Blogging, eBooks

How to write a book one blog post at a time

Let's Pretend
Parts of Jenny Lawson’s book, “Let’s Pretend this Never Happened” first appeared on her blog. | Photo credit: artbybernadette

The prospect of writing an entire book can be daunting. It’s a lot of work and can take a LOT of time to complete. All the while, you might find yourself wondering if you are good enough or if anyone will ever want to read it. One way to combat this anxiety is to write your book one blog post at a time.

Whether you write serialized fiction (like blogger/author Amanda Martin’s Two-Hundred Steps Home) or creative non-fiction (like The Bloggess’s Let’s Pretend this Never Happened – A Mostly True Memoir,) you can write the first draft of your book-length manuscript one blog post at a time.

There are many benefits to writing a book this way. Check out my list below and then feel free to add your own ideas in the comments at the bottom of this page.

  • It is relatively pressure-free. You can tell yourself that even if you never finish the book, your efforts will not be wasted. Your work will still be “out there” for the world to read or not read if it likes. If nothing else, you can always point potential employers/clients to your blog to check out your writing samples. You are accomplishing *something,* even if you never finish your book. (Now, forget I said any of that because you WILL finish your book!!)
  • It can help you organize your thoughts. Example: Let’s say you are writing a non-fiction book about cats (because, let’s face it, the world needs more books about cats!) Let’s title your book/blog project, “Cats A-Z.” Then, let’s divide up the 52 weeks of the year into the 26 letters of the alphabet so that you are writing two or three blog posts for each letter of the alphabet over the course of one year. For argument’s sake, let’s say in Week 1, you write a blog post titled, “A is for Attitude,” which explores both the attitudes of individual cats and the attitudes of cat owners. Maybe you’ll even discuss cat haters and how to deal with them (If you decide to write this book, I want a mention on your acknowledgements page for coming up with the idea!) You don’t necessarily have to organize your final book in this manner, but it gives you a good jumping-off point on your blog. It gets the words rolling, and that’s all that matters in the beginning stages of writing any book.
  • It can provide motivation. Create an editorial calendar for your blog. Commit to writing at least one blog post per week. A year from now, you will have written a complete first draft of your book, and it will seem like you hardly put any effort into it at all!
  • You can obtain feedback from your blog followers as you write. Readers will have the opportunity to comment on each individual section of your book as you post it on your blog. They might point out errors ranging from typos to major plot holes (fiction) or flaws in your arguments (non-fiction.) They may suggest additional concepts you might explore to expand on the topic. They may provide you with anecdotal evidence that you can incorporate into your finished product. Better yet, they might just tell you that you’re doing a great job and that you should keep up the good work!
  • It can establish you as an expert in your field. Others in your field may get to know you on your blog and ask you to guest post on their blogs, or they may refer to you in their own posts. You can condition your regular blog followers to think of you whenever they think of your topic. This can help you establish creditably so others will be eager to purchase any book you might choose to write in the future.
  • You can build your audience as you go. Readers who “like” your blog posts today might just like them enough to purchase your book a year from now. Can you think of an easier way to market your books?

In addition to starting a new book project on your blog, you might also consider what you have already written and ask yourself if you have generated enough content on one unified topic to pull it together into a book. For example, I might eventually compile all of my blog posts on the topic of novel writing and organize them into an eBook.

What do you think? Have you unknowingly written an entire book on your blog? Go look into this and report back in the comments below.

~Amanda L. Webster

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