I received the best email a couple of days ago, complimenting me on a blog post. I have to preface this by saying the email came from a friend I have known since high school, and a fellow collaborator on an upcoming book project. Nonetheless, she wrote how she found my blog relatable and humorous, and she thought I could potentially go “big time.” I was flattered, but also found it kind of ironic, because I had just read an article on how to blog to a book deal. I am pretty much doing the exact opposite of everything suggested in the piece.
The article is appropriately titled “Blog Your Way to a Book Deal,” by Nina Amir, and appears in the September 2012 issue of Writer’s Digest.
First tip: “As you should with any book idea, before you start writing, spend time carefully evaluating your concept.” I started blogging because I wanted a place to organize my ideas. Within my mom’s club, I organize a preschool group, track fitness and lifestyle competitions, facilitate creative projects, and plan large donation drives. I originally wanted a space to plant all of this information, because it is currently spread over email, facebook, evite, and good ol’ face to face conversations. However, I had been privately writing for a few months, and thought I could also use a blog to post some of my better pieces. Enter my HUGE EGO. I got a taste of being able to rant like nobody’s listening, and soon the blog took on a life of its own- rant, rant, rant, rant rant. Rant.
Second tip: “Start by outlining a writing plan, just as you would for any other book project. Your goal is to map out your content in post-sized bits of material you can cover well in 200-300 words.” Outline? What is this “outline” you speak of? I don’t work that way. I am currently organizing a writing project consisting of ten to twenty moms, each writing their own story, to be compiled into a single book. The moms are in three states, two countries, and using different approaches. Did I take the time to outline that colossal project? Heck no. I simply put out a call for entries and figured I’d wing it. As for 200-300 words- I require more words just to clear my throat.
Third tip: “As you work, you’ll almost certainly have ideas for additional content that wasn’t in your outline. Stick to your original plan while saving these ideas in a separate file. They’ll become additional special content that will appear only in your printed book.” Let’s get back to that HUGE EGO of mine. If I write something that I like enough to put in a book, I’m certainly not going to put it in a secret file. Hide it under a bush, oh no, I’m gonna let it shine. Generally, when I have a new idea, you will hear about it by blog, facebook, email, phone, chain letter, carrier pigeon, pony express, and message in a bottle. No shortage of “hey! Look at me!” mentality from this gal.
Fourth tip: “SEO- search engine optimization.” I had never heard of this before this article. That probably says enough right there.
Fifth tip: “Although large publishing houses will want to see a sizable blog readership- possibly as large as 50,000-100,000 readers per month- many mid- and small-sized houses will be happy with lower figures, even under 10,000 per month. If you can show a publisher that you have some additional platform outreach, your smaller audience may be enough.” Last night at dinner, I proudly announced to my husband that my blog had twelve, count them, twelve followers!! He raised his margarita and congratulated me. I am being completely serious here- I am smiling like a little girl wearing a new pair of sparkly shoes because twelve people think what I have to say is funny or interesting enough that they want to be notified when I write more. Sounds dorky, but that feels like success to me. It really does.
Oh snap! I just went to upload this, and found out I now have thirteen followers! That just made my day. Can’t wait to give the hubby the good news. Margarita time! Now that sounds like a good idea- one margarita for every new follower. Care to join me?