There are a lot of bloggers out there eager to take their writing to the next level. It’s logical that they are poised to become the next authors in their area of expertise. Unfortunately, many fail to make a successful transition because it’s not a perfect translation between blog and book. There are two ways to approach blogging your book:
- Take your blog posts and compile the posts into a book
- Outline a book and write blog posts as you are writing
I’ll tackle the former because this tends to trip people up the most. Here are the 7 most common mistakes by bloggers making the transition to writing a book.
- No clear purpose for the book
- Failure to target a specific audience
- Unclear value-added proposition for the reader
- Lack of structure
- Reads like a series of blog posts
- Uneven quantity or depth of information
- Repetitive information
So, how do you fix it?
Ask Yourself Pre-Writing Questions
Any nonfiction book, whether written from scratch or from prior written blog posts, require the same attention to the basics of book writing. Answer these questions before you start:
Why are you writing the book?
- What do you hope to achieve as a result of publishing the book?
- What do you want your reader to experience as a result of reading your book?
Who is your target audience for the book?
- Is it the same as your blog or is it a subset of your readers?
- What do you want them to do after reading it?
- If they can just read your blog, how are you giving them additional value by reading (and buying) the book?
Determine clear answers to these questions before you go any further. As you compile posts and write additional information, refer back to the mission of your book to ensure you are meeting these objectives.
Organization and Structure
When working with bloggers, I’ve found it helpful to organize the blog posts by creating an Excel or other spreadsheet or a table in Word (not as flexible) or creating a series of index cards using one blog post per card. It will help to see what you’ve already written. Use the main topics of your blog posts. If you already use categories effectively on your blog, this will make it easier.
The categories on my blog are Writing, Publishing, Book Marketing, The Writing Life, Creativity, and Inspiration. My first task is to include every post under one of these categories. After I complete this step, I organize each category using tags. Some examples of tags under my Writing category are memoir, organization, blogging, brainstorming, etc. Some will cross over categories. Include them in the category where they fit best.
|The Writing Life
I can now see what I have and look for a pattern for the book. I can see if I have too much info on a particular topic or not enough to fill a chapter. Make a note of additional information needed to complete the book to achieve the ultimate goal of satisfying the reader. I’m an outlining junkie, so I find it helpful to create an outline from the blog post titles once I finish.
As you organize the material, create a natural learning progression. Think of it like a staircase and set a solid foundation for a basic understanding of the subject. Each chapter is a new level of knowledge that builds on the last. Introduce the subject and what the reader will take away by the end of the book. Give an increasing level of information that naturally leads to a successful understanding or action from the reader. At the end of the book, let the reader know what to do next in order to achieve their goal, as well as the desired reaction (tell their friends, subscribe to your blog, contact you, take your course, etc.).
[bctt tweet=”Hint: You don’t need to use all of your blog posts to write a book. Save some posts for the next one. #blogging” username=”loishoffmande”]
Unless you are marketing your book as a compilation book of blog posts, you may need to rewrite chapter titles. 5 Ways, 7 Mistakes, etc. titles make great blog posts but will be a giveaway that you just took a blog post and stuck it in a book. You don’t necessarily have to “sell” each chapter like you would a blog post.
Look at the way you start each new chapter. An effective blog post has questions and teaser lines at the beginning. Vary the way you introduce each chapter and its contents. Again, it is a great way to frame the message for a blog post when readers are reading one or two of your posts at a time. When reading a book, readers will quickly bore of the same type of introduction to each chapter.
Eliminate redundant or overlapping material
Probably the most noted mistake that bloggers make in converting their blogs into books is not taking care to remove redundant or overlapping material. In my case, I often talk about the need to ask prewriting questions before you write a book (why, who, etc.). If I’m writing a book, I want to make sure I’m not beating my readers over the head with it. I can refer to the chapter on pre-writing, but I want to keep the reader moving forward and engaged.
Finally, get feedback from an editor and beta readers to make sure you’ve met the objectives of the book. It’s easy to skip this step, but it’s important to make corrections or tweak some things before the book is published. If you want to turn readers of your blog into readers of your book, take the time necessary to make it the best it can be. Your readers will reward you if you do.
[bctt tweet=”Turn your blog into a book using these tips. #blogger #writer” username=”loishoffmande”]
What is the topic of your blog? What are your challenges with converting your knowledge into a book?