Turning a blog into a book isn’t exactly a new concept—it’s been done by many over the years. One big recent example was highlighted in the movie Julie and Julia, featuring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. The movie was based on a blog-turned-book by Julie Powell, a woman who decided to spend a year cooking all of the recipes from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and reporting on the results in her blog. Powell’s blog project quickly developed an audience, earned attention from The New York Times, and ultimately attracted a book deal and then a movie.
Powell hit the literary lottery. And while few bloggers-turned-authors will experience that level of success, it does demonstrate the power of blogging and how turning your efforts into a book can lead to some big success. If you want some more examples, check out 27 Popular Websites that Became Books from the A.V. Club blog.
The fact is that your existing blog can provide an excellent foundation for a book. And if you think book readers wouldn’t pay for something they can read online for free, think again. A book can reach a whole new breed of readers, and even faithful readers of your blog will want to own the book version because they already like what you have to say and they won’t want to miss anything.
If you’re not yet blogging on a regular basis, you can begin immediately with the intention of developing your book. This has the added benefits of building your online audience and website traffic while working toward completion of your manuscript. The good news is that writing a book is actually easier than most people realize. The average manuscript is around 60,000 words. If you wrote 1,000 words per day, the first draft of your book would be complete in 60 days!
Converting Your Blog into a Manuscript
If you’re starting from an existing blog, you need to first review your content and develop an outline for your book. Simply compiling all of your posts into a single document will only work if your subject matter is anecdotal or doesn’t necessarily warrant reorganization. Most blogs will need to be reviewed and re-ordered.
An outline will help you develop a logical flow of chapters. One easy way to accomplish this is to use the storyboard method. To do this, write each of your blog topics on sticky notes or 3 x 5 cards. Then, put all of them out in front of you and move them around until you find a logical flow of information, which then becomes your chapters.
Ultimately the goal is to copy all of that content into a single document to create your manuscript based on the order of the outline you developed. Spend time reading each post and refining you work. You may also need to fill in gaps, add detail, or remove duplicate information.
With a little time an effort, you can have a completed manuscript within days. After that, you’re ready to send it to a professional editor (this is essential no matter what!) and begin the process of publishing.
Congratulations! It’s a BOOK!