The Big Problem With Blogging Your Book

POSTED ON Oct 15, 2010

Joel Friedlander

Written by Joel Friedlander

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There are lots of different kinds of author blogs, just as there are lots of kinds of authors. And there are many ways for authors to approach blogging as part of building an author platform. For instance, you can write a blog:

  • that’s a personal communication between you and your readers. Particularly if you already have a following, this is a great way to engage with your audience.
  • that adds timely or additional information to the subject you wrote your book about. As an expert, you can use the authority gained from your book to keep offering useful content to your readers, all the while enhancing your “brand.”
  • with the intention of assembling your blog posts into a book. Writers write, that’s what they do. Using a blog to help complete your next book just seems to make sense.

But there are problems with the last type of blog, where you intend to blog your book.

“How to Blog Your Book”

Some writers have advocated using a blog to assemble content for a book. Here’s how this scenario works:

  1. You create a complete outline of every section of the book you want to write. For this method, you want to break chapters up into “chunks” so the individual pieces aren’t too long or too short.
  2. You write a headline for each section of the outline.
  3. You turn each section into a blog post, using the headlines you wrote as the blog titles.
  4. You work through the outline in any order you like, since you know the position of everything in the final book.
  5. Presto! You put all the blog posts together in the order indicated by the outline, and you have a book.

Blogging Isn’t Book Writing

But there’s a serious problem with this plan. A crucial defect. A stumbling block you will be putting in your own way.

Because blogs aren’t books, and pieces of books make pretty bad blog articles. So here’s the problem:

  1. If you write your blog posts as “chunks” of your book, your blog will probably fail to attract any significant readership. Your book doesn’t need SEO, keywords, bullet lists, numbered lists, pull quotes, intriguing headlines or links. It doesn’t need any of the other things we do to create something people actually want to read. As bloggers we strive to publish content that engages web surfers within the few seconds they will look at your page before moving on.
  2. If you try to make a book out of your blog posts, it will probably be unreadable. A book that’s 100,000 words isn’t just 100 one-thousand-word blog posts. Books need to develop their content over the course of the entire work. It usually takes a team of people including the author and one or more editors to create a smooth narrative that communicates the author’s ideas clearly and consistently. Book readers make a commitment to a book that takes a lot longer than a few seconds.

So on the one hand you present readers with content that’s blog-like but in a book: they’re going to be reading a book that’s 75% lists, with bullets, bold type and all the other “chunking” tactics. On the other hand you present blog visitors with long prose sections that refer to other parts of a longer text, parts that aren’t even visible.

It seems to me you lose both ways.

You can certainly use editing to create the content for a book from blog articles, but that’s a long way off from the “blog your book” process.

Has blogging your book worked for you? Would you try it?

Image licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, original work copyright by little debbie,

Joel Friedlander

Written by
Joel Friedlander

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