B2B: The Business of Taking a Blog to Book – Key Takeaways

Press Room blogger, Alexander Bennetts shares the key takeaways of B2B: The Business of Taking a Blog to Book, hosted by Karen Andrews, featuring Lorelei Vashti, Becky Crew, and Summer Land. You can get more of Alexander’s brilliance via twitter, @NoiseEtc!.

There are two things young writers love: festivals and friends! No wait, the other two things: blogging and the idea of having a book published.

Every Hemmingway and his cat have a blog – where d’ya think you’re reading this, huh? – so it’s with little wonder that the idea of turning your online musings into a fully fledged Book is appealing.

Hosted by Miscellaneous Mum’s Karen Andrews, a panel of blogging success stories – from fashion memoir to short stories about bizarre zoological finds – explored the bridge between blogging and a published book.

Bec Crew, blogger at Scientific American and author of the book Zombie Tits, Astronaut Fish and Other Weird Animals, started out by writing fiction where she would take weird creatures and put them in a human context. “If someone had told me five years ago that I was going to write a book about science I would have told them they were crazy,” Crew said. She taught herself science simply by researching and writing about these weird animals.

If there’s any strand of advice to pull at, here you go: if you’re writing blogs, don’t do it with the thought that it’s an easy shortcut to getting a book deal. Lorelei Vashti knew she was onto a good idea when she could pitch her blog in one sentence – “a memoir of my 20s in dresses” – but stressed the importance of treating both her blog and her book as different artefacts with their own considerations. It took Vashti three months to just write the proposal for her book.

“A book gives you a profile that a blog doesn’t,” Vashti said. Her blog, Dress, Memory was already popular, but found a bigger audience after the announcement that it would be published as a book. Vashti began work on the Dress, Memory book with her publisher in 2011, and the book will finally see release in 2014.

A book based on a blog has to stand on its own. “You can’t just take your online writing and recycle it in a book,” says Summer Land, author of blog and book Summerlandish. Land put her Marketing degree to good use, giving away free ebooks in promotion of her publisher-backed debut.

All the bloggers on the panel started out using WordPress. “The hardest part was setting up the blog. Without a scientific background it was hard to wade through science journals,” said Crew.

The main take away, in the end, is simple: “whether you’re blogging or writing a book, it always has to be entertaining.”