Many thanks to Nina Amir for the following post, part of a talk she gave at the San Francisco Writers Conference:
Anyone can simply begin blogging. Blogging a book, however, that’s a different story. If you want to blog a book, approach the endeavor like you would any other book project you might undertake. Here’s a list of 6 things you need to do before you start blogging your book.
1. Choose a topic. You can choose just any old topic and start writing, but it’s better to choose a topic that attracts readers. You also can—and should—choose a topic that interests you and that interests a lot of people. If possible, choose a topic you feel passionate about since you’ll be writing about this subject for a while. You don’t want to choose a topic you’ll dread blogging about each day. You want writing and posting blogs to feel fun and interesting. You want your subject to motivate you to post.
2. Hone your subject. Get clear about what you are blogging about, why you are blogging a book, and how you are going to move forward both with your book and blog. You can do this by developing a “pitch,” or elevator speech, for your blogged book. The pitch constitutes the starting point for your book. Once you can tell someone in a short, pithy statement what your blogged book is about, everything falls into place. You know what your book is about, for whom you are writing, what benefit they will derive from your book, and what you must deliver in its pages.
3. Map out your book’s content. You need to know what content will go in your book. The best way to discover this involves creating a “brain dump” of all the subjects you might cover in the book. If your brain dump creates a huge pile of topics, you know you have a book inside you. If, however, you end up with a tiny pile, you may realize you are only ready to write an article. Take the related topics you “dumped” and grouped them into chapters. This exercise is most commonly called “mind mapping.”
4. Break your content into post-sized pieces. Blog posts are short—between 250 and 700 words. The related topics from #4 that you grouped into chapters each constitute one or more posts. By organizing them further, possibly under subheadings, you continue mapping out your book’s contents.
5. Create a business plan for your book. Every book needs a business plan of its own. Every author needs to function as a business person. Everyone who wants to write a book—blogged or otherwise—needs to go through the book “proposal process;” this is how you create the business plan for both book and author. You don’t necessarily have to write the proposal, but you do need to go through the steps of compiling the information necessary for a proposal.
Plus, if your blogged book gets discovered by an agent or publisher, you might be asked to submit a proposal. Therefore, you want to be ready to write one.
6. Set up a blog. You will, of course, need a blog. If you don’t know how to do the techy stuff yourself, get help. You can start with a free blog, but I recommend a hosted one. WordPress.org offers the best and most accepted platform for blogging a book (or blogging).
Nina Amir inspires writers to create the results they desire—publishable or published products. She is an author, freelance editor, and writing and author coach who blogs at Write Nonfiction NOW, How to Blog a Book, As the Spirit Moves Me, and writes the National Jewish Issues and the National Self-Improvement columns for www.examiner.com. Her blogs also appear at www.vibrantnation.com and www.redroom.com. She is the founder of Write Nonfiction in November. Find out more about her services at CopyWright Communications.