09 Jan 38. Blog Your Book the Right Way
If you’re a consistent blogger–or you plan to be–that content can do double duty for you.
Monetize your blog posts and use them to take your authority in your niche to the next level by blogging your book.
Find out how to do it the right way, so you end up with a phenomenal book that reads as so much more than a collection of blog posts.
Hey there. Welcome to Nothing but the Words. I’m your author coach, Candice L Davis.
When I first started editing books and coaching editors, I worked with a lot of bloggers.
These weren’t businesspeople who also had a blog as a marketing tool.
They were people who considered themselves bloggers first.
They loved blogging. They put a lot of effort into their writing, into crafting an effective blog, and into building an audience.
They cross-posted on each other’s blogs and got together at huge blogging conferences.
Blogging was a whole community and way of work for them.
Many of these bloggers quickly realized there were better ways to monetize their blogs than letting companies run ads on them.
For some of them this included writing books.
After months, and even years, of blogging, they had tens or hundreds of thousands of words to work with.
That sounds like common sense. Repurpose the words you’ve already written.
The only question was how to pull it all together to make a coherent book.
People don’t want to read a book that feels like a collection of random blog posts.
Many of the bloggers I talked to struggled to create a cohesive book from their blog posts.
They hadn’t written them with a book in mind.
There wasn’t a sense of structure or organization among the blog posts.
So how do you blog your book the right way?
All of the basics of writing a great book, which I discuss in the first few episodes of this podcast, apply.
You need to know your One Perfect Reader and write for him or her.
Your book needs to serve a purpose for the reader and a purpose for you.
All that good stuff.
Once you’re ready to outline your book, this is where you can either do the work upfront or really struggle on the back end.
If you want to blog your book, then your outline needs to be detailed enough to break down into blog posts.
For most books, a chapter is much to long for a blog post.
So you’ll need to break the chapters down more.
What are the subsections you can create in each chapter?
If you’re writing a memoir or even a novel and you want to blog your book, then break it down into the individual scenes.
Once you do that you may have to break it down even further. For example, if your typical blog post is 300 words, but the sections or scenes of your book will average 900 words, don’t stress.
For the purposes of your blog, you can break scenes or sections into 2 or 3 parts.
It’s perfectly fine to continue the content of a blog post into the next one. Just make sure you add a note to the post to let readers know it will be continued in the next post.
I suggest you write all your blog posts in a Word document, or Google doc, or Scrivener project, before you write in your blogging platform.
That way, you can use Heading styles to keep track of what you’ve written, and you’ll have a completed manuscript when you’re done.
Use Heading 1 for your chapter headings and Heading 2 for subsections. And a linked table of contents or just the Navigation pane will make it easy for you to see the structure of your manuscript.
That’s a lot easier than trying to copy and paste from your blog to a document.
There are WordPress plugins that will allow you to download your blog content. It makes sense to use one if you’re trying to turn an existing blog into a book.
But if you’re blogging with a book in mind, it makes much more sense to start with the Word document.
If you only blog once a week, which isn’t uncommon, and your posts are 250 words each, at the end of the year, you’ll have just 13,000 words. That’s not enough for a book. For a short book, on the very shortest end of the spectrum, you generally want to hit at least 23,000 words.
Unless your book is heavy on graphics or falls into a children’s book category, when you start getting shorter than that, it begins to feel like less than a book.
So you’ve got 13,000 words at the end of the year if you publish just one 250-word blog post every week.
But if you’ve done the work to craft a detailed outline, you don’t have to stop at one short post a week. You can write 2 or 3 blog posts each week because your outline gives you a really specific plan for what to write. It’s up to you whether you publish each post or not.
So if you write 750 words a week, at the end of 52 weeks, you’ll have 39,000 words. That’s plenty for a respectable book.
Of course, you can write faster and post on your own schedule.
Once you have all your content, don’t rush out to publish your book.
This is where a lot of bloggers drop the ball, but you don’t have to.
Invest the time to make sure there’s a flow from one section or scene to the next and from one chapter to the next.
Transition sentences and paragraphs will go a long way to make this feel like a book instead of a collection of blog posts.
In addition, you’ll likely have to reshape your content for your book. For example, we typically use a lot more white space for online content than we do for books. When I write a blog post, I sometimes have a line space between every sentence or two.
No one wants to read a whole book written that way. So take the time to shape your blog content to be more in line with how we write books.
If you’re a blogger, and you’re creating content every week anyway, writing a book can help you monetize that content and create more authority in your niche.
If you’re a sometimes blogger or you just want to get motivated to write consistently, blogging your book might just be the push you need to get it done.
Please know that in 99% of cases, sharing your work on your blog won’t cut into your ability to sell your book.
People who read books want a complete book they can hold in their hands, and if you can captivate blog readers online with your content, you’ll be able to convert many of them into book readers too. Your content will do double duty for you.
Okay, my friends. That’s it for this week. If you enjoyed this week’s episode, follow me on Instagram. I’m sharing more tips and writing inspiration over there, and I’d love to connect with you and see what you’re up to.
Thanks for listening to Nothing but the Words. I’m your author coach, Candice L Davis, and I’ll see you next time.