This past weekend I had the opportunity to speak at the Build Your Blog conference on behalf of LifeRich Publishing to help bloggers better understand how they can take their blog content and turn it into a book. Not surprisingly many of the attendees were tremendously interested to learn what it takes to become an author, but also confused by the options available to writers today.
I had never spoken at a conference like this so I did not know what to expect, but I was quite impressed with the enthusiasm and passion of this group. Writers as a whole are a passionate bunch, but for some reason, committed bloggers seemed even more so.
As I have seen at other conferences, identifying the 4 Paths to Publishing was very helpful, judging by the nods I saw in the audience as I unpacked the idea. Explaining the advantages and differences of the DIY, General Contractor , Supported Self Publishing and Traditional publishing paths seemed to really help them understand their options and which may be best for them.
WHY PUBLISH A BOOK?
The place I started our discussion was establishing why publish a book if you have a blog. There are certainly a number of reasons– ranging from a purely personal motivation to a business decision, but these were some of the more important ones.
Credibility and cache—Like or not, there is still something about the word author that carries more weight than just the word blogger. That’s why taking the rich content of a blog and publishing can change the perception people have about a writer.
Build your brand—Blogging isn’t just about writing. Bloggers begin to develop their own brands. A book is one more way to do that.
Expand your audience—With a book, you have new ways for people to find you and your content even if they have never seen your blog.
Create new income opportunities—In a future blog post, I am going to talk about the 8 ways an author can earn money besides book sales, but suffice it to say, a book gives you ways to sell you and your services in a way a blog alone does not.
SO WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO GET PUBLISHED?
At this point, there were no arguments that publishing a book was a great idea personally and professionally, but the question at hand was how. So based on my conversations with bloggers who did publish, I suggested these three key steps.
- Organize your material—by this I mean, look at your blog content and see what themes you see. Then organize chapters or sections around those ideas.
- Choose your title—Title is a key and so you want to do the research and make sure your title makes sense for your audience and genre. I have written about this topic on this blog here
- Pick a publishing path—this is where the 4 paths discussion proves very helpful.
HOW TO DECIDE WHICH PATH IS BEST FOR YOU
To make a decision among the four publishing paths, you need to be clear about four specific points: your goals and expectations, skills and experience, time commitment, and budget.
Goals and expectations—Think about what your goals and expectations for your blog’s success and how that translates to publishing. What are your goals for publishing? Write those down.
Skills and experience–How do your skills and experience in writing and your blog’s subject matter come into play when choosing a publishing path? Do you know how to format page layouts or ebook formats? Do you want to even bother with it? Being clear on what skills you have will help you decide what you need to hire out.
Time commitment–How much time are you willing to invest to make your book as good as it can be? That is also a key question to answer as you think about which publishing path
Budget—publishing is not free and really is just a trade-off between what you want to do yourself and what you want to hire someone to do, but know what you want to invest before you begin and you will make a good decision.
THE BLOGGER DAVINCI IS A GREAT EXAMPLE OF HOW THIS CAN WORK
As part of my presentation, I shared the platform with Da Vinci who writes YourLifeAfter25.com, a lifestyle and women’s blog, and is the author of The Pocket Sous Chef: Da Vinci’s Guide to Cooking for 1 + 1, which was published by LifeRich. From her experience, she shared three key ideas to help bloggers get to published book as she did. She summarized by saying you need to build your book, brand your book and broadcast your book. All three are critical.