With the publication of my new book, How to Blog a Book: Write, Publish, and Promote Your Work One Post at a Time, I’ve been spending a lot of time speaking , teaching and writing blog posts and articles on this topic. No matter where I go and and what I do, I get asked the same question over and over again related to blogged books, previously published work and traditional publishers. Many aspiring authors considering blogging books feel concern over publishing their the work they intend to include in a book on their blogs. They feel sure a publisher will then consider it “previously published” and not want to offer them a book contract.
You see, blogging a book involves writing your book from scratch in post sized bits on your blog. In the process, you gain a fan base, or an author’s platform. This attracts a publisher or allows you to successfully self-publish your book if you don’t.
Because of all the questions I receive, I planned on interviewing several publishers or acquisitions editors on this topic, and I will probably still do so. However, this issue was handily addressed for me last week by Michael Hyatt, chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers, on his weekly podcast. So, I thought I’d share his answer to the question today.
One of Michael’s regular listeners asked the following question (which I’ve paraphrased):
If I turn existing blog content into the basis of or the early draft of a book for a publisher, are there any restraints on the fact that the content has already been published?
“I can tell you as a publisher, it doesn’t matter if it’s been published somewhere else before as long as its not a book and as long as the rights are not encumbered. If it’s just been published on your blog, you’re fine. I think it’s a great way to field test content. It’s a way to get reader input. It’s a way to more carefully target and polish your content so it even more attractive to publishers.”
That’s basically what I’ve been repeating over and over again…
I met Michael at Blog World & New Media Expo in New York last week. He actually mentioned me and my book in that podcast.
Prior to that event, I attended to Book Expo America educational events. At the first, I ran into my publisher, Phil Sexton, from Writer’s Digest Books. I mentioned to him how often I’m asked about previously published content and blogging books. He told me that F & W Media, the parent company to Writer’s Digest Books, doesn’t mind at all. They’ve made several blog-to-book deals, including The Plot Whisperer, The Art of Manliness, and, of course, How to Blog a Book.
During the BEA Blogger event, I stood in line with two editors from Wiley. They were thrilled to hear about my book—one of them pocketed the copy I handed her, and told me what I already knew: Wiley loves to contact bloggers to write books based on their blogs. They probably make more blog-to-book deals per year than most other publishers.
If you are worried about blogging a book, I hope Michael’s response assuages some of your worries. Blogging a book really is the quickest and easiest way to write a book and promote it at the same time.
I will be looking for more publishing pros to interview on this topic, by the way, and those posts will likely end up on my blog.