Digital Publishing 101: How and Why to Go Blog to Book

You work hard to produce regular content for your blog and website. So why not get maximum return from your investment of time, money and energy? Give your blog a second life by repurposing (some of) it into book form. Here’s how to do it.

Why You Should Turn Your Blog Into a Book

First, come up with a strategy for what you want to achieve. Presumably, this starts with creating value for your existing audience, and broadening it.

“But my content’s already there,” you say. “Why can’t that audience just read my website?” They can, and maybe they will. Sometimes. But converting your blog (parts of it) into book form makes it even more accessible:

  • It’s more convenient. Nowadays, according to a new study by comScore, 60% of Web traffic is visiting websites on a mobile device. Which do you think is easier for them: Clicking through your site or flipping tablet or phone-style through your content? An ebook offers a more convenient format through which people can peruse your content when they’re on the go and have discretionary leisure time.
  • Converting your blog to a print book can also add value and convenience. People can take your book places they couldn’t necessarily access your blog on a computer–the beach, the bathtub and when batteries are running low, for starters.
  • Curating the best, most useful parts of your blog into a book adds value in itself. Guiding people to the most useful parts of your content and taking them through that content in a logical progression saves them time.

Turning your book into a blog also adds value to you. It’s a great way to market yourself, your services and your website.

To learn more about how to make a book, download our free ebook, The Pressbooks Guide to Self-Publishing

Plus, a book is useful from a marketing perspective when it’s used as a free download. Offering the book (or sample chapters of it) for free is a great strategy to generate leads and build a mailing list that you can communicate with later. (One free book I created and used as a free download generates 40-50 signups to my mailing list every week.)

Big bloggers are finding value here too. Marc Andreessen, for example, turned parts of his popular @pmarca blog into a book. (You can get it here.)

What Types of Blog Content Create a Good Book?

The short answer is: not all of it. You want to carefully curate the posts that eventually make up your book. Three tips:

  • Think about which of your blog posts are timeless. Evergreen content is perfect to convert to book form. While your blog has to be up-to-the-minute, and you can actually update your book everyday if you use a tool such as Pressbooks.com, you might not want to update your book every month. (Although some people do–check out how David Harris and his business partner, Kenneth Alexander, publish and frequently update a series of subscription-based books on current Canada employment law.) So to reduce the labor involved, choose content that has a shelf life.
  • Ask yourself, “What’s my most useful content”? Books are great as reference compilations.
  • Structure your book around themes. Pressbooks allows you to group chapters into broader parts.

How to Go from Your WordPress Blog to a Book Using Pressbooks.com

  • Log in to your WordPress site.
  • Export your blog file.
  • Save it to your desktop.
  • Log in to the Pressbooks.com dashboard.
  • Click on Utilities and Import.
  • Select WordPress as the type of file.
  • Select the WordPress export file from your desktop.
  • Click Upload Files.
  • Select the blog posts you wish to import.

One note: We don’t recommend uploading your entire blog into a book, for two reasons.

  • If you have a huge blog, it may be too big to import.
  • It doesn’t add the same value for readers as if you curated your most relevant, valuable and timeless information for them, and organized it in a meaningful and compelling way.

Elizabeth Mays is the marketing manager for Pressbooks.com and the author of The Pressbooks Guide to Self-Publishing. She is also a self-published author, with several books in Kindle and CreateSpace.

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