Turn Your Blog into a Book
By Dr. Beth Brombosz
©2017 Dr. Beth Brombosz
All rights reserved.
Visit the author’s website at bloggertoauthor.com
WHY YOU NEED A BOOK 5
CHOOSING A TOPIC FOR YOUR BOOK 8
CREATING A READER AVATAR 10
TESTING YOUR BOOK IDEA 12
WRITING YOUR OUTLINE 14
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Many people dream of writing a book someday. However, the process of writing a book, even a short one, can be a daunting task. The good news is as a content creator, you’re already several steps ahead of the average person who wants to write a book. You’ve spent hours creating content that can be the basis of your book. But, just because you’re a step ahead doesn’t mean that every blogger inevitably becomes an author. What makes writing a book worth the effort? Here’s why you should put the time into writing and publishing a book:
You’ll share your passion and help others
If you’ve consistently been creating content for a while now, you’re probably not doing it for the money. You have a true passion for helping others, whether it’s helping them get their finances in order, helping them cook healthy or tasty meals, or even just sharing your personal story with the hope that it will inspire someone else. By writing a book, you’ll be able to share that passion in a new way. You’ll continue your mission to help others and make their lives better through your book.
You’ll reach a new audience
Unfortunately, most of us aren’t household names, which means that there are a lot of readers out there who don’t know who you are. They’ve never stumbled upon your blog from social media or a Google search. Having a book is another way for readers to find you. Someone who may not have found your website from a Google search may find your book through a search on Amazon. If you’re looking to expand your platform and your presence, a book can be the perfect way to do it.
You’ll build authority in your niche
Being an author is a big deal. Sure, now that self-publishing is common, anyone can write a book on any topic of their choice. But, most people don’t write a book. The time that you put into writing and publishing a book shows that you are committed to your topic, whether electronically or creating actual physical copies of your book. And, the fact that you have thousands of words of helpful information to share shows that you know a lot about the topic. You will have literally written the book on your topic.
Just like in blogging, you don’t have to be the world’s expert in a topic to write a book about it. You simply need to know more about the topic than a person who’s one step behind you on the same journey. If you don’t know where to start, consider writing a book for beginners in your niche. You’ll be helping them create positive change in their lives, and you’ll be able to make a little money while doing so.
It’s a great way to create passive income
Even if you didn’t start your blog to make money, being a successful blogger almost always takes money, whether it’s for website hosting fees or software that helps you be a better, more organized blogger. It can be tough to offset those costs on ads alone unless you have huge traffic. It’s also smart to have multiple revenue streams coming from your blog to help you make money, particularly if you hope to make your blog a part-time or full-time job someday. A book is a perfect way to add another revenue stream to your business. Once you’ve put in the time to write the book, you only need to spend a few minutes here or there marketing your book to add extra income to your bank account.
Still feeling overwhelmed by the idea of writing a book? The good news is that getting your book put together and published is a lot easier than most people think. Here’s what you already have going for you:
You already have a platform
You could write the best book in the world, but if you don’t have anyone to read it, you definitely won’t sell any copies. That might not be a big deal if you’re just publishing the book to be able to say you wrote one, but if you’d like to get your book in the hands of readers, you’ll need a way to spread the word about your book. That’s why bloggers make perfect authors—you already have a built-in audience through your blog and your social media channels. Your audience already sees you as a trusted resource, and many of them will gladly pay for a copy of your book.
You already have a lot of content
If you’ve been blogging for a while, you probably already have a lot of great content that you could compile into a book, especially if you’ve been writing informative articles on a regular basis. You know that you can write because that’s what you do every time you click on “Publish” with a new blog post. For many bloggers, writing a book is the logical next step.
You’ve put in a lot of time creating free content for your readers through your blog posts, videos, and other content. Why not edit and improve those posts that you worked so hard to create and turn them into a book? The great news is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You can use the content you already have, add to it, and quickly have a substantial book to sell. I personally used this method to publish and sell a 128-page book in less than a month.
It’s pretty easy to self publish
Back in the day, you pretty much had to go through a traditional publisher if you wanted to get your book out there. Now, thanks to services like CreateSpace and Blurb, it’s easier than ever to self publish your book. Self publishing is also becoming a very legitimate form of publishing. It used to be that self published books were looked down on, but that’s no longer the case. Many big name personalities and entrepreneurs are choosing to self publish their books, and some of those books are even making it onto bestseller lists.
Have I convinced you yet? Yes?
Let’s get started, then!
Choosing a topic for your first book or eBook is difficult, especially for bloggers who write about a wider variety of topics like lifestyle bloggers. It’s important to choose a topic for your book that will resonate with your readers, a topic that they’ll actually want to read a book about. Answer these questions to help you narrow down and choose the topic for your book.
What topics have you written about the most?
Writing a book that’s more than a handful of pages needs a lot of content. Yes, you can flesh out the blog posts you already have, adding in more examples and going into greater detail. But if you only have two blog posts about a topic, it’s going to be difficult to turn them into a book without writing a lot of new material. To make putting your book together easier, try picking topics that you’ve written a good amount of material on, and ideally focus on topics where you’re seen as an expert.
If you have a topic that you love but don’t have enough material to write a book with those posts right now, consider writing a weekly post that provides a little more information on the topic. That way, you’re slowly writing your book over time, and when you’re ready to put it together, a lot of the work is already done.
Which posts get the most questions and discussion in the comments?
Having a lot of comments on a post suggests that your readers are very interested in and are engaged with the topic. If there’s a lot of discussion about a topic, you know that people are interested enough in that topic that they took the time to write a comment. If your readers are consistently asking for more information about the topic you’re blogging about, that’s a great topic to explore for a potential book. The same is true for social shares. Your posts that get shared the most are probably helping the most people, and that’s a great place to start your book.
What do your followers thank you most for?
If you’ve already been solving problems for your readers, you may be on to something. Do your readers ever tell you that a blog post or video really helped them? Successful products, whether it’s a book, a course, consulting, or coaching, all help solve a pain point for the people who buy them. If you’ve been successfully solving common pain points for your readers, that’s a great place to start for your book, too.
Do you have any products, courses, or services you sell from your blog?
It can be smart to tie your book topic into a product that you already sell. Do you sell coaching services or lead an online course? Writing a book on the topic will help give you more authority, and can be a great low-price lead in to some of your more expensive products and services. You’ll introduce yourself and your brand to readers who wouldn’t have found you otherwise.
If your goal is to make money selling your book, choose your topic carefully. You may consider choosing more than one topic, then testing them out to see if your readers would actually buy a book about each topic. Put your effort into the topic that more people would buy, even if it’s not the most popular topic. Read more about testing your topic in Chapter 4.
Be sure to download your free workbook to help you work through this exercise!
One of the most important things you’ll need to do as a blogger, author, or even as an entrepreneur is to define your ideal client. For bloggers and authors, that means that you need to define your reader and create a reader avatar, or a fictionalized reader that represents your ideal reader. Once you have your reader avatar, you’ll use that avatar to help you write and market your book, and you can also use it help you write other great blog content and social media posts, too.
How do you define your reader?
So exactly how do you define your reader? There are a few ways to start. First, you could cater to your existing audience. Who reads your blog? What information are they looking to gain as they read your blog posts? How is your blog helpful to them? Your reader avatar won’t cover every single one of your blog readers, but you should be able to create an avatar that will resemble many of them.
A great way to answer these questions is with a reader survey. Create a short survey using Google Forms or Survey Monkey and ask your readers to fill it out. Ask them what they’re struggling with and what topics they’d like to hear more about. For example, for my fitness blog, I ask my readers what’s their biggest struggle when it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle and how I can help them solve that problem.
Your other option to define your reader is to think about who you’re hoping to reach when you write your blog posts. Often this is a person who’s a few steps behind you on the same journey, but they may also be from a different background. What change do you hope to help your reader make in his or her life? What does your ideal reader need to do to create his or her ideal life? These questions are the basis for great informational and how-to books.
However you choose to begin fleshing out your ideal reader, be sure to think through as many details of your reader’s life as possible. You want to be thorough as you can with your reader avatar; the more detailed your avatar is, the more help it will be as you write and market your book. Consider age, gender, family, education, and hobbies. What kind of language does your reader prefer to use, and most importantly, to read? Does your reader prefer a more professional or personal tone? For marketing, think through which social media platforms your ideal reader spends most of his or her time on. How can you as an author connect with him or her?
How to Use Your Reader Avatar
Once you have created your detailed reader avatar, you can begin to use that avatar as you write your book. Think about the goal of your book—do you want to teach a skill? Or, do you plan to bring about some other improvement in your reader’s life? If so, what does your avatar need to know to get to where you want him or her to be? You should define your reader well enough to understand what he or she does and doesn’t know about your topic, then use that understanding to decide what topics you will cover in your book.
You can also use your reader avatar to help you be a better blogger. What’s true for writing your book is also true for writing future blog posts. Think about gaps in your ideal reader’s knowledge, and write blog posts to help fill those gaps. By constantly focusing on your avatar, your blog will stay focused, and you’ll continue to provide value to your blog’s readers.
When you begin to market your book, consider how your reader avatar uses his or her social media platforms. Which platforms does he or she use the most? Which platforms does he or she use to find information on your book’s topic? Also consider what hashtags your ideal reader is using on platforms like Instagram. You may want to do some hashtag research to help you connect with people who would be interested in buying your book. Having a good reader avatar will allow you to focus your time on the social media platforms where you’ll have the most impact so you can avoid wasting time on those platforms that won’t bring in readers.
You have an idea of what topic or topics you’d like to focus on for a book, but how do you decide if it’s the right topic? Writing a book does take time, and you don’t want to waste your time writing a book that no one wants to read. If making money by selling your book is one of the top reasons why you’re taking the time to write your book, then you’ll want to test your idea first before you spend a lot of time writing a book no one wants to buy. It’s better to make sure you have a solid idea now than months or years down the road.
Listen to what your readers need
Most people will buy a product, whether it’s a book, a program, or even some sort of a widget, because it’s something that they want or need. To come up with a truly great idea for a book, you need to be in tune with your audience. This is where your reader avatar will really come in handy. Where does your audience struggle? What problems do they face? The answers to these questions make fantastic and often popular blog posts, which in turn can be the basis for a great book. If your book is going to help your reader solve a major problem in his or her life, it’s going to be much easier to sell your book.
Ask close friends what they think
I would suggest asking some of your close blogging friends what they think of your idea, or ask friends who aren’t bloggers but you know will give you their honest opinion. Tell them that you’re thinking of writing a book about Topic A, and that you would cover X, Y, and Z in the book. Describe the problem you’ll be solving with your book and how it will help your reader live a better life, even if they’re just being entertained for a few hours while reading your book. Tell your friend you want honest feedback, and be prepared to receive that feedback graciously. It’s better to know now if your idea’s not a great one.
You may even consider getting the input of complete strangers. In his book Will It Fly? (which I strongly recommend), Pat Flynn suggests talking to people you don’t know about your idea, for example, someone behind you in line at the grocery store or at a coffee shop. Tell them you’re thinking about writing a book, and whether or not they think a book about your topic is a good idea. This is particularly helpful if the person you’re asking looks like they might be an ideal customer. If they get excited about your topic, that’s a very good sign.
Ask your readers if they’re interested
Once you’ve vetted your idea a bit, it’s time to take it to your readers and social media followers. If you plan to sell your book, you should ask your followers whether or not they would buy it, ideally before you start even writing the book. (Simply asking them if they would read your book may not get you the answer you’re looking for.) If you hear crickets, you haven’t wasted any time writing the book, and you can try another idea. But, if you hear a lot of yeses, you know this is a great topic to pursue further.
Something important to keep in mind: don’t let the lack of response to a single social media post asking about your book idea discourage you. You may have picked a bad day or time to post, or your readers may be engaging with your content more on a different social media platform. Post on multiple platforms multiple times before deciding to scrap your idea.
Ask your readers to buy
Some might disagree with me on this, but if you’re counting on your book to make money, I would strongly encourage you to take pre-orders of the book before you write it. Often people will say that they’re interested in buying something, but when it comes time to actually parting with their money, they hesitate and don’t buy. Pre-orders are a great way to make sure that your audience is actually willing to buy a product. (Tim Ferriss talks about this idea in his book The 4-Hour Work Week, which I’d also recommend reading.) If too few people pre-order your book, you can always offer refunds. Strongly consider including a pre-order in your idea testing strategy.
Once you’ve decided on a topic, it’s time to plan out what to put in your book with an outline.
After a lot of thinking, you’ve come up with a topic for your book. Now it’s time to plan out your book. It’s a smart idea to have a plan to keep you focused when you’re writing. Having a solid plan will save you time by keeping you from moving in a wrong direction with your book or from writing material that you ultimately won’t use. When you know exactly what you need to do to finish your book, getting it done seems easier.
I recommend starting to write your outline with a brainstorming session. Start by writing out the main goal for your book, either on a white board, a note card, or even sticky notes. What is it that you want your readers to get out of your book? Will your reader learn a new skill by reading the book? Will he or she learn how to make something? Knowing the path that you need to lead your reader along will help you as you write your outline.
Next, think about all of the things that your reader needs to learn to get to that main goal. For example, say you want to write a book that teaches your reader how to sew a quilt. You’ll want to make sure you cover how to find and choose a quilt pattern, how to pick out fabric, how to cut out the pieces, how to sew the pieces together, and so on. Write out each of these subtopics that you’ll need to cover in your book.
Once you have a good list of all of the subtopics you’ll be covering in your book, it’s time to organize them. I strongly suggest using note cards or sticky notes for this part because they’re easy to rearrange. Begin by writing each of your subtopics down if you haven’t already. Write as many notes as you need to make sure you have an accurate picture of everything you want to include in your book.
When you have all of your subtopics written out, start to group them together into chapters or sections of your book. In our quilt example, a chapter or section could be planning out the quilt. Another chapter could be all about supplies. Finding a logical way to group things together can take a while, so don’t rush it if you’re struggling. Come back a few hours or even a day or two later to revisit if you need to.
After you’ve organized your ideas and put them into a logical order, take a step back and think critically about your outline. Are there any gaps that you’ve missed? Any sections you could add to help with the flow of your book? It would be a great idea to ask a few friends to look over your outline to see if they have any suggestions for subtopics you might be missing.
Take some time to look at your outline with your reader avatar in mind. Have you missed anything that he or she needs to know? Will your reader be able to reach the main goal of your book with the information you plan to give him or her? It might be worth seeking out your blog readers who closely resemble your reader avatar and ask them if they have any feedback. They’ll probably be thrilled you asked!
Once you have your final outline, get cracking on your book! Remember, the sooner you start writing, the sooner you can start calling yourself an author.
Thank you for reading Turn Your Blog into a Book: Getting Started. I hope it’s helped you envision how you can turn your blog or other content into a book so you can share your passion, build authority in your niche, and earn passive income. Be sure to get your free workbook at if you haven’t already, and follow Blogger to Author for more tips for turning your blog into a book!