If you’re the founder of a well-established blog, there’s a high likelihood that a valuable book could emerge from the mountains of carefully crafted content you’ve spent the past year(s) publishing.
Let’s put the concept into perspective quickly. Nowadays, the average non-fiction book clocks in at around 50,000 to 75,000 words. Granted, that might seem like an intimidating number to some but in the grand scheme of all of the blog posts you’ve written, it really isn’t! Let’s say that you’ve had your blog for 3 years and published between 20-30 posts a year on average, with each post containing between 750-1000 words. You’re left with well over the typical amount of content that goes into a book, providing you with ample room to sift through and pick the posts that are relevant while discarding the ones that aren’t.
But don’t get us wrong – there’s more that goes into the process than compiling your pre-existing posts into a book using a WordPress plug-in and attempting to organize the mountain of content you’re left with into chapters. If you’re hoping to produce a book that reads well, delivers valuable information and has a main point, you’ll have to do quite a bit more editing and fine-tuning than that!
Given that several of our clients have recently enlisted our help to guide them through the blog to book process, we thought we’d highlight some of the key takeaways we’ve learned along the way.
1. Map out a general plan for your book
Much like our Facebook and Instagram timelines, the content that you’re publishing on your blog today is probably different than what you were creating two years ago. Perhaps your blog has shifting focus entirely, or maybe you’ve just veered onto a slightly different course. In any case, you’ll have to map out a general plan for your book ahead of time in ensure that its content is aligned. Highlight what the book’s main focus will be, organize your ideas into chapters and decide what you’d like readers to take away from it. This will make step 2 of your blog to book process inherently easier.
2. Select the blog posts you’ll use based on your book’s plan
Once you’ve created a detailed plan for your upcoming book, sifting through your blog post inventory will be significantly more straight forward. Having previously come up with chapter ideas, you’ll be able to match old blog posts with the section they’ll be assigned to in the book. This step will also help you narrow down the initially overwhelming process of going through all of your blog content in order to pick out what’s valuable and what isn’t. Once you’ve decided which content to use, you can disregard everything else and work on tailoring the selected posts accordingly in step 3.
3. Edit the blog posts you’ll be using
Ah, if you thought the blog to book process seemed suspiciously easy up until now…think again! Adapting your finalized selection of blog posts to adhere to your book’s theme and objectives is the most energy-consuming step along the way. Copy and pasting all of your blog posts into a single manuscript would certainly be doing yourself no favours – you absolutely have to edit and update them accordingly! Mold and shift your content until it all fits together seamlessly and reads as though it’s part of one big story. To make the task more manageable, we suggest breaking down your editing into chapters and working through them slowly but surely until you’ve reached the finish line.
4. Create new content based on the missing gaps
Unfortunately, adapting your existing blog content into a book isn’t comparable to building a puzzle. The pieces won’t all fit together and there will be small gaps everywhere that leave you scratching your head. This is where you’ll have to exercise your finely tuned writing chops and create new content that helps fuse the bigger picture together. Once you’ve finished editing your chapters, highlight the areas that require elaboration or explanation and get to writing! This is your opportunity to link all of the informative pieces you’ve previously written together and give them one main, unifying theme. Or, metaphorically speaking, your way to wrap a big, pretty figurative bow around the present you’ll be gifting to readers.
5. Give a final, thorough edit to your book before publishing it
We know, we know. You’re probably exasperated at reviewing your book’s content by now. You’ve stared at the chapters so many times that they’re beginning to blur into one indecipherable mass before your eyes. However, this is where most self-publishing mistakes happen. The author becomes anxious to make it to the finish line and fails to conduct a comprehensive final edit of their book before publishing it. If you’ve run out of steam and don’t want to do the editing yourself, hand your manuscript over to a professional editor or self-publishing company! In fact, enlisting a third party’s perspective might just be the final polish that your book needs.
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