How to turn your blog into a bookConsider this as Part 2 of my post on turning Blogs into Books. In Part 1, I wrote that when your blog could be turned into a book, it is a sign that you indeed have a quality blog.
Hillary Clinton wrote, "It takes a Village".
First you need a good blog before you turn into a good book.
That is a double whammy. Fear not, help is here.
Here's a non-nonsense 10 step method to achieve author stardom by first creating a quality blog and then turning into a quality book:
1. Read blogs of people who have done it: postsecret.blogspot.com, Nicholas Carr (roughtype.com), Jeff Jarvis (buzzmachine.com), dailycandy.com, JuliaandJulia -365 days 354 recipes. and other topical gems.
2. Pick a topic: Use tools like Google Suggest, Google Trends for ideas if you haven't gotten one. Use Google Adwords Keyword Selector Tool to get an idea of search volume and related keywords for your chosen topic. I know this is the SEO way of selecting a topic but you asked for it. I like to think even Malcolm Gladwell uses this method to write his breezy non-fiction. The Keyword Selector Tool will also give you an idea about the profit potential of your keywords.
3. Create a mind map. If you do not have any Mind-Mapping software, draw a Mind Map on a blank sheet of a paper.
Start with the topic in a circle in the center. Draw other circles with related ideas and join these with the main circle. Each one of these is a chapter. Draw other circles from each circles. Each of these is a part of the Chapter and so on...
Tip: Keep a Writing Calendar on hand - to chart out your work and to cover what you write on a daily basis. A sample writing Calendar has weekdays on the X-axis and keyword/s on the Y-axis.
4. Write to-the-point articles on each of the topic on the mind map. To make sure you write original posts, do a search for the topic/sub-topic/Chapter title on Google Blogsearch and Google to see what has already been written about it before. It will help you tailor unique content.
5. Write in a warm, engaging manner. Don't be preachy, don't be too casual.
Be controversial. Be upfront. Rather than spouting simple, banal and unoriginal pontifications, practice the 'Show, don't tell' method of writing.
6. Make sure you have covered all the topics that you noted on the Mind Map sheet.
If you have written about 100 posts or so on your topic, proceed to fit all that in your book. Only then will you know what you are missing.
7. Show your blog posts to friends, family and colleagues for inputs.
Go the extra mile to solicit comments from readers.
8. Add some more data: Today's readers are spoilt for choice.
The ratio of failure to success in book publishing is very, very high.
Add any extra data you can - illustrations, infographics, maps, doodles, extensive footnotes and reading lists...whatever that it takes to make it 'special' and stand out in a crowded space.
9. Pitch your book idea to book agents and publishers: Write a brief letter listing out who the target reader is, the sample table of contents, what you will do to promote the book (offline and online) and do not forget to give a backgrounder about your blog, Youtube Videos, presentations, blog traffic, among other things.
Basically, you got to pitch yourself as well.
10. If they publishers/agents seem sluggish to come on to your world-changing idea, publish it yourself: Use services like Cafepress.com or.Lulu.com.
Publishing on Demand (POD) is an idea whose time has come.
Sometimes, you are better with POD, as publishers might be reluctant to print your book just because they fear demand for your book does not run into tens of thousands. POD makes sure that your work remains available at all times.
It is much better that your book for which you labored so hard, is languishing inside a nameless warehouse
( if it hasn't been already pulped).
Bonus: Remember to send me my commission if you make it. :-)