Ready to turn your blog into a book?
Writing a book cements your credibility as an expert within your field – and blogging about it is as important as blogging about your business.
In fact, it is blogging about your business, as what is your business without credibility?
However, blogging your book can be a tricky process.
You don’t want a 30-part rehash of the volume so that there’s no need to buy it.
Yet it’s essential that you reinforce your authority to be writing your book in the first place — you want to demonstrate your expertise without giving away the jewels.
Have a ‘blog to book’ strategy
Blogging your book is an area of writing that is riddled with problems, ready to catch the unprepared unaware.
Rather than just dive in and blog out your book (which is advice you see often in the world of turning your blog into a book), step back and formulate your strategy.
If not, as Sun Tzu said, you can be on the road to failure.
Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.
With preparation and knowledge, using these good practice principles, and the guidelines that follow, you can successfully turn your blog into a book.
1. Write the process; not the book
You’re here to build credibility as an expert who is writing a book.
Building your authority as a writer is extremely useful, particularly if you don’t already have a publisher. It shows your structure, method and purpose.
There are too many badly written business books out there for people to assume that just because you do, therefore you write.
Write about your writing; it gives your audience a sense of your passion for your project, not just your expertise.
2. Remember who you are writing to
Even if you have thousands of followers ready to read your posts each week, if your content isn’t relevant to them then your blog has failed.
Creating your brand as an author, nurturing relevant connections and building anticipation for the release of your book amongst a community of like-minded people is an important aspect of blog writing.
While this Writers Bureau article was written with novelists in mind, the key concepts remain the same regardless of your genre.
Including your readers is key. Ask them to participate. Release small pieces of content for feedback. Run contests. Above all, make them feel special.
3. Don’t give away too much content
This may be a tempting option – to lure in an audience by giving away tips and advice for free. However, this will fail.
Firstly, you need to protect the investment in your expertise – years of training, hours of work, or more likely, a combination of the two.
By giving away all your information, you devalue your professional expertise, and you risk losing the kudos associated with having the book in the first place.
Adrienne Graham from Forbes puts this well in her article, No, You Can’t Pick My Brain, It Costs Too Much.
Setting out clear lines as to how much you will give away and where you draw the line is key to establishing strong relationships with your audience that are built on trust and mutual respect.
Secondly, if you put all your knowledge onto a free online space, why would anyone buy your book?
Not merely because you have rehashed the content page by page, but also because there is nothing left to find out and nothing for you to sell. The book becomes passé, and boring.
Stop Giving Away So Much Free Information, by John Tabita, gives great, practical advice on how you can optimize your business and sales prospects by giving away the right amount of information for free.
It makes sense to leave out the detail of the ‘how-to’ because this can be explained in so much more depth detail in the book.
4. Don’t promise something you won’t deliver
Nobody likes clickbait. The feeling of clicking on an article that promises to deliver something and leaves you wanting doesn’t impress anyone and will reflect badly on your book.
Moreover, as Tony Haile, the CEO of Chartbeat discovered, there is effectively no correlation between social shares and reader engagement.
Your enticing headline might get readers to share, but it won’t necessarily get them to read and engage with your content. And if they don’t consume your content, how will they know whether they want to work with you or not?
Arienne Jeffries from The Verge reported,
The media industry has fully digested the idea that likes and retweets are marks of merit and that the viral effect of social media is the ultimate affirmation of relevance.
This is false. Writing ‘shareable’ headlines does not guarantee engagement. An article that is read many times over may not be shared, and one that is shared may not be read.
Content is King – it’s an old adage, but one that should be trusted.
5. Write often, and a lot. But don’t publish
For every blog post that you write, save it and cut it down by at least a third. Better yet, cut it by half.
A blog is a different animal to a book. One that requires thoughtful (and ruthless) editing. Treat them as different media and write accordingly.
This type of stringent editing means that you say more by writing less, which is an essential skill for any kind of writer to have.
It will reflect well on your upcoming book – people will know it is not full of jargon and pith asides – what’s more, you will see patterns in your errors, and in your triumphs. It will make you a better writer while simultaneously building your brand.
In a social media age, brevity is a great marketing tool.
Insight shines through even when cut down to 140 characters and embedded into your blog as a Tweet-able link. It’s a great discipline for you and it adds an easy way for your reader to share your content.
No one enjoys reading walls and walls of text, much less online.
Josh Schwartz, a data scientist from Chartbeat did an examination of user engagement of the online magazine, Slate, and found that almost 50% of readers only read halfway down the page. 5% of readers don’t even scroll once.
So cut down your content to a page of un-scrollable information that your audience will engage with.
[Editor’s note: although since our mission at AU is to bring you great content — no matter the length — we hope you’re still scrolling!]
Creating credibility, networking and improving your writing – there are endless reasons to turn your blog into a book.
But an ineffective blog is more damage then no blog at all.
Take the time to develop a blog that will support your credibility — that will pre-sell your book by marketing your writing and your expertise.
And then think about how to write a book that builds your reputation, and grows your business.
That’s the perfect balance.