Turning Your Blog Into a Book

Authors and would-be authors, take note – it is absolutely possible to turn your blog into a b0ok and get publishers to buy it.

I work with a lot of authors in my coaching business, and one of the biggest questions I get asked is "Am I going to get in trouble with a potential publisher if a lot of the material in my book has already been published on my blog?"  I used to a give a tentative "no" answer, with some caveats and disclaimers.  Then
it moved to a slightly-less-tentative "no".  I told people that smart publishers are figuring out that authors who have developed big fan bases by blogging turn out to be GREAT authors – and their books really sell. 

Now I tell my authors to blog away with no hesitation whatsover, and that blogging can help them build exactly the kind of big reader base that many publishers are looking for these days.  I can cite many, many examples of books that have recently published that are comprised almost entirely of re-mixed and re-edited material that had already being published on a blog. 

Cases in point:

Gluten-Free Girl: How I Found the Food That Loves Me Back…And How You Can Too
by Shauna James Ahern (who blogs at Gluten-Free Girl)

The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing and Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly
by David Meerman Scott (who blogs at Web Ink Now)

Stuff White People Like: A Definitive Guide to the Unique Taste of Millions
by Christian Lander (who 
blogs at Stuff White People Like)

All three of those books are made up of previously-published blog material, and they are all terrific reads.  And for those of you concerned about the size of your possible advance – take note that Christian Lander actually received a $300,000+ book deal for his book, which is one of the largest deals ever for a previously unpublished author.Cover

And in case there's still any doubt in your mind, notice that Heather Armstrong, author of the wildly popular blog Dooce, just announced that her new book (again, comprised almost entirely of edited material from her blog), It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita
is available for pre-order.  It is currently #1 in Amazon's "Motherhood" category, #4 in "Family Relationships" and #221 overall – it's that's just in PRE-ORDER.

Authors, you can blog your heart out and then find a perfect publisher for your blog-book.  Stop hesitating now and start blogging!

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  1. Don’t forget the blog-to-book champ, Julie Powell. She blogged about cooking her way thru Julie Child’s ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ in a year. It became a book and now a movie starrying Meryl Streep.

  2. I think blogging is a great way to create the discipline to write a book. I’m aiming for at least three posts a week and that means I have to be very organized in finding my sources, doing my interviews and actually writing. No time for procrastination….
    I do think if you’re blogging with a book in mind, you can still adopt the more informal style of blogging but grammar, spelling and punctuation must follow the standard rules. It takes more time to write the post initially but I think it’ll pay off later. And sloppy writing won’t help secure a publisher.
    A question – what is the best way of handling a typo you spot on someone’s blog? Do you just ignore it or should you contact the blogger? I wouldn’t really want someone to leave a comment for everyone to see although I guess you could remove it.

  3. Mandy – I think it’s perfectly okay to write someone a quick email note and let them know if you spot a typo on their blog (if you can find an email address).
    If there’s no address readily available, I think it’s okay to put it in the comments if it’s a glaring error. The author can always remove it. For little errors, though, I probably wouldn’t comment. Now of course I’m wondering if you spotted an error here…. 🙂
    And Claire, thanks for the great example!

  4. This is inspiring, Beth. Many of us would like to have a book evolve from our blogs…and it is possible! Thanks.
    All good wishes,

  5. This really IS inspiring… I haven’t thought about writing a book much before, but just last week someone mentioned the idea of writing books off of blog material, and then I read this post. When you realize just how much you (or, rather, “I”) have written by writing in a blog a few times a week, it really adds up. I guess we do have a lot to say!

  6. I just finished reviewing A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg. The book came out of her very famous food blog “Orangette” and both are a delight. I think blogs help writers to get known, but that extra care has to be put into the writing to be sure it expresses a unique voice and shows a strong familiarity with the craft.

  7. Beth, this is right up my alley! I’m trying to do exactly what you’re talking about with my blog, http://www.SaturdayMorningZen.com. The writing isn’t typical “blog”; rather, it’s geared toward being read in print. I’ve been wondering about the format and the feasibility of the topic… maybe I need to contact you and sit down for a one-on-one hash-it-out kind of thing???

  8. I discovered a site that helps you translate texts in any language you want. French Translator it is like a free dictionary. I think it is new.It works great!

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