Many writers start book projects and don’t finish them. This becomes increasingly true for nonfiction writers who want to become traditionally published. Unlike fiction writers who must submit a completed novel along with a brief proposal to an agent or acquisition editor, nonfiction writers must submit only about 25 pages of competed manuscript as part of a thorough book proposal. If they then wait for a publishing deal, they may never finish their book. Instead, they may go on to work on another book proposal, simply starting the next book…and never finishing that one either if it doesn’t receive a contract from a publisher.
In this day and age, however, a nonfiction writer needs a platform. (Yes…I’ve mentioned this already.) In fact, without that platform that traditional publishing contract may never show up. (“Platform” represents a section in a nonfiction proposal; today fiction writers also may include a Platform section in their proposals.) Since having a presence on the Web represents one board in your platform, you might as well blog your book while you wait for an agent to pick you up and a publisher to offer to come in. This will prevent you from stopping your writing activity at page 25.
Believe me, I know the value of this. I have at least five or six book proposals completed. That means I also have about five or six books started…and not finished.
Now, you might argue that anyone can start a blog and then stop writing it at any time. You can even delete it. It would disappear from Cyberspace as fast as it showed up. That’s true. Consider your readers, though. What would they think if you suddenly stopped writing? I think about that sometimes; I started blogging one of my books, but I only got three posts into it before I stopped. (I decided I didn’t have time to continue.) Readers still show up at that site, since I didn’t take it down.
Here’s my point: One your blog has even a few regular readers, you have to keep blogging your book until you’ve completed the whole manuscript. Your readers and subscribers become your “accountability partners.” You know they wait for you to post something. You know they want you to complete the book. They want to “turn the page”; they want to finish the book. You can’t let them down. You have to act responsibly and keep writing until you’ve posted the last word of your book.
And if you stop in the middle…well, you disappoint all your readers. You fail publicly. No one likes to do that.
I end up feeling guilty when I don’t post a blog for a few days. I can’t imagine how badly I would feel if I just stopped writing a book I was writing in real time in the middle if I knew people were reading it.
That’s why I argue that no better way exists to ensure you finish that manuscript than to blog your book.