If you’ve been blogging as a way to write your book, you will have amassed a great deal of material over the course of six months to a year. Now that you have all of those blog posts, and all of that supplementary material that you have put together for your book, how do you create the book from the blogs?
There are a few steps to take – and there are some things to keep in mind as you blog your book, to make things easier.
Here are a few tips.
1. If you’ve been blogging according to your book outline, you should have already organized the material. A way to keep it organized as you’ve written and posted your blogs is to create folders (or sub-folders) on your drive (in the cloud) according to the outlined chapters. This will allow you find what you need when it comes to putting the book together. As soon as you’ve uploaded your clean copy, save it to that folder. Keep it separate from the blog files; treat the book a little differently than the blogs you’re writing to write the book. Yes, you’ll be using those blogs as the materials for your book, but psychologically, you want to keep them separate. Why? Read on.
2. Your blogs will build your book, but they are not your book. A book should have a through-story or argument. Blogs can have a continuing discussion, but they are meant to be digested and read quickly. So you will treat your blogged material as the source material that you will reshape for the book. It isn’t difficult, but it will take a different approach.
3. Go through each blog, and remove dated material and calls to action. As you write your blogs, you may make reference to certain items in the news; you can delete these, since they will date your material. At the same time, delete all calls to action at the ends of your blogs. You don’t need them in a book. (But save the comments from readers; their insights might prove useful in your rewriting the blogs for the book.)
4. Treat a series of blogs as parts of a chapter. Since you’ve probably organized your blog schedule according to your outline, take the blogs you’ve put into those dedicated chapter folders, and see how they read – taken all together – as a chapter. Determine what doesn’t work, or what’s a simple recap of a point made that you no longer have to reiterate. Read the blogs as if they’re new to you, and you’re editing them for another use (which you are). In this way, you’ll cast fresh eyes on them.
5. Be ruthless. That is, if something doesn’t work, jettison it. You’ll find, after a few months have gone by since you first wrote some blogs, that they don’t contribute enough to your book. Don’t worry. You’ve probably already got enough material. And feel free to rewrite what you’ve written. You may find you’ve lingered too long on a point, or your approach might have changed a bit, after you’ve heard from your readership about the points you’ve made. Remember that you’re telling a longer story, albeit one broken into chapters, that will drive a reader through to the end of your book.
6. Re-read the entire book manuscript and see how it works as a book. Ask a third-party to read it, and ask this person to be frank with you about how the book reads, compared to how parts of it read as blogs. Don’t fret over it: you’ve already done the bulk of the work. The re-arranging and reshaping can be enjoyable, and the bulk of writing is in rewriting.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments about this process. I’d love to hear from you.