How to Turn Your Blog Into a Book: Advice From the Experts

This post by Paul Turnbull first appeared on the BookBaby Blog and is excerpted from “Create an eBook: The Complete Guide” on Blogging.com.

Can Your Blog Become a Book?

Give yourself congratulations! Your blog has been successful for a while now: you’ve developed a fan base, established a niche, and checking back on your posts, you’ve written tens of thousands of words. Therefore why not publish them as a book?

You have credentials already and are a seasoned blogger. Assembling your posts as a book will boost your reputation. Also, your readers appreciate what you write, and they’ll be interested in buying it bound together as a book.

However, publishing your blog posts as a book will require considerable effort and editing. So before you begin, pause and do a reality check: Ask yourself is you have what it takes to make your blog a book?

Taking the inventory is likely the most crucial step. For example, perhaps you blog about “The World of the Fennec Fox.” If you’ve been telling your rapt readers about this one-of-a-kind nocturnal mammal with unusually large ears from the Sahara of North Africa, the fennec fox community knows and loves you. But is it enough for a book?

While not every title with excellent content succeeds, a few factors may work to your advantage.

  • Readership. You’ve naturally built up readership with your blog. It’s much more onerous if you don’t already have a strong reader base.
  • Recognition. People regard you as an authority on the fennec fox, so they’ll be likely to purchase your book.
  • Community. Are you already visible in the broader fennec fox community? Do people see you as an expert who already offers value? If yes, you’ll have more than readers: you’ll have active supporters.
  • Comments. If your comments section is active, you have the start of an audience.

Naturally, there always are competitors. Books have the most chance of success when they offer unique value. They must provide information that others don’t have in a way that makes it noticeable.

“It’s also essential to think through how the content from your blog would carry over to a book format. You’d likely need to offer new and exclusive information that devoted blog readers haven’t seen before,” says Andrea Kiliany Thatcher, marketing manager at Smith Publicity.

Self-Publishing Management for Bloggers

Self-publishing is one of the most entrepreneurial activities. Keep it in mind always. Approach it like a business and start with a spreadsheet or ledger, keep thorough financial records, and track your income and expenses.

There are different levels of doing it yourself when it comes to self-publishing books based on blogs.  If you do it all, you need to establish an e-commerce site that provides downloads and handles purchases and payments. It can be done directly from your blog if your software supports eCommerce and processing payments securely.

You can choose to use services like BookBaby that can serve as your conversion specialist, book producer, and book distributor.

Is Crowdfunding a Possibility?

Given the successes many people are having, crowdfunding your book is something to consider. A well-executed crowdfunding campaign provides advance publicity and naturally gauges the level of interest in your project. Also, if you run a successful campaign, it will give you money to produce and market your book.

KickstarterIndiegogo, and GoFundMe are three popular crowdfunding platforms to check out, and each has a unique approach. Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing model. You receive nothing, and everyone’s money is refunded if you don’t meet your goal. Indiegogo gives you both flexible or fixed funding – the flexible method lets you go ahead whether or not you reach your target goal. GoFundMe is open-ended and doesn’t require a target.

Mounting a successful crowdfunding campaign takes considerable planning, effort, and an engaged community. It’s crucial to inform your supporters in advance about your target goal, a date when the campaign will start, and for how long it will run. You must have support from your core followers who will contribute money and spread the word. [Editor’s note: crowdfunding might also help fund book publicity services. Or if you hire a book publicist at the start, they can help boost awareness of the campaign in the media.]

Determining attractive premiums is a big part of a successful campaign. All contributors over a certain threshold should receive an eBook. At the same time, higher-level supporters are acknowledged in the book, mentioned on your website, receive handwritten thank-you cards, and signed copies of the book.

You can be as creative as you can with your rewards. But always remember that when you begin a crowdfunding campaign, you’re taking on an obligation. If you meet your funding threshold, you need to follow through – don’t launch a campaign before you are sure you can deliver the book and the premiums you promised.

Editing Your Blog Posts into a Book

It’s not advisable to create a blog-post-based book entirely on your own with the expectation it will sell. No matter how good you are at writing, you cannot act as your editor. You need a skilled proofreader at a minimum. But also you should strongly consider retaining the services of an experienced copy editor. The software can play a role; however, spell-checking software won’t catch errors like “hole” for “whole” or “pore” for “pour.” Grammar checkers have similar limitations.

Also, a copy editor not only checks for spelling and grammar mistakes but also makes sure your writing is clear and readable. An excellent copy editor will catch repetitious passages, overuse of the passive voice, and a lot more.

Do Your Blog Posts Contain Copyrighted Material?

Your blog posts might include quotes, lyrics, images, comments, and guest content – perhaps some of it borrowed from other blogs and destinations online. When you’re selling your content as a book, potential copyright violations receive more scrutiny. You’ll need to be careful about Fair Use and contributors’ rights.

Also, writers who let you post articles and content on your blog don’t automatically permit you to include their material in a book. You need to ask them individually and collect clearances. Some people might be pleased to have their content included. But if they say no, you cannot include their content in your book – even if the book will be given away and not sold. 

Book Cover Design

Whether traditionally or self-published, you’ll be competing with a host of other books, so yours needs to look as attractive and professional as possible. Like it or not, people do judge a book by its cover, and yours will appear on your website, on online retail stores, and everywhere your book is promoted or sold. A bare title or an amateur illustration will not encourage readers to buy, but a cover by a skilled designer will tell them you’ve put thought and care into the book.

Marketing Your Book

Self-published authors also need to be self-marketers. Gather up the resources you have already: begin with your blog. Those who will be most interested in your book are the ones already reading your blog.

Once your book is published, post a blog item alerting your readers. Thank them for their interest and offer a discount code. Add a conspicuous, permanent link to buy your book on the blog home page; also, post an image of the cover.

If you have an email list and newsletter, use it to promote your new book: give your newsletter readers their unique discount code. As a rule of thumb, be generous with discount codes, and customize each one to let you track sales and see which approaches are working best.

Social media can play a crucial role in your promotional strategy. Again, post the cover image, and be consistent in your mentions, but not don’t hard-sell. The goal of social promotions is engagement. Write your posts in the style of a conversation, not an advertisement. Bring up what’s in the book and how you created a book based on your blog posts. Lastly, invite people to post comments.

When to Publish Your Blog as a Book

Converting your blog into a book is a great deal of work. But you have content and a reader base, so you’re off to a good start automatically. It requires planning and commitment: you need to decide how you will go forward before diving in. You also need to keep in mind that your work won’t end as soon as the book is available for sale.

It’s a considerable challenge, but if you go through with it, you will end up as a published author. It alone is likely to boost your reputation and recognition in your field.