It doesn’t matter if you blog fiction or nonfiction. If you want to blog a good book, I believe you must begin with a good content plan. This means you must know what content you want to include in your book and what structure you will use to deliver that content in the a manner that best serves your readers.
It’s true. Some people like to write “by the seat of their pants” never planning out any part of their books. This tends to be true for a lot of novelists. I think you’ll have a hard time blogging a novel by the seat of your pants. I know you can blog nonfiction without a plan, but it’s easier with one.
The Pitfalls of the Unplanned Path
If you want to simply sit down and write your book without a plan in mind, go for it. But don’t do it out in the public eye, which is where the first draft of your manuscript ends up when you blog a book. While blogging your book, if you get off course and discover you want to delete a large portion of a chapter or find yourself at a dead end with a need to rewrite your way out, you don’t necessarily want to have all of this happening on your blog. It’s okay for it to happen in your manuscript for your eyes only or for the eyes of your editor.
When your blog readers find you changing course, deleting posts or rewriting huge hunks of your online book, they are going to get frustrated and go somewhere else to read. (Remember, they are reading your book post by post.) You might be able to get away with this to some extent if you are blogging fiction and you enlist your readers for feedback. You can ask, “Do you like this chapter ending or this one better?” “Did you like the way this character developed, and did you find this part of the story line believable?” This type of crowd sourcing can create some nice reader participation and buy in to your book. If you do this too often, though, you also could lose readers. If you do this with nonfiction, it can appear as if you don’t know your topic; readers won’t trust that you are an expert or authority. This can prove fatal when it comes to the success of your blog and book.
Writing Easily and Well
You can avoid many of these types of problems, though, if you plan out your book or story line—which doesn’t mean you will never make a mistake while blogging a book or want to change something you published in a post. Your blogged book is your first draft after all. It will get revised and edited later. But if you plan out your book post by post as described in How to Blog a Book and here on this blog, you can follow your plan and get from point A to point B without too much trouble or too many wrong turns. For most writer’s that’s a huge accomplishment in and of itself.
Like you, I get excited about my book ideas and want to just jump in and start writing. I’ve discovered, though, that it’s much easier and more effective to write with a road map. Just as it’s easier to get where you are going in your car with a map and directions, you’ll get from the first word to the last in your manuscript more easily and quickly with a map and directions. I have my clients spend a lot of time planning out not only their content but how to write the most marketable content. Then, for the most part they just follow the directions. Like them, with a good content plan, every day you write what you planned to write. You make small creative adjustments as necessary, and you trim tab, as they say in the aviation industry, when you get slightly off course. But you probably won’t get too lost with this method, and you’ll arrive at your destination—a completed book manuscript (blogged book)—much faster and more easily. Plus, you’ll have gained readers and authority along the way.
Plus, the manuscript you produce will end up tighter, more cohesive. Your story will make more sense and have a better flow. Yes, it will still need editing, but not as much. Your good content plan will have helped you produce a good manuscript, which will help you produce a good book.
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