Home » Joel Friedlander, Social Media » Turn Blog Posts into Publishable Gold

Turn Blog Posts into Publishable Gold

16 May 2012

From Nina Amir via book designer Joel Friedlander:

If you are like most bloggers, you may not realize your blog represent a gold mine filled with content that can be published beyond the blogososphere. Stop looking forward to the next new post you will write, and realize “There’s gold in them ‘thar posts.” You can find nuggets of content that can be refined into a variety of manuscripts. In other words, you can find publishable gold in your blog. You just have to do a bit of prospecting.

Indeed, every blog post you write, have ever written or will write in the future has the potential of becoming part of a book. If you stop thinking like a blogger and begin thinking like a writer—or, even better, like an aspiring author—you’ll find your blog holds more publishable content than you know what to do with. Additionally, your blog can turn into a way for you to produce books quickly and easily.

. . . .

It’s a good idea to know what angle you might want to take with your book, what content you want in your book, etc. I suggest creating a content plan prior to repurposing your blog posts, or “booking a blog,” a term the author of this particular blog, Joel Friedlander, coined. You can then search out posts to fit into that plan, or outline.

You can do a search though your tags (in WordPress) or labels (in Blogger) to find posts on the topics you need to flesh out your content plan—assuming you labeled them well using such keywords. You can also search for posts in your categories, again assuming you have “filed” your posts by subject matter.

. . . .

The last way to mine your blog for gold involves purposely setting out to create these valuable nuggets. Rather than booking your blog, blog a book. In other words, create a content plan for a series of posts that will fill a book. Then write the book in post sized bits, and publish these on your blog.

Link to the rest at The Book Designer

Joel Friedlander, Social Media

10 Comments to “Turn Blog Posts into Publishable Gold”

  1. I’ve been seeing posts about this quite a bit lately.

    I don’t know about other distribution sites, but Amazon is really cracking down on people trying to sell content that is freely available on the web.

    • I have wondered about that myself. Camille (below) says it’s not directed at people using their own content. There might also be an issue of if you add a couple essays not on your website, it’s now a unique collection. The sticking point might be KDP…I’ve seen reports of people getting accounts frozen bc they excerpted their KDP book. But if (like me) you have no interest in that program due to that very exclusivity clause…harvest away!

      • The issue isn’t the same as the one with KDP Selects.

        This came up a few years ago. It started with the excess of public domain books which people were throwing up on the site. Basically they’d take content from Gutenberg, and slap a cover on it, and sell it for a lot of money.

        In the print world, this was a somewhat legitimate activity. (Not cadging off of Gutenberg, but reprinting classics.) Because creating a nice printed version of an old out of print book is a real service to the customer.

        But in the electronic world, there is no value added. Even those who scan the books and format themselves are just duplicating the work being done by archivist volunteers all over the world.

        So Amazon first instituted a rule that they would only accept POD versions in KDP (not selects, but the self-publishing program) IF there were no other versions of that book already available. They said something about maybe allowing it if there was a significant amount of added original material.

        But people abused that policy — they tried to claim formatting was added material, or a TOC. Worse, they started changing the name of the work, and pretending it was a lesser known book by the same author. Or a new collection. And really it was the same book which already had 20 or 30 copies available.

        Then the “scrapers” entered the game. (Actually they were probably in it from the start, and only got noticed later.) These are the people who just scrape info from Wikipedia and other open source websites, and aggregate it into a new “ebook” and offer it for sale as if they had written a non-fiction book themselves.

        When Amazon talks about non-original material, this is what they mean. They mean that the author didn’t write it, and hasn’t acquired exclusive rights to it from the copyright holder. They’re just taking what is available in the public domain, or even plagiarizing.

        The separate issue with KPD Selects is that if you enter the program, you agree to complete exclusivity. And they mean it.

  2. This isn’t anything new. It’s a long-time standard in the publishing industry — newspaper columnists, magazine feature writers, comic strips.

    And since the beginning of the web, it has been the chief way that professional bloggers make money off their blogs. Long before Kindle, many bloggers were selling pdfs of their blog content from their sites.

    Note that MOST of the readers of such material are not those who don’t know they can get it for free, but rather people who are current readers of the blog who don’t want to go combing back through the site. They want to catch up at their leisure with a “best of” sort of anthology.

    I’ve been meaning to do a collection myself but I’m lousy at figuring out what posts I want to put together and also figuring out how I want to rework it. (A lot of my posts are mixed with personal updates which would not make sense to an ebook reader.)

    (BTW, Amazon isn’t cracking down on people publishing their OWN work in collections — just work taken from other sites.)

  3. Interesting idea. I’ve been trying to find a way to write some of the stories my sister has from growing up. She did a lot of goofy things, and remembers weirdly funny thing incidents from growing up in our large family. I think I was too busy reading and oblivious to much of it. Or thought it was normal. She says she can’t write, but she tells a hilarious story. Maybe a series of blog posts on separate incidents is the way to go. If they are well-received, I can move forward from there.

  4. I’m in the process of doing exactly that. I do a tag search for a theme I want to develop, extract those posts, then update and expand them. Once they’re organized in a logical way, they can be published in one of a series of small books.

    I’ve skimmed through a couple of ebooks that aren’t anything more than a dumping ground for old, unedited posts. Not very pretty, and I can’t imagine anyone paying for them.

  5. Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith do this with the Freelancer’s Survival Guide and Think Like A Publisher, respectively.

    B.S.

  6. I think this would work fine if you went at it with the idea very much in mind that these posts would become a book. (Smith and Rusch, for example, will tell you to read certain posts before reading others, because they were written essentially as chapters that lead into each other.) But you have to really think it through–even Roger Ebert’s memoir, which was basically a bunch of blog posts thrown together, IMO suffered from the way it was written. There was a lot of repetition, very little organization, and almost nothing in the way of a story arc.

  7. I think that some people do this too literally. I’ve read a book on writing that the author clearly states is compiled from her blog posts.

    Problems that I remember:
    – Formatting was terrible.
    – Typos and grammar issues were not corrected.
    – References to links that did not make it to the text.
    – In-jokes for her regular blog readers that she didn’t bother to explain.
    – References to comments raised on previous posts (“chapters”) that were responded to without restating.

    In short, the ebook was just repackaged material with no attempt to edit at all to streamline it.

    Since it was material freely available in her blog, I simply downloaded a copy to read rather than purchasing or digging through her blog for the posts in question. I had fully intended to either donate or purchase a copy if the book had proved useful. Instead, I felt a bit insulted by how it was just tossed together and I felt absolutely no desire to look up her fiction works.

    I have no problem at all with repackaging what you post in your blogs. But if that’s what you’re going to do, at the very least make sure to format properly for an ereader. Having someone copyedit would be even better. And doing a bit of editing so you’re now talking to an audience beyond your blog would be best (I felt almost as if I were an outsider since I was effectively ignored as the audience).

  8. I lay out in my book, How to Blog a Book, (as well as on my blog) ways to make sure the book you publish is unique and not “just” repurposed blog posts–that there is added material that provides an incentive to readers (and publishers) to buy it. However, I also advocate planning out material and actually blogging your book. That is different than “booking your blog,” or repurposing your posts which you wrote without any notion that you would one day put them into a book. You can do either, but booking a blog is much harder and time intensive.

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