Many novelists feel intrigued by the idea of blogging a book. If they seek a traditional publishing deal, however, they usually have one major concern: If I blog my novel, will a publisher be interested in the manuscript? In fact, nonfiction writers have the same concern.
No matter what type of book you blog, this is a valid concern. For novelists, it’s a larger issue, though.
Previously Published Nonfiction Work and Traditional Publishers
Let me discuss nonfiction first. If you blog the first draft of your nonfiction book and then submit to a traditional publisher, that manuscript will be seen as previously published work. However, you will have 25 or 30 percent new content and an edited version to submit (if you follow the plan I propose here on the blog and in How to Blog a Book), so what you present is not identical to what can be found online. That makes the manuscript enticing to a publisher.
Plus, when you submit your work you offer statistics to prove the blog posts you published successfully test marketed your idea and created a platform for yourself, which means you now have a built-in readership for the book.
For these reasons—additional content, the difference in your manuscript, great stats, platform—the majority of publishers—not all—will not be put off by the fact that your manuscript technically is previously published. If your stats are good, they should be happy to publish your nonfiction book.
Previously Publish Fiction Work and Traditional Publishers
Okay…fiction next. If you blog the first draft of your novel and then submit it to a traditional publisher, that manuscript will be seen as previously published work. You likely will not have kept much, if any, content off your blog, and even though you have revised the manuscript, thus making it somewhat different than what can be found on the Internet, the likelihood is that a publisher will not find your manuscript compelling because it has been “published.”
Now, if you have blogged your book successfully, which means you can show impressive stats, indicating a successful test marketing event, and a platform—in particular some sort of email list or subscriber list of avid readers waiting for your next book, this could impress a publisher to ask for your next book.
And that’s the key. You want to blog that first novel to prove you can write a book and garner an audience. If you can take your blogged fiction and produce an ebook or print book that also sells an above average number of copies—or becomes an Amazon bestseller (not for an hour but for several months)—you stand a good chance of getting yourself a deal for your next book. Not only that, the publisher might agree to re-release that first book.
Good Idea or Bad Idea to Blog Fiction
So is it a good idea or a bad idea to blog fiction? If you are a newbie novelist just getting your feet wet, it’s a great idea.
- You can get feedback on your work via the comment function of your blog.
- You can survey your blog readers about the parts of your novel that are working—or not working.
- You can build a mailing list.
- You can perfect your craft.
- You can develop a network of JV partners (other bloggers) who will help promote your book later.
- You can develop the writing habit (by posting regularly to your blog).
- You can attract the attention of agents and editors.
- You can build platform.
I’m not a novelist…well, I have a novel finished and waiting for editing, but this is not my area of expertise…but I know the publishing industry. Breaking in isn’t easy. And almost all fiction categories are highly competitive and getting more so all the time. Blogging a novel provides a super way to get some exposure for your work. And novelists who have blogged their fiction tell me it makes them better writers in the process.
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