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Turning your blog into a book

(22 Posts)
2under2blog Wed 31-Oct-12 10:02:31

Does anyone ever think about doing this?

Mine started as a book but for various reasons, I chose to blog the chapters instead. Now it's developing a good following, I'm researching publishing it as an ebook.

Anyone have any advice/opinions/experience?

peekyboo Wed 31-Oct-12 11:07:23

Yes, LOTS!! If you look at all the books on there are my self-published ones. I won't go into extreme detail on here, unless you want to know more, but I was going through the usual route of sending stuff out to agents etc when I heard about the Kindle ebook revolution, where authors have direct control and can publish for free. The downside is, I joined this whole evolution at the very point that Amazon started messing about with the way they run it and, for reasons not yet clear, the independent publishers have been shoved to the back of the queue.
Having said all that, it's been a massive learning curve, doing it all myself - some of it not easy! I've also gone through to put the books into paperback form.
The main thing I'd say is, don't sign up for kindle select if you go to Amazon, as until they sort themselves out, you don't want to be tied.


peekyboo Wed 31-Oct-12 11:10:01

PS At some stage I'll probably put my aspie blog into a book, simply because it does seem to be forming into different sections of its own accord and I can see how it would turn out.
But I'm not sure when that might happen as I'm just concentrating on the blog itself, as well as keeping up with all the people who have contacted me about it.
It's all turned out to be a very personal journey, which makes me look at it in a different way than I might have if I'd planned it all first.

2under2blog Wed 31-Oct-12 11:13:38

Thanks Amanda, it's so useful to hear from someone who's been through it. I was looking at KDP as my main option, but also considering Smashwords.That's an interesting viewpoint on Select - worth bearing in mind.

I've tried the literary agent/publisher route but it's (understandably) very difficult to get heard above the rest.

I've just had a browse all the way through to some of your Amazon reviews - you're doing really well. It's really encouraging to see.

Thank you again for your help. I may well be pestering you when I get closer to publication.

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Wed 31-Oct-12 11:25:29

Be very careful with this, once you've put it online then a lot of the publishers will already consider it as 'published'. They usually want the first rights, which means not published or put into the public domain in any way. I have heard of people who have had their work published due to their blog though, so it's not impossible, it's very rare though.

It's very difficult to get a publisher or an agent, there's so few. The agent I'm currently working with receives 400 submissions a week! The smaller, independent publishers often look for new material though.

2under2blog Wed 31-Oct-12 11:31:59

LadyMary - thanks for your comments too. This is precisely why I won't be holding out for a publishing deal - I think I will just self-publish.

I am not expecting to make my fortune from it, I just want to put it out there. And if I sell a few copies, happy days!

Perhaps a publisher might see it, like the style and commission a title in the same theme.

I can dream!

p.s. 400 A WEEK!?

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Wed 31-Oct-12 11:42:57

There's plenty of self publishing sites/companies. It's wise that you get your work professionally edited though, there's a huge difference between someone who has done this and someone who hasn't.

Yes, 400 manuscripts a week! shock

2under2blog Wed 31-Oct-12 11:53:23

I'm an editor and copywriter by trade so I'll be pretty thorough but I have plenty of industry links who can help with a fresh eye.

Yikes, I don't envy the submissions reader!

peekyboo Wed 31-Oct-12 11:54:31

Thanks for the kind words about my books!
I know some people who do well then go on to be offered publishing deals, but the general consensus seems to be that you still have to do a lot of the marketing yourself and are not guaranteed sales just because you're with a mainstream publisher.
I think some publishers are slowly coming round to the idea that there is more than one way to crack that little old egg.
I'd agree with LadyMary about the editing being really important. A lot of that depends on how experienced you are as a writer, but it can help to have someone else look at it and see it in a fresh light.
Personally I steer clear of critique groups and the like. It just isn't for me. I'd be more likely to send it to knowledgeable friends to proofread. Some people gain an awful lot from these groups, though, so it's worth a try if you think it might help.
Re Smashwords - yes, FAB idea, but not many people sell much at all on them and, oh my, their techy stuff for uploading your files is a nightmare!!! I've gone with LULU as their system is easier to work out and they also distribute to apple, amazon and everyone else.
So my ebooks went through KDP and paperbacks through lulu, but the paperbacks have now filtered through to the Amazon site and are listed alongside the KDP ebooks.


2under2blog Wed 31-Oct-12 11:58:31

Yes I'm prepped to do a lot of marketing legwork - I imagine you can't rely on word of mouth alone until you've reached some pretty heady heights.

I like the simplicity of KDP's upload facility. But being a total technophile, I might prefer the Smashwords upload if it offers more flexibility.

I'll have a look at Lulu, thanks!

peekyboo Wed 31-Oct-12 12:00:49

The Smashwords one is renowned for chopping up files that have been formatted as they need to be, but I expect it's easier to do if you know more about these things

2under2blog Wed 31-Oct-12 12:26:59

Ah good to know, thanks smile

MmeGuillotine Thu 01-Nov-12 15:13:01

I self publish my own novels as I had horrible experiences with an agent and small publisher a few years ago and it put me completely off trade publishing.

I started off with Lulu for my first book, which was originally a blog, but the quality wasn't up to scratch and I also hated how expensive my books had to be to break even. Now I just publish via KDP for Kindle and am currently signed up to the Select programme.

I think I'm doing okay though - I sell around 1,000 books a month and have started getting unsolicited approaches from the dreaded agents. It's quite nice to be the one getting emails from them rather than the other way around. I've just accepted a commission to write a book for an actual publisher thanks to my blog but that was mainly down to my knowing the editor involved from Twitter. smile

2under2blog Thu 01-Nov-12 19:25:18

Well that's amazing, 1,000 a month? I'm very impressed! Long may your success continue.

Better go and start smarming some editors on Twitter ;) Thanks for your advice!

YoungDebbie Thu 01-Nov-12 20:33:30

I have a lot of experience helping self-published authors promote and sell their books, so I hope I can help any of you who are thinking of turning your blogs into books. The most important thing you need to be aware of is that once you've produced your book, if you're going to sell any copies, you need to promote it. There are 6 million (!) books on Amazon UK so there's a lot of competition out there...

I've just written a book about book promotion called "Sell Your Books!" - you'll find it on Amazon if you search for that title and my name, Debbie Young. (Hope it's not breaking Mumsnet rules to mention it here - just trying to show I know what I'm talking about!)

There are lots of companies who can help you self-publish (I can recommend SilverWood Books, who commissioned my book to help their authors) or you can learn to do it entirely yourself. There are all sorts of considerations to take into account before you decide how to do it, not least cost!

However you do it, shout about your book once you've published it! Promotion needn't cost you anything - blogging about it, for example, is a great, free way to raise your book's profile - Madame Guillotine is a prime example of that! My book gives lots of other helpful suggestions too. (And Mumsnet gets a mention too!)

By the way, I'm now planning to turn my YoungByName blog into a book, one year's worth of posts at a time, and you can bet I will be promoting it like mad!

Happy to help with any further questions if anyone wants to ask me!

MmeGuillotine Thu 01-Nov-12 21:02:10

I don't do any promotion other than having links to my books on my blog and very VERY occasionally mentioning them in blog posts. I actually think that too much promotion is counter productive and just pisses potential readers off so I wouldn't use me as an example of someone who massively promotes their books because I really don't.

I often find myself cringing in embarrassment at the antics of most other self published writers that I encounter on Twitter, Goodreads, forums etc because they are being far too pushy and I'm saying this as someone who is really pro self publishing! I've also noted that the more pushy and self promoting writers are also the ones who make the most fuss about lack of sales...

YoungDebbie Fri 02-Nov-12 22:31:29

Yes, I do actually agree with you, Mme Guillotine! Those people who think that being on Twitter etc gives them licence to go on about their book all the time and post "Buy my book, please RT" tweets are really annoying and alienate the very people they are trying to attract.

Although you're not blogging ABOUT your books, having a blog that is enjoyed by 1000s of followers and getting loads of daily hits (as I believe yours does) is an excellent platform for engaging and attracting readers, many of whom go on to buy any books the blogger cares to write. If a reader enjoys a writer's company on their blog, they're likely to enjoy the writer's books - and the simple act of subtly posting links to your books in the sidebar of your blog, for example, will be a very effective means of selling them.

So really the very act of having a blog (and the huge amount of work that goes into building up and maintaining it) can be considered a really valuable marketing activity. In fact, I'm now writing a free book promotion blog specifically to promote sales of my book in this way. But this ISN'T the one that I post on Mumsnet - that's just my personal blog that won't try and sell anyone anything, honest! - well, not till I turn it into a book, anyway! ;)

2under2blog Sat 03-Nov-12 08:15:57

Thanks for your advice Debbie. And MmeGuillotine, I've since found your blog and loved it. I agree, it isn't a 'book promoting blog' at all. But as Debbie says it's an awfully good way of proving you are a good writer.

I can't tell you how many self published books I've read (granted, many from the Kindle free 100 titles) that are packed with poor spelling, grammar and turn of phrase.

I think a blog (usually) instils a bit of confidence and that's a great asset.

MmeGuillotine Sat 03-Nov-12 15:04:34

Yes, Twitter is many ways amazing for writers but it's also open to a lot of misuse! Like I said, I cringe at the incessant self promotion that goes on but at the same time know better than to ever say 'Er, you know, you might sell more books if you stopped banging on about them twenty times a day'. Personally, I find it extremely off-putting and never buy books by people that I think over-promote, mainly because they've ALREADY irritated me before I've even had a glimpse of their writing and also because I don't want to encourage them!

I do know that my blog is intrinsically self promotion because I recognise that if people like my posts then it's not a big effort to hop across to buy my books too but it's not active. I think that my way of doing things may be considered too subtle by many but it's certainly been effective for me.

Thanks 2under2! I'm very proud of how my blog is going and like to think that it works as proof that I can actually string a sentence together! I like to take grammatical liberties with my blog posts that I would never do in my books though - one of the reasons I started the blog was to 'train' myself out of the excessively formal writing style I naturally had as a result of Aspergers. It's been very effective - until a few years ago, I would never EVER have contracted 'I have' into 'I've' or 'have not' into 'haven't' but now I do it without a blink, which is unbelievably liberating.

peekyboo Sat 03-Nov-12 18:03:49

MmeG - same here. Guess what I do? Start sentences with And...I feel bad even saying it out loud!

MmeGuillotine Sat 03-Nov-12 20:14:56

Haha, I can't quite bring myself to start sentences with 'And' yet but I'm working on it. I have forced myself to start a couple with 'But' though! smile

peekyboo Sat 03-Nov-12 21:01:44

Yes, but is another I've overcome. But (lol) never ever with because...

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