If you think I’ve forgotten about this blog, you’re wrong. As mentioned in my last post, I was away for a week at a writing retreat. After I returned, my webmaster said she’d convert my free WordPress blog to a hosted one. (It’s better to have a hosted blog at some point.) She got started and then didn’t actually finish up until Friday night. So…I was waiting…and waiting…to post something.

Anyway, now the blog is up and improved, and if you click here,  you’ll see the new and improved version! I’m very excited. And starting tomorrow, I’m back to blogging the book about how to blog a book. So, starting tomorrow, please go to http://howtoblogabook.com/to read this blog. I will not be posting anything new here.

In the meantime, I’ll just mention that I’ve come across at least two new blogged books. One is a self-published book; a man blogged about his struggles with cancer and then turned those posts into a book called The Cancer Chronicles. That just goes to show you how you can repurpose your blog or actually begin blogging with the intent of self-publishing all or some of your posts. Second, I ran across an article about a man who decided to turn the worst time of his life into a better time by finding something awesome every day and blogging about it–something that most people overlook, like putting on underwear warm out of the drier, finding spare change in your pocket, and having an extra check-out lane open up at the grocery store. His blog, 1000awesomethings.com, was discovered and turned into a book called The Book of Awesome. Pretty neat, huh?

I hope that bit of news inspired you. Remember…everyone has a story to tell and some wisdom they’ve gained from their experience.–and someone out there will feel inspired, enlightened, educated, or transformed by what you write.  Or maybe you have some expertise you want to share. A blog provides a great forum from which to offer your knowledge.

That’s it for now. More tomorrow. Please go to  http://howtoblogabook.com/to read this blog in the future.


I am away the week of April 5-9 at a writing retreat. Sorry…I likely will not publish any posts this week. Tune in next week for the next “chapter” of How to Blog a Book.

For a blogged book, promotion means, “What are you going to do to tell the cyber world your blog exists?” How will you sell your blog?

This is where you add your social hat to your business hat, because to gain readers you must promote yourself and your blog via social networking. Otherwise, how will anyone know your blog exists?

This does not just mean gaining friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter, the most powerful social networking sites, however. It also means getting out there and participating in forums and commenting on related blogs and on-line columns.  It also means posting your blog to Reddit.com and StumbleUpon.com, and forming networks of bloggers who will help you get your blog noticed by being on their blog roll and by reciprocal linking and agreements to submit each other’s posts to sites like StumbleUpon.com, which increases their ranking.

You’ll also need to set up your blog to “ping” to places like Technorati.com. (I’ll talk more about this later.)

All of this falls under the category of promotion. However, you can also do more traditional promotion. You can send press releases to the media. You can publish articles on your book’s topic. You can set up speaking engagements, workshops and tele-seminars. You can send out a newsletter.

You can create a website that hosts your blogged book, and that site can offer more features that attract visitors and readers. It can also have a media kit or author’s page to help you get more media attention.

You can create contests, give aways and gimmicks to attract attention to your blog. You can hire a publicist. All of this falls under the heading of promotion.

Here you must think and act outside the box. And you have to do this both to gain readers simple because you want people to read your blogged book and also to be found or to prove to a publisher that your blog deserves to be published.

Should you decide to write a book proposal, the promotion section can make or break you. The publishing house will rely on you to come up with a great promotion plan; it will become their promotion plan. Yes, a publisher will add to your plan a bit, but primarily they will rely on you to promote your own book in your own way.

Most writers don’t want t do this work. Their eyes glaze over, and they simple say, “No. Won’t do it.” If you want your book to sell, which in this case means to be found by readers, you must promote it. Period.

If you were submitting to an agent or publisher, the next part of a proposal you would write would be the one called subsidiary rights. When you sell your book to a publishing house, the publisher acquires primary rights. This enables them to sell the book as is or in adapted or condensed form. To see a list of primary rights, see Michael Larsen’s How to Write a Book Proposal.

Subsidiary rights include things like first-serial rights to excerpt the book before publication, British and translation rights, rights to produce abridged, unabridged and dramatized audio and video versions of your book, etc.  A more complete list is included in How to Write a Book Proposal.

While you are wearing your business hat, you might consider if your book has potential for subsidiary rights. However, this section is not really necessary to the blog-a-book process. I’ve just included it here so you’d be aware of it; if you plan on approaching a publisher, the addition of subsidiary rights to your proposal can prove attractive.

A more pertinent section of the proposal, but also one that is not really necessary to consider prior to beginning to blog your book, is the spin-offs section. Acquisition editors and agents like to know that you aren’t a one book author. The spin-off section of a proposal is where you look at your first book idea and consider what other books you might write as follow-ups.

Could your book be a series? Is there a way for you to entice a publisher into a multi-book deal?  Does your book naturally lead you to write books on similar or related topics?

If you want to be found by an agent or publisher, or if you plan on approaching them yourself, it might be a good idea to be prepared to answer the question, “Do you have other books you plan to write after this one?” Your answer could make the difference between getting a contract and being turned down.

Additionally, while you have your business hat on consider what you will do when you finish your blogged book. How you will capitalize upon that success? Having your next book idea lined up and ready to go, means you don’t lose any readers. That’s key to becoming a successful author long term.

On to the next proposal section included under the “Introduction” heading: Markets. As I mentioned in my last post, you now need to make sure you are wearing your business person hat. No writer’s hats allowed.

It’s time to meet your readers or to discover how many readers your blog might be able to gain. In general, discovering your readers represents an exercise in researching if your blog has a market.

Again, even though you are blogging a book, you need to know this information for two reasons: First, since you will be the one primarily responsible for promoting your blog, you’ll want to know in what markets to place your promotional efforts. In other words, you want to promote to the right readers—the right markets. Thus, you must take time to find out who those readers are. Second, and more importantly, you must find out if you even have readers. If no market exists for your blog, you’ll be lucky to garner even a few readers for your blog. (If this is the case, forget about your blog getting “found” by an agent and published as a physical book.)

Knowing if you have a market for your blogged book helps you discern if a reason exists to bother writing and publishing your work. Is there anybody out there that will read your work? Since you are blogging a book, you want to ask, “Is there anyone out there in cyberspace who will subscribe to my blog or come back every few days to see if I’ve published a new post?” In blogging or website terms, you want to know if you can build up a large number of unique visitors (those that come back more than once—hopefully repeatedly).

To discover if you have a market, start with this step: Describe the audience for your blogged book. Who is your average blog reader? Who would be interested in your topic? Who will subscribe to your blog?  Include demographic information if you can. (Do your research!)

Now describe large groups of people (actual markets) that will subscribe to your blog. (Again…do your research! Go out on the Internet and find statistics and information on the size of these groups.) Don’t be lazy. Answer the question, “Who is the market for my blog?”  (Wrong answer: People like me. People who like cats. Right answer: The 1.3 million cat owners in the U.S. The 80,000 veterinarians licensed in the U.S. today.)

Once you’ve done this, you will know if you have a market or not. If you have a large numbers of people who potentially could be interested in your blog, great! Your blog gets the green light. If you can’t think of any markets, or if your markets are very small, you might want to reconsider your topic or re-angle it to target a bigger market.

Of course, nothing stops you from blogging your book for your own enjoyment. You might find one or two readers show up. You can always tell your friends and family to come read your blog. Without a real market, however, you won’t gain many unique visitors, subscribers or readers.

Now that you have a pitch, it’s time to actually write the overview of your book. Typically, an overview begins with a paragraph or two that hook the reader. This isn’t much different from an article; the beginning of the overview could be considered your “lead.”

Next, insert your pitch. This is followed by a statement that includes how many pages your book will have and how much back matter it will include. Since your book’s “form” is comprised of blog posts, think of your pages as posts. How many posts will you write? Each posts will be 200-500 words in length. A short book has about 25,000 words. If you assume the average post will be 350 words in length, that means you will have to write about 72 blog posts. Your back matter might be some extra blog pages with resources or something like that.

Next, you must write a page and a half or two pages that describe the features and benefits of your book. In other words, what will the reader gain by reading your blog each time you write a post? Once they finish reading the book, what will they have learned? Why should they read the book?

The overview should read like a short synopsis of your book. Consider this your promise to your readers, and as you write the book, you deliver on that promise.

In my next post, we go on to the next part of the proposal: Markets. Be read to wear your business hat.

Now that you have a title for your book and you know what your book is about, it’s time to write a pitch. This is your “elevator speech,” the one you’d give to an agent or an acquisition editor if you happened to meet them in an elevator or at a conference.

Writing a pitch shouldn’t be too difficult after going through the steps I’ve outlined previously. If you know what your book is about and you know why someone should want to read your book—what benefits it will provide and why it is unique*—you should be able to write something pithy in 50 words or less that describes your book perfectly.

Why the word limit? If you can’t tell someone what your book is about in fifty words or less, then you don’t know what you are writing about.

So, try your hand at a pitch. Include your book’s benefits, its unique qualities, why someone would want to read it, the problem you are going to solve, the value it will add. What makes your book special? At its very core, what is it about? What is its message? What is its purpose? Fit all this information into the most creative 25-50-word sentence you can write.

(Okay…I know you can’t get all of that into one 25-50-word sentence; just get the most important points into the pitch—the ones that tell someone the main things you want them to know about your book’s subject. You’ll include the rest of it into an overview, which you’ll learn about tomorrow.)

If you don’t plan on pitching your book to an agent, write a pitch anyway. It will help you hone your idea to the max. And once you’ve written the pitch, your book will naturally flow out if it. You’ll find writing it much easier.

The pitch also provides you with a great marketing tool. You’ll use this pitch to tell people what your book’s about…to convince them to buy it.

*If you don’t know exactly why your book is unique, no worries…yet. In the near future, I’ll show you exactly how to figure this out. Hint: It involves knowing your competition.

Your blogged book (or any book) needs a title, and possibly a subtitle, that entices readers into its pages or posts. Sometimes books have creative titles; however, many nonfiction books have tell-it-like-it-is titles that let readers know exactly what they will find within a book’s pages.

To come up with a great title, you need to be clear about your book’s subject matter. That’s why we previously spent time honing your subject, theme, and message. If you go back to these sections and study how you have described your book, you will find phrases and words that might work in a title.

Often titles use a play-on-words, alliteration, the actual name of the subject being written about, or a popular phrase. Sometimes titles evoke emotion. The title of a self-help and how-to book should identify or solve a problem, give a reader hope, be easy to remember, or be clear and specific to the topic.

Short titles are more memorable. Numbers works well, too, as in “7 Steps to…” or “10 Ways to…” and “The 8 Places You Should…” Consider using keywords in your title and subtitle to make your book and blog easier to find by search engines.

This may seem like a silly question, but why do you want to blog a book? Think about it…What’s your purpose? You see, your book must share that purpose. It must have a reason to exist. If it doesn’t, no one will show up at your blog to read the posts day after day (the equivalent to turning the pages of a physical book).

What’s your mission? What do you want to accomplish by writing this book? Do you have some driving reason you must blog this book now? Does doing so fulfill your soul’s purpose? Do you want to help others? Do you have knowledge you feel compelled to share? Do you feel you can change the world with your story? Is the timing just perfect? Have you been waiting for years for science to catch up with your theories and just yesterday new evidence was revealed to support what you’ve known all along?

What’s in it for you? What will you get out of writing this book? Wealth? Fame? New clients? Expert Status? Satisfaction?

Why must you write this book? Get really clear about the answer. Write it down. Compose a mission statement.

(Tip: You’ll want to include this in your book proposal if and when you decide to submit one to an agent. This will be your Mission section.)

The first section of your book proposal, your overview, includes a lot of information. If you actually write the proposal and submit it to an agent, this section will have a hook (like the lead to an article), a pitch, details about page numbers, illustrations, etc., and a possibly a brief look at your markets.

While we could have looked at your book’s theme in this section, we’ve already done so. Therefore, we will now continue from that point and begin honing your message. The purpose of the next few exercises all revolve around coming up with your pitch, or elevator speech. While you may not plan on pitching your blogged book to anyone, creating a pitch helps you know what your book really, really, really is about. You want to be able to tell someone the gist of your book in 50 words or less (possibly 25 words or less), including the benefits, unique qualities, and highlights of your “story.”

To get clear on your book’s message, ask yourself, “What am I trying to say to my readers? What do I want readers to remember after they put down my book?”

Here’s another way think about this question: Why do you want readers to read your book?

Try visualizing the back cover of the book. What type of copy might you print there? What would it say? What message would you want to convey about what lies within the pages of your book?

In my next post, we’ll look at your mission.