Estimated read time: 5 minutes
One of my favorite and most efficient ways to write business books is the blog-to-book strategy. Basically, you take existing articles as the basis to write your book. It’s not quite as easy as that sounds but it’s a fantastic way to throw your content a parade. This article shares how to make that work and what I’ve learned using this process four times now.
Each time I decided on a new topic for a book I went through my blog to see what content I already had available. I would go through my blog posts one by one to see which ones could be the foundation for chapters. That is an interesting endeavor as there are some articles that are direct matches, others that have sections I could use and others are completely irrelevant.
Copy and paste relevant blog posts into a Word document and start editing and assembling. That takes quite a bit of time and rearranging.
Editing and transitions come next. I didn’t want a book that was a collection of blog posts. I wanted a book that had a theme throughout and that had chapters that made sense in the sequence they were in. I did it once. My editor took a stab and made more recommendations and I moved some more things around.
There’s always some new writing involved. Like the introduction and other missing chapters. For my last book I actually had some contributed chapters and a foreword by an industry expert.
A few more rounds of editing and writing followed and a final read.
I would recommend using the Table of Contents function in Word. Under the REFERENCE TAB you can easily insert a table of contents. Once the table was created, use the ADD TEXT function to add chapters. Go to the chapter heading, then click the ADD TEXT function and UPDATE TABLE. It’s added automatically to the table.
Remember to add page numbers and the right amount of margin.
I actually wrote my third and fourth book in Google Drive, which has similar functionalities. Google Drive is easier to give others access to the document.
Design of the cover
Writing and editing wasn’t enough. I needed a cover. At first, I created one based on a Kindle Direct template. Kindle Direct will print your book for you when orders come in and send you the royalties. It’s a super easy process.
- Upload Word document
- Submit cover (or create one with their cover maker)
- Once the print version is all done, you set it to go live on Amazon and then create a Kindle version.
Amazon lists the book on all its sites and you can choose a price for it, which has to be above a stated minium. Basically it’s worldwide distribution.
The template approach for the cover just didn’t work for me so I reached out to artist John Paul Schaffer, whom I had worked with a few years earlier at a media company. John actually read an early draft of the book and designed the cover after reading it.
If you can, I would recommend having somebody create a cover for your book. KDP also offers some professional design services.
My third book I designed my own cover using Adobe Spark. On my fourth one I used Canva.
Types of books
All of my books were published as Kindle and paperback and the last one also has a hardcover version.
Keep in mind that Kindle versions don’t have back covers – be sure to include the content elsewhere.
I had a bunch of pictures in an early draft but most were taken with a smartphone and the quality wasn’t good enough for print. I cut most except two or three that the story couldn’t go without.
In my “Going Live” book I used mostly screenshots which had a much better quality and worked.
The process can be done relatively quickly and on my fourth book I decided in January to publish and the book came out in March. Of course, most of the content was already written in the form of blog posts. The biggest challenge for me usually is the formatting. I want to have all the headlines and fonts and everything be consistent. And some readers do notice when there are problems. On one of my books I got a negative review because it wasn’t as perfect as it could’ve been.
Once you are published…
Kindle Direct Publishing offers cheaper copies to the author. I usually try to have 20-30 copies at home that I sell when people ask me online or offline. To get paid quickly online you can use Paypal.me.
Here’s how that breaks down:
So for example:
You can send people that link and it takes them straight to the payment page.
Also promote the book on social media from time to time, run contests and display it prominently on your blog and/or website.
I also promote at the top of my Twitter feed as a pinned tweet:
For even more tips on how to market your book I would recommend to read this book: “Market a book.’
Writing books from your blog content is a lot of work. I couldn’t tell you if it’s less or more work than writing just the book, but I certainly enjoy the process. It feels productive since content gets used on so many channels. “Author” also has a different ring to it.
Keep in mind that the book is not just a compilation of blog posts. You’ll need to do some:
- Additional writing
- Writing transitions
Of course, once the book comes out the marketing starts. Also keep in mind that depending on your goal, the book might be a marketing asset for you to get other business.
It takes time for sure but is worth it.