Archive for the Category »Reviews «

I’ve kicked around the idea of writing a free ebook for quite some time.how to turn your blog into a book

My thought is to put some of my previous blog posts into book form for those who prefer not to dig through my archives. I’d like for the comments to be included since that is where most of the value lies and I’d also like to include links to the comment author’s sites.

I know I’ll turn some of my blog posts into a book sooner rather than later, however I’ve convinced myself there must be an easier way to do it rather than cutting, pasting, and re-editing before publishing.

My search to do so has taken me on an interesting journey.

Today’s Lesson

I first tried two different plugins for turning a blog into book form.

  1. Anthologize and
  2. Blog2Print

For reasons I can’t figure out, both plugins failed to work for me so my search continued.

Thanks to Rick of What’s On My PC? my first stop was

  1. BlogBooker
  2. I used my green blog, input the URL and a link to the XML file into their form. The process was quick and when complete, the ebook included photos, some of the links and comments. Unfortunately, only the CommentLuv links showed up. The blog which only has a handful of posts ended up being an ebook containing 23 pages including the cover and an index. Additional formatting would be required, however with this being a free service, I thought the results were quite impressive.

My search for more information lead me down an unexpected path. What I found were sites which let us self-publish, as well as sell our end product.

The links in Matt Cutt’s “Blog to Book” post led me to these sites.

  1. Fast Pencil
  2. On Fast Pencil I decided to turn my Observation Mountain blog into an ebook. Before “publishing” to draft, I deleted all spam comments, edited out approximately 30 of the 165 posts and ended up with a book which was 180 pages long.  The draft which was created was perfectly formatted with each post having it’s own page(s),  however no comments nor links were included.

  3. Lulu.com
  4. Lulu’s site includes a short video of the services they provide for self publishers, and although I’ve watched the video, I’m not sure this is the route I want to take.

  5. Blurb.com
  6. Blurb.com provides a free download of their “Blurb BookSmart” software. The software lets you create a book which can be sold on their site. After downloading and reviewing the software, it appears to be very comprehensive and helpful.

I also remembered George Angus of Tumblemoose used Smashwords to publish five ebooks.

Smashwords offers numerous possibilities and from reading the review of Smashwords on his blog, George is quite pleased with their service.

Knowing things aren’t always as they seem and wanting to be cautious, I also checked the website of watchdog Clark Howard. There I found these links:

  1. Absolute Write, a forum for writers and,
  2. Preditors & Editors

To repeat what is written in Clark Howard’s post:

Up until about 1998, the “vanity press” industry would charge people outrageous sums to publish a book. It wasn’t unusual for someone to pay $8,000 – $12,000 to these phony publishing houses.

The best advice Clark can offer is be skeptical. Use the collective wisdom of the Internet to help you steer clear of rip-off artists.

Although I haven’t found the perfect way to turn parts of my blog into an ebook, I feel I’m a few steps closer.

Today’s Assignment

Have you written a book or ebook? Or are you thinking of turning your blog into a book?

What platform did you use? Or will you use?

Care to share?

signature for blog post

P.S. For those of you who plan to either turn your blog into a book or write a book, having it proofread prior to publishing is essential. Davina is one of the best proofreaders in the field and can be found at  Shades of Crimson.


Reviews of any kind (paid or unpaid) are great ways for bloggers to generate traffic.

Today’s Lesson

Product and/or book reviews can help to increase traffic (to our blogs), and may even make us a few coins in the process.

Although I don’t do many product reviews on this blog, I have done a fair share on my Observation Mountain (OM) blog.

What I’ve found works best with product/book reviews, is to have the name of the product/book somewhere in the title.

We all know using keywords and/or keyword phrases is important to get your blog post indexed by the search engines, and for reviews to get found, it’s essential.

Here’s a product review I did on my OM blog that continues to get traffic.

The title is: Product Review: Ecos Laundry Detergent

Buying a “natural” laundry detergent like Ecos , is great for the environment. It’s biodegradable, safe for septic systems, great for sensitive skin, and is phosphate and petrochemical free.

Ecos laundry detergent is a plant based detergent.

I’ve used this product for approximately a year now, and find it works great at getting clothes clean. For stains, you can rub a small amount of the detergent on the stain, and wash as per washing instructions. It’s great for colors, and safe for all water temperatures.

Price per load is slightly higher than regular detergents, however, with it’s built in fabric softener (soy based), you save money on buying an additional fabric softener.

Ecos suggests using 2 ounces of detergent for a full load of clothes, and less for smaller loads. If you’re using a high efficiency (HE) washer, you only need 2 tablespoons.

I recently purchased a 210 fluid ounce bottle of the Ecos laundry detergent (Ultra Original Formula) at Costco. It’s scented with magnolia and lily, which leaves your clothes smelling fresh.

The best part of this product…I can pronounce all of the ingredients. Now, that’s natural.

And, making it even better…………….it’s made in the USA. Considering that, I give it, two thumbs up. 8)

Want to read more about Ecos. go to Earth Friendly Products, at www.ecos.com.

I do not write product reviews to bash products. If I do find something negative about a product I use, I try to find a positive to balance the negative. Note: in the above product review I wrote,

Price per load is slightly higher than regular detergents, however, with it’s built in fabric softener (soy based), you save money on buying an additional fabric softener.

I’m telling my readers they will initially pay more, but in the end, will save by not buying fabric softener.

You may ask, “why would you write a product/book review if you don’t get paid for it?”

1) I like to share my finds with others
2) It’s a way to get traffic to my blog
3) Since I have Google AdSense on my OM blog, after reading the review, a visitor might click on one of my ads and I’ll make a coin or two.

It’s a win-win. Others find great products, and I feel good about sharing. The money aspect is an added benefit.

When reviewing or writing about books, I use Amazon’s affiliate program (they sell more than just books). If someone clicks on your ad and completes a sale through Amazon’s shopping cart, you make a small percentage of the sale. You can see evidence of how I used Amazon at the top of this post.

Catherine recently wrote a post regarding the impact product reviews have on companies, and how many companies dismiss negative comments on their forums/blogs. To read more about this, check out her post titled: Don’t Preach To The Wrong Audience

Today’s Assignment

Do you, or have you done product/book reviews? Paid or Unpaid?

If so, did it help your traffic numbers? Sales?

Do you read and believe the reviews you read online?

Several weeks ago, I wrote about how to use keywords and keyword phrases , and how I had signed up for HitTail.

It took awhile to accumulated enough HitTail “keywords”, and for the long tail to grow.

Today’s Lesson

I carefully studied the keywords that HitTail produced, as well as the long tail.

In the beginning, I found, that based on search results (keyword, keyword phrases, and the long tail), I would have to write, what I would consider to be a duplicate post.

I waited awhile longer, and then used one of my “keyword phrases” (which are not extremely popular), and wrote a “review”. This enabled me to write a post, word it in a manner that wouldn’t be construed as duplicate content, and wait for the results.

Amazingly, my post soon started getting hits. When I checked, it has ended up on the first page for most search engine results.

So…..HitTail works! 🙂

What I also like about HitTail is, if you go to the “search hits”, it tells you which search engine your reader used. So, even if your post was not on the first page for Google, it may have been, for one of the other search engines.

Today’s Assignment

If you haven’t yet tried HitTail, give it a try.

If you have HitTail installed, write a post using either a “keyword”, “keyword phrase”, or a keyword or phrase from your “long tail”

Watch your stats for the next week or two, then come back and share your experience with using HitTail.

Good Luck!

Related Posts with Thumbnails