Writers like to write. They don’t like to promote or build platform. That’s why I encourage them to blog and to blog their books. As they blog, they actually promote themselves and their work—and build platform. Why? Because they are producing content.
Search engines love content. And readers want content—especially content that solves their problems, adds value to their lives, touches them emotionally, or makes them think. When search engines and readers find content on your blog, your blog—or your blogged book—gains traffic. If you get enough traffic, and enough people talking about your content and sharing it, before long you and your blog or blogged book get noticed—by more readers and possibly by an agent or publisher. That’s why they say “content is king.” Great content produced regularly gets you noticed.
No one knows this better than C.C. Chapman. I met C.C., the co-author of Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business, at BlogWorld & New Media Expo 2011 this past November. C.C. is a recognized leader in the online and social media marketing space. He is a digital lifestyle writer with a passion for travel, photography, food, and music, as well as an author, speaker, entrepreneur, and father. He writes a blog, which you can read here.
C.C.’s book, Content Rules, is a must have for authors wanting to use their writing skills to engage readers, build author platform and build a business around their books—and for those of you blogging books. It’s filled with case studies, tips, and advice on how to do everything from writing a blog post to producing a video or podcast.
I interviewed C.C. while at BlogWorld Expo. We covered a lot of different topics related to content marketing and how it applies to social networking, making money and fitting this activity into a writer’s daily writing schedule, which I included in a post on my other blog, Write Nonfiction NOW! (You can read that post here.) However, I told C.C. about my book, How to Blog a Book, and we discussed that and blogging as well.
In a conversation we had later, C.C. admitted he didn’t agree on the total concept of blogging a book. In fact, he said, “I think your approach (and the book) is a very valid one, but it worries me a bit that it reads as if anyone can just start blogging and it will end up in a book. It felt a bit like anyone could do it, and I don’t agree that they can. What I mean is that anyone can be a blogger, but not everyone can be a book author. It takes a lot more.”
C.C. is right. Not everyone who sets out to blog a book will succeed, nor will every blogged book get discovered. Nor does every book idea, blogged book or blog deserve to become a book or to be “discovered.” That’s why aspiring authors should first look at their ideas through the lens of a book proposal using what I call the “proposal process”; this helps you decide if your idea has what it takes to become a book. Additionally, some writers/bloggers with good, marketable ideas will have to shop their book around to agents and publishers using a proposal and some will have to self-publish in some form. Not every good idea finds a home with a traditional publisher.
All that said, here’s the great information on blogging that came out of my conversation with C.C. And take a peak at the longer post on my other blog, too.
Do you think blogging a book is a good way to attract readers and possibly a publisher?
Blogging, or blogging a book, will definitely help attract attention, because you can definitely point to your blog and say, “You can read my writing here,” when you meet that agent or publisher. If you are going to rely only on your blog to get noticed, you are going to have to be really good and really, really lucky. More happens if you go to events and meet a publisher. Relying on the blog to get you the book contract is short sighted. It’s a piece of the publishing puzzle, for sure. I think it will help you in the long run.
I’ve written blog post that turned into chapters in a book. I put the idea out there to see how people would react. That’s a great way to test your audience. But I think there is so much more than the writing piece when it comes to getting published.
I don’t disagree with the idea of blogging a book, but there is more to it than just blogging. You also need to do the legwork…meeting publishers, writing the book proposal. It’s rare that publishers line up and say, “Please, please let us publish your book.” It does happen. But it doesn’t happen overnight. And you have to be a good writer.
And writing a book is extremely different from writing a blog.
How is writing a book different from writing a blog?
Just the scale of blog post versus writing a book is not even comparable. I’m not just talking about the number of pages. Having a coherent thought for a blog post is much easier than having a coherent thought for 200 pages in a book. That’s very, very difficult. I’ve heard lots of people say, “I’m a blogger. I can write a book.” I don’t think it’s one and the same.
To blog a book, I suggest writers start by evaluating their book ideas through the lens of a book proposal, creating platform and promoting the blogged book (the blog) on line and off. I tell them they should work toward being “discovered” by writing posts regularly as well, but they should be prepared to self-publish or to approach a publisher or agent with a proposal once they’ve finished writing the book. What do you think of this concept?
I think it’s an interesting and different approach. It reminds me of artists pages, where you are saying they should every day focus on a piece of the project.
I tell people, “If you want to write a book, writing the proposal is the hardest part.” It’s harder than anybody every imagined. To do it right takes a long time. Breaking it down and thinking about it through a proposal is a strategic and smart idea. If you can’t put together a book proposal, you’re never going to be able to put together a book. Ever. A proposal really focuses your thoughts. It makes sure you don’t just have an idea but that you have a book. There is a difference. There are all these great ideas that sound like they might work as a book, but can you really dedicate 20,000 or 40,000 words to that simple idea? Can you break it down in your process and really write the proposal?
Now, if you want to just blog, I don’t think you need to do this sort of strategic research. I believe you start a blog because you are passionate about a subject. Unless, of course, you want to make money. Then it makes sense to go through this process with your blog.
If you are blogging a book, you need both passion and a strategic business process. You’ll be blogging about this topic for a long time to come–long after you finish the book. And you need a business plan for the book and the blog–especially if you’d like to make money with your book and your blog.
Two short pieces of business today: Please remember to pre-order a copy of How to Blog a Book to get your $30 discount off the upcoming “Blog Your Way to a Book Deal 4-part teleclass.” For more information, click here.
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