In this guest post, author, blogger and writing coach Nina Amir explains how she turned an idea into a blog, and a blog into her Amazon bestseller, How to Blog a Book, Write, Publish and Promote Your Work One Post at a Time (Writer’s Digest Books). — MVR
In 2001, I sent my first query letter to a big New York City literary agent. To my amazement, I received a phone call in response.
“I love your book idea. I love the title. You’re a great writer, and you wrote a super proposal,” she said.
I was sure an offer of representation would come next. Instead, she said: “But…”
My hopes sank. “But you don’t have a platform.”
Since I’d never heard the term, she politely explained that an author platform consisted of everything and anything I was doing that had made me known and helped me develop a base of potential readers.
It took me eight or nine years to totally embrace the idea of building an author platform. And it took me until 2012 to actually get a book published in the traditional way.
All of this I accomplished by blogging. I then went on to use one of my blogs as a way to write a book.
Why Writers Should Blog
If you want to become a published author, you must find a way to promote yourself and build a platform. Traditional publishers require you to have a large fan base. This same base of potential readers will help you sell your self-published book as well. Many publishers also require you to have a blog because it is such an effective promotional tool.
Blogging is the easiest and fastest way for writers to create a platform. First, it involves writing, and writers are good at writing. You need only carve out 30 to 60 minutes a day to write a 250- to 500-word post a few times a week on the topic of your book. Then share a link to it in status updates on your social networks to begin attracting readers.
Second, blogs function like websites. But posts, which are filled with keywords and keyword phrases, get cataloged by search engines like Google. If this happens often enough, your blog can make its way onto the first page of Google. This makes you and your book discoverable. The more easily you are found, the more blog readers and potential book buyers you gain.
I started blogging to build a platform in 2006, and loved it. Before I knew it, I had four blogs. In February 2010, I added a new blog to my stable, called How to Blog a Book. On this particular blog I promoted the idea for a forthcoming book, and actually used the blog as a place to write that book. After five months, I had produced the first draft and driven my blog to #1 in Google search results. While I hadn’t garnered a huge blog following, I did have a small platform.
I wrote a book proposal and sent it off to my agent. She had taken me on based on one of my other book ideas. By then, my cumulative blog readerships, social networking fan base, and speaking record had amounted to a decently-sized platform. Lo and behold, Writer’s Digest Books accepted our proposal. My small-but-growing readership, the blog’s #1 Google status and my blogging record were big factors.
How to Blog a Book
If you’d like to do the same, here’s how to blog a book:
- Come up with a topic you can blog about for a long time.
- Create a content plan that includes material you will publish on the blog and additional material that will only appear in the book.
- Break your content into blog-post sized, 250 to 500-word chunks.
- Create a blogging schedule and stick to it.
- Create a manuscript in Word or some other writing program.
As I write this, my book has been on the Amazon bestseller list for 22 weeks, another testament to my blog-to-book method.
If you want to go from aspiring to published author, try blogging. Better yet, try blogging a book.
Editor, blogger, and book, blog and author coach Nina Amir has self-published 10 short books in addition to traditionally publishing How to Blog a Book. She also has helped her author clients land deals with top publishers and sell an aggregate of more than 230,000 copies. She founded Write Nonfiction in November and writes four blogs, including Write Nonfiction NOW!, How to Blog a Book, and As the Spirit Moves Me. Find out more at NinaAmir.com and Copywright Communications and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest.