Wednesday, April 11, 2012

From Blogs to Books by Shelley Row

This is a guest blog from my client Shelley Row. Shelley and her husband Mike managed to live a dream … a visit for ten months in a small village in France, and a total of a year of travel experiences in all. Their adventures produced three books, “Living Like a Local: Stories of Our Life in France,” “Traveling Around the World: Our Tales of Delights and Disasters,” and “Exploring Europe: Our Experiences While Living Abroad.” Shelley leads workshops on how to make your dreams come true. To learn more, go to: http://www.shelleyrow.com/.

Below is advice from Shelley (someone who has been there) on how to convert your blogs into great books. Enjoy! Robin, The Book Coach

Perhaps it’s just me. I think “blog” is an unattractive word. It sprawls on the page devoid of artistic flair. Consequently, I never aspired to be a “blogger.” Imagine my surprise to find that I loved blogging. And now I have three published books from blogs. Here are tips I learned to convert blogs to books.

First, you need to develop a blog and it must have ample content.
With the blog-to-book process, your book is written little-by-little over time. My blog started when my husband Mike and I left our home in Maryland and moved to a village in France for ten months. My blogs were a way to communicate with my 80-year-old mother while we lived abroad. As I wrote, magic happened. I discovered that other people read and enjoyed my blogs. Then I discovered that I loved to write. Blogging made me a keen observer. I returned from France with 90 blogs and encouragement to publish them. So take a fresh look at your blogs. They could be a book!

Next, you need a common theme and common voice. If you write regularly on a specific topic, the theme may emerge naturally. If not, pick through your blogs to select those with commonality. Seek to maintain a similar voice – tense, tone, style – across the blogs. If you blog frequently, your style is more likely to be consistent. My writing style evolved over time; consequently, my blogs benefited from a good editor (Robin Quinn of www.writingandediting.biz) who smoothed out inconsistencies.

You will need an Introduction. The Introduction provides context for the blogs: what they are, why you wrote them, and who you are.

Read the book with fresh eyes. Do the blogs make sense as standalone chapters? Do they flow from one chapter to the next? If there are gaps in the storyline, add transitions between the blogs. Also, I suggest replacing the word “blog” with “story” or “tale.” In my opinion, most people prefer a collection of short stories over a collection of blogs.

Now consider the closing. If you write an ongoing blog, you’ll need to create a closing chapter. The closing may summarize your experiences, lessons learned, or key points. The book reader needs a satisfying ending.

The beauty of creating a book from a blog is that you already have content. Yes, you will do additional writing to make the blogs work for a book reader, but the modifications are minor. With a book made from blogs, you’ll have more energy to tackle publication details.

For you bloggers, I hope you take advantage of your material and create a book! It’s fun, personally satisfying, and worth the effort. You will become an “author” instead of a “blogger.” Now doesn’t that sound nice?

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