The mission of Jenn Granneman’s blog, Introvert, Dear, is clearly stated on the site: To let introverts everywhere know it’s okay to be who they are. There’s nothing wrong with you because you’re quiet. You’re not broken because you like spending time alone.
Jenn adds to this the fact that IntrovertDear.com is “the largest community and publication for introverts on the web. We share insight, advice, and stories that will make introverts and highly sensitive people say, ‘Me, too!'”
Jenn has been advocating for introverts since 2013, when she founded Introvert, Dear. She is also the author of the book, The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World, which is based upon her blog. When asked to describe the book, she said, “The Secret Lives of Introverts is an introvert guide and manifesto.” The book is a compassionate vindication that explores, discovers, and celebrates the secret inner world of introverts that, only until recently, has begun to peek out and emerge into the larger social narrative. Drawing from scientific research, in-depth interviews with experts and other introverts, and her personal story, Jenn reveals the clockwork behind the introvert’s mind—and why so many people get it wrong initially.
For most of her life, she felt weird, different, and out of place because of her quiet ways; now, she writes about introversion because she doesn’t want other introverts to feel the way she did.
When Jenn named her blog Introvert, Dear, she imagined a wise, older woman inviting a troubled young introvert to sit down on her fancy chaise lounge. The older woman began dispensing her worldly advice by saying, “Now, introvert, dear…”
In this interview, Jenn explains how her blog became a book.
How did your blog-to-book deal come about? And did your blog play a part in landing that deal?
I was asked by an editor at Skyhorse publishing if I would review a book written by a fellow introvert blogger. After reviewing the book, I asked the editor if she would be interested in looking at a book proposal from me — and she agreed. You can read more about this process in an article I wrote for The Write Life here.
What process did you use to find or choose the blog posts that went into your book? (And out of how many posts did you have to choose?)
I repurposed about three or four blog posts, choosing the ones that were the most popular with my audience. I also drew from blog posts submitted to my blog by other writers (about eight or ten of these).
How did you organize your previously written posts into a book, or did you keep the flow that you originally constructed?
I included blog posts (or parts of posts) when it was relevant to the topic I was writing about. For example, in the chapter about introverts and socializing, I included a popular post about “rules for being friends with an introvert.” I opened each chapter with a personal story that illustrated the chapter’s topic; I drew on personal stories I had.
What percentage of your book ended up repurposed posts (as opposed to new content)?
About 40 percent.
What kind of editing or revision did you need to do to make the previously published blog posts work in a book?
It depended on the post. In one instance, I included a post (almost) in its entirety as a sidebar. In another instance, I removed the introduction of a post and included each of its points in its entirety (the original post was a listicle). In most cases, I summarized the blog post or included snippets of it.
Did you take your readers input into account before the manuscript went to press?
When the book was half finished, I asked a team of 40 beta readers to read my draft and give me feedback. One beta reader said she didn’t like the way I quoted so much from other writers’ blog posts, because it interrupted the flow; I edited those parts and summarized more. Another beta reader suggested I reorder the chapters, moving the “science behind introversion” chapter further up in the sequence (it became chapter 2), and pushing a “myths about introversion” chapter further back (his reasoning was he already knew about the “myths,” but the “science” information was new and interesting to him). Finally, I balanced out the personal narrative with more statistics and facts, which was another reader suggestion.
How did blogging a book or booking your blog make you a better writer?
Writing a book definitely made me a better writer! It helped me clarify my message about introversion (you can work with your introversion rather than fight against it), and helped me better define and articulate my mission (to advocate for introverts). It also gave me experience with another writing style — the longer, more flowing narrative style of book writing, as opposed to the shorter, to-the-point style of writing for the web.
Did booking your blog make you a better blogger and how?
Definitely! Writing a book allowed me the opportunity to dig even deeper into my topic, which gave me even more material to draw from when blogging.
Do you have any tips you can offer on blogging books or booking blogs?
First, identify a topic that matters personally to you or that you find absolutely intriguing, because you’re going to be spending a lot of time with this topic; you don’t want to get bored of it!
Next, I would recommend writing several blog posts about this topic (the more, the better) before you set your sights on a book. There are two important reasons for this:
- You’ll get to know your topic thoroughly before you have to think about structuring a book, and
- You’ll know what resonates with your audience. In other words, you’ll learn about what questions they have, what pain points they have, what their needs are, and what interests them. This will help you put together a book that really hits home with your audience.
Finally, know that writing a book will take plenty of time, even if you’ve been blogging about your topic for a while and you plan to repurpose some posts. Your blog content probably won’t work perfectly as book content, so you’ll likely have to do some editing.
What one thing did you do that increased your traffic or brought in more unique visitors?
I’m very active on social media. In addition to my blog posts, I post engaging content from other sources, such as articles, quotes, images, and even funny memes. If I have a blog post that performs very well, I ask other related pages to share it; I call this a “post swap” — I share one of their posts, and they share one of mine. This helps both of us find a new audience for our content.
How long did it take for you to gain blog readers, and can you pin point any certain event that created a tipping point when readership increased noticeably?
I blogged for four years before I was able to quit my full-time job and devote all my time to blogging. There was not one tipping point; I grew my traffic slowly and steadily over time.
Some things that helped grow that traffic were writing viral content, post swaps with other bloggers and introvert activists, and writing for other sites, such as Quiet Revolution, The Mighty, Huffington Post, Psychology Today, and others.
What’s the most important thing a blogger can do to get noticed in the blogosphere and build an author platform or fan base?
Look for opportunities outside your blog. Can you write a post for another site? Can another social media account share your post? Can you interview someone who will bring a level of expertise to your site (and share that interview with his or her audience)? Can you get another blogger to link to your site?
It’s unlikely that readers will just stumble onto your blog — you have to go to them. (They’re hanging out on social media and well-established sites).
All these things will help your blog grow!
About the Blogger and Author
Jenn Granneman is the founder of IntrovertDear.com and the author of the book, The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World. She also blogs for Psychology Today, and her writing has been featured on Quiet Revolution, The Huffington Post, The Mighty, The Muse, and elsewhere.
For most of her life, she felt weird, different, and out of place because of her quiet ways; now, she writes about introversion because she doesn’t want other introverts to feel the way she did. To get personal updates from her, you can follow her on Facebook or on Twitter at @IntrovertDear.