More and more bloggers are looking into the possibility of publishing their blogs in book form in order to monetize their work – but how easy is it really?
While it might seem a reasonably straightforward task to skim the posts from your blog and compile them in a word processor before publishing in print or eBook form, there is a lot more to it than that.
Making a decision on third party “book to blog” services versus manual compilation of articles is important, as is choosing the best online publishing company. Similarly, you might face a choice between funding a full print run with pre-orders or publishing on demand.
There is a lot to think about…
The Process Outlined
Whatever decisions you make, the process itself is roughly the same.
To begin with, you need enough compelling and interesting content on your blog to fill at least 100 pages. Any less than this can be considered a waste of time, and possibly a waste of money for the buyer (your printing overheads are likely to prevent a low price).
After identifying the content you want to use, you should then decide upon the approach you want to take to grab those posts from your blog and export them. There are various tools available for doing this, but you might find that manually copying the posts and pasting them into Word or OpenOffice is your preferred choice.
While you should be aware of publishing options before starting the hard work, making a decision comes next. You might have the funding to go down the self-publishing route, for instance, or prefer to opt for a print on demand service from a company such as Hulu (who can also list your title on Amazon).
Before going to print, you will also need a good cover.
Third Party Services vs Manually Compiling
Various tools are available that will enable you to convert your blog into a book. The end results will almost always require some tidying up, however, although there are services that will handle this for you.
www.blurb.com/create/book/blogbook – this service will provide print on demand services for the contents of your blog, although it requires you to download its application and arrange formatting and images.
blog2print.sharedbook.com/blogworld/printmyblog/index.html – starting at $14.95, blog2print is more of a vanity solution.
For a more integrated WordPress-to-book experience, anthologize.org provides an excellent free plugin for creating a book from your blog posts.
Preorders and Print-on-Demand
How you proceed with the printing side of things really depends on the popularity of your blog. If you believe you can raise funds from your readers before the book is published then you stand yourself in good stead to turn a profit when the book is printed.
If this isn’t possible, however, you should opt for one of the many print-on-demand specialists that are proving very popular right now. One of these is www.lulu.com which prints a copy of your book for each single order that is made, and also offers various discounts on bulk purchases. Lulu will also publish your title in eBook format (surprisingly people will read a blog converted into a book on an e-reader, rather than in its original form on the web!) and list it on Amazon.
Judging a Book by Its Cover
Rightly or wrongly, people do judge whether or not the book in front of them is worth reading based on the appearance of the cover.
To avoid this, you should consider hiring an artist to deal with the task of making your book visually attractive so that it stands out as much on a bookshelf as it does in an online store.
So many eBooks are published these days with poor and unattractive covers, most of which fall by the wayside before they’re even read. Avoiding falling into this trap will ensure your blog-to-book project at least attracts some attention.
How I Did It
In 2009 I set to work adapting one of my blogs into a book. At the time there were no useful tools like Anthologize so instead I used the manual method – reading through my blog from beginning to end trying to find the posts that I would use in the book.
I already knew the topic of the book and what it would include, so this made the job much easier. In addition, however, there were a few additional posts that offered context but weren’t necessarily vital to the message of the book. Early on in the process I found a graphic artist that I was familiar with to provide a stunning cover.
Manually copying the relevant posts and pasting them into Word was tedious, however, although it did make the job easier when it came to formatting.
Formatting your book is extremely important. Introducing a consistent visual style throughout will set your title apart from the competition and should be seriously considered. Word processing applications feature various styling choices that you can use, and if the presets aren’t suitable you can configure your own.
I also took the time to add material to the book that didn’t appear on the blog. This vital step enabled me to add context to historical posts and provide value to the end product. Caring about the end product is important, especially if you expect people to care enough to buy it.
Finally, I chose a local printer to run off 250 copies based on a pre-order fundraising campaign. This proved very successful, although the blog has a daily readership of 3000-4000. Subsequent copies have been supplied via Amazon and Lulu.
You can see the results on Amazon, where the title is listed.
Turning your blog into a book is more than about simply printing posts from your WordPress installation and adding a nice cover.
If you expect people to purchase the book, you will need to spend the time crafting and styling it, finding a cover artist and using the right applications to develop it. You should also engage your readership so that they will buy in, follow the book’s progress and care enough to spend money on it.
Adapting a blog into a book is not difficult, but requires a clear topic, good design and for you to make the right choices.