It’s not uncommon for writers with completed manuscripts to want to blog their projects. In their quest for ways to promote their work, they discover the “blog-a-book” concept and think it might work well even though they will skip a major step in the process. They won’t write, publish and promote their work but rather only publish and promote it.
How does blogging an existing book affect the book-blogging process as a whole? Does it work as well? Is it still good promotion? Let’s take a look.
My Experience Blogging a Completed Manuscript
I actually tested out this process with The Author Training Manual. I wrote this book the “traditional” way. I did not blog it. However, when I asked my publisher if I should blog the book as I produced a manuscript, the response was a resounding, “Yes!” So, after I completed the first draft, and as I worked on the second draft, I began to post bits and pieces of the manuscript as posts on my other blog, Write Nonfiction NOW!
Although I loved the process of blogging How to Blog a Book, I didn’t find the process of blogging The Author Training manual—a completed manuscript—as enjoyable or effective.
With that in mind, here are some reasons I don’t think blogging a completed manuscript works as well as blogging a manuscript from scratch.
- You aren’t writing a book. One of the primary advantages to blogging a book lies in the fact that you write it as you publish and promote it. When you blog a completed manuscript, you don’t get the satisfaction of producing your manuscript at the same time. You just do the drudgery of promotion. I think readers feel that. Although they might still be waiting for the next installment, or to “turn the page,” you aren’t in the creative mode as you produce and publish your posts, and that comes across energetically.
- The manuscript wasn’t written with blog posts in mind. Most manuscripts are not written in 300-500-word sections. Therefore, as you go back through your completed manuscript looking for blog-post-sized pieces to publish, you will discover, as I did, that it can prove quite difficult to split your chapters up into post-sized pieces. And your posts may not end up as well constructed or as well written because they were not meant as blog posts. Or you may have to rewrite them, which means you end up with a manuscript and blog posts—two different versions.
(I wrote about this process and my experience here as well.)
There is one advantage to blogging a completed manuscript: You publish a more polished version of your book.
When you blog a book, you typically publish your first draft. Maybe it’s your second draft because you’ve actually edited and revised that particular post a time or two before hitting “publish.” When you blog a completed manuscript, however, you may actually have revised or edited that manuscript a few times already. It could even be your final version. As you work on splitting it into blog-post-sized pieces, you revise again. That means the material you publish on your blog is in in much better shape than typical blogged material.
That does pose a problem, however. Blog readers purchase a blogged book when it is finally published because it has changed; it has been edited and revised and is in its final form. It also contains additional material. You may not have planned for that additional material when you first wrote your manuscript, but you could leave some out as you blog your existing manuscript. There are other reasons blog readers purchase blogged books. You can read them here.
I did see the same spikes in presale activity in my Amazon Author Central account for The Author Training Manual as I blogged the content as I did when I blogged How to Blog a Book. In fact, it achieved Amazon bestseller status before it officially went “on sale.” I attribute that to blogging the existing manuscript, to blogging my book or selected pieces of it. I did not, however, find that blogging The Author Training Manual achieved the same long-term results as blogging How to Blog a Book, which quickly rose to an Amazon bestseller and has remained there for more than two years to date. The Author Training Manual became an Amazon bestseller, but has only had that status on and off, and it didn’t happen quickly. This could be because of the difference in the subject matter, of course.
You’ll have to decide for yourself if you feel blogging your existing manuscript is a good idea—a good promotional activity. I don’t know that I would do it again, but I will continue to blog books from scratch.
Have you blogged your completed manuscript? What are the pros and cons you discovered?
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