I am honored to host Nina Amir on my blog today for her tour for How to Blog a Book! I am going to provide a short review, conduct an interview with Nina, and host a giveaway for a print or ebook copy. To enter, leave a question or comment below by Wednesday, October 24 at 8:00 pm CST.
Nina Amir’s How to Blog a Book is currently a very popular and hot topic. Amir is also practicing what she’s preaching, as she did create a blog (http://howtoblogabook.com/) about how to blog a book, wrote posts every day about this subject, and then found Writer’s Digest, to publish it, which is now available in several formats. So her advice is tried and true.
If you have a book idea, especially nonfiction, and you’ve been wondering how to start it or how to find an audience for it, then Amir’s book will help you with those two problems and more. Amir’s book is comprehensive. If you read it and follow her steps, you will successfully blog a book. She starts with book blogging basics, such as the definition of a blog and subjects that lend themselves well to this project. After that, she talks about the planning stages: preparing to blog a book and developing a book’s business plan.
Finally in chapter five, she gets to the nitty-gritty: creating a blog and writing the book (in chapter six). She stresses again and again that content is king. You cannot successfully blog a book if you are writing something no one wants to read.
Then one of the most important chapters of the book is driving readers to your blog. Publishers and agents are not going to take notice of your blog or book idea if you can’t get anyone there to read it. How to Blog a Book is one of those empowering books that will give you millions of ideas on how to write a book and get one published. And I’m honored to have Nina here today, answering some questions!
Margo: Welcome, Nina, thank you for taking time to talk with us today. I am wondering if you think any idea can go from blog to book. I know several of my readers have parenting tips, home school tips, and classroom ideas. What do you think about these type of blogs becoming books?
Nina: You are very welcome, Margo. I’m not sure that any idea can go from blog to book. Not all ideas make viable books. In much the same way, not all blogs make viable books either. By viable, I mean marketable—a book that actually has a market and can be sold to lots of readers.
Many bloggers try to turn their blogs into a book after the fact, but their blog posts or topics aren’t suitable for books. However, if you set out to blog a book from scratch on your blog, and you take the time to determine if there is a market for your idea and if your idea is unique in the blogosphere and in the bookstore, you should end up with a successful blogged book and printed or digital book.
As for the ideas you mentioned—parenting tips, home school tips, classroom tips–all of these would make great books if the approaches the authors take are different from those taken from other authors who have already published books on the same or similar topics. These writers must answer questions that need to be answered or solve problems that need to be solved. If they can provide benefit to readers in this way, they will write great blogged books and produce successful printed or digital books as well.
Margo: I also know that you’ve mentioned that blogging can help writers find an authentic voice. Can you explain this more?
Nina: Blogging is an immediate form of communication and a personal one as well. You write frequently and speak directly to your readers. You readers also can communicate with you via the comment function on your blog. Thus, it behooves a writer to write in a conversational manner, as if speaking to someone he or she knows. I think if you blog long enough, you will find your authentic voice—the writing style that is uniquely your own. You will simply find it easier to write this way—and faster. And your readers will respond to you when you write from this voice; you’ll gain more readers more quickly and without having to drive traffic to your blog. They will engage with you, commenting on posts and offering you feedback, anecdotes, and becoming fans.
Margo: Do you think it would be possible to have a multi-writer blog become a book? For example, let’s say a group of children’s writers started a blog on using books in the classroom, and then decided to turn it into a book. How would this work? Any tips for them working as a group?
Nina: Yes, of course. I know of at least one blogged book that was co-written by a rabbi and a minister. They took turns writing posts, first one, then the other. I have been thinking for quite a while that teaching children in schools to blog books would be a super way to get them both writing and reading. And how exciting for them to produce an e-book or a printed book!
I actually think the easiest thing would be to have the students compile an anthology. Have each of them write a chapter. Maybe they each write an essay on the same topic; you could use the Chicken Soup for the Soul series as an example. Or have them do research on a topic, then write one chapter for a nonfiction book or some type.
These books could easily be produced on Amazon using both Kindle and CreateSpace. Or you could import the blog into FastPencil, where the book automatically gets designed by the company’s templates. Then they could create a cover. They can actually get some help at FastPencil for a cover as well. There the book can be produced as an e-book and a printed book and put on Amazon or printed in FastPancil’s marketplace; this allows you to print copies just for the kids and their parents or as a fundraiser for the school. There are other printers you can use, too, like 360Digital, that will produce high quality books inexpensively. Blurb.com might be another option. You can also upload to Smashwords.com as an e-book.
This would be loads of fun for the kids and such a great learning experience. They could go on to blog short books on their own. I blogged a book that consisted of just 10 posts. That’s doable for many students depending upon their age.
Margo: Great ideas!!! What are a couple tips you give to bloggers to start what they finish? There seem to be so many abandoned blogs out there.
Nina: I think blogging a book makes you finish what you start. Most writers write in a vacuum. No one reads their work. If you blog your book, after a little while, you have readers. Not only that, they are real readers—ones who want to read your book. They aren’t just critique partners or something like that. These are people waiting for the next installment. They want to turn the next “page”—read the next post. When that happens, when you know you will be letting people down by not continuing, you keep on
writing. At least I do, and so do most other bloggers and writers.
With that in mind, I’d say my biggest tip really is to work hard at the beginning to build up a readership. Once you have that readership, you are more likely to keep writing and blogging—forever!
To build a readership you need to:
• Publish a blog post a minimum of 2 times a week for the first 6-12 months. (Better to post 5-7 times per week; you can slack off after that.)
• Write short—250-500 words per post.
• Share your posts with your social networks.
• Engage with other bloggers who write on similar topics.
• Become an active social networker.
Margo: One last question, is it a good idea to “save” some extra material for your book? For example, don’t put all your ideas, tips, and how-tos on the blog–put some of those only in the book. Did you do this for your book, How to Blog a Book?
Nina: Yes, I recommend this and discuss this strategy in my book. In fact, I kept two chapters off my blog when I blogged How to Blog a Book. I suggest you keep about 20 percent of the content you plan to include in your book off your blog. Create a content plan; think ahead and know what you will hold back to entice blog readers and publishers to purchase your completed book. Give them that “something extra.”
Margo: Thank you, Nina. You have provided great stuff here! Readers, don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win this book. Sign up for a free author, book, or blog-to-book coaching session with Nina or receive her 5-Day Published Author Training Series by visiting www.copywrightcommunications.com. Find out more about Nina at www.ninaamir.com.