by Lauren Wise, Midnight Publishing
With all the trials and tribulations that come as an entrepreneur building a brand, there’s one huge thing you may have already accomplished without even realizing it.
You’ve written a book. Possibly even several.
That’s right: If you regularly write blogs in a specific area of expertise—whether it is beauty, event planning, short stories, engineering, pet care, crafting, cooking, or hundreds of other topics—you’ve slowly been establishing yourself as an expert, one “Publish Blog Now” click at a time.
A year’s worth of weekly blogs can easily produce a rough manuscript, as well as a fan base to ultimately kick-start book sales. And in the world of business, everyone knows that a book is the best business card you can ever hand over to a potential client.
While a blog helps position you as someone constantly in the “know” and as a leader, a book can dramatically increase your authority, and spread the word about your work.
But as the book-to-blog trend continues its trajectory upward, it’s important, now more than ever, that your book sits high above the rest. In fact, it’s very similar to the self-publishing trend: I’ve said that 2015 is the year of maturation for the self-publishing industry, and the blogosphere goes hand-in-hand with that.
This means that even though you have surplus of relevant content for your career, you still need to treat a published, relevant collection of your blogs just as that—a book.
Here are five things to consider before deciding if a blog-to-book project will work for you.
- Have you generated enough of a fan base and buzz through your blog?
If you’ve been blogging for a few years and didn’t expect recognition over night, then you understand the patience required for generating a sufficient buzz and audience.
The majority of authors that go for blog-to-book projects are blogging in a non-fiction category. The most success comes from those blogs that focus on how to do something, or solves a problem for people
- Seek a possible concept.
No matter what the category, not al blogs would make sense in book format. First you should take a long, hard look at your blog posts. What are the common themes? Which received the most hits, comments, shares, or action? What are you trying to achieve with your book? Make a list of possible concepts, and then make a list underneath each of those concepts of the possible blogs that could be incorporated.
Maybe you discover a strong concept or theme, but there are only a dozen posts that fit the model. If that’s the case, focus on that theme for future blog posts. Over the course of the next few months you can increase the strength of your concept tenfold.
- Blog about your concepts, and ask for opinions from readers.
Ask your readers if any of the concepts stand out from the list, and if so, what do they think about one of those concepts in book form? This is not only a good way to put the word out early on, but can spur opportunities for collaboration with a fellow author or editor.
It also gets the conversation going (i.e. a stronger buzz) on your blog, creating interaction between you and your fans.
- Consider why people would buy your book if the content is already online for free?
This is an important question to consider. While a compilation of your work will offer your readers a more in-depth experience than the blog alone, you don’t want the reader feeling like they are just reading something off your web site. Most people read blogs for the quick consumption of information and stories. A book puts your best foot forward. It allows the reader to get the most out of your book’s theme or concept without interruption; it’s a continuous reading experience.
Imagine how you want the content to appear in print. How will it be different then the online version? How will it become more valuable for the reader? Consider including a handful of blog posts that are not published on your blog, as well as an Introduction or Foreword, possibly from another fellow author in your field.
- Understand that a book is a different reading experience then a blog.
Keep in mind that blogs can actually make terrible books.
If you just throw all your blog posts into book format without considering a theme, re-writing, editing, etc., you can bet it most likely won’t be a hit with your readers.
In order to do this, you must examine what blogs will fit into your concept, and pick and choose. There’s no way you will include every published blog in this book, or even keep them in chronological order. This also means that you will have to put in considerable work to re-write some material.
So, don’t think of it as “how do I shape a blog into a book”—you have to consider that every chapter in a book needs to read smoothly and connect in a readable way. Blogs are created for online reading, usually packed with keywords, current events, visuals, and interactive content.
So, have you decided that creating your blog into a book is a good idea? Stay tuned, because in my next guest blog for SheOwnsIt, I’ll touch on the steps you should take in order to create and publish your book.
Lauren Wise, Editor, Writer and Self-Publishing Consultant at Midnight Publishing.
Lauren Wise, Head of Editorial, has been a writer, book editor and magazine editor for over 10 years. In 2009, she established Midnight Publishing to help other writers just like her in the struggling economy. Midnight Publishing provides editing, writing, proofing, publishing, website and consulting services to dozens of customers in Arizona and throughout the country.
A graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, Lauren has worked as a magazine editor and contributed a few hundred articles to publications on the topics of publishing, travel, music, cooking and wine. Lauren Wise lived all over the country and traveled throughout Europe, Vietnam, Taiwan, The Virgin Islands, Cambodia, Canada and Mexico, making her open to several cultures, ideas and editorial styles.