Can You Really Blog a Book?
The often-heard advice goes like this: Start blogging and after you’ve written a sufficient number of blog posts, combine them into a book.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it?
Full disclosure: I’ve suggested this approach to people who want to write a book without hiring a ghostwriter but find the writing process overwhelming. I don’t personally know anyone who has actually blogged a book.
I believe the advice to blog your non-fiction book is sound as far as it goes. But here’s the catch:
Whether you’re writing blog posts, books, or any other type of content, that content has to be high quality if it’s going to attract and keep an audience.
The basics of quality content:
- Organized. Each stand-alone piece must have a clear beginning, middle, and end.
- Coherent. Every word must be correct, and every sentence must make sense to the reader.
- Accurate. Your content must be able to stand up to rigorous fact-checking.
- Well-written. Check spelling and word usage, use correct grammar and punctuation, and proofread, proofread, proofread.
Let’s say you’ve written 50 blog posts averaging 1,000 words each and they meet the test of quality content. Do you have a book?
But it’s going to take more than simply pasting each post into one large document.
Just as individual articles need to be organized, so does your book. Take a look at what you’ve got and put it into a structure that makes sense.
You may find that a post you wrote early in the process works better at the end of your book. You may realize that you’re still missing some key elements of your message, which means you have more writing to do. And you may decide that some of your blog posts don’t belong in your book. (Yes, those cuts can be painful—do them anyway.)
Once you’ve got your content complete and in a logical order, you need to set it up in chapters. It’s possible to make each blog post a separate chapter, but you may want to combine some of them to reduce the number of chapters. Do what works best for your book.
To make your book flow, connect the chapters with techniques like lead-ins (Example: “In the next chapter, we’ll discuss this subject.”) and cross-references (Example: “We’ll examine this further in Chapter Seven.”).
The only time you want your book to look like a collection of stand-alone blogs is if that’s how you’re marketing it. Otherwise, add transitions to keep the reader moving through your content.
Finally, be sure your project has a clear beginning and end. Write an introduction (it could be titled “Introduction” or it could be Chapter One) and a conclusion (the last chapter) that pulls it all together.
When you’ve done this, you’re ready to send your manuscript to beta readers or an editor. Use their input to sharpen and polish your book so it’s as good as you can make it.
Congratulations! Now you’re ready to move to the publishing stage.