Publishers have been compiling blog posts into books for some time now. However, veteran journalist Nina Amir says that "blogging a book" is a different thing altogether. "Blogging a book means composing your manuscript on the Internet using blog technology. Basically, you write, publish and promote your book one post at a time on the Internet,” says the California-based Amir via e-mail.
So, just how do you go about this? Nina gives a few tips in her own words:
1. Choose a topic. By this I mean a topic you feel passionate about. You are blogging a book, but you will need to blog about the topic long after you have completed the manuscript. You can’t just stop blogging after the book is published. So choose your topic carefully.
2. Hone your subject. After you choose your topic, compare the idea for your book and your topic to the other books already published on your topic and to the blogs being written on your topic. Make sure the book you plan to blog will be unique in the blogosphere and in the online and brick and mortar bookstores.
3. Map out your book’s content. Actually do what is called a mind map and come up with all the content for your book. You can also simply outline your book. When you are done, you should have a complete table of contents and be able to write a chapter-by-chapter synopsis. This becomes your writing guide.
4. Break your content into post-sized pieces. For nonfiction books, you will write posts of 250-500 words. While most books have 5-10 subheads, yours will have 10-20. Each of these represents a blog post. If you are writing fiction, you need to figure out if you can find a way to break up the action in your chapters logically. (This may or may not work with preplanning.) Memoirs could be written with vignettes later pulled together in the second draft. Prior to writing, though, you will want to plan this small content chunks out as much as possible.
5. Create a business plan for your book. The book proposal aspiring authors turn into an agent or publisher is, for all practical purposes, a business plan. While you don’t need a proposal to begin blogging a book, you do need to look at your book idea through the lens of a proposal. (And if you plan on trying to land a traditional publishing deal, you’ll eventually need a book proposal.) So, I suggest you look at your idea through the eyes of an agent or publisher and go through what I call the proposal process and accumulate all the information necessary for a proposal. This will help you see the big picture of your blogged book idea. When you are done, you’ll know if the idea is a marketable one—one that has a chance of success in the market or in your niche online as a blog and offline as a printed book or even as an ebook. You’ll also know if you are cut out to be an author—to be a good business partner for a publisher or to do what it takes to successfully self-publish a book.
During the proposal process you ask questions like:
Does what I have to say add value? Is there a market for this book? Who are my readers? What is my competition? Is my topic or approach to the topic unique? How will I position myself in the market? How will I promote my blogged book to attract readers? What content will I include in my blogged book? How will I organize the book (and, thereby, my blog)?
6. Set up a blog. This is pretty obvious…
7. Learn how to promote your blog. Your business plan must have a promotion plan built into it. This includes promotion online through social media and offline through speaking, media appearances, writing for publications, etc.
Also: Interview with Nina Amir
This post was originally published on May 29, 2012