books_smallAre you a writer who wants to be a published author? You may unknowingly have already started on your masterpiece! If you have a blog, that is. If your goal is to finish your book this year, why not use your blog to make it happen? You can attract the attention of publishers thanks to your loyal blog readers as well as from your awesome content.

By booking your blog, a term coined by Joel Friedlander, you repurpose your old posts into a book. You can also start a blog with the end goal of having a finished book in several months to a year. This kind of strategy is smart because publishers these days are looking for authors who have a built-in following, which is a good indication of guaranteed sales. Most blogs that have been “booked” are in the how-to nonfiction category, because typical blog posts are set up as how-to pieces that give a reader value and a solution to a problem. But there have also been creative nonfiction blogs, such as Rev. Ogun Holder’s Rants to Revelations blog, from which he authored a spiritual memoir.

If you don’t have a blog right now yet wish to get your book done, then starting a blog may be the way to go. If done right, blogs force you to brainstorm content, keep to a regular writing/posting schedule and also instantly see what works/doesn’t work from your reader comments. Booking your blog will give you much needed structure, which will help you down the road with your book’s theme, chapter content, narrative arc and much, much more.

However, you do need to realize that you can’t just throw your blog posts together and call it a book! You’ll still need to gather your posts, delete the ones that duplicate or that don’t strengthen your theme and also create new chapters/posts where there are gaps or where your readers have asked for more content.

Here are five tips to book your blog!

  1. Know Your Audience. This is a huge consideration which your publisher will want to know so they can properly market your book. Who is your ideal reader? Where would you find them? Construct an avatar of your ideal reader including the places they shop, their education level, how many pets they have, their TV/movie likes/dislikes, their family life, their favorite holidays, their jobs and what kind of car they drive and if they recycle. Yes, I’m serious about the last one.
  2. What’s your audience saying? Share blog posts via your Facebook or Twitter page and see what kind of response they get. You may be surprised at which posts draw the most comments and views by installing Google Analytics to check on your numbers. Examples of the sorts of analytical data available include: number of visits, page views, how long readers spend on your site, which pages are most often viewed, and what sites are referring traffic to your site.After you’ve been blogging a while, pick up ideas from your comments.Be reader-centered, and above all, ask yourself why should someone else care? Perhaps you can survey your email list or issue a poll to see what is on your readers’/clients’ minds. You can even say, “Hey, I need content! Be the first to respond and you’ll be in my next post. Plus I have a special bonus for folks who respond to me in the next 24 hours.”
  3. Create a routine. Mark your calendar to ensure you post on that day—you can also write in what you’re going to post about. Being a writer is all about setting up a plan and having the discipline to get the work done when no one is watching. Make every post count. Don’t phone in your copy and bore your reader! If you don’t feel up to posting and your writing feels sluggish, take a break and attack it the next day. Be open to new ideas and always right from the heart. Youreader will know what you stand for and will engage with you. That’s what blogging is all about by providing great content to build engagement, community and knowledge.
  4. Set a timeline for completion of your book. What amount of time is reasonably aggressive, but realistic, for getting your book done? One year might be ideal for some people, while shorter time frames might be better if you are looking to stretch yourself. One idea is to set up a book launch party months in the future and then backtrack your calendar so you’ll have enough time and energy to get your writing complete by the launch.
  5. Pick a theme. What do you want to tell the world? What value do you want to share with the community and with the world? Who do you want to help? How do you want to make the world a better place? All of these questions must influence your theme. Here are some examples of themes:
    My blog inspires others to heal after trauma, cancer, etc.
    My blog inspires new writers.
    My blog is about my journey from newbie author to publishing expert

But sometimes you may not have a theme when you start blogging and that’s still OK—there’s time to develop one as you keep writing and keep to a consistent schedule.

As you stretch and learn from booking your blog, keep in mind that you want to be authentic to your readers, while giving them great value. Don’t short-change your expertise or cut corners—fully develop your ideas, as you would if you were writing a real book. Because that’s what you’re doing!

Here are some nonfiction books that originated from blogs:

Ogun Holder’s Rants to Revelations
Julie Powell’s Julie & Julia
Christian Lander’s Stuff White People Like
Pamela Slim’s Escape From Cubicle Nation
Walker Lamond’s Rules for My Unborn Son

And I recommend you sign up today to get these daily/weekly blogs—they’ll give you more great ideas.

Have a fantastic time booking your blog! Good luck~!