Of course, the best way to accomplish this task is to reverse engineer your blog strategy to accommodate a future book like I talk about in this post. However, things aren’t always that simple, so you might have plenty of reasons to structure your book after you’ve created your blog content that will make up the foundation of your nonfiction book. With that in mind, here are five tips for turning your blog into a book.
1→Start with a handful of subtopics you write about in your blog.
If you’ve got a lot of blog posts you’ve written about your topic, it’s likely these posts stick with a set number of subtopics for the most part. This is, ideally, set up before you started writing your content through an overall blog strategy, and hopefully, you started with one of those. But don’t worry if you’re not sure what your subtopics are because you’re going to catalog every single one of your posts in the next step. It would just be helpful when you get started if you know what these subtopics are so you can start thinking about your overall narrative.
2→Catalog all of your blog posts if you’re thinking about turning your blog into a book.
Most blogging platforms will give you a way to look at the entire list of your blog posts to make this step easier. And, if you’ve put your posts in categories and added tags to them, you shouldn’t have to skim through all of them to find out what they’re about.
I’d recommend setting up a spreadsheet or database with the following information:
- Name of blog post
- Tags (if any)
- Link to blog post
- Date published
Additionally, you’ll also want to create some other headings that you’ll be filling out later on:
- Part of book (Tells you what section of the book you plan to put it into later.)
- Chapter (Tells you what chapter this post should go into later.)
- Added? (Yes/No) (Tells you if you’ve already added the content into your manuscript.)
3→Brainstorm your overall book topic/title that makes good use of your existing blog content.
If you put together a decent blogging strategy, then as you look over all your published posts, an idea of a book should start to form in your mind. Before you make the final decision, I recommend spending about an hour brainstorming possible book ideas and titles that make the best use of that existing content.
Quick tip: the best idea will be the one that uses the most amount of content because, in theory, this means you’ll have to add less content to the bigger manuscript.
After you feel like you have a great idea about what your book should be, I’d recommend researching what books are out there related to this topic. It’s likely there will be a similar book out there; however, you can put your twist on it to make it different. In your next brainstorming session, I’d recommend taking a look at the three most popular books similar to your idea and working through how you can make yours unique.
4→Start working through your database you created in #2.
After you’ve finalized your book idea, you should be able to create a bare bones outline that gives all your parts and chapters working titles. Since you’ve already created that database, this should be an easy outline to make since you have most of your content sitting right there in one file.
Then you’re going to look through all your blog post titles and decide what parts of the manuscript that content will fit into. After you’ve gone through that entire list, you’ll be able to sort your database by parts and/or chapters to make it easier to figure out what content goes where, making it simple to add the titles and links for your blog posts into the basic outline you created.
5→Fill in the missing content to finish turning your blog into a book.
There will likely be quite a few steps between #4 and #5, but once you have all that content organized into your larger manuscript, you’ll be able to do the hard work of filling in any missing content that makes your entire book feel complete. You’ll likely need to read through the entire manuscript so far and make any adjustments, adding and removing content along the way.
Something else to remember: All this time, you’ll also want to keep in mind what your target word count will be. There are no hard and fast rules, though many nonfiction manuscripts tend to land between 40,000 and 70,000 words. It’s acceptable to go shorter or longer; it just depends on how much content you have to offer your readers.
This is a simplified look at what kind of work it takes to get your blog into a book format, but it’s important to remember that all this work takes time. If that’s time you don’t have, you can always hire a book doctor, ghostwriter, or book editor who helps you do the heavy lifting. I’ve done this for several clients, and I’d love to help you if you need to hire a professional to help you get your book done. Just shoot me an email, and I can work on putting together a quote for your project.