The 52 Seductions charts the project Betty Herbert undertook with her husband to seduce each other once a week for a year. The book builds on the original blog but contains about 25 percent extra content. You can find excerpts of the original blog at 52seductions.com, and she continues to blog at bettyherbert.com.
What process did you use to find or choose the blog posts that went into your book? And out of how many posts did you have to choose?
For the 52 Seductions, I already had a very clear structure – a post for every seduction. It wasn’t possible to leave any out, and I couldn’t change what had happened. But I rewrote a few of the weaker posts and added a narrative in-between the seductions. So much of the story had originally unfolded over Twitter, and I needed to pull that information into the book.
How did you then organize them, or did you keep the flow that you originally constructed?
I kept the original order of the seductions, and I used Scrivener to get an overview of the shape of the book, so I knew where to add in content.
What percentage of your book ended up repurposed posts as opposed to new content?
About 75 percent was the original blog. This meant that I had to take down most of the blog when we’d completed all the seductions so that the book wasn’t basically available for free online. But I wanted to ensure that those readers who supported me from the beginning got to read the whole story before I took it down.
What kind of editing did you need to do to make the blog posts work in a book? Did you need to add transitions, revise for flow from one post to the next, rewrite because of the different timeline, etc.?
Essentially, I added narrative chapters in-between the seductions, so that the whole thing told a consistent story. I was particularly careful to draw clear conclusions at the end of the book.
Did you take your readers input (comments) into account before the manuscript went to press and did comments affect the final version of the book?
I actually had to try not to take comments into account too much because I didn’t want to use hindsight to change the earlier parts of the journey. We learned such a lot over the course of the seductions, and many of my opinions about sex changed. I had to consciously reproduce all the opinions I now believed to be “wrong” in the early part of the book, so that readers got an authentic sense of the transitions I made.
How did blogging a book or booking your blog make you a better writer?
I used to be incredibly precious about my writing, hating to show anyone early drafts and terrified of criticism. Writing the blog put me in touch with my readers much more and made me more thick-skinned but also more willing to make revisions or change my attitudes in the light of reasoned criticism. I also learned to work much faster and to take my first drafts seriously – when you’re blogging, you don’t have the option of leaving blank bits to fill in later!
Did booking your blog make you a better blogger (and how)?
Yup, I used to write a really boring blog about my writing. I knew it was tedious, but I couldn’t think of anything else. Now I always advise people to blog about something specific and interesting, rather than just starting a blog and hoping you’ll think of something.
What advice would you offer to aspiring writers who might want to book a blog or blog a book?
The world of blogging is fickle and hugely competitive; you have to be at the top of your game for every post, otherwise you’ll quickly lose readers. Focus on attracting attention from journalists and Twitter stars, rather than getting too involved in mutual appreciation societies with other bloggers.
Do you have any tips you can offer on blogging books or booking blogs?
- Keep a running notebook containing post ideas so that you’re never stuck.
- Make sure your offer is consistent and high quality; don’t suddenly include a rant about your gas bill in the middle of your story.
- Know when to give up: blogs have a natural life span, and it’s important to move on when they’re over rather than churning out uninspiring posts. Start a new blog or take a break!
What one thing did you do that increased your traffic or brought in more unique visitors?
Recommendations from people with big Twitter followings!
How long did it take for you to gain blog readers and can you pin point any certain event that created a tipping point when readership increased noticeably?
When national journalists started reading it, people started taking note. For the first month, I had literally five readers, and then, suddenly, I had thousands. Of course, loads of people now say they read the blog right from the start, but I know for a fact that isn’t the case.
If you are traditionally published, how did your blog-to-book deal come about?
I was approached by a screenwriter to option the blog, and when she found I didn’t have an agent, she hooked me up with hers. I thought it was all a joke at first!
What’s the most important thing a blogger can do to get noticed in the blogosphere and build an author platform or fan base?
Be genuinely friendly, be responsive to your audience and write the best stuff you can. But the biggest piece of advice I can give is: Don’t be annoying. Harassing people to read your stuff is not a good strategy. Be as interesting as possible, and be interested in other people’s work.
About the Author
Betty Herbert is the author of 52 Seductions, a blog that became a book. In the UK is published by Headline. It is also being published in Chinese, French, German, Spanish, Serbian, Portuguese, Polish and Hebrew.
Betty is 34, and lives on the Kent coast with her husband Herbert and her cats, Bob and Elvis. She likes knitting, cooking, drinking cocktails and swimming in the sea (but not in the winter. She is not one of those hardy types).
She blogs at bettyherbert.com.
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