it’s nice to have lists of tags to choose from. You might even have them grouped by subject matter so you can easily copy and past them into your posts.
- Organize your posts in your blog software. Although you will be blogging your book page by page, which means just as a readers would read the book, someone showing up at your blog when you are halfway through writing the book will not be able to easily begin reading on the first page. (Blogs feature the last post first at all times.) If you, first, take a lot of care to organize your posts into the appropriate categories—by chapter subject (and/or other category subjects) and, second, into a separate page that allows readers to click through from page to page, they will be able to follow your book more easily. Let me explain this last point: Create a page in your blog where you have links to each post in chronological order. Have each page open in a new browser window. In this way, readers can click through from post to post and read your book without leaving your blog, basically turning one “page” at a time. (If someone can think of a more elegant solution let me know; I’d love to hear it. I’ve tried providing “page #1,” but even if you search out the first page and provide a link it does not allow a reader to move forward from that point. This is the best solution I can come up with.)
- Put your manuscript in a binder and see your blogged book as an actual book from the very start. There’s something really inspiring about seeing a book take shape. If you print out the pages you write—post by post—and put them in a binder, you get to watch your book take shape. And when you blog your book, the book take shapes quickly because you are writing every day. Get a binder and some dividers; place the pages described in #2 in the binder, and then start filling in the outline you created. This way you can also add in readers’ comments and additional posts you write later when the actual book is finished, should you choose to include them in the book.
By taking these tips into account, you’ll create a more satisfying writing and reading experience for yourself and your blogged book readers. You’ll also be in better shape to edit and revise your manuscript when you are done writing your blogged book. And your blogged book will flow better, have less gaps and repetition, and generally come together more swiftly.
If you are blogging your book, or you have booked a blog, and you have some tips to share, please leave them in a comment. I’d like to learn from you!
Don’t forget! Today is the last day to register for: “Blog Your Way to a Book Deal: How to Write, Publish and Promote Your Manuscripts on the Internet” because it begins today at 5 p.m. If you pre-order a copy of How to Blog a Book, you will receive a discounted rate ($30 off).
Here are the details on this 4-part teleclass:
Tuesday, February 7, 14, 21, 28 @ 5-6 p.m. PST
For more information: http://bit.ly/CWCteleseminars
To get the discount (and pay just $69), order your copy here: http://amzn.to/HTBAB
This teleclass is geared primarily towards nonfiction writers, but fiction writers also will find most of the tools offered applicable. It focuses upon blogging a book from scratch but will touch on repurposing existing blog posts into a book. How to set up a blog will not be covered in any type of technical detail.
The teleclass covers:
How to evaluate your book idea for cyber and print writing and publishing
How to write blog posts to attract readers and create a manuscript concurrently
How to set up your blog for book blogging ease
How to promote using social media
What to do when you finish your manuscript
What to tell agents and publishers about your blog and blogged book