By Guest Blogger Nina Amir
Thinking and acting outside the box can mean the difference between success and failure in today’s competitive publishing market. Today that’s definitely true when it comes to attracting the media, literary agents and publishers. However, one tool can help aspiring authors gain the attention of all these professionals—and do so while doing what they do best—write. That tool is a blog.
If you are a writer wanting to build an author’s platform with traditional media spots as well as with social media so you can, in fact, attract an agent or publisher and land a traditional publishing contract for your book, I suggest approaching your blog in a new manner. Don’t just blog. Blog your book.
That’s right. Compose your book from scratch, post by post, on your blog. While you will find this works really well if you are a nonfiction writer, if you write fiction you also can break your content down into post-sized bits and publish it regularly over time on your blog. By so doing you will make yourself and your blog—actually your forthcoming book—imminently findable on the internet.
And that’s the key. In this tough media environment, journalists prefer to find their own experts; they look at the press releases sent or emailed to them less and less often. Instead they watch their Twitter stream and conduct Google searches for the authorities they need on particular topics. In similar fashion, agents and publishers troll the internet looking for test marketed book ideas. They find these in highly successful blogs—blogs with lots of readers or fans who likely also will purchase a book based on the blog. In both cases, when they find what they are looking for, the journalists, agents and publishers contact the blogger.
Now, if that blogger happens to be an aspiring author blogging a book, you and your book not only managed to get great publicity for your book and build platform, you landed a book deal for a book you’ve already been writing. You may even have completed the first draft of the book on your blog. That means you are ready and able to give a publisher what he wants. And you can call yourself an author expert when the media calls because you have blogged a book.
How do you actually blog a book? Here are eight simple steps to get you going:
- Evaluate the marketability of your idea. Make sure the book you want to write is viable. Is there a market for it? Does it add value for readers? Does it solve a problem or provide a unique benefit? Does it tell a story that must be told? Do a comparative study of other existing books already published and make sure yours is different. Look also at blogs currently written on your topic. Remember that your blogged book will exist in cyberspace prior to becoming a digital or print book. You will have competition in both markets. If necessary, re-angle your book to make sure it fills a need in the bookstore category in which it will be sold and in the blogosphere.
- Create a content plan. Decide on the topics you might include in your book. Get as detailed as possible. Brainstorm every idea or subject you might possibly include. Then create a table of contents, or an outline.
- Decide on content that will only appear in the digital or printed book. Look at your content plan and decide what pieces you might hold back or create especially for use in your printed book or ebook as an incentive to loyal blog readers to purchase the book. For nonfiction, this could be a few extra chapters. For fiction, your second draft might offer a bit longer or shorter version, a few more scenes, an epilogue, etc.
- Break your content into blog-post sized pieces—250-500 word chunks. For nonfiction, create subheadings (blog titles) for each. For fiction, give each scene a title.
- Create a blogging schedule. Decide how often you will write, two days a week or seven days a week. Commit to the schedule.
- Write one blog post on each day of your blogging schedule. Compose these in a word processing program in sequence so you create a manuscript in the process.
- Publish your posts. Copy and paste your blog post into your blogging program and publish them on the scheduled days.
- Publicize your posts. Share your blog post via your social networks, like Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and Pinterest.
If you figure the average nonfiction manuscript contains at least 45,000 words and your posts will average 350 words in length, you will need to write about 128 posts to complete your manuscript. That will take you about six and half months if you write five posts a week. In that amount of time, you will likely drive your blog up in the search engine results pages simply by writing about your topic day in and day out. This will make you more discoverable. It will also make you an expert on your topic. And it will make you an author.
By thinking and acting outside the box, you will have made it much easier for the media, literary agents and publishers to find you. And you will have done so simply by blogging, or rather by blogging a book. You will have completed the first draft of a manuscript, too. If you didn’t get discovered by a publisher in the process, you can write a query letter and an attention-getting proposal and approach a publisher yourself. Include your great blog readership statistics in that proposal as part of your platform description, and you increase the chances of landing that book deal. Then, contact the media and tell them about your great accomplishment: You blogged your way to a book deal.
Nina Amir, Inspiration-to-Creation Coach, inspires people to combine their purpose and passion so they Achieve More Inspired Results. She motivates both writers and non-writers to create publishable and published products, careers as authors and to achieve their goals and fulfill their purpose.The author of How to Blog a Book, Write, Publish and Promote Your Work One Post at a Time (Writer’s Digest Books), Nina has also self-published 10 short books, including the How to Evaluate Your Book for Success and 10 Days and 10 Ways to Your Best Self. A sought after editor, proposal consultant, book and author coach, and blog-to-book coach, Nina’s clients’ books have sold upwards of 230,000 copies and landed deals with top publishers. The founder of Write Nonfiction in November, she writes four blogs, including Write Nonfiction NOW!, How to Blog a Book and As the Spirit Moves Me, and appears weekly on the Dresser After Darkradio show.www.ninaamir.com