As the blog-to-book trend continues on its upward curve, more and more bloggers see their blogs as gold mines filled with nuggets of content waiting to be extracted, refined and cast into books. Writers, on the other hand, historically have balked at becoming bloggers. Many aspiring and published authors turn to blogging simply because this technology offers a highly effective way to promote their work. They maintain the attitude that their blogs pose a distraction from their real writing endeavors—those that produce actual book manuscripts. These writers don’t realize the valuable commodity they leave unmined.
If you have a blog, there’s a high likelihood there’s a book in there somewhere—or at least the beginning of one. Don’t let that book go to waste. Turn your blog into a book, or “book it,” as author and book designer Joel Friedlander likes to say. Repurpose your blog content into a book.
Booking a blog may seem simple to do, and a few services and blog plugins allow you to go straight from blog to book. Yet, there’s more to turning a blog into a book than simply loading posts into a program and hitting a button that sends it to epub or print—at least if you want to produce a book that’s up to traditional publishing industry standards. In fact, some of the things you need to know about booking a blog are inherent to writing books as opposed to blogs. This makes writers particularly equipped for the job.
Here are seven tips on how to book a blog and turn out a professional manuscript—one with a high likelihood of achieving self-publishing success or landing a traditional publishing deal—in the process:
1. Pick a unique angle for your book.
You may already have blogged a book if you’ve been blogging for a long time and have focused your efforts on one topic. Indeed, your blog may represent the foundation of your book. Even so, you might still need to choose a unique angle for your book based upon competing books. On the other hand, if you’ve jumped from subject to subject with no clear direction as you’ve blogged, your blog may be a repository for nothing other than a jumble of vaguely related posts. In this case, you need to hone your book topic and determining if you have previously blogged even part of a book.
2. Create a content plan for your book.d
Begin your project by creating a mind map or conducting a brainstorming session to flesh out the content that needs to be in your book. Come up with a full table of contents or an outline based on the book you want to write and on the most marketable book, not on the blog you’ve already written. Don’t get stuck looking at what you’ve already published on your blog; this may not represent the best or most complete book.
3. Mine your blog for posts that fit the content plan of your book.
Once you have a content plan, find the published blog posts relevant to the chapters you’ve outlined. Search for them in the categories you’ve created, which is where most bloggers “file” posts by subject matter. Also search for them using the “tag” or “label” function in your blog program; if you’ve used them correctly, you should have assigned each post tags or labels when you published them. When you find an appropriate post, copy and paste it into a word processing document, thus creating a manuscript. When you are done with this process, you’ll know how much you need to write (or cut) to finish your book.
4. Blog your missing content.
If you find you must fill in large gaps in your manuscript, work smarter rather than harder. Blog those sections. By so doing, you continue to promote your book and build author platform—a fan base of loyal blog readers—as you revise your manuscript.
5. Edit your manuscript prior to going to print.
Don’t make the mistake of using one of the quick and easy services that allow you to just pick the posts you want in your book and then convert them into a book without ever editing or revising them. See your blog, and the manuscript you create from it, as the first draft of your book—and likely an incomplete one at that. All manuscripts need editing and revising. Edit it yourself, and then have it professionally edited.
6. Entice publishers and readers with unpublished material.
Include new content in the ebook or printed edition of your booked blog. A few new chapters, interviews with experts, case studies, or any special features that did not appear on the blog will drive book sales by loyal blog readers and make a publisher more interested in your blog-to-book project.
7. Blog your next book.
While booking a blog offers a superb way to repurpose your great blog content, the more efficient way to produce a book on a blog involves blogging a book—writing one from scratch. Searching out content for a book and then making it fit into your content plan can prove a long and tedious task. A booked blog manuscript can need a lot of revising and editing because you blogged content wasn’t originally written with a full-length book format in mind. Next time you want to write a book, map out your content in post-sized bits in advance. Then write your book on your blog. You’ll produce a manuscript quickly and easily and promote it in the process. Plus, you’ll end up with a first draft of your book that needs much less editing and revising because you set out to write a book rather than a blog.