Digital publishing encompasses more than just the realm of e-books: if you are a blogger, you’re already a digital publisher. If you have a following, you’re building a platform. And if you’ve always wanted to write a book, but you aren’t sure if you have the skill or that you know where to start, the concept of “blogging a book” may be just what you’re looking for. On the flip side, if you’re a novice blogger but an experienced book writer and you’re looking for ways to build your platform while you work up your next project, this may be the way to do it. So, should you blog your book? Here are some reasons to consider it.
1. Time Management
Because many of us juggle multiple writing jobs — or squeeze our writing work into a schedule with another full or part-time job — time management is critically important. In order to make steady progress building a writing career without running yourself into the ground, you have to be careful with how you spend your time. The beautiful thing about blogging your next book is that it automatically breaks a large project into bite-sized pieces. If every blog post is approximately 750-1000 words, and you commit to publishing a post five days a week, that’s steady progress. In three to six months, you’ll have your book-length manuscript finished… and you’ll have done it while simultaneously building your online presence.
2. Audience Engagement
Building a platform is the nemesis of every aspiring author. With so many places to self-promote, it’s easy to feel that you have to “do it all” in order to build an audience base. But realistically, that isn’t possible. Writing is still the most important thing an author does, and everything else has to come behind it. That said, traditionally published and indie authors alike understand that you can’t sell books if you don’t have an audience, and building a platform with some kind of following is critical to sales and, ultimately, to the success of your writing business.
The key with blogging is consistency. Blogs that produce interesting and engaging content on a predictable basis will gain a following. The strategy of blogging your book allows you to produce terrific content consistently, and this helps you to build your platform and engage your new audience. It will also help you to build your email list, which is one of the best ways to market yourself.
3. Income Generation
As you build your following on your blog by consistently publishing quality content, you may find that you open doors for additional sources of income. Look for advertisers and sponsors who have products or services related to your book’s topic and who may be interested in reaching your audience themselves. You might also consider offering additional paid services like webinars. In this way, you’re not only building your platform and writing your book at the same time, but you’re also generating a money-making website. This passive income stream will help to support your writing and bring you that much closer to independence.
4. Beta Testing
Of course, the hope is that the topic will strike a chord and find resonance in our target market, but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. Blogging a book allows you to test your topic without investing a massive amount of time, energy, and resources. If you already have an existing blog with a following, this type of beta testing is easy to do: you can measure the popularity of your posts based on audience engagement through comments, shares, and likes. If you are trying to use the topic to build an audience, these signals may take longer to become obvious, but if you are unable to gain traction after several months, even with a consistent schedule and high quality content, it may be time to try a different topic.
5. The Total Package
If you are successful at growing an audience and increasing your authority in your target market while you get your book written, you’ll be able to present a very convincing package to a publisher in your query letter. Publishers today want to see authors who understand what it takes to market themselves, because their marketing budgets are reserved largely for the one or two authors they identify as the “big fish” — those authors whose novels are likely to be blockbusters. They rely heavily on the marketing savvy of their authors to market and sell books, and if you can demonstrate your ability to do this, you’ve placed yourself at the front of the pack. And, of course, if you’re planning on indie publishing, your marketing efforts are already well underway.
Tips for Success
If you are planning on blogging your next project, you’ll want to make sure that your final project includes some new information that you haven’t already shared — this will hook your existing audience and encourage them to purchase. They’re not likely to buy a book if they think it’s exactly the same as what they’ve been following for months.
You can blog several books simultaneously by mingling your content. These topics should share a target audience — if you write a whole foods blog for families, for instance, you could be blogging a snack cookbook, a detox cookbook, and a healthy pregnancy cookbook all at the same time. As you finish each topic, you compile the posts, add some new material, edit, proofread, format, slap a cover on it, and publish! The advantage with a strategy like this is that you can stagger your book releases, offering your audience something new every 2-3 months.
If you’re still not sure you have the confidence to blog your next book, there’s a lot of information out there, including online courses, to help you. Nina Amir’s blog (How to Blog a Book) is a terrific place to start!