Please Don’t Blog Your Book: 4 Reasons Why


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blog to book

It’s been a trend ever since I worked full-time as a book acquisitions editor: Blog-to-book deals. I acquired or oversaw the publication of more than a dozen bloggers-turned-book-authors. Sometimes it translated into book sales, sometimes not.

Point is: I know that blogs can lead to book deals.

However, I want you to think twice before you decide this is your path. Here are 4 reasons why.

1. Blog writing is not the same as book writing.

Blog posts, to live up to their form, should be optimized for online reading. That means being aware of keywords/SEO, current events/discussions, popular online bloggers in your area, plus–most importantly—including visual and interactive content (comments, images, multimedia, links).

It seems almost silly to have to state it, but blogging (as a form of writing) holds tremendous merit on its own. Writers who ask, “Can I blog to get a book deal?” probably think of the blog as a lesser form of writing, merely a vehicle to something “better.” No. A blog has its own reasons for being, and blogs do not aspire to become books if they are truly written as blogs.

Never use a blog as a dumping ground for material that’s already been written for the print medium—or for book publication—without any consideration for the art of the blog.

2. Blogs can make for very bad books.

If you dump your blog content into a book without any further development or editing, I’m willing to bet it will be a bad book (unless, of course, you wrote the book first and divided it into blog posts!).

It’s true that many bloggers offer a compendium of their best writings as an e-book, for the convenience of their readers, or repurpose their blog content in a useful or creative way. That’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about lack of vision for how the content ought to appear in print, or how it ought to complement, extend, or differ from the online version. How can the content benefit from a print presentation? How does it get enhanced or become more special or valuable?

To give a couple examples:

  • Kawaii Not (a book that I oversaw publication for): This is an online cartoon that was adapted into a spiral, stand-up book, with perforations at the top of every page. The book was tremendously functional: Cartoons could be easily torn off and given to someone. We also included stickers.
  • Soul Pancake: This is a colorful activity-like book, based on the many questions and discussions that happen at a site of the same name. If you were to compare the site and the book, you would definitely find the same themes, styles, and sensibilities. However, the experience of the book and the experience of the site are two very different things!

I must admit, though, much depends on the genre/category of what’s being written/published. For instance, when it comes to a book that’s illustration-driven, there may be little difference between what’s posted online and what goes into the book. But that’s a book that sells based on its visuals, not its writing!

3. It’s more difficult for narrative works to get picked up as book deals.

This is a generalization, but most authors who ask me about this blog-to-book phenomenon are either memoirists or novelists. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to score a book deal with such a work. The blogs most likely to score book deals are in the information-driven categories (e.g., business and self-help) or humor/parody category (e.g., Stuff White People Like).

Furthermore, I only know of memoirists who’ve scored blog-to-book deals, not novelists (remember, we’re talking about BLOG form, not community sites like Authonomy). A couple examples of memoirish blogs that made the leap: Julie & Julia and Waiter Rant.

4. I love books that delve deeply into a topic and make no sense as blogs.

I read hundreds of blogs each week. Much of my reading is done online, in fact. So nothing makes me more irritated than when I sit down to read a book—expecting something meaty, in-depth, and worthy of my full attention—than to find it reads more like a series of blog posts. Unfortunately, due to the blog-to-book deal (in part), this is becoming more common. (Also, some books now mimic the online world by chunking the content so the book reads “faster.”)

In my mind, a book is a great medium for delving into those topics where the simplified, keyword-driven, ADHD world of blogging has no place. If I read a book and think, “I could’ve gotten this from a series of blog posts,” then I consider it a failure.

What are some indicators that blog-to-book deal might work for you?

  • You’re blogging in a nonfiction category, especially if your blog focuses on how to do something or solves a problem for people.
  • You’re focused on your blog for the joy of blogging, and you have the patience, determination, and drive to keep blogging for years. You won’t get recognition overnight, and it takes time to develop a following. Ultimately, it’s the buzz you generate, and the audience you develop (your platform created by the blog), that attracts a publisher to you—not the writing itself (though of course that’s important too!).
  • You agree that the book deal isn’t the end of the road, but another way to expand your audience for your blog (or services/community connected to your blog).

If a blog-to-book deal path is appealing to you, then I highly recommend checking out Chris Guillebeau’s 279 Days to Overnight Success. He landed a book deal in about 1 year based on his blog. But he was laser-focused in his strategy and single-minded in marketing and promoting his blog to all the right people in the blogging community (not the publishing community). In other words, he has the mind and heart of an entrepreneur. Do you?

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  • Theresa Milstein

    I agree with you that most blogs would not make very good books.  Stuff White People Like is an exception to the rule and Julia and Julia must’ve had a pretty big transformation from its original blog form.  I’ve thought of writing a humorous book based on old posts from when I used to sub, but that would be more about borrowing material.  I’d have a lot of work ahead of me.  Right now I’m focusing on fiction, which is nothing like my blog posts.  

  • Dawn Groves

    Smart, practical, useful, honest. As usual. :)  I’ll tweet it as will every other writer. 
    best, dawnwww.dawngroves.com

  • Jan Morrill

    I agree completely. I read blogs and books for completely different reasons. I like hamburgers and prime rib, too, but one certainly cannot substitute for the other. Thanks for another great post!

  • http://www.danezeller.com/ Danezeller

    Excellent reason number one!  A book is for reading. A blog is for communicating. 

  • http://jillkemerer.blogspot.com/ Jill Kemerer

    I’m nodding my head at #4. Believe it or not, The Emperor of Maladies (the huge book about the history of cancer) is exactly the type of meaty book I love. The author took the time to delve into every aspect of cancer and I walked away with a better understanding of the disease. I can’t even imagine that book as a compilation of blog posts! Obviously, the topic warranted the material.

    When I’ve read informational or memoir-ish books that read like a series of blogs, I’ve been disappointed. Yes, it’s a personal preference, but I love books that explore a topic to its fullest.

  • http://twitter.com/ClaudiaC ClaudiaC

    My serial fictions do really well in blog form. We have a large active, international audience at Denver Cereal and at the Queen of Cool. The books have done really well and have their own audience. It’s always surprising how well the story lines fit together into novels, but 5 books so far – it’s going just fine.

    But true traditional serial fiction is a little different than what you’re talking about. 

  • http://www.jonathanpinnock.com/ Jonathan Pinnock

    Interesting post. I did blog my first novel, Mrs Darcy versus the Aliens, in order to (a) prove that there was a market for it (there was) and (b) force myself to stick to a writing schedule (6-700 words, twice a week, and I did). I got a publishing deal about 10 months in, at which point I continued to the end and shortly afterwards took the serialisation down. It worked because the style of the book (humorous with plenty of punchlines or cliffhangers to end episodes on) suited being serialised. I agree that this approach wouldn’t work for everyone, but it turned out very nicely as far as I was concerned. (Loads more information here if you’re interested: http://www.mrsdarcyvsthealiens.com/)

  • http://101books.net/ Robert Bruce

    This is great info, Jane. I’ve thought about taking this step with some of my blog posts–those more along the lines of a Stuff White People like post.

    Definitely some stuff to consider here.

  • http://exciramedia.com/ Shannon Steffen

    Absolutely brilliant, Jane! I own/write 4 blogs and have been doing so for many years. Each has it’s own niche or topic but each has to keep in mind all that you mentioned above.

    I’m also in the process of writing a book on “Human SEO”. Some people have told me to just use my blog for the content and then translate it over to a book. That always made absolutely no sense to me – especially being a SEO consultant.

    There is a huge difference between writing a blog and writing a book. I’ve been busy learning the former and, although a blog can create momentum for a book, it does not translate (word for word) into a best-selling book. If you are serious about writing a book, study the craft offline and bring the real you to the table.

    Thank you for the great insight!

  • http://www.theageoftheplatform.com Phil Simon

    Great post. I’m not a huge fan of blog-to-book type of things. They tend to suck. I do believe, though, that conversations launched in books can be valuably extended on blogs. That’s the rationale behind The Age of the Platform and its companion site – www.theageoftheplatform.com.

  • http://www.whilethesandswhisper.com/ Linda Horowitz

    …I read your fascinating article with interest Jane, thank you. 

    I’ve just launched a WordPress website with the specific purpose of attracting literary agents and publishers. My strategy is quite ‘laser-focused’, as you mention in Chris Guillebeau’s blog. Even so, my site is not a blog. At the moment wracking my brain to find the best ways of developing it further, as well as the best method to contact agents.

    Any suggestions?
    see: http://www.whilethesandswhisper.com

    Sincerely, 
    Linda Horowitz, author, photojournalist

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Appreciate the example of when it does work! Thank you. 

    I agree with you about the benefits of the blog aside from the book deal — discipline and deadlines!

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Good to point out this exception! I agree that true serial fiction makes a lot of sense when compiled and marketed in book form.

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    So happy to see an SEO consultant chime in! Thank you!

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Yes!!! Absolutely. Great point.

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Thank you!

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    One of my favorite “meaty” reads is WHAT TECHNOLOGY WANTS by Kevin Kelly. I can’t imagine reading it online or via blog posts.

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    It may depend on how/where you’re reading the book due to the rise of social platforms tied to books! May want to check out this new tool/platform: http://subtext.com/

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Thanks for reading!

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    :)

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Excellent points! Yes, I do think there’s more transformation than people realize.

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    I don’t think this site will help you land an agent or publisher. The typical process involves querying agents or publishers, as described here: http://janefriedman.com/2012/01/28/start-here-how-to-get-your-book-published/

    I’ve yet to hear of a static site, such as the one you’ve created (targeting agents/publishers), playing any significant role in landing a book deal.

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    I don’t think this site will help you land an agent or publisher. The typical process involves querying agents or publishers, as described here: http://janefriedman.com/2012/01/28/start-here-how-to-get-your-book-published/

    I’ve yet to hear of a static site, such as the one you’ve created (targeting agents/publishers), playing any significant role in landing a book deal.

  • http://parkcollege1961-1965.blogspot.com/ Barbara McDowell Whitt

    Jane, thank you for this. Why else do I list The Diary of Anne Frank and The Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder among my favorite books on my Blogger blog’s About Me – View My Complete Profile page? (I do wish Blogger would get their profile page formatting fixed or at least notify me that the problem is due to operator error, the possibility of which I have already attempted to investigate.)   

  • Cynthia Morris

    This is great. The distinctions you make about what makes for good blog content and what makes for a good book are very helpful, especially the point about timeliness and SEO. 

    I’m currently trying this (not seeking a book deal) but am blogging a unified content that could ultimately be gathered into a book. I sketched out the table of contents and have material for the blog for many months. 

    What I like about that is I feel my content is cohesive. I know what I’ll be writing about and don’t have to keep coming up with new ideas (this is helpful to me since I’ve been blogging and writing about my subject for years). I still have room to write about things as they come up and the other thread for my blog, writing about my novel. I get feedback in real time about what resonates with people and what doesn’t. 

    I see problems already, though! The in-depth nature you mentioned is a factor. A lot of the ‘introductory’ material just doesn’t belong on a blog. I also can’t keep each post to less than 500 words. I’ve had to switch up the TOC to make things relevant for my readers. 

    Ultimately, this may not be a book. But I love the focus, I love the feedback and as always, I seek to make my posts very useful or inspiring to my readers. 

    Your post will help me keep the book/blog distinction at the forefront as I write. Thank you!

  • Barbara McDowell Whitt

    Now my Gravator photo has disappeared. Operator error again I suppose….

  • http://heros-tale.com/ Brian

    I’ll toss in another that works well, a Choose Your Own Adventure style story. I’m doing one right now, and I can’t tell the story without interaction from readers. Well, I could. It just wouldn’t be as much fun.

    I am planning on doing a serial as well, and this is making me pause a bit. My plan was to have things written and edited ahead of time, not writing on the fly (as opposed to my CYOA) and have a set schedule to post pieces. I want to have it at a point where I could publish the story as a whole, even before it is done.

    In any case, great article. Thanks for giving me some things to think about as I go about my plans.

  • Anonymous

    Jane,

    Once again your post is full of wise advice for writers. It’s not simple or easy to make the transition from blog to book. It can be done–and I’ve seen it multiple times but you have pointed out the potential pitfalls. Everyone thinks it is simple–but it is not.

    Terry
    author of the Write A Book Proposal course

  • http://twitter.com/mehmetarat2000 Mehmet Arat

    I have been trying to swim in the social media alternatives for a while and I still wonder how people can find time to maintain such long blogs. What I wonder more is the ratio of read/written blogs. I am afraid the value can be smaller than one!
    Anyway, thank you for the brief guide and comparison.

  • http://twitter.com/GenePoolDiva Kelly Louise

    I started a blog to see if I could write humor. Then I decided to blog a book, posted chapter one and it’s, well, awkward.  Your blog post added clarity to my worries. Thanks Jane.

  • http://www.youngbyname.wordpress.com/ Debbie Young

    All wise words but what I especially like about your post is its celebration of blogging.  

    Blogging, at its best, is an admirable art-form,  perfectly balanced and structured, satisfying and fulfilling for blogger and reader. It’s an ideal read for the time-strapped 21st century person, seeking inspiration and entertainment on the hoof from the mobile device of the moment.  

    Books are for savouring at greater leisure. Much as I love blogs, you won’t find me reading one in the bath with a glass of wine or in bed with a late-night cup of tea.

    Hoping to find success in both arts soon!

  • Liz Alexander

    Amen to that. Listen to what Ken Brand had to say about discovering the difference between what he had posted on his blog for 2 years, and what he needed to do with that content to create a best-selling book (audio inserted into the Pllop): http://drlizalexander.com/ken-brand-less-blah-blah-more-ah-ha/

  • http://twitter.com/NinaAmir Nina Amir

    While some people might think I’d totally disagree with your post, Jane, I don’t. It’s true that I encourage writers to blog their books; I did blog a book. I even blogged a book about how to blog a book, and it did land me a book deal with Writer’s Digest Books. I stand by my belief that blogging a book provides nonfiction writers with the easiest and fastest way to write their books and promote them at the same time. That said, you make valid points, many of which I often stress as well.

    As I got going on writing this comment, it got so long that I’m wrote an entire post about it for my blog(s)! But for those people who don’t want to go over there to read it, let me give you the gist of the points I made:

    First, I agree that writers should think twice prior to blogging a book. Bloggers—those who are purists—would say that you cannot blog with a book in mind. The blog and the blogged book are two different forms. Those writers who want to blog a book can’t just assume that by blogging a book they will “get discovered.” It takes a marketable idea and a lot of work—lots and lots of great content production consistently and good promotion of that writing on line and off.

    Second, let me address the four reasons you give not to blog a book:

    If done correctly, you can write a nonfiction book and optimize it for online reading. There is no reason that the writing in a blog has to be “less than” that in a book. In fact, a good writer’s blog should be of equal caliber to any and all of his or her writing. Great posts written one after another, flowing one into the other in a well-thought out manner eventually form the first draft of a book—if you do the planning in advance.

    A blogged book (or even a booked blog) that gets no professional editing prior to its release as a printed or ebook, indeed, becomes a “bad book.” Not only that, a blogged book that wasn’t mapped out from the start with a vision for its final printed or ebook version (including extra features, benefits, chapters, information, etc.) will fail. There are many booked blogs that have successfully been edited for flow and content, their numerous links and bulleted lists removed, and readers have loved simply being able to easily read all or part of the blog from start to finish.

    Although it is more difficult to land a deal like Julie Powell (Julie & Julia) did, memoirists can and do blog books successfully. It’s a bit harder for novelists, but I hear tell of successful fiction blog-to-book deals as well. If you’ve got a nonfiction book, however, you stand a high likelihood of success as a book blogger. I highly recommend niche blogging for aspiring nonfiction authors.

    Your “indicators that blog-to-book deal might work for you” are right on the money, Jane.

    I’d end this long comment with one last note: Not all blogged books “get discovered.” Sometimes writers have to go out and help a publisher find their blogged books—write a proposal, seek an agent, prove their blogs are worth putting into print form. But if your blogged book has helped you build that coveted author’s platform, you shouldn’t have a problem landing a deal.

  • http://thewrongplaceatthewrongtime.blogspot.com/ Dave Perlmutter

    Great post. I am in fact a first time writer and using my blog to write a story based on true events. I have the first chapter published on the blog and had some good comments, even though it still requires some editing. I have 9 chapters in draft and working my way to the end of the story for my editor to look at. I am only using the blog as promotion and exposure for followers etc. I hope to have it complete soon for a ebook, fingers crossed.
    If you wish to check out my blog and become a follower, feel free and I will be checking your blog out often. Thanks again.

    http://thewrongplaceatthewrongtime.blogspot.com/

    All the best,

    Dave P Perlmutter

  • http://kathrynmagendie.wordpress.com/ kathryn magendie

    I use my blog as a “release” from my fiction writing! Something I can relax into, and form community bonds. I’m often alone (other than GMR and my dogs) here in the cove, and writing can be a lonely endeavor, so blogging gives me that sense of community, and relaxes me – there’s no pressure to “perform” or write what will “sell” – as there is with my novels. So, I’d never do a blog to book thang . . . not for me!

  • http://twitter.com/SocialMediaJeff Jeff Emmerson

    I do it right, I feel. 

    http://theroadtomyselfmemoir.wordpress.com/  I’m building up to my book being published! 

  • Mary Beth

    I really appreciate your posts.  Everytime I get on facebook I cruise down through the home page looking for you.  I’m learning so much.   Thanks Jane. 

  • katie

    This is an excellent and timely article. I have a series of blog posts that I would like to convert to a published book, but essentially the blog posts are only the introduction to each chapter and far from the book itself…

  • http://laterbloomer.com/ Debra Eve

    I’m blogging to book, and was happy to see I fit your demographic. Short, inspirational “Chicken Soup For The Soul”-type pieces (a series that easily could have been a blog back in the day) about late bloomers. I released the first volume myself, and it’s consistently in Kindle’s top-100 for “Motivational.” I’m planning an inspirational print calendar for 2013. I have a 3-year plan.

    Just recently, however, it occurred to me I might never want a print deal. I’m passionate about my subject matter and it’s never-ending. It’s starting to bring in income. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

    You’ve left with something to meditate on, “How does it get enhanced or become more special or valuable?” Thanks, Jane. That’s what I need to work on.

  • Linda Horowitz

    …i like the dedication Jeff, which comes through on your website. I’m actually on the same road with a new WordPress site, building up my novel…to be published. see:www.whilethesandswhisper.com

  • Linda Horowitz

    …thanks so much for your response. 

    It could very well be Jane. Of course, I am also querying agents; but with many followers on my site, it can show an agent that there is public interest… 

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Interesting to hear about your process! If one has a very aware and thoughtful approach as you do, it’s hard to discourage blogging as a path to a book. I hope everyone gives it as much consideration.

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    I’d say this is taking advantage of the unique qualities of a blog (just as true serial writing does). I’m more discouraged by the people who go about this in copy-paste mode, and aren’t interested in the organic, dynamic, and shifting writing and development process.

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Agreed!  :)

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Indeed! There’s no shortage of content out there. You have to be doing something unique to get anyone’s attention.

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Appreciate you commenting! Thank you.

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Amen!

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Terrific link, thank you!

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    It seems we’re more in agreement than not.  :)

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Good luck!

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Blogs work wonderfully in the way you’ve described! Thanks for commenting.

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    :) Appreciate you reading!

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    I suspect that’s the case with many out there! 

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    You’re so right—sometimes a print deal is the wrong way to adapt, expand, or grow your content. If you’ve got the attention of an audience, there are so many different directions you might go in. A print book is just one small part of the bigger picture.

  • http://twitter.com/NinaAmir Nina Amir

     I’d love to know why serial fiction is different than blogging a book. Isn’t the principle basically the same–put up pieces of your novel a bit at a time? If you were blogging a novel, you might just not put up the whole chapter at a time.

  • http://twitter.com/NinaAmir Nina Amir

     Congrats on blogging a novel! I’d love to hear more about that! As Jane mentioned, below, one of the great advantages of blogging any book is the discipline and deadlines. And once you have readers you have some accountability partners to keep you going!

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    True serial fiction has no ending, and develops partly in collaboration with readers. It is written on deadline rather than as a preconceived “let me cut and paste this as a series of blog posts.”

  • http://twitter.com/NinaAmir Nina Amir

    Some of the problems you mention can be eliminate with really good blog-to-book planning before you ever start blogging your book, Cynthia.

    The feedback you are getting from your blog readers can be really valuable, since these people are the same ones who might read the book. You might try putting up a survey to get more input from them or asking them pointed questions. Find out what they want to know.

  • http://twitter.com/NinaAmir Nina Amir

    That’s an effective approach, Katie. The you can flesh them out in your manuscript and show a publisher (or tell readers) that you have a lot of new content.

  • http://www.jonathanpinnock.com/ Jonathan Pinnock

    The fact that I had readers and that they were constantly commenting on what I’d written was a massive encouragement to keep going. I probably wouldn’t have finished the book without that.

  • http://www.jonathanpinnock.com/ Jonathan Pinnock

    Oh, and thanks, Nina!

  • http://twitter.com/NinaAmir Nina Amir

     Yes, indeed, we are, Jane! :~)

  • eddieresner

    Hi…I just recently sent my manuscript to a blogger named Ray.  I’ll let you know what happens. 

  • http://twitter.com/ClaudiaC ClaudiaC

    I think, like a lot of people, you’re confusing serializing a novel with true serial fiction. That’s understandable because there’s a lot of confusion out there. 

    Serializing is simply hacking up your novel and posting it to the Internet via blog or Kindle. Serializing a novel is a distribution trick, nothing more. 

    As Jane said, true serial fiction has no ending. The story lines unfold week to week. In it’s most basic form, serial fiction is published as it’s written. That sounds minor but for the author that means that each post must stand on it’s own; there’s no going back to fix this or that. The story unfolds in front of the author and the reader at the same time. (For example, this week, we’re having a baby on Denver Cereal.) 

    Serial fiction is a powerful social tool. Take a look, for example, Amstead Maupin’s Tales of the City. We would not have a way to converse about AIDS or people who have this disease without his on the ground descriptions of the plague hitting San Francisco and his wonderful characters. 

    If you doubt the power of this writing form, check out the celebrations this week for Charles Dickens. He wrote 2 novels. Everything else was published as it was written – one chapter at a time. And it continues to speak today for social justice, class awareness, and the link between poverty and crime.

  • http://www.maricollier.com/ Mari Collier

    I’ve often wondered how writers could devote all that time to blog writing and still have time for the other writing.   Blogs seemed to be too personal for a transition.

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  • http://twitter.com/KL_Byrne Kelly Byrne

    Another great post, Jane. I shall tweet away.

    I’ve been blogging on and off for a while, but I still haven’t really found my groove with it yet. I don’t have any fancy hopes of turning it into a book deal, I’m just interested in putting something of value out, but because there are SOOOOOOOOO many blogs about writing, the writing life, writers, what to write, what not to write, writing on crack, wait… you get the point. So much out there, I just haven’t quite figured out what I can tell people that eleventy billion others haven’t already said. You wouldn’t, by chance, have another post dealing with How To Decide What Your Blog Should Be About In 9 Easy Steps, would you? ;)

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Ha! Well, I do have this, which touches on choosing a topic: http://janefriedman.com/2011/08/24/blogging-for-writers/

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  • Liz Allenby

    Thank you for your insights. They are valuable considerations.

  • http://www.authortomadair.com/ Tom Adair

    All excellent observations Jane. You always give me something to think about. Blogging can seem so simple at times and you’re right…there’s a vast difference between blogging and writing a book. Thanks for the information

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  • http://twitter.com/RhenWilson Rhen Wilson

    I’m curious for your opinion. What if you’re writing fiction for a blog? Like a serialized story posted on weekly/daily blog posts, with no intention of getting published. Just for fun. Are people willing to read blogs like books?

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    All good. Serial fiction can be quite popular. Here’s an article I did on the subject:
    http://publishingperspectives.com/2011/12/experimenting-with-serials-for-fun-and-profit/

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  • http://twitter.com/blogworld BlogWorld Expo

     Is this DR. Perlmutter commenting above? if So I would love to catch up with you Dave.

  • http://twitter.com/blogworld BlogWorld Expo

    Thank you for sharing your insight with first hand knowledge of the publishing space Jane. This is very helpful to bloggers. I want to find some way to refer blogger to it on an ongoing basis.

    Many of the bloggers who come to BlogWorld are looking to be published, or at least have that as a goal in their career. The same thing happens at SXSW. I would also add that Wiley and now Que publishing exhibit at our show with the express purpose of recruiting authors from our blogger and podcaster attendees.

    Which is something I think that gets overlooked. Podcasts particularly episodic fiction can make a perfect foundation for a traditional book. Do you agree Jane? 

    One last point, our New York show is now co-located with Book Expo America. They approached us about doing this because they see tremendous cross over, not just from bloggers and podcasters becoming authors, but the other way around as well.

    I apologize Jane if this comment comes off as promotional at all. That was not my intent. It just seemed relevant to the conversation.

  • Dave Perlmutter

     Nope not guilty, not the Dave Perlmutter you were looking for…sorry!

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    Thanks for reading & commenting!

    It’s true that podcasting gets overlooked. Scott Sigler is an excellent example of someone who created serialized podcasts of his fiction, which then led to a traditional publishing deal. Another example is Seth Harwood. It’s not exactly a widespread occurrence, but just like blogging, effective podcasting can help build an audience, which is always attractive to a publisher.

  • Sam

    Love this advice!  Especially the part on a book being meaty.  Great metaphor to aspire to in writing a book.  Thanks!

  • April Line

    Jane, Wonderful info as usual, and thanks a bazillion for the link to 297 days to overnight success.  

    Warmly,
    -April Line

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  • http://twitter.com/GenerallyJenn Jenn Hughes

    Hi Jane, 
    I was wondering on your thoughts about books to fiction sites (writing a book and releasing it on a fan fiction type site). I have been writing a book for the last few years and it is near completion. I really want feedback on it, but thats hard to find when 1. your friends and family won’t be honestly critical and 2. It isn’t a genre that many friends who would critic it for me would enjoy (YA fantasy). 

    I’ve been considering posting some chapters online to get an some feedback that I desperately need to continue with the creation of it. Its not something I plan to leave up, just long enough to get people’s thoughts. I was thinking of using a site such as fictionpress.net 

    What are your thoughts?

  • http://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman

    I think that’s a fabulous idea. I’m not familiar with FictionPress.com, but definitely lurk for a while at any site you’re considering, and make sure the community is a good fit for you. 

    Three other big communities I know of (if you’re interested in other options): 

    BookCountry.com
    Authonomy.com
    Wattpad.com

    The first two are owned by major publishers and are well-moderated and maintained.

  • http://twitter.com/GenerallyJenn Jenn Hughes

    Thank you so much for the links, I’ve been trying to find sites and my search was coming up pretty empty. I’ll definitely look into these. 

    Great advice too, looking forward to reading more blogs posts from you.

  • Peter Reusch

     I think the above is great advise. I will now publish my none-fiction project as a blog…as soon as this ancient geezer will find some techie to volunteer teaching  him. – Peter

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  • sean1966

    Very good advice, but I have been releasing my latest novel one chapter at a time on my blog to generate interest. Is this bad thing, too?

    http://sdanielshortwintercom.blogspot.com/

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  • nickforrest

    Great article, i am currently blogging and writing a novel on the side and was unsure weather to keep them separate or put my novel on m blog. I think i will keep them separate as i am finding and after reading this they are both two different styles of writing. Nick from http://nickforrest.com

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  • http://twitter.com/MoonOverMboro Moon over Martinboro

    I’m not convinced that ‘memoir’ blogs have any more difficulty than non-fiction blogs at becoming turned into books. I think what’s universal is that good content has a strong chance at entering the print-on-paper world, regardless of the topic. The problem is perhaps that many ‘memoir’ blogs are more like personal diaries than memoirs. Too many bloggers are writing for themselves, not for others. I just got a book deal from my ‘memoir-ish’ blog called ‘Moon over Martinborough’ blog, and obviously I’m thrilled!

  • http://twitter.com/wilkravitz billy kravitz

    My narrative blog has drawn just under 50,000 page views in one year. It’s been up for two, but traffic during the first year was microscopic.. Also garnered 5,000 followers on Twitter (some established mainstream media types). Originally started it as way to draw attention to my traditional work, but others suggested e-book format. On-going blog-opera runs for more than 400,000 words, but basically a series of ‘story arcs’ featuring stock characters, with occasional forays into unrelated territory. Style could be called PARANORMAL REALISM. This means a lot to me. I work hard at it and post every day. Please visit at http://vampirewonderland.blogspot.com or GOOGLE Vampire Wonderland by Billy Kravitz for thousands of paths into the material. Much more than just vampires. Think of it as PHILADELPHIA AFTER DARK… Tomas de Macabea (a.k.a. Jonathon ben Macabi, our Spanish/Sephardic ‘eighteen year old’ protagonist awaits.) He’s not a joke. We play it straight… A transplanted son of Old Andalucia (think very young Antonio Banderas) with tales to tell and promises to keep….. Hasta la proxima y suenas hermosas.

  • http://www.facebook.com/regina.lord.9655 Natalie Norment

    I’m sorry, is that suppose to be some way for us not to do anything we want to do? The internet is not our enemy! I’m sorry, but if people like you consist on making us feel lower than ourselves than you don’t need to make this article at all. So what if I want to make a novel blog or an online novel? That’s just a sign that I acutally don’t want to pressure anyone into buying my books. I’d rather they read for free anyway.

  • http://janefriedman.com/ Jane Friedman

    I’m sorry, Natalie, but you’ve totally misunderstood and mischaracterized what I’ve written here.

  • Eddie

    WOW..I have just been in the middle of a cat fight between Jane and one of her fans. It is HOt..at 70 years if age I was really turned on…more to vome

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/BMLPGREBVGNQJ5ULZ7P3K2HQ24 Sofia

    Hi Jane,

    your blog is an eye- opener to everyone who are doing this..

    i strongly agree with you..not to blog your books..

    because in doing so, you deprive your readers from reading a “real” books.

    great advice..

    how to write a book

  • http://eof737.wordpress.com/ ElizOF

    Hi Jane,

    I’m glad I found your blog tonight as I searched for
    information on “blogging your book.” I’m working on a book and have often
    wondered how much of it, if any, I could hint at or include in a blog
    post. I was advised not to. So far, I’ve avoided the temptation to
    reveal much and your post has given me more insight on the subject. I
    have other questions but I will subscribe to your blog and read up.

    Thank you and Happy New Year!

    Eliz

  • http://www.facebook.com/rkr812 Rodney Keith Richardson

    Completely disagree!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/robin.gordon.12 Robin Gordon

    This was very helpful to me. I was considering starting a blog to see what kind of feedback I could get about my book, but now I will stick to the old fashion way.

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  • Roberta Rizzo

    I totally agree with point number 4! Its a pity to start a book that reaches various “bumps” of climax too fast without using the style of writing for a book.

    But I have a question (hence coming across this blog) – I write my short stories on my blog, along with some poetry, and some non-fiction acticles. I am degrading my short story by putting them in this collection of different writings?

  • http://janefriedman.com/ Jane Friedman

    I wouldn’t say you’re degrading them, no. One might wonder what you hope to accomplish, depending on who’s visiting, but it’s difficult to say harm is being done. I write more on this topic here: http://writerunboxed.com/2010/09/24/giving-stuff-away-is-not-a-strategy/

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  • http://twitter.com/KariNeumeyer Kari Neumeyer

    Funny, I clicked through to this from “It’s time for writers to stop blogging,” just after posting an excerpt from my memoir. In general, I haven’t posted excerpts because I don’t think they stand on their own, but I made an exception because I was listening to a song that inspired the excerpt and felt like sharing the YouTube video. While I have no intention of giving the whole book away for free, I thought the excerpt could be a bit of a teaser, as well as a way to share multimedia in a way a paper book can not.

  • Dorothy May

    Jane-

    I love your articles. I think you do a great service for the writing community.

    Warmly,

    Dorothy May

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=722074209 Elizabeth Creely

    Jane- this was great advice. Thank you.

  • Helena Halme

    A couple of years ago, I started writing my story, How I Came to be in England, just as a fun project on my blog. It became quite popular and when the posts came to an end, someone even started a hash tag for bringing it back on Twitter. (I was mightily flattered by this). Although I hadn’t planned for the set of posts to become a novel, about half-way through I realised what I was writing would work as a book. It took me about a year to edit the set of blog posts into a fiction title, and I published The Englishman on Kindle last August. The book has done so well, that I decided to publish another two novels this way.

    I have a couple of points to make about whether writers should blog. For me, an unpublished writer (with an MA in Creative Writing) who had studied the craft for quite a few years, but who was getting mightily disillusioned by the agent/publisher route, blogging was a life-changer. One, it was wonderful to find new people online who loved my writing so much that my inbox was constantly filling up with fan mail. Two, the discipline of having to meet the demands of my newly found readership with a twice weekly blog post made the writing of the first draft very quick and satisfying. Three, I would never had the confidence to publish my books on Kindle had I not started blogging. And fourth, blogging allowed me to build a platform which I still use to sell my Kindle titles.

    So, as with everything, blogging is like horses for courses – it depends on what kind of writer you are, where you are in your writing career and what you want out of that writing career. If you find it hard to interact with people online, don’t blog. If, like me, you need a bit of encouragement, blog. It can be very rewarding way to talk to and find new readers for your work.

  • MauriceTituer

    What about writing a book as a fictional blog? like some kind of diary, but the protagonist uses a blog? I meant as a form, I don’t plan to put it on the web, but the novel is ready, and lots of publishers feel awkward about the format.

  • http://janefriedman.com/ Jane Friedman

    It depends on the taste of the editor/agent. In bygone days, this form was called epistolary (story told in letters).

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  • Aspiring Writers

    Hi Jane, I understand your points, and agree to an extent. I’ve just started a novel blog on my website, but it’s a thread that will run alongside my novel, tracking the progress. It’s aimed at anyone else out there who is also writing a novel, to share anxieties, chat about novel writing etc. I know it has been done before, and I don’t intend to publish it. It helps me and maybe it will help others as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005349062857 Facebook User

    Hi, I am writing a book online through a blog. It’s a shame you think writing a novel online detracts from ‘the art of the blog’
    Posting my chapters online gives me valuable critique from my followers, it is also an easily accessible free way to gather readers. One day I would like to be published, but just writing and committing something as epic as 80,000 words is a massive achievement for me!

    Great article, for bloggers who write, just not aimed at writers who blog.

    have a great day

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