Where all of your marketing wishes come true.
Call Us: 952-913-6813
Best Practices, Blogging, Content Marketing, eBook Writing, Online Marketing

From Blog to eBook Part 1: How to Write an eBook by Blogging

eBook Reader

eBook Reader

If you are thinking about writing an eBook, but you can’t seem to get started, consider the “blog to eBook” strategy.

This relatively unknown but super cool practice is one methodology that can help you break down your eBook project into manageable chunks and “get ‘er done!”

In this four-part series I’ll provide some methods for writing an eBook by blogging, as well as tips for refining and polishing your eBook, and tools and strategies for publishing and marketing your book.

This post focuses on planning, time management, organization and three different methods for writing an eBook by blogging.

 

From eBook to Blog: Start with Your “Why”

Before you get started writing your eBook, you want to identify your reason for doing it. In your darkest hour, when you wonder what ever possessed you to take on this project, you can re-read your “why” and get going again. The typical reasons for writing an eBook include:

  1. Creating a free download for your blog or website to capture leads and build your contact list.
  2. Providing information to others who can benefit from your knowledge.
  3. Developing an expertise in your niche through the research you will perform to complete your eBook.
  4. Increasing your credibility and positioning yourself as an authority in your area of expertise, with a goal to sell other products or services, get more speaking and training opportunities, or improve your company’s visibility.
  5. Making additional income from your eBook sales.

Notice I put income as the last reason. Some eBooks are money makers. Many are not. Some make it big. So let’s just focus on the others, shall we? Then we’ll be pleasantly surprised if we actually make money!

The eBook publishing and eBook marketing resources in this blog post series will provide the tools you need to make the best go of it.

There is one more reason to write an eBook, and in my humble opinion it’s tied for first place with helping others and positioning yourself as an authority in your field. And it’s this: having a published book under your belt is a self-esteem booster. Think how good you’ll feel when you’re a published author.

Alright, let’s get cooking.

eBook Planning and Time Management

Unless you have been blogging long enough to have a large body of work, and it’s all nicely organized into topic areas, you’re going to have to get serious about how to use your time. Time management is typically the biggest stumbling block to eBook publishing.

To cross this hurdle, establish your eBook writing strategy and timeline. How soon do you want to get your eBook done? Can you write for an hour a day? Write one section a day? A thousand to two thousand words per day? A chapter a week?

If you have quite a bit of writing to do, identify a timeline and writing schedule that you know you can manage. Add your writing schedule to your calendar.

I would like to tell you that I am an authority on this topic, but truthfully I’m working on my first eBook right now. Running a content marketing company keeps me hopping, which has been a great excuse for not putting pen to paper and writing my own ebook. But let’s face it, excuses are just (lame!) excuses.

What gave me the motivation, finally, to get started? It was this Copyblogger post from Ali Luke, titled How to Write a High-Quality eBook in 30 Days. (30 days?! Crazy, I know! But she does break it down and show you how it’s do-able.)

That blog post engendered a little contest among a few of my friends, and we are now on track to get our eBooks done. It helps to have some cohorts egging you on and announcing their annoying little triumphs!

I will share information about all of our eBooks when we get them done, so be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to get the announcement. Okay, let’s look at some blog to eBook methodologies.

Blog to eBook Method 1: Organize Your Blog Posts

This method assumes that you have been blogging for some time. Start by reviewing your published blog posts. If you’ve been diligently assigning categories to your posts, you may well have the beginnings of a chapter layout.

If your blog categories don’t make sense as chapters, what common themes have you covered? Make a list of those themes and evaluate them as chapter headings.

The steps:

1. Start a Word or OpenOffice file that will contain your book layout.

Tip: OpenOffice files convert well to PDF without losing your links. Visit OpenOffice.org to learn more about the OpenOffice productivity suite. It’s a free open source download.

2. List the categories or themes you have covered in your blog.

3. Move these categories around and make adjustments until they make sense as a chapter list.

4. Determine what predominant theme ties all of this content together. This theme will emerge as the over-arching topic of the book, and you can begin thinking about a title.

5. Research Twitter, LinkedIn groups and other social media to see how other people have covered your topic and write down ideas about how to fill in any missing pieces to create a complete book.

By now you should start to feel that the scaffolding for your ebook is coming together.

Blog to eBook Method 2: Choose the Best Blog Posts

If you only have a small body of work you can pull together from your blog, or you cover wildly different topics, this method is for you.

This eBook writing method will help you shape your best blog content into the makings of an eBook.

The steps:

1. Start a Word or OpenOffice file that will contain your book layout.

2. List your best blog topics in a common theme. For example, you could choose the best content based on the number of comments or the number of times that post was retweeted. A lot of retweets means you struck a nerve or wrote well about a topic that people really want to know more about.

3. Do some research on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn groups to find out what else pops up continually in social media about your topic.

4. As you uncover more ideas about content you want to include, list these as new chapters or as more content ideas for your chapters.

Blog to eBook Method 3: Blog Your Way to Completion

If you have little or no blog material to start with, this method is for you. You may find this eBook writing strategy particularly useful if you are very time crunched and the idea of writing a whole book is daunting, but you can envision blogging frequently.

The steps:

1. Start a Word or OpenOffice file that will contain your book layout.

2. Write your main topic area as a working title. Think about a topic you are well-versed in that will keep your interest as you write. What topic could you speak about in front of a group? What do you typically post about on social media? What forum and LinkedIn group topics do you gravitate toward?

3. Check Amazon.com for books that already exist in your topic area. What’s missing?

4. Once you have your main book topic, start listing sub-topic ideas that will fill out your book.

Tip: Ali Luke recommends “mind mapping,” which involves writing down your topic on a page and then writing topics and themes in clusters around it. Then you can begin shaping all these ideas into main headings, which will be your chapters, and sub-headings within them.

Those sub-headings will be the topics of your blog posts.

In part 2 of this four-part series, I’ll cover writing and refining your eBook. Part 3 will talk about publishing methods. Part 4 will be the most exciting of all, and will provide tons of effective ways to marketing and sell your eBook!

Tip: Start thinking now about how you will market your eBook. I’ll provide tons of great strategies in the final post in this series. But don’t wait until you have completed your eBook to start generating buzz!

Okay, that’s it for now. What blog-to-eBook tips would you add? Have you completed an eBook by blogging? Share your experience or thoughts in the comments below.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter so you get notified of each post in the series as well as info on my upcoming book launch!

And finally, if you found this post interesting or helpful, please pass it on via the share buttons up top!

Until next time,

Jayna

Optimized with InboundWriter
Print Friendly
15 Comments
  1. Hi, Jayna. Some great advice here. I have used this approach on several occasions and it works very well! It’s satisfying to “kill two birds with one stone” as well. If you do a little advanced planning, you can lay the book out ahead of time, then, as you say, just “write your way to completion”. Going from blog to ebook makes a ton of sense. Great post. Paul

  2. Thanks Paul. I agree, it just makes sense to accomplish two things with one effort, especially with how busy life is!

    –Jayna

  3. Ebook to blog strategy, I like that it sounds manageable! This is a wonderful series blog post on writing an ebook. Something that beginners like me can understand. Since this is the NaNoWrimo month, I decided to join and instead of writing a novel, I’m writing an ebook. So I’m researching now for info, how-tos, and tips. I’d like to share a post where I find helpful too: http://productcreationblog.com/407/how-to-find-ideas-for-your-ebook-in-11-ways/

  4. Thank you for sharing that, Geraldine. For those of us looking for great ways to get efficient with book writing, you can never have too many resources. Good luck with your book! Please keep me posted on your progress.

    Jayna

  5. Jayna — Your posts are quite timely as I’m planning to write an ebook and have already done some research. But you’ve given a lot good sources and links. I’ve signed up to receive your updates on your progress. Maybe this will get me started and stop procrastinating!

    • Great to hear, Jeannette! Procrastinating is easy, and it happens to the best of us. I have cultivated a few productivity habits that I’ll share with you. One is to get up an hour earlier than usual, sit at my desk with my first cup of coffee and crank out 1,000 words before checking email or allowing any social media distractions. Make sure you are working from an outline so you don’t ever wonder “what should I write about?” You just open your outline and write one section. If you are taking the blog-to-eBook route, you can either write it as a blog post and then add it to your book content, or write a section and turn it into blog content. Either way, you’ve got two great content strategies going for you at once!

      Good luck with your book. You can do it!

      Jayna

  6. Great advice! I actually wrote a book off my garden blog!

    • That is great, Dianne! And I see from your site that you write romance novels too. Wow, what diverse talents you have! Best wishes in all of your writing endeavors.

  7. Lots of great information here Jayna. I think your point about research is so important that many overlook. The reason I say this is you will spend your time creating the book versus other activities and unless there is demand or you have identified the gap a lot of hours can be wasted especially as there are so many ebooks around these days.

    • Thank you for your comment, Susan. I totally agree, there are a lot of ebooks out there. To make sure you’re fitting neatly into a niche where there is a missing piece can ensure that your hard work will pay off!

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge