Why turning a blog into a book makes new blog posts difficult

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 12.06.02 PMOne strange and unexpected side effect of turning my creative writing blog’s backlog into a writer’s handbook is that somehow, I’m finding it harder and harder to find subjects to write blog posts about.

Why, though?

Looking back on a post I wrote giving advice about how to convert your blog into a book, you’ll notice one suggestion is to make sure you have some new content.

New content is really important in a book that gets its start as a blog. First, you need to give people an incentive to buy your book. On top of that, I feel responsible to provide something new–something people can’t find for free here on the blog–if I’m going to ask them to pay for the book. That’s just honest business and basic integrity.

Sure, lots of the material can come from previously published posts that you rework and expand upon and combine in new and thought-provoking ways, but you also want a good amount of new content: stuff that doesn’t appear on your blog.

So now it seems that every time I come up with an idea for a new post on point of view, or dialogue, or say, how to make use of Goodreads as an author–what have you–I decide I should put that material in “Writing for You: A Novelist’s Guide to the Craft of Fiction” rather than write a blog post about it. After all, it’s not easy to come up with new content for the book either, not after blogging for a year on these subjects.

It’s become a fun challenge–and that’s how I’m looking at it. It’s forcing me to get creative in new and exciting ways, both where the book and the blog are concerned. Maybe I should have expected this difficulty when I started compiling my blog posts, but I didn’t. I’m kind of glad I didn’t.

Some strategies I’ve devised:

  • blogging a bit ABOUT the process of turning my blog into a book. That’s material that could be of use to fellow bloggers as well as raise awareness about my upcoming non-fiction release. It’s also material outside the scope of my book.
  • blogging about what I’ve learned about blogging
  • splitting an idea for a post into parts, or separate related points. I can blog about ONE OR TWO of those points only, and then write about the ENTIRE idea in the book. For example: Goodreads. I’ve never blogged about Goodreads, and I want to. It’s an interesting (and terrifying) domain for authors. There’s a lot I could say about Goodreads, so I can blog about some of that material while still withholding some insights for the social media chapter of my book.

I just wanted to touch on this in case any fellow bloggers out there end up turning their blogs into a book. The sudden difficulty of coming up with new ideas is something you should expect, and not something to freak out over; it’s a logical and natural consequence of the (worthy) enterprise you’re undertaking.

And really, the challenge isn’t so bad when all is said and done. I’d have to think that anyone with the drive and creativity to start and grow a blog loves a mental challenge!


20 responses to “Why turning a blog into a book makes new blog posts difficult

  1. Reblogged this on judithlesleymarshall and commented:
    Am reblogging this post as this subject came up on Wednesday’s Writers’ Retreat Day. Victoria’s post contains points worth considering for bloggers thinking of converting their material into a book.

  2. Have you considered interviewing authors about their process? Might not be for the book, but it could be a nice level of insight for your blog. Maybe you can get a few quotes to scatter about your book in the margins or something.

  3. Reblogged this on My writing & My world and commented:
    Lovely writing and very thought provoking.

  4. Before I started blogging regularly I wrote daily emails to friends. I’ve been doing that for countless years and have yet to run out of things to say. Something new and interesting happens in my life every day, I don’t know that it’s good for advice or anything but I’ll always have something to say ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Cate Russell-Cole

    Victoria, I’ve turned blog posts into books and then found I was just over the topics. In the end, I looked into new areas I hadn’t considered and that refreshed me. Every so often we just need to breathe in new air streams. Try a mind map of all the areas you’d love to blog about (crazy or not) and see what comes up.

    Best of luck! Creativity is never a smooth ride, but it’s worth it.

  6. The issue sounds like you haven’t planned out the content for your book. I work with many writers who are either blogging books or booking blogs. We start by coming up with a plan for the best book they can write. If they then want to book a blog, which is what you are doing, they then search out the best posts to fit their content plan and then create the missing content (on or off the blog depending upon the plan). The plan accommodates new material for the book that does not appear on the blog.

    If you blog your book, which I recommend, you would plan out content to write post by post on your blog. It seems you are doing a bit of that as you think of it. That’s not the best plan of action.

    It’s better to do what you suggested in this post if you have a plan and pick topics — blog about your process, blog about your book, blog about subjects related to your book, blog about anything that promotes that book and makes you and your blog discoverable.

    If you want more info on blogging books or booking blogs, please visit my blog, howtoblogabook.com. Best of luck!

  7. By the way, the mind map idea is a good one….I have bloggers/authors mind map the content for their books (blogged or otherwise) and make blogging plans using mind maps.

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