Bloggers often use their blog as a stepping stone to freelance writing, or publishing a book (including ebooks). Let’s listen as Lorelle ( of Lorelle on WordPress) shares what the publishing process has taught her.
7) Many writers/bloggers want to use their blogs to promote their books or turn their blogs into books. As a published author, do you have any tips on this?
Yeah, don’t do as I did. I’d been working on a variety of books on blogging and WordPress from different angles when I was approached to publish a collection of blog posts on blogging in a small booklet for the Successful and Outstanding Bloggers Conference (SOBCon) in 2007. Within four weeks (one week at the printer), the idea went from previously published articles in a photocopied booklet to original content in a published book. The last three days, the page count went from 50 to 100 to 250 to 200 to 75 to 100 and then I called it quits. I had less than a day to get it edited, proofed, and to the printer. I made the deadline, but three weeks is not enough time to do a book right and I live with the gaffs in the book, awaiting the second printing, which should be coming soon.
I’ve self-published before, and worked with publishers and editors, and have worked as an editor over the years, so trust me when I say, don’t do as I did. This was nuts, but I’m really proud of the book.
The book continues to do very well and I’m so thrilled with the positive response. We’re working on the ebook version and will, unfortunately, be raising the price of the book very soon due to the same reasons everything else is going up: Shipping costs due to fuel prices. So buy it now.
Many of my blogging friends have published books, audio books, and ebooks, and blogging does go hand in hand with traditional publishing. However, like any good project it must start with a plan and a clear definition of your target audience. Then you can use the power of your blog and social networking to market the book, but only if you know who will buy and go after them.
Technically, the size of the book is dependent upon the medium upon which it is published. About 100 pages is good for a typical technical book – not text book. Text books, books like the Dummies and Idiot Guide style of books, will naturally be longer due to the inclusion of screen shots and long lists of tips and resources.
An ebook in PDF format ranges from 25-150 pages. Going beyond 60 pages is risky – and rarely read – though some published works are successful at the higher page count as more and more people become comfortable with reading books on their computers and hand-held devices. Other ebook formats, especially those for handheld computers, can be longer as they have software that can make reading longer lengths easier.
There are many sites offering tips and guides on self-publishing as well as professional publishing, so I won’t echo their advice here, but I want to briefly address the issue of turning your blog into a book.
You can plan a book and write a blog based upon that plan, but the order of the posts will be in chronological order – as you publish them. There are a variety of ways to change this order, which defines the normal “start at the beginning” book reading format, but don’t. The first post in a blog is the most recently published, not the beginning of the book. Think of it as the people wanting to read the “latest chapter.” On the site map or table of contents Page, you can list the posts in their preferred reading order, but don’t manipulate the natural chronological function of the blog.
This also works for you in using the blog to promote the book after it has been published, since people will naturally read the first post on the blog and get the latest news information.
There are online programs that will convert your blog into a book format, but I recommend that serious writers copy and paste their book into a word processing program as they go or afterwards, and edit it before publishing. This gives the author a second chance to clean up the writing, add links and references, play with the structure and order of the blog post/chapters, and clean up the formatting to ensure the best readability and organization of the content.
Don’t expect your readership to buy your book if they’ve been tracking your blog for a while. Building an online community and fan base on your blog without giving them added incentive to buy the book is pointless They’ve already read your stuff for free, why should they pay? Consider your book a gateway to a new audience, beyond your blog, and use your blog to promote your book. Get your fan-base to help you promote it. Build upon their loyalty.
On A Personal Note
Having read Blogging Tips, by Lorelle, I thought, “Oh, how I wish I had access to this valuable information when I started (and continue) to blog.” It would have saved me hours of frustration and online searching.
The creation of “Books I Recommend” (in my sidebar) is a perfect place to include a link to Lorelle’s book. (This is not an affiliate link). Book reviews of this, and other blogging books, will soon follow.
As a blogger, would you like to see your writings published (other than on your blog)? In a book? As a freelance writer? Other?
Have you written an ebook? If so, how was it received?
Do you often purchase books written by other bloggers?
If so, which would you recommend?
Photo Credit: Lorelle’s Logo