You have a lot to say, so you’ve put it all into a blog, pouring out your heart, soul and knowledge. Then, you notice that some bloggers have books as well. That seems like the natural next step to get information into the hands of readers.
WordPress is an excellent choice for content creators, and it’s one of the most popular content management systems (CMS) around. WordPress is an inexpensive option, which makes it accessible to all.
It’s a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) environment, so learning to use WP is as simple as using any word processing program. Most importantly, you can maintain control over your content rather than opening it up to edits by people who may not understand your goals.
Unfortunately, turning your WordPress blog into a book isn’t as simple as it sounds. Although traditional publishing is hard to break into, the rise of self-publishing in recent years means anyone who wants to publish a book can do so. Amazon is now the largest self-publishing company.
If you want to turn your WordPress blog into a book, here are some specific steps you should take.
Reach out to Traditional Publishers
If you have a large enough following, it isn’t unheard of to secure a traditional publishing contract with a big publishing house. Think about bloggers, such as the Pioneer Woman or Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously.
Many major publishing houses do not accept unsolicited manuscripts, so you can’t send them a manuscript and get a contract. Instead, you’ll first have to secure an agent, who will then pitch the idea to the publisher. Be careful and check reviews and affiliations carefully. A legitimate agent won’t charge you but will take a small percentage of your profits — 10 to 15 percent is standard.
Don’t feel that this is an impossible hurdle. One study shows that out of those who actually complete a full manuscript, about 23 percent get a contract with a traditional publisher.
Consider Small Presses and Self Publishing
Another idea to get your blog turned into a book is to seek out a smaller publishing house. Many smaller presses still accept unsolicited manuscripts and will at least consider your submission.
The key to finding a small press you can work with is seeking out one that publishes similar material already. They’ll know how best to market your book if they have similar books in their lineup.
Amazon has changed the face of self-publishing. You can publish anything on your own and keep all the profits. While this sounds ideal, you’ll also end up against a lot of other competition, so you’ll have to make sure your book is the absolute best it can be. Hire an editor, study other books on the market and focus on how to get the word out about your book.
Choose the Right Focus
A book is a different animal than a blog post. You have to figure out what topic readers want to know more about and how you can cover that topic without making it too specific or too general. Think about some of the recent book titles you’ve read.
More than likely, books you’ve read fit within a niche, such as personal finance and then hone in on one specific area, such as budgeting. There are many topics you can cover under budgeting, so the topic isn’t too specific or too general.
Format Your Blog Material
If you think you might one day want to turn your blog into a book, think through how you format your blog. You can write blog posts that serve as chapters or sections of your book. This will make it easy to curate content when it comes time to gather the material into a longer format.
You’ll need to think through how you start and end posts. You want to keep readers engaged from page one until page 300, so cut boring or unnecessary content and focus on hooking the reader and keeping them hooked.
Practice hooks by creating amazing opening lines for every blog post. These could become the first lines of chapters in your book, so think them through carefully and write hooks that translate well on your blog, but would work equally well in a book.
Add New Content
Bloggers sometimes make the mistake of just repurposing old content and not adding anything new. If the reader can simply go to your blog and read the articles, why would they pay for the book? Instead, add something new that they won’t get on your blog for free. Add some top secret tips, new material and insider information you didn’t have room to include on your blog.
You can also add interviews with experts, which will get some influencers on board with the book. They will likely help you promote it online, so seek out people to interview who have audiences you’d most like to attract to your book and blog.
Sell Your Book
A huge plus of using WordPress is that you can sell your book directly to your readers. It’s incredibly easy to add an ecommerce option to your already-thriving blog. You’ll sell more books there because your fans already know how to find your site.
WooCommerce offers a bookstore plugin that allows you to sell books direct from your website and deliver digital goods directly.
Another option is a membership plugin that lets you sell views to chapters of a book you’ve posted to your WP blog. Only those who pay for the membership have access to that part of your WordPress blog.
From Blogger to Author
A book is a big undertaking, whether you publish traditionally or online. Take the time to think through which topics aren’t covered well and how you could cover them better in a book-length piece.
You already know how to write — you write every day for your blog readers.
Now, you just have to figure out formatting and focus for your book-length project and take your knowledge to the masses.