Blog to Book: Why (and How) to Turn Your Blog into a Book

Blog to Book: Why (and How) to Turn Your Blog into a Book

The idea of writing a whole book can be pretty daunting. Even if you’re a fairly experienced writer, you might think it’s beyond you.

But if you’ve been blogging for a few months or years, you may have already written enough to fill a book. Turning your blog into a book is an increasingly popular option. (If you’re using WordPress, the Word Stats plugin is a simple way to check your cumulative word count.)

Creating a book is straightforward and not especially expensive, with e-publishing and print-on-demand technology. Here are three reasons why bloggers do it — and why you might want to give it a try:

1. Books Reach a Different Audience

Not everyone reads blogs. Maybe they’re not especially comfortable with technology, or they only have internet access while at work, or they simply prefer to read in other formats.

And those who do read blogs might never have come across your personal corner of the busy blogosphere.

Books can reach a different audience — potentially becoming a tool for promoting your blog, or even your writing services.

2. Books Have a Certain Credibility

While it’s true that, today, anyone can publish a book (just as anyone can start a blog), books have a certain credibility.

Being able to tell your audience that you’ve written a book, or including your book in your bio when you’re guest posting or speaking, can give you instant “expert” status in their eyes.

Of course, if you’re going to look credible, it’s important to have a well-edited and well-produced book … which we’ll be getting to in a moment.

3. Books Give Your Content a New Life

If your blog’s been running for a while, there’s a good chance that most of your current readers missed out on your early content.

While your archives, categories and search box can all help them find your earlier writing, you almost certainly have some brilliant posts going unread in your blog’s archives.

By pulling together your blog content into a book, you can give it new life. Instead of skimming through your latest post in their inbox, your readers can curl up with their ereader or a hardcopy of your book and dig in.

[bctt tweet=”By pulling together your blog content into a book, you can give it new life, says @aliventures“]

Is the blog-to-book journey starting to sound like one you want to take?

I’ve bought quite a few books and ebooks in my time that started life as blog posts, and I’ve also been going through the blog-to-book process with my client and friend Barry Demp. He’s just published his new book The Quotable Coach: Daily Nuggets of Practical Wisdom — a compilation of posts from the past two years of his blog, The Quotable Coach.

If you feel ready to self-publish, here are the three major steps that we recommend you follow:

1. Compile and Edit Past Blog Posts

Before your blog can become a book, you need to get all your posts into one place — probably a document on your computer, whether you choose to use Microsoft Word, Scrivener, Google Docs or another tool.

The good news is you almost certainly don’t have to copy and paste your blog posts one by one. If your blog runs on WordPress, simply use the Export to Text plugin to download a document containing every post.

You’ll need to go through and format your post titles in Heading 2, so that when you convert your document to an ebook, these can become chapter headings.

You’ll almost certainly also want to do some editing: perhaps updating out-of-date references, fixing typos, or even adding or removing whole paragraphs.

You may also find that you need to remove some posts. This could be posts that:

  • Were specific to a particular time, such as the 2012 Olympics or your New Year’s Resolutions for 2013.
  • Are much shorter than average — perhaps a post for a special promotion of your book.
  • Don’t match up to your usual standards; we found ourselves deleting several early posts that were written before we’d quite found our stride.

2. Line Up Beta Readers and Reviewers

However strong your editing skills are, you’ll want to have some extra eyes on your finished book. Ideally, this means hiring a paid editor — but if that’s not affordable, ask friends, family or colleagues to help out.

These beta readers (like beta testers in the software world) could read just part of your book and let you know about any problems they spot — from typos and missing words to structural issues. Do try to give them as much advance notice as possible, and at least a couple of weeks to get feedback to you.

Beta readers may well also be willing to review your book (though you’ll probably want to approach other individuals for reviews too). Reviews or testimonials are a hugely important selling tool, especially as you’re publishing your book yourself rather than with a major publisher.

Again, give reviewers plenty of time, and stay in touch as your launch date approaches. Once your book is online and ready for reviews, send them the link (and brief instructions) so they can easily leave a review.

3. Get a Professional Cover Design

If you’re going to invest in just one thing for your book, go for a great cover design. Like it or not, we all judge books by their covers — and if yours screams “amateur,” your book is unlikely to get a second glance.

We went with 99designs to get a range of different options from many different designers at a great price. You might instead choose to work with an individual designer (especially if they’ve already done some work on, say, your website or logo). You may even be able to barter design for writing with an artistically-minded friend.

If you really have no option but to create the cover yourself, keep it simple and classy: think “minimalist.” Use large fonts that can be easily read at thumbnail size, and stick with just one key image.

For lots of examples of good and bad cover design (and reasons why!), check out Joel Friedlander’s e-Book Cover Design Awards (published monthly).

So … how about it? Have you ever read a book that started life as a blog, and would you turn your blog into a book?


  • Tanvee says:

    I have 6 blog posts in my blog currently and they all are about different things..or as i say, my thoughts on family, growing up and everything else. One blog for each new thought. Does anyone think this blog could be turned into a book after a handful of posts have been written? Go through my posts and suggest please.. 🙂

  • I quite like reading through an article that can make men and women think.
    Also, many thanks for allowing for me to comment!

  • Samanwoy Pal says:

    But i have a question if i have a free blog. Will anyone read by book by spending their money, or i will private my blog posts which are going to be published at the time of publication of the book.

  • Ketan says:

    Thanks for the valuable advice. I have over 100 live posts on my blog. Am planning to pick some top posts and convert them into a downloadable ebooklet. I will have to edit the posts I select for the booklet, sequence them in an appropriate way (not necessarily chronologically) and then do the other preparations needed for publish it online. This will take some time, but I think it will be worth it, when the sales happen.

    • Nina Amir says:

      Hi Ali! I missed this post…two years ago! I had no way to comment but to leave a reply…

      I love your post and, as you may know, I’ve been advocating for writers and bloggers to create and/or use blog content for years.

      In fact, my book on the topic went into second edition just last year…because this topic is so hot (still).

      I recommend planning out a book and then blogging it post by post, but leave a bit of content for the published book (not the blog site). Or, if you want to repurpose your existing blog content, create a plan for the best book possible, then go to your site to find the posts that fit that outline. Fill in the gaps with new material.

      • Ali Luke says:

        Congrats on the second edition, that’s brilliant! 🙂 And thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.

        I think both your suggestions for structuring the book are great. I’d not really considered planning a book then blogging it, but of course for some authors, that would make perfectly good sense. Thanks for adding that idea!

      • Ketan says:

        Thanks for your reply Nina!

  • Claus Martin says:

    The idea, to use blog articles in books is great. But one should not just use them, as they were written on the blog.

    To write articles on a blog is similar, what people did in past times, when they wrote letters, to communicate with others or essays, when they wanted to clarify their thoughts about a topic.

    Of course, one could just publish a collection of blog articles, similar as collections of letters of famous poets are published for instance.

    But if one publishes a book, then it should be structured like a book and all should be written new. Otherwise our thinking is hindered by what we wrote in the blog articles and the reader will also get this impression.

    We also should not get influenced by people, who tell us, that ebooks can be written in some days only. When we write a book, we experience also a learning process and therefore some time is needed, to plan a book, to do the needed research for it and to write it.

    The famous historian Mommsen ( he wrote a monumental work about Roman history and got the Nobel prize for it ), once lost all his research notes for this work, because his house burnt.

    He had to do all again. But later he confessed, that this was the best, what could have happened to him.

    At first, this sounds a bit crazy. But after some thoughts about it, it gets clear, that he was right. He had experienced the long time of learning about his topic and developed all the neuronal structures in his brain.

    And therefore he could do much better research and writing. He was not anymore a beginner with that topic, but already a master.

  • Super helpful and actionable information. I feel much less overwhelmed by the idea of creating an ebook now. Thank you!

    Question – any thoughts on images / illustrations within the book itself?

  • Jen says:

    I’ve just started outlining an e-book that I’m planning on selling. I’d like to start writing some blog posts now that I can modify and repurpose for it. Just bought your e-book and am looking forward to the inspiration!

  • Marcy McKay says:

    Brilliant, Ali. I’ve started a writing blog this spring and am delighted to report I’ve gained 200 new subscribers in the past 2 weeks. It’s so much fun connecting with like-mined people and helping their Your post has given me great ideas for the future. I’ve already printed this out to refer back to when the time comes. Thanks!

    • Ali Luke says:

      Thanks Marcy — and wow, 200 subscribers in 2 weeks is absolutely fantastic. Well done you! I hope your blogging continues to go brilliantly, and best of luck when you get to the blog-to-book stage. 🙂

      • Marcy McKay says:

        Thanks for responding, Ali. Of course, the 200 subscribers in 2 weeks have slowed (I failed to mention I had 2 guest blogs during that time, so of course, that prompted it). But still, I’m gaining at least 1 or 2 new folks everyday, and losing some, too. It’s all part of the process.

        However, it’s WONDERFUL to feel like I’m on the right path, helping others and making new friends along the way. You always have informative posts and I enjoy them very much. THANKS, The Write Life!

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