As of today, the world has around 600 million blogs in existence. That’s a lot of writing! You may be able to take your blog content and restructure excerpts into a coherent manuscript. Do not, however, think that you can take your writing and simply cobble the articles together, then announce to the world that you have a book.
Instead, look at the scope of your blog. Is there an overriding theme? Have you focused on nature, the environment, marketing, or being an entrepreneur? Perhaps you’ve written about parenting, education, or travel. Blog topics are as endless as blogs themselves.
Recognizing a need that you can fill is a great place to begin. If your blog is already meeting a need, you have a head start. You may have written about one topic from a unique angle. Have you taken a concept and turned it on its head? You might be surprised to discover themes in your posts that you had not been aware of.
Most of my blogs focus on the accessible, physical side of walking. My recent book was inspired by the headline of a profile article written about me. A Liturgy of Easy Walks was the title of the interview. Seeing these words startled me, then ultimately offered a surprising insight into my work. I reexamined the emotional and spiritual aspects of some of my writing. In reviewing these articles, I found blog posts that gave voice to my experiences of surviving brain surgery that resulted in partial paralysis, and my ongoing healing. These essays explored the myriad challenges of facing a drastic life change, which became the core of my book.
Many of your blog posts will not fit with the topic you plan to address. Expect to find a small subset of your articles that are pertinent to your niche topic. Your job is to curate a specific number of your posts into a compelling book.
Noticing which of your blog posts generate the most traffic can give you a valuable insight into reader interest. The first book in my Easy Walks book series was inspired by a single post. The number of hits alerted me to a need. People were looking for local places to walk, and didn’t know how to find them. I did some field work to discover if there was enough material to write a book. To my surprise, the answer turned out to be a big “yes!”
Additional books in my series came from blog posts I wrote to help market that first book. With promotion in mind, I visited new trails and wrote about them. Each article offered new information to readers. I shared these posts to Facebook to expand my audience. Before long I had half-written yet another Easy Walks book. My next tasks were to continue writing articles, complete the field work, and get this new information into book form.
Identifying the structure that ties your stories together can be hard. For my most recent book, I got valuable feedback from early beta readers. Editors provided guidance that helped me organize the material into chapters. These chapter themes influenced which essays belonged in each section.
Working with already completed blog posts has much to recommend it, and difficulties along the way. Essays should stand alone as coherent writing. That’s the good part. The more bigger challenge is to take your compelling stories and create a book that leads logically from one sub-section or chapter to the next.
There are as many ways to write a book as there are writers. If you enjoy fitting puzzle pieces together, using your blog posts to create a book can be a great idea. I have had some success using this approach. However you choose to go about it, good luck on getting started on your great idea.
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a freelance writer/ editor who loves the outdoors, and has completed three Easy Walking guide books, and Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. Her latest book is a memoir, My Liturgy of Easy Walks. A native Floridian, she came north for college and snow! She has appeared on Boston’s WCVB Channel 5 TV news magazine show, Chronicle, the Boston Globe, local radio and cable TV shows, and been published in local, regional, and national publication. www.marjorieturner.com