From Blog to Book: Giving Your Readers What They Want
So you've got a popular blog; great! Building a platform is one of the most important pieces of the book marketing puzzle, but the act of transforming blog content into a book requires careful thought and planning in order to best leverage your loyal audience.
There are plenty of stories of popular bloggers getting picked up by major publishing houses to create a full-length book based off of their blog content. Last summer, salty-tongued blogger Emma Koening released a book through Chronicle Books based on her popular Tumblr musings. The benefit to signing a contract can be a nice advance, but self-publishing allows you the freedom to remain in total control of your content, which sometimes can be more attractive than the payout from that initial inked deal.
The site "How to Blog a Book" points out numerous success stories of bloggers turned self-publishers, including Rachel Thompson, whose self-published self-help and advice books have landed her at the top of several Amazon lists. Thompson says that the interactive nature of blogging allowed her to quickly build an audience and the freedom of self-publishing let her put out a book without having to wait around for an agent or editor.
"Greatest Hits" Meet Brand New Content
The key to publishing a book based on your blog is to offer something that your loyal readers will recognize and respond to, but also offers something new that you can't get from reading the blog alone. Thompson says that while the book she ended up publishing was based heavily on the popular posts and themes she explored in her blog, a good 30-40% of the content was brand new. Once the book was finished, she says she leveraged her relationships with her regular readers and book reviewer friends to help amplify her book's place in the world.
You should also consider how you want to structure your book; this might result in reorganizing your existing blog content to make more sense on the page. Depending on your overall vision for the finished book, this may mean you'll have to merge the content of some posts or delete others pieces of content entirely if they don't seem to fit in the overall finished product.
Once you know you're planning on turning your blog into a book, you can start the process of author marketing before the book is even complete. Poll your readers for what they'd like to see; this will make them feel ownership over the book and increase their likelihood of purchasing your self-published work--and urging their friends and family to do the same!