Thursday, September 15, 2011

Converting Your Blog Articles into a Book

I never dreamed of converting my interviews at Mysterious Writers into a book when I started the blog site two years ago. But such good advice and life stories evolved that I couldn’t allow the material go to waste. I recycled a great many interviews and decided that saving them for posterity was the right thing to do, especially after Carolyn Hart and Jeffrey Deaver agreed to contribute to the series.

Since the interviews were accepted for publication by Poisoned Pen Press, I’ve seen Internet ads offering to turn blogs into books for $14.95. A great idea for a blogger’s memoirs but it's not very profitable for resale. I offered my book to three publishers, all of which accepted, so I was faced with a dilemma. Do I go with PPP, which only offered to publish for Kindle, Barnes and Noble and Sony readers? Two small, well respected presses also offered a print version but wanted to make changes. I finally decided to accept Poisoned Pen’s contract with the hope they would also publish a print edition or sell the print rights to another publisher. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. The next edition, however, will also appear in print.

Interviews that only feature unknown writers usually don't sell well, and I found that the best time to approach a bestselling author is just before a new release, which is probably why Sue Grafton agreed to an interview when V is for Vengeance hits the market in November. Embolded from acceptances from Elmore Leonard, Lawrence Block, Nancy Pickard, J.A. Jance and other publishing giants, I ask Janet Evanovich for an interview. So far I haven’t received an answer, but you can’t win them all.

I’ve featured quotes from interviewees at my Facebook sites to advertise the book. Among my favorites is one from Nancy Means Wright: "Vermont writer Howard Frank Mosher nails up rejection slips and adverse reviews on the side of his barn and shoots holes in them. I just leave mine in a cardboard box and let my Maine Coon cats make a nest or pee on them. So send that manuscript out again!"

And from Louise Penny: "Finish the book. Most people who start books never finish them. Don't be one of those. Do it, for God's sake. You have nothing to fear--it won't kill you. It won't even bite you. This is your dream--this is your chance. You sure don't want to be lying on your death bed regretting you didn't finish the book." Lawrence Block was more succinct with his advice: "Write to please yourself. And don't expect too much."

If starting that first novel has you discouraged or you think you'll never get it finished, read what some of these writers have also gone through. Their stories are not only inspiring, they'll make you laugh and you'll wonder how the publishing business ever survived. (We writers must have inspired the invention of the straight jacket.)

I’ve had so many good interviews since Mysterious Writers was accepted that I plan to publish another collection next year. I’d really rather be writing mystery novels but I began my writing career a news reporter, so interviewing is second nature. And the rewards are immeasurable.

It doesn't matter what the subject of your blog posts are, including potpourri, there's a niche market for it. Small presses are receptive to various subjects, especially if you tell them about your target audience and the number of blog visitors to your site. And, if all else fails, you can go the indie route with Amazon Kindle, B&N Nook, Smashwords and Createspeace, among others. There's never been a better or easier time to publish.


  1. Huge congrats, Jean. You're a true trail blazer and an inspiration!

  2. Thank you, Anne. I consider you a trailblazer as well. Your blog tour organizational skills are amazing!

  3. I, too, turned my blog posts into a book, "Observations of an Earth Mage." And while you are right that books such as yours and mine probably appeal to niche markets, that's really true of any book, when you think of it. Good luck with yours!

  4. I appreciate your comment Smoky. Best of luck with your own book!