Just over a week ago, I turned in my revised blogged book manuscript to my editor at Writer’s Digest Books. If you recall, I landed a book deal for this blogged book, How to Blog a Book. I promised to discuss how to revise your blogged book manuscript. Now that I’ve finished doing so, I can tell you about my process, and you can glean some information from my experience.
In the process of my revision, my blogged book went from approximately 26,000 words to approximately 44,000 words. And I wrote those extra words in just three week’s time. As I revised, I added, elaborated, expanded, and explained. I also added a whole chapter. In fact, I still need to add another chapter; that’s the only thing unfinished on my end.
Where did all this extra copy come from? I discovered areas in my original manuscript where my concepts where a bit too sketchy, and I really meant to be more detailed or in depth. I actually did this in some important places, such as how to actually write your blogged book and blog posts. So the chapter in the book that covers writing your blogged book contains much more information on that than you will find here in this blog. I realized while revising that as I was blogging the book I actually thought I had covered this topic pretty well and that I had made sense and been clear. When I came back later, I realized I hadn’t said enough and had left out important details. It’s so important to edit! (You can come back and add to your blogged book right on line; remember that.)
Additional copy came from techy experts I asked to review the chapters on creating a blog and promoting a blog. While I know a lot about these topics, before I committed this information to print with a publisher, I wanted to have my facts checked. This was done by several experts who helped me also see where I needed to expand on subjects. They also added some information. Thus, these two chapters got a bit longer. (And I realized, again, I’d left out some important topics.)
When you blog a book you are not creating the final version of your manuscript. I’d say you are creating something better than a first draft–maybe a second draft, but your manuscript will still need work. And you’ll want to add some special features as well to make the print version different from the blogged version.
You also have to edit it just like any other manuscript. I’m a professional nonfiction editor, so I dug into my manuscript like I would if it were one of my client’s manuscripts. I edited for content and for grammar, punctuation and sentence strength. In other words, I did developmental and line editing. My writing is pretty clean, but I found plenty to correct and improve upon as I went through the manuscript once, twice, and in some cases three or four times. I cut and moved copy. I rewrote passive sentences. I cut words. I added or deleted commas. I put in transitions. I rewrote. I reread. I reread again. And again.
Then I sent it off to the editor at Writer’s Digest Books. Now we’ll see what changes he asks me to make.