5 Ways to Go From Blogger to Published Book Author

social media how toDo you blog? Are you thinking of publishing a book?

Eighty-one percent of the US population says they want to write a book.

Not surprisingly, only about two percent ever actually do it.

Most bloggers, on the other hand, write a ton of books—probably three or four books per year on average, but most of them don’t ever realize they’ve done so.

Later—sometimes much later—they realize they’re sitting on a ton of content that could be turned into a book.

Many make the mistake of not bothering to consciously write a book. They just blog.

Here’s a better way: Plan out the content for a book, then write the book in post-sized bits every day and publish the posts—the book—on your blog.

When you blog a book, you produce both a manuscript and a fan base that avidly reads your blog and may eventually also purchase the final product: your printed or digital book.

How to Become an Author AND a Blogger

Each time you hit the Publish button on your blog, you publish your work. That means you become a publisher. But you haven’t produced a book, which means you’re not an author. Nor have you become a successful author.

If you’re a businessperson, keep in mind that a book is the best business card you can ever hand a potential client or customer.

A book makes you an author expert—an authority in your field. Your blog also elevates you into the realm of thought leader and expert. Thus, by blogging and by blogging a book or booking a blog, you boost your business.

publish

Bloggers are publishers, but not necessarily authors of books. They can blog books or book blogs and become authors as well as bloggers. Image source: iStockPhoto.

There are five ways you can use your blog to turn yourself into the successful author of a book.

#1: Blog a Book

With this method, you treat the content you produce on your blog much like you would if you were writing a book from scratch

  • Choose a blog topic based on marketability and competition in both the blogosphere and the bookstore.
  • Then schedule your content carefully based on a plan that fills each chapter of your book in post-sized bits (250-500 words).
  • Also create a promotion plan that includes social media as well as traditional media—your blog serves as the centerpiece of that plan. Author Michael Stelzner (and founder of this site) wrote a great post about how to promote a book using social media. You might want to add some of his suggestions to your plan.

    mike post on book promo

    The best ways to promote yourself and your book is via social media, but blogging provides the pivot point for your promotion plan.

  • Write and post consistently (2-7 times per week or more).
  • Promote your blog to build the fan base—the author platform, as it is called in the publishing world—necessary to create a successful blog, and subsequently a successful book; one that sells to readers and publishers.

Since you’ll be creating a book on your blog, here are some important steps for blogging a book:

  • Set up categories based on your chapters. Don’t use creative names; use searchable terms or keyword phrases.
  • Create a page for a table of contents. I have a widget on the right sidebar of my of my blog that directs readers to the table of contents of the original blogged book.  When the book was being blogged, it helped readers find the table of contents and read from the beginning of the book.
    table of contents home page

    Since How to Blog a Book is both a book and a blog now, this box, which appears on the blog, directs readers to the table of contents for the blogged book.

    When you click through, you land on this page:

    table of contents page

    By looking at my table of contents, you can see how I "built" the first draft of my book a post at a time. Each entry is a link to a post. Each post represents one small piece of the book. (I posted 3-4 times per week and produced a 26,300-word first draft in 5 months.)

  • Create a way for readers to turn pages. Either have “previous post” and “next post” links at the bottom or use a plugin that allows readers to “turn the page.” For the first draft of my blogged book, I created these links manually, and they looked like this:

    previous post next post

    Creating this navigation system requires some extra manual work on the blogger's part—remember to do it each time you post.

  • Now I use a WordPress plugin called Single Post Navigation. The arrows are huge and scroll up and down the page as you read.

    single post navigation

    These arrows (above the red arrows) follow the reader and are extremely easy to use. They only appear when you click through to individual posts and then begin navigating from post to post.

  • Be prepared to continue blogging on your topic when the book is complete. Your blog lives on even when you finish the book, so have a content plan that extends beyond that last page.

#2: Blog a Short Book (a series)

If the thought of blogging a full-length book still feels overwhelming, produce a short book. Using the same steps as above, plan out a series of posts on a topic, and then write and publish them on your blog over the course of 10-30 days.

Darren Rowse of Problogger (the blog and the book) did this successfully with his series, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. It’s now his best-selling ebook.

I blogged a 10-day series on one of my blogs, As the Spirit Moves Me, and produced a book, 10 Days and 10 Ways to Return to Your Best Self.

blog series turned into books

Both of these products were created from a short blogged series.

To blog a short book, find a topic that solves a problem, answers a question or in some way adds value to your readers’ lives. Do this with a short or a long book, and you will produce a winner every time as well.

To blog a short book:

  • Make a content plan for the period of time you want to cover.
  • Write your posts on schedule.
  • Publish that content on your blog.
  • Create interest for the series using social media.
  • Edit the series and package it as an ebook or printed book.

In some cases, as in Darren’s, you might find your readers asking for a really great series to be produced as a book. But you can reproduce that result many times on your blog, and become a multiple-book author.

#3: Book Your Blog

To book a blog, create a content plan (this time for a full-length book) out of repurposed blog posts. However, rather than writing your posts from scratch, search out existing blog posts to fill your chapters.

Here are a few tips for creating a winning booked blog:

  • Book a blog worth reading, not the book you happened to blog. Not every blog contains a book. Make sure yours does before you publish it.
  • Edit and revise the manuscript you create. Make sure your book flows, makes sense, isn’t disjointed and contains all of the necessary content.
  • Add new content. This will entice your regular blog readers (and possibly a publisher) to purchase the book.
blog to book deals

The majority of blog-to-book deals have been booked blogs, such as the books above.

#4: Blog Your Way to a Book Deal

You can blog a book—or just blog—with the intention of attracting a literary agent or a publisher. Publishing professionals troll the blogosphere (and social networks) looking for successful bloggers. To them, a successful blog represents a thoroughly test-marketed book idea, as close to a sure bet as they can get when they decide to invest in a new author.

A successful blog, one with lots of readers, acts like a beacon to agents and publishers. When they follow the light—the trail of readers—to your blog, they have what they want: numbers. Wow them with your unique visitors and page views.

If your numbers aren’t as large as you’d like (or they’d like), at least show growth month to month. Google Analytics tends to be the most accurate measure of these numbers, but your hosting company probably has analytics as well, and these can prove more impressive.

site analytics

This is what one part of your site analytics might look like from your hosting company. Publishers will be most interested in your unique visitors and page views.

#5: Blog Your Way to a Successful Self-Published Book

The work you’ve done to build readership will help you succeed as an author even if you don’t land a traditional publishing deal.

A successful blog offers you the platform—the fan base—you need to successfully self-publish.

Your blog readers will gladly purchase a digital or printed book based on their favorite blog and written by their favorite blogger. Give them a souvenir to take home. They’ll be happy to do so.

And guess what? Your name will be on the cover. You’ll have moved into the two percent. You’ll have become an author.

What do you think? Do you plan to become an author by blogging a book or booking a blog? Have you blogged a book or booked a blog already? Leave me a comment in the box below.

Image from iStockPhoto.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author, Nina Amir

Nina Amir, inspiration-to-creation coach, blog-to-book expert and author of How to Blog a Book, inspires writers and non-writers to combine their purpose and passion to achieve more inspired results. Other posts by »




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  • http://twitter.com/denni317artist Denise Mulligan Art

    Good advice for bloggers to turn their writing into a book.

  • Cpickett08

    Hi Nina,
    Your point about a book being a souvenir is an excellent one. As many people know, a ton has changed in the world of book publishing and selling in the last few years and those changes have been fast and dramatic. People are still buying print books, but for different reasons. As few as 20 years ago, people bought them because they didn’t have much of a choice. Want to know how to do something? You might have been able to find a TV show about it, but mostly, you borrowed or bought a book about it. Obviously, that’s no longer the case.

    Why do people buy now? One reason is to have that physical souvenir whether it’s after meeting someone in person, or reading their stuff online for a while as you mention. Some people just like to have those keepsake kinds of items. Does that mean an author can make zillions selling souvenirs? Depends on the author, but for most, it won’t be in the zillions range. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t still a very worthwhile project.
     

  • Nina Amir

    Thanks for your comment. For bloggers (or speakers), selling these souvenirs can be a nice source of additional revenue. Also, for authors and speakers, selling books at the back of the room can be a huge source of revenue–sometimes more than what you earn for a speech! This proves that people really do like to take home a souvenir or a little piece of you if they like what you have to say (or what you write). They want to have just a bit more of you, they want to remember what you said or wrote and have it handy. Most authors don’t get rich off books, but they do become experts from their books and that can make them rich.They books, as I said, are a nice additional source of revenue.

  • EricaDLane

    For people that get freaked out by the idea of writing a regular size book, the idea of blogging a short book is a welcome relief and removes the stress.  Thanks, Nina, for sharing this idea with us.

  • http://www.smartfitworkouts.com/ Nathan

    love it x

  • Nina Amir

     You are very welcome, Erica. It helps decrease that overwhelm tremendously! And the blog readers keep you writing.

  • Heather Wright-Porto

    Hi SME!  This has happened for me, Heather Wright-Porto, Blogs By Heather.  My blog is full of how-to articles on blogging and the like.  2 years ago Apress, a technology book publisher, was looking for an author on writing a book on Google Blogger. And they found me thru the web and my blog! How cool was that. I couldn’t believe it. Since then I wrote another book, Creative Blogging, and am working on negotiating a 3rd…all from having my blog and free how-to blogging articles.  So just never know…. best wishes to everyone! :D

  • Trina

    Can you do this with a fiction novel, I wonder?

  • LindaAW

    Good evening Nina!

    I’ve only been writing my blog since Christmas, but have already started looking into the possibility of turning it into ‘books’ (well, tourist guides really) and have been most encouraged by the response from authorities in the field who have offered their help with information and who will be most helpful when it comes to marketing. 

    I’d add my voice to the chorus that says ‘go for it’ from the beginning – it’s never too soon to start turning your research and ideas into books!

    kind regards,

    L

  • Baesis10

    Nina, thanks so much for a great post!  I’ve been thinking of going this direction for months instead of writing a book which seemed daunting.  I now have to get the blog up and start writing, writing, writing:)

  • http://twitter.com/kimgusta Kim Gusta

    Great post, Nina. I always imagined the process of writing a book would be overwhelming. I hadn’t really thought about creating a plan for a book and then incrementally writing through blog posts – fabulous idea. Makes me think I need to brainstorm about an overall message for my blog so I could one day turn it into a book.

  • http://twitter.com/Chris_Booktango Chris Bass

    Nina, this is a great article for aspiring authors and writers. I’ve worked with hundreds of authors helping them learn the power of social media to promote their books. On the flip side if you’re a regular blogger you’ve already got a platform to market your book through and your article provides some great insights on how to marry the book and the blog together.  For bloggers who don’t know where to start when it comes to publishing a book, I’d like to suggest Booktango.com an e-publishing platform for indie authors. It’s free, makes your book available on all e-readers and best of all you make the most on sales of your e-book. If your book sells for $4.99 on the Booktango bookstore you get $4.99. There has never been a better time to be an author. Bloggers welcome! Thanks for the great article. 

  • Emilys

    A fellow on Twitter is doing that.  Wish I could remember his name.  You could search there for authors: He is on Twitter all day.

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    Another fantastic post! Even though I’m a traditionally published author, I plan on supplementing with a lot more self-published books. The trick, in my case, is to write about the ever-green aspects of social media marketing instead of the how-to tutorials (because social sites have this amazing ability to completely re-design their sites the day after I’ve published something). And the other trick is to keep to the schedule of writing. Thanks for writing this Nina! I’m feeling inspired.

  • Emily

    I have been thinking of taking the material on my in-depth Tarot blog into a book, or more than one.  This is a very useful article for me. 

  • dhavald

    I like the idea of blogging with an end goal of publishing a book. Otherwise often as a blogger one can get distracted and diluted with a scattered content roadmap. This way I can stay focused on a central theme for a specific duration and later move to another topic on the same theme – thus widening my authority as a blogger / publisher. Thanks for those tips.

  • http://www.lizwilson.me/ Liz Wilson

    Emilys, One author who uses Twitter and his blog to talk to his readers a huge amount is Paulo Coelho. In this way he involves his readers deeply in the books he’s writing while he’s writing them.  Here’s his blog http://paulocoelhoblog.com/ and this is his Twitter handle @paulocoelho. There’s a great interview with him in the Wall Street Jurrnal, too http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2011/09/28/paulo-coelho-on-how-to-use-facebook-twitter-to-reach-readers-and-sell-books/
     He might not be the author you’re thinking of, but he’s a great role model of  an author who blogs. 

  • Nina Amir

     Heather,
    Congratulations! You go, girl! That is the type of success story I like to hear. I want to invite you to appear on my blog, http://www.howtoblogabook.com. Please contact me at nina (at) ninaamir.com. See! Bloggers do, indeed, blog their way to book deals. And you can blog a book rather than book a blog, which is even better! Whoo hoo!

  • Nina Amir

    Congratulations, Heather! See…it’s true that you can blog your way to a book deal…and more than one. Even better if you blog a book rather than book a blog! I’d like to invite you to appear on my blog, http://www.howtoblogabook.com. Please contact me at nina (at) ninaamir.com. I feature bloggers who have landed book deals or successfully navigated the blog-to-book path. Yahoo! You go, girl!

  • Nina Amir

    Trina,
    Yes, you can do this with a novel. It’s a bit harder, but it has been done. Novelists say it makes them better writers.

  • Nina Amir

     If you think of this person, please tweet to me or email me at Nina (at) ninaamir.com. Thanks.

  • Nina Amir

    Nothing stops you from producing a book early. The more unique visitors you have, the more success your likely to achieve. But you can publish whenever you like! Go for it!

  • Nina Amir

    Yes, it’s a good idea, Kim, to have an overall idea for your blog. That way you aren’t blogging aimlessly. You will have a plan for the book and the blog long term so they support each other.

  • DuskyDolphin

    Mz. Amir, does this same method work for fiction books, or is it just for things like self-help and nonfiction?

  • http://www.facebook.com/rick.lelchuk Rick Lelchuk

    They say we each have a book in us, but bloggers have a leg up on that thought. A portion of their book may already be out there. Thanks for a very creative way to “get it out.”
    RICK

  • http://www.davidbcrowley.com/ David Crowley

    Thanks, this is the nudge I needed. I’ve been blogging pretty regularly with a general idea of turning some of the content into a book, but this helped me see I really need to outline the book before blog posts will lead to one.

  • Edward Smith

    Thanks, very good advice, Edward Smith

  • Nina Amir

    I don’t know that being traditionally published makes a difference. For some, that’s the goal…to blog their  way to a book deal. Or like you–and me–you can do both self and traditional publishing.

  • Nina Amir

    You will not only increase your authority, you will increase your SEO!

  • Nina Amir

     You can do this with fiction as well.

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    Yes, and then both types can be on your Amazon author page.

  • Holly Brady

    You bring up some very good points–one of which is that there is now a market for short books.

    People like short books. They offer a quick read on a topic that can serve as a reference for years. But in the traditional publishing models, short books are generally not commercially viable–and so they don’t see the light of day.

    With new media publishing models, these kinds of books work well. And bloggers are in the perfect position to produce them.

    Holly Brady
    former director, Stanford Publishing Courses

  • Nina Amir

     Good point, Holly, but bloggers can produce both short, medium and long books–and can blog them (or book them). It’s easy enough to blog a short book (a series) and produce an ebook, for example. They can then blog for five months, as I did when I produced the first draft of How to Blog a Book, and come up with 35-40,000 words–enough for a full-length printed book. Most publishers expect 45-50,000 words. With a decent edit or revision of the first draft, it’s not hard for a blogger to produce a full-length book–granted one that is under 200 pages, but that’s plenty long enough these days.

  • Lady Jewels Diva

    No need to turn my blog into a book, I’ve written and self-published three novels. My blog was set up to be my publicity for when my books were published and now they have been. So, been there, done that!

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  • http://allmarketingsolutions.co.uk/social-media-marketing-services Ayaz

    Great tips Nina! writing a book and posting blog post about it already on your blog don’t you think that will duplicate the content on internet i.e. the content you are writing in blog using that in your e-book?

  • Col Blaine

    I have been planning to do this for sometime and reading this has just confirmed my thinking! Now to get started….

  • http://www.odigma.com/ ODigMa

    Hey, I have been writing from quite a some time and now I know what to do.
    I love this site. I read almost all the articles that comes up on this site. Really very informative.

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  • Nina Amir

     To some extent the content is duplicated, Ayaz. However, if you edit and revise and provide a bit of new content in the printed ebook, then readers will want the ebook. And you aren’t going to have duplicate content problems with Google for this kind of thing, if that’s what your asking. It’s not all on your own site, nor is it on anyone else’s.

  • Nina Amir

     To some extent the content is duplicated, Ayaz. However, if you edit and revise and provide a bit of new content in the printed ebook, then readers will want the ebook. And you aren’t going to have duplicate content problems with Google for this kind of thing, if that’s what your asking. It’s not all on your own site, nor is it on anyone else’s.

  • Inderjit Singh

    Very nice post!! I would surely adopt this

  • Inderjit Singh

    Very nice post!! I would surely adopt this

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  • http://www.kronikmedia.co.uk/ K.Singh, London

    This is indeed a very informative post. I guess writing a book or a professional eBook is a gradual progression for most bloggers. I have been blogging for a few years now and creating a professional paid eBook is not at the top of my agenda. I have been looking for information online and your post has hit the nail on the head.

  • http://www.kronikmedia.co.uk/ K.Singh, London

    This is indeed a very informative post. I guess writing a book or a professional eBook is a gradual progression for most bloggers. I have been blogging for a few years now and creating a professional paid eBook is not at the top of my agenda. I have been looking for information online and your post has hit the nail on the head.

  • Laurie Garvie

    Thank you for such an informative and inspirational article! I am very grateful to you sharing this information! 

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  • http://JenKnoedl.com/ Jen Knoedl

    This is just the information I was looking for… what did we do before “search”?  Thank you.  This makes writing a book seem very feasible.

  • Fortyteen

    Thank you for this very informative article. I am a writer, new to blogging, but have had a steadily increasing following on WordPress. I would like to write a book but want to find out are bloggers publishing books from content they’ve already posted on their blogs? I wasn’t sure if publishing companies would publish in book form content that is already published on the internet. Thanks!

  • Fortyteen

    Second question…how do you bring your blog to the attention of agents and publishing companies? Thank you, again.

  • http://twitter.com/HollyBrady Holly Brady

    Agents and publishing companies are looking for commercial books, not
    blogs. However, they’ll be very interested in your book if your blog has
    a big following. So you want to go to them with both: 1) a book or book
    proposal, and 2) stats from your blog.

  • Lucindahicks73401

    This was very encouraging! I began blogging in order to give myself an creative writing outlet. I have a dedicated following, and after joining a few writing circles have seen a huge increase in traffic. I am interested in turning my blog into a book, but clueless at where to begin.

  • Lucindahicks73401

    Wow…”an creative writing outlet”.

    Note to self: Do not post comments on a writing website while under the influence of allergy medication.

  • http://twitter.com/MoonOverMboro Moon over Martinboro

    I’ve been blogging for 3 years and I just now finally signed a book contract with Random House New Zealand. Finally!

  • @anatalie101

    Thanks for the tips Nina! I have been blogging for over a year for fun and now getting noticed. My blog is called ‘emotional bucketlist’ and is a how to for managing our emotions. Reading your article really helped me think about turning it into a book.

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  • Jim Lunsford

    All great words of experience and wisdom. Thank you! I am off and blogging…

  • Man from Modesto

    Nina, This is a great idea, blogging a book. I started NaNoWriMo last year, did not finish. Blogging a book… That seems doable! I already have enough content on my dreamtraining blogspot blog. However, I will consider putting my 70% complete book into a blog: 100 ways God talks to you. I used blog2print to preview how my dream interpretation book would look. I found some blog post titles are too long to fully transfer. And, I realized my blog can benefit from a lot more images. One thing I did not like about blog2print: images in the middle of a post are moved to the top in the created book. 

  • Lois Ridley

    I like your idea of blogging to book for your biblical dream interpretation book. That is so needed. Many get confused about dreams. We train as well in this and are on the market for a good dream book. I hope you go for it=)

  • http://www.confessionsofayorkshiredoorman.blogspot.co.uk Dan Hodge

    Hi Nina,
    Very interesting points, I’ve been meaning to write a book for a while now about my career as a doorman but didn’t know how to start. It was suggested to me to start a blog and I found myself writing short funny stories about my experiences over the years which led to me bringing my opinions of alcohol and the nightlife scene forwards and further led to ideas for the not so funny stories which i tested out and people seemed to like.
    Now i’m 44 stories in and after setting up a facebook page and twitter account, thanks for that tip by the way, im now getting more and more viewers hitting over 2,500 in two and a half months!
    Definitely inspired me to keep going and then I email every uk mens magazine editor I could find with a piece, trying to figure out how to put it all together as I go rather than just keep adding random stories but for me I enjoy just getting the material down at the moment! The blog is called confessions of a yorkshire doorman on fb and COAYdoorman on twitter.
    Many thanks for your tips

  • Debbie Robinson

    Hello, How do you know what publishers would be interested in blog books??

  • Frank Degenaar

    Hi Nina,
    I think someone has already posed this question, and it is the obvious question staring us in the face: why would someone buy a book (albeit as a souvenir) if they have already read it in the form of blog posts over a period of time? That way the book has less impact. I’m one of those guys that rarely reads a book more than once… and mostly for reference at that, if it is a how-to book. I guess the proof is in the pudding, and you have tons of experience in this area… and so you would simply point out that it works, especially if you have been successful at it. What percentage of the book form, more or less, do you think needs to be new and reworked material? You see, I would want to do a thorough job the first time and not have to go back and edit and rework stuff, especially if one is clear from the outset that the posted material has a book as its end goal (and the majority of the structure and material is already laid out).

    Also, as a point of interest… Maybe you have experienced this: I thought that it would be pretty neat to go this route, in that the book becomes more of an interactive thing (especially for newcomers), where they are able to go back to the original post (via links in the ebook) and read others’ as well as post their own comments on material they have just covered in a chapter. Especially on practical topics.

    I’ve still got a lot of thinking to do. Not entirely convinced (in my case), but can I argue with something that has been tried and tested already? Thanks for the post!

  • ShesheCamilla

    A very interesting article – thank you for all the useful information.







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