Success Story: What I Learned By Blogging A Book

This guest post was contributed by Brian Cormack Carr.

Vital Vocation Cover MEDIUMI 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 VocationSocial 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!

TrumpThe Results?

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 BMCCentre 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.

Website: www.cormackcarr.com
Twitter: @cormackcarr

Purchase How To Find Your Vital Vocation at Amazon or Smashwords.

Comments

  1. Nina Amir says

    Glad to have you share your story and success, Brian. I can’t wait to feature you in the updated version of How to Blog a Book and to hear about your next blogged book. Keep me posted!

  2. says

    This is an awesome success story! Brian: I wasn’t sure when you said you ‘blogged’ the book – did that mean you literally started to write the book by posting it on your blog? I am unsure whether to start doing this or reserve the ‘meat’ of my work in the actual book rather than publish in the blog.

  3. says

    Hi Rob, and thanks!

    I actually did a bit of both. I *tried* to blog the full book, although the scheduling glitches I refered to in the article stopped me from doing that consistently, so quite a bit of the material that’s in the book never appeared on the blog. I’m going back now and adding that material in, because it gives me a whole range of blog posts I can put up there during the pre-launch promotion process. Nina points out in her book that we don’t really need to reserve material for the book, because a book is still an attractive prospect for people, even if they like and read the blog. A book has everything altogether in easily navigable format, which means that it will still have an audience.

    Best of luck with your book!

  4. Nina Amir says

    Rob,
    I recommend you have a plan to blog your book. Come up with a few chapters or 20 percent of your content that remains off the blog to entice a publisher and readers to the printed book or ebook. That said, plenty of booked blogs are identical to the blogged content.

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