Building a successful blog is hard work. You have to become an expert in your field, learn about web design and search engine optimization, spend a lot of time on marketing, and hope you have a post or two go viral. Once you’ve built a solid platform, it’s natural to start looking toward the next steps in your writing career.
Many successful bloggers have been able to take their business to the next level by writing a book. You already have an established group of readers, several hundred thousand words written on a subject, and a reputation as a relative expert, so it’s a natural fit. If you’re thinking about taking your writing from blog to book, read on to learn how.
Find a Unique Angle
When you’re starting the process of turning your blog into a book, the first thing you’re going to want to do is find your unique angle. One of the advantages of starting out as a blogger is you already have some expertise on your particular subject. You know what’s on the market, what readers are looking for, and which questions still need to be answered in your field.
Try to find a book topic within your wheelhouse that presents a unique angle. Think about what it is about your blog that keeps readers coming back and sets you apart from the millions of other websites. If you’re looking for inspiration or ideas, you can find some great choices here.
Create a Content Plan
Once you’ve figured out your angle, it’s time to map out the content plan of your book. This should at the very least be a general sketch of the topics you’ll cover in the book, if not a detailed table of contents. This will serve as the skeleton you’ll build your book around.
It can be tempting to put together a book with blog posts you’ve already written, but that won’t fly in the publishing world. Why would readers pay $25 for a book when they can read the whole thing online for free? Instead, use your blog as a guide for ideas when you’re developing this content plan.
Mine Your Blog Posts
With your content plan in place, it’s time to dive into the process of writing your book. And while you shouldn’t copy any of your blog posts directly, they can still be a huge resource in writing your book.
Go back through blog posts related to the chapter you’re working on and mine them for information. You’ve already done a huge amount of research, thinking, and writing on the topic, so use that to inform your book chapters. Pull relevant factoids and ideas, and revise old statistics and information that’s changed since you published older posts.
Create the Missing Content
Your book content plan should contain brand-new topics that aren’t on your blog. Once you’ve written everything that you have already blogged about, it’s time to start filling in the gaps. Research the new topics the same way you would for a blog post and start adding those into your draft.
It’s not a bad idea to put out some blog posts related to the missing content after you’ve written the chapters. This can start priming your audience for your book. Once you get closer to the release date, you may even want to release a chapter or two of the new content as a sort of teaser.
Hire an Editor
Once everything in your book has been written, it’s time to start the editing process. Read through the book several times, and change everything you can to make it as perfect as possible. Once you’re convinced the book is as good as it can get, it’s time to bring in an editor.
A good editor will help you make your book even better than you thought it could be. They’ll correct the grammar mistakes you’ve missed, suggest changes where things may be unclear, and help you improve the overall flow of your manuscript. You only get one chance at a good first impression with an agent or a publisher, so it’s worth every cent to hire an editor who will make your manuscript shine.
Assemble a Solid Platform
One of the biggest things publishers look for in potential authors is a solid platform. Your platform is the specific thing that will help your book sell; in some cases, it may be that the author is a celebrity or that the book covers a topic that’s been making news lately. In your case, your platform will be your established body of readers.
If you can go to a publisher with a guarantee that you already have 10,000 people who will buy your book because those people read your blog every week, you’re much more likely to get a publishing contract. Get together your blog’s readership data to include in your publishing submission. The more detailed information you can give about the readers you’ve already garnered, the better.
Start the Publishing Process
Edited manuscript and platform presentation in hand, it’s time to launch into the publishing process. You have two choices for how to publish your book: with a publishing house or through a self-publishing service.
If you have an extremely well-developed readership and don’t mind doing a lot of legwork for marketing, self-publishing may be a good choice for you. Self-publishing allows you to keep a greater percentage of your royalties, but the trade-off is all marketing for the book will be on you.
You may choose to work through a professional publishing house as well. If you want to submit your book to the Big Five publishers (Harper Collins, Penguin Random House, Simon and Schuester, and the rest), you’ll need to work through an agent. Be sure to find an agent who specializes in your genre.
Make the Leap From Blog to Book
Writing a book is a challenging process no matter how you slice it. But starting with a well-established blog can make the process easier and give your book a better chance at success. Make sure when you’re making the leap from blog to book that you stay focused on your unique angle and give your readers something new to love.
If you’d like get some advice on growing your blog, check out the rest of our website. We can help you drive traffic, generate leads, and create content that will bring in money. Check out our other articles about writing today.