As I mentioned, everyone who wants to write a book—blogged or otherwise—needs to go through the proposal process. You don’t necessarily have to write the proposal out in great detail, but you do need to go through the steps. Just yesterday my literary agent told me she wished every writer would take the time to seriously do this; the proposals she receives don’t show that even writers who want to become traditionally published have done their homework. Thus, their books aren’t marketable. I had the opportunity to speak with self-publishing guru Dan Poynter a few weeks ago; he told me he tells all authors (Yes, even those wanting to self-publish.) to write a proposal for their book because they need a book proposal if they are to create a successful book.
Even though you plan to blog your book, you need a business plan. I know it’s just a blog, but if you plan to blog a book you want to look at this blog as if you are creating a manuscript. Indeed, that’s exactly what you are creating. Thus, you want to approach this endeavor just as you would any other new book project.
Let me give you four good reasons for at least going through the book proposal process before you begin blogging your book. First, one day you may want to sell this book to a publisher, and you’ll need a proposal to do so.
Second, a proposal allows you to get a big-picture view of your book. You’ll be looking at your book through the lens of an acquisitions editor, which means you’ll be evaluating its marketability and value-added potential.
Third, the proposal offers you a chance to think about all the different ways in which you can promote your book, not just through your blog. In today’s world of publishing, promotion is everything. Everything. A blog constitutes a great first step, but you’ll need to do more than just blog; plus, you want people to know your blog exists, and that takes promotion.
Fourth, a proposal requires you to come up with a list of chapters and to offer a short synopsis of each of those chapters. This provides you with a starting place for your blog (and your book manuscript). Once you’ve completed these parts of your proposal, you’re almost ready to begin writing your blog.
To begin blogging, I don’t think you need to have a formal or totally complete proposal. I just suggest you go through the proposal writing process to some degree. Afterwards, you’ll have an extremely clear idea about what your blog, or your book, will include, who will read it and how you’ll promote it. You’ll also know if there are any ways in which to build a business around it with ancillary products.
Maybe more importantly, you’ll know who your readers are and what your competition looks like—if there is any. This information will tell you if you even should be blogging on this subject. It will also tell you who else out there blogs or publishes on this topic. These people might make great joint-venture partners or people with whom to create reciprocal links, make agreements with for guest blog posts, and such.
Tomorrow, I’ll tell you about the parts of a proposal, and we’ll work through them together.