Way back in mid-March, we closed our office as a precautionary measure in response to COVID-19, and since then I have been planning (and planning and planning) to write about Pressbooks and the ways open digital technologies, open content, and open practices can be part of a resilience strategy in the face of upheavals like
Have you been thinking about new ways to market your business in the new year? Turning your blog into a book should be among your new year’s resolutions. You can use the print version as a high-end calling card and the ebook download for lead capture. Plus, you’ll build authority that may help you leverage speaking engagements and other visibility. And you can sell the book too!
Making a book can have a big potential payoff, and it’s easy to do. Here’s a roadmap:
Go blog to book with existing content
Are you already an authority doing content marketing on a certain subject? You can compile a book from your previous writings in virtually no time using Pressbooks.
But that doesn’t mean you should use all your blog posts. Instead, create value through curation and convenience. Look at your website analytics to identify the blog posts that had the most reach and traffic. It’s likely these had high value to your readers. Do they have common themes? Structure your book into parts built around those themes and include the most useful blog posts as chapters.
Weave in new information and insights where necessary to tie the narrative together.
Blog a book from start to finish
Haven’t started blogging? Building a book may actually be easier for you because you can work toward a blog and a book at the same time. Decide on an idea for a book that you are passionate about and that makes sense to build your brand around. Ask yourself what broad topics fall under the book’s scope, and write a weekly or biweekly post on these until you have enough for a book. If you want more structure, start with a framework. For instance, think of 10 subjects that should be included and 5 aspects of each that should be discussed. These become your parts and chapters. Schedule one post a week and in a year, your book will emerge.
Repurpose content that never made it to the Web
Do you have content that predates your website? Or that was published in print but never made it into digital form? As an example, one of my clients has published a print magazine for years. They had 50 articles from the print edition that had never made it to their website, on a subject that was evergreen. I suggested they take half those articles, give them a fact-check and a re-edit to bring them current, and compile them into an ebook. This gave them a way to monetize content that would otherwise never have been used again.
Format your blog posts into a book
If you’re using Pressbooks.com, making your blog into a book is easy. Just cut and paste each post into a chapter. Add an introduction and whatever front or back matter is appropriate; fill out the book’s metadata on the Book Info page, apply a theme and click export. You now have a book you can get in Kindle and other ebookstores, have printed on demand in small quantities and make available as a download on your website.
Rights & Permissions
Avoiding copyright issues
When compiling a book from existing content on your website, it’s important to keep in mind what rights you’ve purchased for blog posts from contributors, stock image houses and the like. Depending on your agreements and licenses, you may or may not be able to reuse these in a new format such as a book without re-purchasing or re-obtaining the rights.
If you’re just starting out blogging, head these issues off at the outset. When purchasing stock images, keep a log of the terms for each image. For instance, can you use it only once or in all formats? What are your attribution responsibilities? Does the license permit you to use it on a free blog but not in a book that you plan to charge for commercially? You can avoid future problems by using only photos with CC-BY licenses or by purchasing more expansive rights up front. With contributors, specify in your initial contracts that you may reuse or repurpose their posts into other formats, including formats you charge for. Or they may be surprised to see you selling their content in your book later.
If you plan to turn your blog into a print book, it’s important to buy print-suitable images for your stock photos. Web images aren’t usually high-quality enough to translate to print. If it’s too late for that, you can always source new images or exclude images that may not be necessary in book format.
How to Publish & Use Your Book
You’ve Blogged a Book; Now What?
The easiest way to make your book available to readers is to upload it to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, and point to it from your website. You can also print copies on demand using IngramSpark or CreateSpace. If you’re going to use your book as high-end marketing collateral, order a number of author copies to give away at conferences. You can also sign and sell these at speaking events or ask event organizers to buy enough copies for all attendees in lieu of a speaking fee.
You don’t have to sell your book to monetize it. In fact, you may find greater value in giving your book away for free. To do so, install a free ebook download plugin on your website or set up a landing page with email capture. If your book is behind an email signup, you can use it to leverage contact with prospective customers. If the book encourages someone to become a client, that’s a payoff in thousands of dollars rather than a few bucks’ return in royalties. Another way to monetize a free book is to use your authorship to leverage speaking engagements that pay lucratively.
For more on how to blog a book, check out these articles: