As I mentioned previously, the easiest way to blog a book and end up with a manuscript entails writing your posts in Microsoft Word and then copying and pasting 200-300 words at a time into your blogging software. If you have done this, you now have a complete manuscript.
If you haven’t done this, you will need to copy and past all your blog posts into a Microsoft word document.
Consider adding any information to your manuscript that relates to reader comments and your replies. Also, if you plan on adding fresh copy or features to your printed book, this is the time to do so—prior to handing the manuscript over to the editor, POD printer or book designer.
Once you have a manuscript document, divide your posts up into chapters. Then edit them to make sure the posts all flow together smoothly and read well. You don’t want them to be choppy or to sound like a bunch of 200-word posts. Now these short posts need to sound like sections in a longer chapter. Your post titles should read like subheads.
At this point, you need only convert the manuscript into a book design format. Simpler said than done—especially for writers.
Most POD publishers like Adobe InDesign for this purpose. You can purchase it, learn how to use it and then design your own interior pages. It’s a good idea, though, to get help with your cover. Covers sell books; you want to be sure your book cover looks professional. Cover photos can be purchased with subscriptions to such services as istockphoto.com. You can hire a book designer to design your book for you. Many POD publishers offer packages that include cover and interior design.
Be sure to hire a professional editor to give your book a final polish. Even great writers need both a great editor and a superb proofreader. You might also need an indexer. Don’t let your book fail because you skimped on these things and let you book appear unprofessional because it contained errors.
Many independently published books fail not because they have lousy content but because their authors failed to do the work necessary to ensure their books have the same quality as their traditionally published counterparts.
Any number of POD publishers can help you get your book completed. Pick one with a great reputation. I recommend a small publisher right in my home town because I can walk in and work with them (www.robertsonpublishing.com). However, more and more options crop up every day, including brand new and exciting companies like Fastpencil.com.
You might also want to check out the companies that simply convert your blog to a book without changing a thing. Even the comments will appear in your printed book. This is a great option if you want your printed book to appear identical to your blogged book.
Once your book has been printed, you can purchase as many copies as you like…or none at all. The POD printer should make the book available in all the on-line books stores; a good POD printer also should give you the option of getting your book in the Ingram catalog, which is used by most bookstores. They may also give you some marketing materials, like bookmarks, business cards, postcards, or even a webpage. Make use of these, and put the information about how to purchase your book on your blog and website.
In other words, start selling those books!
Next time, I’ll tell you a bit about creating an e-book.