Write a book or write a blog – or both

Sometimes an idea for a book might work better as a blog – which eventually can become a book (or more) as well. The two can work symbiotically for a classic win-win exercise … here’s how.

I was working with a group of writers the other day and one of them was discussing his ideas for a nonfiction memoir (book.) After a short time it became obvious that his concept was not just one book, but potentially three or four. To try to shoehorn that many angles into one book would have created a rather messy mishmash, and both my fellow author-tutor and I agreed that it wouldn’t work.

The poor guy looked a bit disappointed until I told him that his material would be perfect for a blog. Being an older man he wasn’t familiar with how that could work, but once we had explained it he went away with the URL for WordPress and a gleam in his eyes.

This is nothing new, of course. I’m sure you’ve heard of a number of books that started out as blogs. In fact in the USA they now have an annual awards process for blogs that became books called “The Blooker Prize,” with “blooks” being the ensuing hybrid.

One such “blook” even went on to become a “flook” starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams – a movie of the journal called “Julie and Julia” by Julie Powell, the true story of how and why she made every single recipe in the late Julia Childs’ cook book.

However it’s not always a matter of lifting a selection of blog posts straight into book format. Editing obviously is needed, and you may want to adjust content, too, once you have seen how it works in your blog.

Although Julie Powell’s “blook”was mainly singular and linear in nature, where I think the blog-rather-than-book-to-begin-with approach is especially useful, is for anyone who – like the man at the writing workshop – has more than one stream to the message they want to share. Here are some examples:

Memoir/autobiography

**Your poverty-stricken childhood in India

**Your career as an engineer in daunting circumstances

**Your success at overcoming depression

How-to book

**Organic vegetables and green growing

**The best way to plan and run an organic vegetable plot

**Recipes for delicious organic vegetarian cuisine

Modern history

**The allied armed forces’ activities in northern Europe during WW2

**The effect of the Nazi occupation on the local population in northern Europe

**The “warbrides” who went to North America after WW2

**How the influence of WW2 affected the “baby boomer” generation

As you know, a blog offers you the option not only to publish chunks of information in short, easily digestible posts, but also it lets you choose between making those posts linear or non-linear in content. You can even post consecutively about utterly different aspects of your theme, if you want to, then file them into categories which a blog supports easily.

Print books certainly can’t offer that kind of versatility and even eBooks, Kindle and the others aren’t anything like as flexible.

The other useful aspect of a blog is that it’s interactive – readers can comment on your posts and your ultimate book text grows and evolves organically. You will learn much more about your target audience this way than with pretty well any other type of research.

Your blog and book, properly configured and promoted, not only complement each other, but also help sell each other.

Much as you may think people won’t want to buy your material in book form if they can read it (or similar) for free online, it doesn’t work that way. Once you develop your book it will reach a slightly different or at least adjacent audience, for starters, and in any case people who may only dip in and out of a blog now and again will appreciate having everything together in one print or electronic volume.

Then, of course, the fact that you have gone into more than one stream of your material on your blog, you effectively will have laid the foundations of more than one book. Whether you actually go on to create more than one book will depend on how each stream of information is received by readers; a blog is a superb market testing tool.

What are your views? What experience do you have of blogs versus books? Please comment!

Blog or book, get writing brilliantly:

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“How To Write Winning Non-fiction”…all you need to know to write a good non-fiction book and get it published

How to get your nonfiction book published – choices

If you want to choose a publishing route to take your book to market, this interview I did recently with Bookemon.com sums up my views pretty thoroughly.

Suzan St Maur on Bookemon.comHaving had 31 nonfiction books published so far – 20 of which were published traditionally with some subsequent ones self-published as eBooks, and the last one self-published in print and Kindle – I’ve learned quite a bit about contemporary publishing generally and was grateful to Bookemon for appreciating that.

Unlike so many non-traditional publishing businesses, Bookemon emerges as a trustworthy resource and although I have yet to produce a book with them, I believe that they do offer a credible and fair service.

Here’s how the interview went: you’ll find it helpful… [Read more…]

Writers and readers: please help end the US book embargo against Cuba

Please read this email sent to me by Mark Coker from Smashwords, and help end this sad embargo that prevents Cubans from benefiting from something we all take for granted: publishing, and reading books from the USA. If you are willing to help, please sign the petition ASAP as the US Government is due to announce modifications to its embargoes against Cuba, and we’re hoping this will be one of them. Now, over to Mark:

I’m writing to ask for your help.

Writers and readers: please help end the US book embargo against Cuba

As a basic human right, readers everywhere deserve greater access to books and literature.

Please go to https://petitions.whitehouse.gov//petition/end-book-embargo-against-cuba and consider signing my petition to end the US book embargo against Cuba. [Read more…]

How to write a successful nonfiction book proposal, part 1

Many people want to write a nonfiction book and now that the whole book publishing picture has expanded into a good choice of options, getting your book published by yourself is relatively easy and should not break the bank, either.

How to write a successful nonfiction book proposal, part 1

We still can’t deny that there continues to be some useful kudos in having your nonfiction book published by a “proper” publisher…

However much as we authors may smile cheerfully when it comes to self-publishing and co-operative publishing, we still can’t deny that there continues to be some useful kudos in having your nonfiction book published by a “proper” publisher – i.e. a conventional trade publisher with the industrial-strength distribution power and a name everyone has heard of. (And that applies to publishing eBooks as much as it does to the printed variety.)

Here’s the series you need to get your nonfiction book proposal right

[Read more…]

How to write for children – media you use

How to write for children - media you use

Toddlers love the large and brightly coloured illustrations.

Please welcome once again Val Rainey, a published author of children’s books and other writing, from Alberta, Canada. After her first delightful article about the magic of books back in December 2014,  she is now sharing her tips with us on how to write for children – something we would all love to do, but actually is very hard to do well.

Over now to Val, who starts us off by describing the different types of children’s books you can write for …  [Read more…]

The Joy of Books this Christmas

The joy of books at Christmas

Why books are so joyful at Christmas

Please welcome Val Rainey, a published author of children’s books and other writing, from Alberta, Canada. She will be sharing her tips with us on how to write children’s books in 2015, so watch out for the new series starting soon. Over to Val … 

Cold and snowy winter nights are here again. What better excuse to curl up under a blanket in an over-sized chair by the fireplace and read? Naturally, one must have a hot chocolate or other ‘interesting’ warm drink within reach. [Read more…]

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