What NOT to Do When You Book a Blog

I highly recommend repurposing, or recycling your blog posts into a book. However, you can’t just slap you posts together and say, “Done!”

Just this morning I was reading an announcement about a booked blog, one that was repurposed into a book, and thinking, “Wow. This guy has it all wrong.” The blogger and author, Kevin Shively, admits he did just that–slapped the posts together without editing or proofreading–not even bothering to check for misspellings. BIG mistake, at least if you want your book to meet the quality of traditionally published books–and you do. I personally wouldn’t buy The Handsome Man’s Guide to Being Handsome after that announcement–not that the title, the copy he wrote about how to write a book or his attitude about women enticed me anyway. (But that’s just me…)

Just a few hours later I read a blog post from marketing expert extraordinaire and publisher Seth Godin. In it he basically says the same thing about the quality of self-published books–especially ebooks. And it’s very easy to turn your blogged book or booked blog into an ebook. Here’s most of what Godin said in his post:

When anyone can publish a book, anyone will.

Including people who will collect up public domain articles, paste them into Word and hit publish.

And people who will use keywords to trick you into thinking a book is about something it isn’t.

Of course, there have been counterfeit handbags for sale on the streets of New York for decades. The difference? We trust books. Books are special.

The giant risk (okay, it’s not a risk, it’s a certainty) of the long tail ebook revolution is that without enforced curation due to scarcity, the average quality is going to plummet (it has to) and the risk of buying a bogus book goes way up.

You don’t want your readers to pick up your book and feel they purchased a counterfeit, or bogus, book. You don’t want them to feel turned of by the quality of the book and, therefore, be unable to take in the content–the information–you’ve provided. You want them to feel they got the real deal. You want them to trust you and come back and buy more books and services and products. So go to the trouble of getting professional editing and design for your blog posts when you decide to book your blog or blog a book.

We all miss small errors in our work. We make mistakes. Even editors and proofreaders miss things. But don’t just slap a bunch of posts together and announce proudly, “This is a book–and I didn’t bother to reread my work even once.” That’s not a good way to gain credibility in the marketplace.

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Comments

  1. says

    Hey Nina,

    Thanks for the feedback.

    As the writer of a very small blog dealing mainly in satirical sexism (with around 70% female readership), I obviously get no greater satisfaction than hearing a person who isn’t a reader take one of my posts so literally.

    That being said, I did take to heart your comments regarding that specific post. Sometimes I sell myself out and/or sell myself short for the sake of a laugh (or in this case, a snarky comment that probably won’t get a laugh). This was one of those situations where that wasn’t beneficial. I’m not accustomed to catering my content towards marketing goals, like most blogs are. I’m still learning that businessey crap (and before you write a post condemning my use of the word “businessey”, I know that’s not a real word).

    I honestly appreciate the feedback, regardless of my initial “screw you” reaction to your knee-jerk opinions.

    I don’t consider myself a great writer. I’m a comic who happened to spend a few years writing for newspapers. I work construction during the day, so I wrote the book – as I write the blog – more as a creative outlet than a money-making endeavor (although, I’m not at all opposed to money).

    I expect to be safe from TOO much criticism though, because I offer no real promise of “content” or “information” (or truth for that matter) in my book…A fact that would be more apparent to someone familiar with the blog. Also, as an unknown blogger and even lesser-known comic, I’m pretty sure my friends are the only ones buying it.

    Good luck with everything, and thanks again for the feedback.

    Wishing you continued success,
    Kevin
    kevin recently posted..The BEST Christmas Movies of All Time

  2. Nina says

    Kevin,

    I apologize if I offended you. I don’t know your blog or your book. I do commend you for repurposing your content into a book. That’s a great move. I just always stress to those reading my blog(s) that they should turn out high quality products. Professional editing and design are necessary.

    Now, if your blog and your book are humorous, fluffy, snarky, etc., that’s fine. And if readers like it, great! There’s another blogger who had a similar blog turned into a book and hit the best-seller list (can’t think of the name off hand, but I’ve mentioned it here and you can probably find it in the blogs turned into book category). Can’t say I agreed with the content either…but he did proofread, edit…turn out a great book. In fact, he got a traditional book deal. He had readers; the content was attracting them.

    Good luck with your book and your blog. I hope you do decide to get it proofread at least for spelling errors. :~) And I hope you attract a lot of readers to both.

    Sincerely,
    Nina

  3. says

    Thanks Nina,

    That’s great feedback and I appreciate the followup. I spent seven years writing for newspapers, and I have a lot of editor/proofreader friends who would have slapped me if I didn’t have it edited before printing.

    The blog post was a mistake and a failed joke. I’m actually really grateful that you wrote this because it made me sit back and rethink the thought process that went into it.

    Thanks again!
    Kevin
    kevin recently posted..The BEST Christmas Movies of All Time

  4. says

    Many writers cannot afford a professional editor to proof their writing, especially in this economy. I definitely believe in proof reading, but I am having family and writing friends help me with that. Sure I could send my book out to agents via the traditional route, or hire an editor, but those are all options out of my budget. I refuse to put my book on hold just because I cannot afford a professional editor, but I know my book will be well edited with my hard work. As an artist I have an eye for design, so no need to hire anyone there. Actually, CreateSpace has templates to help most anyone with the design of their cover, text, and you can even pay for editing services.

  5. Nina says

    It’s true that professional editing can be expensive. And proofreading is essential and must be done in addition to editing. If you have writing friends who are very good at editing, that might suffice. A great critique group and great writers with good editor’s eyes will definitely improve your book. This is better than no editing, that’s for sure. People who use family, friends and even teachers don’t usually end up with the best results, however. You need readers who know about books–the kind of book you are writing in particular–and about grammar, punctuation and more. The more I speak about is how a book flows, what might be missing, what doesn’t make sense, word usage that isn’t quite right, etc. If your writing friends can do all of this for you, great!

    Now, agents don’t cost money. They do take a percentage of what you earn. And getting an agent to find you a publisher, in most cases, means you get a professional editing job from the publishing house. And you pay nothing for the publishing of the book (except possibly indexing, but that can be negotiated).

    You are right about CreateSpace. They do have templates. I’ve used them. They work pretty well. If you are an artist you can definitely design the interior. If you know enough about marketing as well, you can design the cover. If you do some test marketing with your title choices, the cover should come together fine. I don’t suggest this to anyone who doesn’t know something about design and marketing, because title choice and design sell books.

    It’s also true that CreateSpace offers editing services. Like most author services companies, their editorial services are a package deal, and you’ll get what you pay for. It’s less expensive than hiring someone like me for sure. And it’s better than no editing at all, that’s also for sure.

    As to whether or not you should put your book on hold, that’s up to you. I recommend turning out the best book possible. That said, I have published some of my short books — not major works — with much less time spent on editing and design than what has gone into How to Blog a Book simply because I wanted to get them done and published quickly. However, I stand by my conviction–and that of most industry professionals–that the best and most successful independently published books are those that meet the same high standards of traditionally published books.

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