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Why Blogs Can Make Great Books (Writing In the 21st Century)
Who’s still blogging in the age of Social Media? In the info-storm of tweeting, instagramming our food and facebooking our pets is there time or even a need for blogs?
The answer of course is an absolute unequivocal YES. Blogs are even more powerful than they were 10 years ago, and contrary to what some people believe Social Media hasn’t replaced blogs but made them even stronger!
Today I want to show you one more reason why blogs are relevant: they can be a stepping stone to writing books.
Blogs And Books: Partners In Crime
When I’m talking about blogs here I’m not referring to micro-blogging popularized by Twitter or image-blogging made infamous by Tumblr. Instead, I’m talking about blogs as a pure text medium (if there are pics and links, great, but that’s secondary). Because when you strip away all the bells and whistles, themes, widgets and what-nots, the nature of a blog isn’t all that bewildering: it’s simply text, alright.
And you know what?
Writing blog posts is hard. For an average length blog post (ca. 500 words) you actually need to sit down and focus. There’s no way around it.
But you know what’s even harder than writing blog posts?
Writing books. They’re (typically) longer than 500 words, which means you have to focus even harder.
Effort Vs. Immediate Gratification
How many people do you know personally that use Facebook or Twitter daily?
20? 30? 50? even more?
How many people do you know that are blogging seriously?
2? 5? 10?
How many people do you know that are writing books?
1? 2? 0?
The addictive thing about Social Media is immediate gratification. You post something and get immediate replies. Writing books is a very lonely business, on the other hand. You don’t get to receive immediate feedback and praise for each sentence you produce.
Blogs, however, are somewhere in the middle. The writing process is very private. In these thirty or ninety minutes you are working on your blog posts you’re “disconnected” from the feedback loop of Social Media. But once you’re done you get to share your articles and receive direct feedback.
This is why blogging can be a serious stepping-stone towards making books in the 21st century.
And I’m not just talking about privately printed editions you give to friends and family but actual books that will land in stores worldwide and have the potential to become bestsellers. I’ve done this two times already with great success (see here and here).
8 Steps From Blog To Book
The below process works best (in my experience) if you’re writing non-fiction, but I’m ready to be proven wrong.
1. Write a blog post every second or third day. Each one should have its own beginning, middle and ending.
2. Once you got a lot of blog posts about one or more connected topics, start earmarking your favorites.
3. List the articles you want to become part of your book and gently group them into related chapters.
4. Copy and paste all your articles into an empty document.
5. Start re-reading, editing, adding/removing paragraphs and connecting “chapters”
6. When you’re done add an introduction, a bibliography with links to other resources, etc.
7. Come up with a title for your book, create a cover or let someone do it for you
Any questions? Leave a comment and I’ll try to answer it.