I get asked the same question over and over again. It relates to blogged books, previously published work and traditional publishers. Many aspiring authors considering blogging books feel concern over publishing their the work they intend to include in a book on their blogs. They feel sure a publisher will then consider it “previously published” and not want to offer them a book contract.
I planned on interviewing several publishers or acquisitions editors on this topic, and I will probably still do so. However, this issue was handily addressed for me yesterday—and in relation to my book by Michael Hyatt, chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers, on his weekly podcast. So, I thought I’d share his answer to the question today.
One of Michael’s regular listeners asked the following question (which I’ve paraphrased):
If I turn existing blog content into the basis of or the early draft of a book for a publisher, are there any restraints on the fact that the content has already been published?
“I can tell you as a publisher, it doesn’t matter if it’s been published somewhere else before as long as its not a book and as long as the rights are not encumbered. If it’s just been published on your blog, you’re fine. I think it’s a great way to field test content. It’s a way to get reader input. It’s a way to more carefully target and polish your content so it even more attractive to publishers.”
That’s basically what I’ve been repeating over and over again…
I met Michael at Blog World & New Media Expo in New York last week. Prior to that event, I attended to Book Expo America educational events. At the first, I ran into my publisher, Phil Sexton, from Writer’s Digest Books. I mentioned to him how often I’m asked about previously published content and blogging books. He told me that F & W Media, the parent company to Writer’s Digest Books, doesn’t mind at all. They’ve made several blog-to-book deals, including The Plot Whisperer, The Art of Manliness, and, of course, How to Blog a Book.
During the BEA Blogger event, I stood in line with two editors from Wiley. They were thrilled to hear about my book—one of them pocketed the copy I handed her, and told me what I already knew: Wiley loves to contact bloggers to write books based on their blogs. They probably make more blog-to-book deals per year than most other publishers.
I’ll post about this again when I land those interviews. In the meantime, I hope Michael’s response assuages some of your worries.
Photo courtesy of Arenacreative.
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