It might feel like a no-brainer if you’ve been blogging for a long time, that you’ve got this writing life thing down. And yet, when people ask if you will turn that blog into a book, you freeze. You’ve tried. Sat down in front of your computer and made some lists, then got distracted by responding to replies you accidentally missed, or became frustrated because there doesn’t seem to be a coherent thread, so you put the project on hold yet again and spend your time doing what you love—writing another blog and connecting with your audience.
Wouldn’t it be easy if there was a great system to make the blog-to-book process easier?
First of all, consider that the audience for the book may not be the same audience for the blog. Don’t worry that someone who buys the book might have seen some of the content already. The point of the book is to grow your audience and find more people who probably don’t read blogs, but whom will see the value in your ideas and start following you. The book also raises your prestige as an influencer and can get you more speaking gigs more easily—and grow your audience.
Alright, with these goals in mind, now you are in a better position to decide who your ideal reader is. Let’s say you’re a Wellness Coach. Knowing whom you are writing to, for instance women in their 50’s who are interested in holistic approaches to healing, but who don’t read blogs. What do you want her to get out of your book? Brainstorm a list of take-aways and then consolidate them into categories, so if you have six food topics, they might go into a “Heal Your Body with Food” section, where your subtopics will go. Continue in this manner and get all your ideas collected into sections with subtopics.
With that list, it was easy to curate her previous writings and organize them in folders with each topical heading and then paste the sections of the blogs where they belong:
Yes, fits criteria X (paste content into folder)
No, save it for another book
We didn’t do “maybe” because that wastes a lot of time, and really, if you’re honest with yourself you already know if the blog about your Koh Samui vacation is off-topic. Save it for another book! You can search through your hashtags, as well as scrolling chronologically.
Now, within all the criteria, you aren’t going to publish every single one of these words. Within each file, find the places where you said your ideas in the best, clearest ways. Look for great stories to open the chapters, and look for lists and tips that would fit well at the chapter’s end. You may move some content around or even start new sections based on this exercise, which is awesome. This is the chop shop! Some people like to print and literally cut with scissors to move text around.
As your chapters take shape, you will want to fit your ideas into a pattern wherein there’s a statement at the beginning of each chapter, which might be a quotation, a story, or a brief introduction. Whatever style you choose, create the same opener and closer format for each section.
For the topics that aren’t as fleshed out, write more blogs on those topics so you have more ideas to draw from. In some cases, you may want to clean up the style a little bit, because blog reading is kinder to grammatical errors than print reading. It will set your book apart if you also go back to your hyperlinks and quotes include those credits in a citation style.
I highly suggest engaging a good proofreader and editor and asking a few friends to be beta readers and help you iron out any problems before you launch your book. This gives you confidence and sets you up for a great experience as people read your book and become hooked on your writing.
If this still seems overwhelming, I would love to speak more with you about turning your blogs into your book. Have you published a book of your blogs already? Have any questions or suggestions for others? Please leave them below!