Blog Through Your Book?

Should authors blog through the books they are writing? This does not have a one-size-fits-all answer.

I wish I could have said a bit more about it in Write Better where careful readers may have thought they spotted a contradiction. In the preface I say, “Some of what is found in this book was originally posted [at Andy Unedited], though now in a much revised and expanded form.” Much later in appendix A I say, “Don’t give too much of your book away in a blog or web page.”

Did I break my own guideline? You decide. But first let me back up.

Blogging can be good for many reasons. It can help gain an audience for your writing. Blogging regularly can get you in the habit of writing and thus minimize writer’s block. It can also help you practice and improve your craft.

Most bloggers will naturally find themselves gravitating to certain topics over and over. This might trigger a thought that one or more of the topics could become one or more books.

If you start seriously working on such a book, I do not recommend you serialize your book in your blog. That does give away too much content. Now some might get the book anyway because they are your mother. But serializing for free can diminish the value a book that you expect people to pay for.

At the same time, you do want readers to associate you with certain topics. You want to build a reputation as someone who has valuable things to say in specific areas. It is fine then to put preliminary thoughts and ideas related to your book topic in your blog. Here’s a chance to be experimental, to see what works for you and for your audience. Some of these posts may make it into the book in another form. Most should not.

If it turns out that a lot of your book ends up to be taken directly from your blog posts, you might want to consider removing many (not all) of those posts from your blog site shortly before the book is published.

Another guideline is this: the less popular your blog, the more freedom you have to put whatever you want on your blog. If you are already a well-known author, the less you should blog material that might end up in your book. You can and should still do some to pique interest and build anticipation. But not a lot.

And me? I gladly do not consider myself famous. My blog has a modest following. In any case, I worked hard to create a lot of new content just for Write Better. But because I am not competing with Justin Bieber for social media hits, I felt more free to have some overlap between my blog and my book. For whatever reasons, my books have done better than my blog. And I’m not unhappy it has turned out that way.

photo credit: pixelcreatures, Pixabay

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