NaNoWriMo: 6 Things to Do Before Blogging a Book
Today, I am delighted to welcome Nina Amir as my guest blogger. Nina is an author, coach, and the founder of Write Nonfiction in November. She will also be my guest on tomorrow’s Write Now! Mastermind class at 12:00 PM CST. The class is complimentary. Click here to sign up.
6 Things to Do Before You Begin Blogging a Book By Nina Amir
Blogging a book offers aspiring authors a way to write, publish and promote their work one post at a time on the Internet. In the process, they build the coveted author’s platform. This built-in readership or fan base not only can land them a traditional book deal but will produce a successful self-published or traditionally published book.
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. After all, you are writing a book; you simply are doing so one post at a time on the Internet.
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 it for a while (long past the time you finish blogging the book). Don’t choose a topic you’ll dread blogging about each day. You want writing and publishing blog posts to feel fun and interesting. You want your subject to motivate you to write and 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. 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 (50 words or less) 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 blogged 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 waiting to come out. If, however, you end up with a tiny pile, you may only be ready to write an article. Take the related topics you “dumped” and grouped them into chapters with subtopics within those 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. Take the related topics from #3 that you grouped into chapters and subtopics and organize and break them down even further. In this fashion, you continue mapping out your book’s contents into blog posts. Imagine each subtopic and its related sub-subtopics as blog posts—small bits of copy you will write. You will need many of these to flesh out your blogged book’s content and create a full manuscript. If you need help, you can always hire a writing, book or a blogging coach.
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. Every aspiring author 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. (If you need help with this, check out my workbook, How to Evaluate Your Book for Success.) This information then serves as your business plan. If your blogged book gets discovered by an agent or publisher, you might be asked to submit a proposal. If you’ve gone through the proposal process, you will be ready to write one.
6. Set up a blog. You will, of course, need a blog. If you don’t know how to create one yourself, hire a webmaster or a blog specialist. The free blogs, like those hosted by WordPress, are pretty easy to set up, tough. It’s fine to start with one of these, but I recommend you get a self-hosted blog (and starting with a self-hosted blog saves you hassles down the road). WordPress.org offers the most accepted blog platform.
Here’s a challenge for you. Get these steps out of the way right now so you can start blogging your book on December 1. You won’t regret it.
About the Author Nina Amir, Your Inspiration-to-Creation Coach, inspires writers to create the results they desire—published products and careers as writers and authors. She the author of the forthcoming book, How to Blog a Book: Write, Publish and Promote Your Work One Post at a Time (Writer’s Digest Books, April 2012), as well as a freelance editor, and writing, book, blogging, and author coach who blogs at Write Nonfiction NOW and How to Blog a Book and writes the National Jewish Issues and the National Self-Improvement columns for www.examiner.com. She is also the founder of Write Nonfiction in November, a challenge and blog. Find out more about her at ninaamir.com.