During the past few years, many first-time authors have used blogs as starting points for writing books that created strong personal brands.
As he described when I interviewed him, soon after Garr Reynold’s began his Presentation Zen blog, it attracted the attention of several publishers, leading to his best-selling Presentation Zen series of bestselling books, information products, and a strong international personal brand as a presentation guru.
How blogs help authors write books
Here are some of the reasons blogs are such powerful tools to help authors write books:
- Chunking. Blogs help authors write books because they break big tasks–i.e., writing books–into a series of short, easy-to-complete tasks (i.e., weekly blog posts.) It’s hard to sit down and write a chapter containing, perhaps, 5,000 words. But, it’s relatively easy to commit to writing 350 to 500 words once or twice a week
- Feedback. In addition to the power of a blog to attract a publisher’s attention, writing a book as a series of blog posts makes it easy to attract feedback from prospective readers. By sharing your ideas as soon as possible, and encouraging reader feedback, you’ll find out whether or not you’re providing the information your market wants and is willing to pay for.
- Promotion. Writing your book as a series of blog posts builds anticipation for your book. Each blog post not only enhances your online search engine visibility, but it also establishes familiarity and trust that helps ensure the successful launch of your book.
Blog posts and first drafts
The most important reason to start writing your book as a series of blog posts, however, is that it’s an easy way to make your ideas tangible…to get your ideas down on paper as quickly and painlessly as possible, so you and your editors can make them better.
It’s impossible to improve something that hasn’t been written!
Until you have a printable word-processed file, your ideas really don’t exist! It’s impossible to edit ideas in your brain; they’re simply intentions, rather than realities. You can’t make them better by replacing long words with short words, rearranging the order of your ideas, or replacing passive sentences with active sentences.
And, until you have written the first draft, others–like editors or members of your mastermind group–can’t access and improve the ideas floating around in your brain.
Once you have the first draft, however, it can be improved in dozens of ways. But, the first draft has to exist!
But, what if you don’t like to write?
Unfortunately, for one reason or another, many subject area experts–who could otherwise profit from writing a book to build their personal brand–don’t particularly like writing. Many business professionals and subject area experts find it easier to speak than to write.
How do you get your first draft written if you don’t like to write?
If you’re happier talking rather than writing, create a series of free teleseminars based on the topics you want to include in your book, record the teleseminars as you present them, and then have the teleseminars transcribed.
Using recorded and transcribed teleseminars as the basis for the first draft of your book offers numerous benefits, including:
- Deadlines. Let’s face it; deadlines create results. If you’ve announced to your list that you’re doing a 1-hour teleseminar on a specific topic 2 weeks from tomorrow, you’ll find the time to prepare! You simply won’t allow yourself to fail! You’ll probably surprise yourself by how good it comes out, especially if you’re already familiar with your topic.
- Efficient preparation. When you prepare for a teleseminar, you don’t have to worry about the words; you can focus on the key ideas and getting them in the right order. This is a lot easier to do than word-for-word writing.
- Economy. There are numerous free online providers that can host and record your teleseminar. Equally important, it shouldn’t cost you more than $50-$70 dollars to have the teleseminar transcribed into a word-processed file. This is probably less than you charge for your coaching and consulting services!
- Feedback. Always provide an opportunity for callers to submit questions ahead of your teleseminar. Always provide a way for attendees to comment and ask questions during your event. Their reactions will suggest new ideas to add to each topic and help you gauge the relevance of the information you provided.
Focus on the series, not each teleseminar
Rather than trying to produce the perfect teleseminar, focus on the big picture–your book. View each teleseminar as primarily an opportunity to get the first draft of part of your book written. After each of your teleseminars, there will be time to edit and add new ideas and examples to the draft of each chapter or topic.
Don’t charge others to attend your teleseminar events; view each event as an exploration–an opportunity to explore different topics, rather than as polished speeches or presentations. (Your stress level will go down as you reduce your expectations.)
Plan your teleseminar topics so that–over the course of your teleseminar series–you cover the all the topics you want to include in your book.
Writing a book as a series of blog posts is a popular and entirely legitimate way to write a book to build your personal brand. Writing a book as a series of blog posts permits you to work on your book, a little at a time–breaking a big task into a series of smaller, easier-to-complete tasks. However, not everybody is comfortable writing from scratch. If this sounds like you, consider planning a series of teleseminars based on the topics you want to cover in your book. Record your teleseminars and have them transcribed. Let your teleseminar transcriptions provide the necessary first draft of your book. Do you think this approach will work for you? Share your comments, below.
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