The idea and practice of blogging books continues to gain acceptance. Bloggers get and seek traditional publishing deals and self-publish their content. And aspiring authors, including bloggers, compose their manuscripts from scratch post by post on the Internet and successfully land publishing deals or release independently published books.
Why would you want to write a book this way? Why would you want to expose the early stages of your work to the World Wide Web?
For the best answer to these questions, I suggest you read Austin Kleon’s book, Show Your Work, 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered. In this book, he explains how sharing bits and pieces of your work on the Internet help you:
* develop an emotional bond with potential readers
* accumulate a body of work
In this day and age, sharing your work helps you create a built-in readership in your target market for your work—an author platform. That means when you release your book, people are ready and waiting to purchase it.
When I first began blogging How to Blog a Book, I listed the ten reasons you might want to blog a book, but I did so in 10 separate posts. I thought the reasons were worth repeating for anyone just now entertaining the idea of blogging a book.
1. Blog a Book to Publish As You Write
Each time you write a blog post and hit the “publish” button, you publish your content. That means you become a self-publisher. If you blog a book, you publish the first or second draft of your manuscript as you write.
2. Blog a Book to Get Exposure and Build Platform
To become a published nonfiction author—and many cases a fiction author, you must develop an audience for your work. Blogging provides the easiest way to gain visibility and exposure to potential readers in your market and build a base of fans—a “platform”—for your books.
A successful blog serves as the foundation of your platform. Blogging is a promotional necessity. So, if you already must blog to promote yourself and your work, put the time to good use. Blog your book into existence and build platform as you complete your manuscript.
3. Blog a book to Achieve Expert Status
Expert status constitutes one spoke in an author’s platform. Publishers purchase nonfiction books from authors they perceive as experts in their fields.
Most bloggers say their blog has helped them establish a position as a thought leader within an industry, and they are better-known in their industry because of their blog. Plus, a published book always helps establish expert status.
Combine authority blogging with book publishing, and you propel yourself into the ranks of “thought leader” and published author.
4. Blog a Book to Get Read
If you traditionally publish your book, you might wait a year and a half or two years (or longer) after receiving a book contract for your book to hit the book store shelves. If you independently publish your book, you can get it into your hands and into on-line book stores in four to six weeks—if you hurry.
In both cases, there’s no guarantee your book will get read unless you put forth great promotional efforts (and you produce a book worth reading).
BookScan reports that the average U.S. book sells less than 250 copies per year. That’s not even one book per day. As you blog your book, you might have 20, 50, 100, 200, even 1,000 readers per day. That’s more readers in one day than the average traditionally published author has in a year.
5. Blog a Book to Test Market Your Idea
Just as businesses test market their product ideas, authors need to test market book ideas. A blogged book represents an extremely effective and cheap way to accomplish this analysis.
Put bits of your book out into Cyberspace each day or several times a week for free for those who should be interested in your topic. If they are interested, and if you have something worth reading, they will show up—and return often.
And if they don’t come…well, your test marketing has succeeded in demonstrating that your idea does not have merit, it needs to be tweaked or you haven’t hit the correct market. You also may need to go back to the drawing board and try something else.
6. Blog a Book for the Daily Writing Commitment
Blogging a book requires a regular writing and publishing commitment. That makes your blog or blogged book a form of daily writing practice.
Most writers complain that they can’t find time to write regularly and complete their manuscripts. When you decide, for example, to publish posts three times per week as you blog your book, your manuscript gets written. Write 500 words three times a week and you’ve added 1,500 words to your manuscript in that time period. In 33 weeks, you will complete a 50,000-word manuscript.
7. Blog a Book to Get Feedback on Your Writing
When you blog your book, you receive comments on posts from your blog readers. These give you information about your manuscript. Plus, these comments allow you to hear from the real people who would purchase your book in a bookstore.
The comment function on a blog also offers you a chance to enter into a dialogue with your readers. You can reply to your readers’ comments and ask them questions or attempt to get them to continue conversing with you about the book, its content, your writing, etc. This is invaluable feedback—better than that offered by a critique group.
8. Blog a Book to Ensure You Complete Your Manuscript
Even a few regular readers compel you to continue blogging your book until you’ve completed the whole manuscript. Your readers and subscribers become your “accountability partners.” They wait for you to post something and to “turn the page.” They want to finish reading your book.
You can’t let them down. You have to act responsibly and keep writing until you’ve published the last post of your book. If, instead, you stop in the middle, you disappoint your readers and fail publicly. No one likes to do that, which is why most people who start blogging a book finish the manuscript.
9. Blog a Book to Show What You’ve Got…But Not All You’ve Got
When you blog a book, you don’t give all your best material away. You hold back a little bit of content so readers have some new material to read in the published version of your blogged book. This also gives publishers previously unpublished content to promote.
Basically, you show all—maybe even most—of what you’ve got but not all. And the new content in the final product entices readers (and publishers) to purchase. (Discover more reasons your blogged book readers will purchase your published book in this post.) Not sure what to leave out of your blogged book, read this post
10. Blog a Book so You and Your Blog or Book Get Discovered
If you think only one or two bloggers’ content or blogged books have been discovered by agents or publishers, think again. The numbers increase every day. Ever since roughly 2005, agents and acquisitions editors have scanned the Internet looking for new writers with marketable ideas that can be turned into books. Some of those writers are bloggers; some of them are writers or bloggers blogging books.
Here are a few blogs turned into books over the last few years:
- Mallory Ortbert’s Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters (TheToast.com)
- Benjamin Dewey’s eTragedy Series: Secret Lobster Claws and Other Misfortunes (published on Tumblr)
- Jennifer Fulwiler’s Something Other than God (ConversionDiary.com)
- Jessica Hagy’s How to Be Interesting (in 10 Simple Steps) (ThisIsIndexed.com)
- Phil Edward’s Fake Science 101: A Less-Than-Factual Guide to Our Amazing World (FakeScience.org)
- Joakim Christoffersson’s Nano Workouts (NanoWorkout.com)
- Madeleine Roux’s Allison Hewitt Is Trapped (HelpTheyAreComing.WordPress.com)
- Gina Sheridan’s I Work at a Public Library (IWorkAtAPublicLibrary.com)
Maybe your goal isn’t to be found by a traditional publisher, though. Blogging a book is the best way to be found by readers as well. As mentioned earlier, you build platform when you blog a book, and that helps your independently published book succeed as well.
If these 10 reasons aren’t enough for you, remember Kleon. He recommends, “Get found by being findable,” and “Share something new every day.” You do that by showing your work, which, in this case, is your work in progress—your blogged book or manuscript.
Do you have more reasons to add to this list? If so, I’d love to hear them. Leave me a comment below telling me why YOU think blogging a book is a great idea.
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