Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Use Your Blog to Formulate Your Next Book

Photo by Savit Keawtavee
In recent conversations with writers, I've been asked a particular question a few times:

"I have an idea for a book, but I'm not quite sure the direction I want to go and don't even know if there is a market for this topic. What do I do?"

My answer was this: Use your blog! This is just one of the many examples of the fact that a blog is a critical weapon in the writer's armory. This is where you connect with your readers (your tribe) instantly. You can blog about the topic on which you're considering writing a full length book and gauge the response you get.

Even if you aren't sure the direction you'd like to take with a topic, or even what the scope of the book should be, this is where you can work those things out. Let your readers' feedback be your guide to what they want to hear more about. If you are writing a business book on How to Grow Your Market Share, for instance, you'll want to know the specific areas in which most business owners are looking for advice. Your blog readers, probably primarily made up of business owners, will tell you exactly what they are looking for and your book will be all the more relevant.

You don't believe me that your blog readers will buy a book filled with information they've already received on your blog?

Here's an example:  Platform by Michael Hyatt. This book is based on information he shares very generously for FREE on his blog. But, it was packaged differently, new information added, and several freebies were offered when he launched it. Platform became a NY Times bestseller in 2012.

Blogging a book works for fiction as well. If you have an idea for a novel but are having trouble with character development or the plausibility of the setting you've created,  blog a short story using those characters and setting. You can get feed back right there that will help you in when you are writing your novel.

Some novelists are even publishing an ebook of  the  first chapter of their novel as a short story, getting feedback through their websites and reviews, and then making changes before they put out the next chapter. That takes to the next level, don't you think?

So take your idea to the people. You'll have a better book in the end and may sell a few "pre-ordered" copies along the way.

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