How to Turn Your Courses Into (Blogged) Books (Part 1)

Create a book from a courseIf you are a savvy blogger or blogpreneur, you’ve taken your subject matter and turned it into online courses. Each course is probably made up of a variety of audio or video segments, or modules. You may even have a written component to your offering as well, such as a workbook, homework sheets or handouts. With all of this already completed, you are in the perfect place to begin blogging or writing a book based on your course. And that’s probably what you are wondering how to do.

Last month I wrote extensively about how to turn your book into a course based on the subject or content of your book. This post is the first of two that teaches you how to reverse the process and use a course as the foundation for the content of a book.

My Experience

I realized the value of the reverse process for writing books last year. In February 2013, I offered my class, Author Training 101, for the first time. It was based on the principles I planned to include in the book I had just contracted to for Writer’s Digest Books, The Author Training Manual. Each week of the eight-week course, I produced an audio recording. In other words, I planned out eight course segments or audio modules. I had already written and published a workbook; this was used for homework. I assigned a particular chapter of the workbook each week. I later produced videos to go with each week’s module as well, and these included references to “evaluations” the students needed to make as part of their homework. As I taught the course, I wrote a chapter or two of my book, which served as the text for the course. Basically, I completed the rough draft of my manuscript and created a good bit of the course simultaneously.

In January of 2013, I created another course called Author of Change Transformational (ACT) Coaching Program. In this case, I created eight video modules based on PowerPoint presentations originally offered live and recorded over a three month period. The presentations were offered twice a month with accompanying homework assignments provided every week. I also created three additional PDFs I called ACT plans, and a bonus seminar and e-workbook for the premier students. In the back of my mind, I knew I wanted to write a book on this topic. I did not write the book at the time, but I plan to write it now—as I run the course again this month.

Why would I do this? Because:

  • It was inspiring to write a book while teaching a course–and the deadlines helped me complete the book quickly.
  • I saw how easy it was to write a book when I’d already mapped out the content for a course.
  • Writing from a previously prepared course gave me clarity on my book’s content.
  • Creating and teaching a course allowed me to determine what was missing from its content so I could add it to both the course and the book.
  • I realized that reteaching a course while writing would allow me to come at the topic with new perspective and to take advantage of insights from another set of students.

Why Write a Book from a Course

Creating a course is much like outlining a book. However, it forces you plan out all the content in advance in a manner that makes you think about the content differently. You have to consider not only how the reader will comprehend the material but also how he or she will use it. In other words, what piece of knowledge do they need first so they can apply the next piece of knowledge effectively?

Not only that, when you start with a course, you actually work with the material first and get to see if it follows logically from one piece to the next. You get to see if you’ve missed any critical learning steps. That’s an imperative aspect of putting together any book—fiction or nonfiction. But this is particularly true for nonfiction. A learning progression happens in a nonfiction book. When you teach anything you become acutely aware of this. Therefore, if you create a course, which requires you to consider in what order you must teach your material, your book naturally will flow out of the structure you create. You then will take readers on a step-by-step learning experience through the pages or your book.

In the next post, I’ll break down the process of blogging a book from your course. You also will be able to apply the process to simply writing a book if you prefer. Read that post here.

Learn how to blog a book! Register for my Writer’s Digest University How to Blog a Book course. Limited seats…starts January 9!

Image credit: geargodz / 123RF Stock Photo


  1. says

    I am so thrilled that you wrote this post, “How to Turn Your Courses Into (Blogged) Books,” because that is exactly what I hope to do this spring. I became aware of your site in June of last year (2013) and read your posts throughout the summer, with the idea of catching on a little at a time and starting this January. Then I became busy in the fall and only read one or two posts. Over the holidays I was able to catch up and I have to say that your ideas are quite simply amazing. I know that I am coming very late to the online universe, and it is very fortunate that people (like me) who are not very tech savvy have you to guide and inspire us. In the fall I teach a very large, fairly low-level lecture course, but in the spring, I teach a small, more specific course that is much more suited to your wonderful ideas and inspiring coaching.

  2. Nina Amir says

    Thanks so much for your lovely comment, Joe! I hope you’ll find the second part of the post even more useful. And good luck with your book. If you do write a book based on a course, please let me know. I’ll use you as an example…plus, you can write a guest post about it.

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