This guest post was contributed by Brian Cormack Carr.
I first had the pleasure of coming across Nina’s How To Blog A Book after reading one of her tweets and surfing over to her website of the same name. It was a timely encounter – at the time, I was in the process of getting myself together to take the plunge into “actually writing a book”, instead of just “thinking about writing a book”.
I found the tips Nina had to share invaluable, and I incorporated several of them into the process of creating and self-publishing my first book, How To Find Your Vital Vocation: A Practical Guide To Discovering Your Career Purpose And Getting A Job You Love.
Here’s what I did, what I learned – and what I’ll do differently next time around!
1. Set Yourself A Challenging But Achievable Target
Nina’s book begins with some very useful information on how to decide your book topic and title. I was already some way there due to having already established my coaching niche, but I knew I needed something more to impel me to get moving.
I didn’t take the plunge by halves. I announced on my existing blog (and on Twitter, Facebook, and at every available social event and family gathering) that I was going to write and publish two books by the time I hit 40. At the time I made that promise, I was 39 years and 2 months old. The target was certainly challenging – but was it achievable? Well, I wrote and published my first book just four days short of my 40th birthday – and I have the other one written out in draft form.
Not bad going, but something was lacking – a proper plan. I created a writing plan for my blogged book, which certainly pushed me to move from chapter to chaper and helped me to get my target word counts in, but I didn’t do exactly as Nina advises in How To Blog A Book and structure my plan in the form of a book proposal. Consequently, I had to do some of the thinking that plan would have helped with – like promotional tactics, resources required, author platform, and overall book structure – as I wrote the book. That distracted me from being able to consistently write and blog at the same time.
2. Build Your Author Platform With Your Own Website
Although I already had two websites in place – one for my coaching practice and one for my online career-coaching program – I found Nina’s advice on how to use a blog to post a developing book really invaluable. I repurposed the online coaching program site into a blog for the book.
I’ll be the first to admit that although this definitely gave me the book-writing kick-start I needed, my actual posting on the blog wasn’t as consistent as it could have been. I can put this down in part to having limited time (my coaching and writing are adjuncts to an already full-time career as a charity chief executive) I must also acknowledge that a lack of a coherent business plan hampered me here.
Even with my basic plan, I still covered more ground in a shorter time than I would have thought possible – so you can be sure that full plan will be in place for my next book!
3. Start Driving Traffic To Your Blog Before Your Book Is Finished…Or Even Started!
One of my favorite chapters in Nina’s book is called Driving Traffic (Readers) To Your Blog. It’s a chapter that would be of great use to any online entrepreneur whether or not they’re blogging a book. This chapter, which clearly sets out the most effective ways of letting the world know your blog is there and active, really helped me inject some life into my book-writing process. Although I didn’t blog as consistently as I’d have liked (or quite as much as advised) I was still able to blog enough to substantially grow my readership. Unique visits to my site grew by 200% during the process of blogging How To Find Your Vital Vocation. Social media growth was even more impressive, which brings me to the next point.
4. Get Sociable and Engage Others in Your Book Blogging Journey
It’s fitting that Nina and I first connected via social media. The process of blogging my book has been the single biggest boost to my online presence. At the time I started, I had around 400 Twitter followers (I now have substantially more than double that). I had a mailing list which had grown steadily to around 100 subscribers – that has more than quadrupled in size. And I hadn’t made any real inroads into Facebook as a book marketing tool, but the Facebook page for How To Find Your Vital Vocation now stands at over 1,000 fans!
I don’t see myself as being at the end of my book blogging journey but nor am I right at the beginning. Because I took Nina’s advice and built a platform through the process of blogging my book, I was pleasantly surprised by my initial results when releasing the book. I released the ebook of How To Find Your Vital Vocation on the 4th of June, and by my 40th birthday four days later, it had registered on the UK Kindle careers bestseller list. It even (briefly) outsold Donald Trump’s careers guide!
Not bad for a first timer, eh? I’ve learned a lot from the process of blogging my first book. I’ve also learned that nothing that Nina advises in How To Blog A Book is superfluous – it’s all there for a reason. My next target is to blog a book including all the techniques I missed out this first time around.
So watch out Donald – and thank you Nina!
About the Author
Brian Cormack Carr is a writer, certified career coach and chief executive of BVSC The Centre for Voluntary Action, one of the UK’s leading local charities. He trained in personnel management with Marks & Spencer PLC and gained an MA (Hons) in English Literature and Language from the University of Aberdeen. Brian has nearly 20 years of experience in the fields of personal development and leadership, and has helped hundreds of clients, readers and workshop participants to find fulfilling work and a renewed sense of purpose.