How to Turn a Blog into a Book

Written by WordPress Enthusiast & Technology Writer

November 7, 2023
How to Turn a Blog into a Book

If you've been blogging for a few years, you've probably thought about turning your blog into a book. It seems rather obvious: You've become an authority in your field, or at least in the top 1% of known experts. Or maybe you're looking to increase your personal brand a little further, hoping to expand your expertise.

Why would you want to write a book in the first place?

  • To provide proof of your knowledge and expertise. ("Ooh, they wrote a book! They must know a lot." This is also called social proof.)

  • To get more clients. (See above. Experts can also charge more money.)

  • To land more speaking gigs. (Conference organizers love to hire book authors. Again, you have demonstrated that you know a lot, and they want you to share your knowledge.)

  • To make money. (The money comes from the speaking gigs, new clients, and higher rates.)

  • It gives you a sense of accomplishment. (I've written and ghostwritten eleven books. Other than getting married and having kids, there's no other feeling in the world like holding your book for the first time; the feeling does not wear off with each new book.)

There are Two Ways to Write a Book

  1. Sit down and write the book.

  2. Turn your blog into a book.

Both take the same amount of work, it's just that you're going to do all the work at once or you're going to spread it out over many months or even years.

Sitting down and writing the book means writing a few hours each day until it's finished. It means writing, revising, editing, and polishing until the thing is finished. It can take weeks, months, or years.

I once co-wrote an entire book in a month, which I do not recommend. I also took a few years to write my first novel, which I also do not recommend. If you're going to write a book, you can work steadily for several months and produce some excellent work. It just depends on how much work you want to put into it.

And One Way to NOT Write a Book

I do not recommend that you write a book in a single weekend. I've known people who do that. They brag about it, when it should actually be a warning. They turn out a 30- or 40-page book over a weekend and think this is on the same level as producing a 200-page tome of knowledge.

It's not.

I hesitate to call that a "book" in the first place. In fact, I can think of a few better words.

I once met a guy who wrote a book in a weekend, it was 30 pages long, it used a 14-point font, and had 1.5" margins. And he advised other people to do this โ€” in fact, he gave an entire talk about how this was a good idea. If the entire thing was 3,000 words long, I'd be surprised. To give you a sense of perspective, this article is 2,599 words long, but I'm not going to slap a cover on it and call it a book.

In fiction, you can find 10,000 word novellas on Kindle Unlimited, and they're a fun, quick read that you can knock out in an hour or two. Some people have even made a living writing those. But they'll be the first to tell you that it's not going to be their best work, it's not going to win any writing prizes, and isn't going to be remembered two days later. (Still, they make a lot of money, so who am I to complain?)

You don't want that kind of book though. The reason you want to write a book are any of those I listed above: to get clients and speaking gigs, to provide social proof, or just because you want to accomplish a goal.

If that's the case, then do not, do not, DO NOT create a 30-page pamphlet and call it a book.

First, Here's How to Write a Book

how to write a book

If you're going to write a book, it helps if you actually know how to, you know, write a book.

There are three ways to write a book. There's plotting, pantsing, and plantsing.

Plotting is where you plan out the entire book. You write an outline and a table of contents. You spell out each chapter, and you list out the sub-chapters, sub-sub-chapters, and even sub-sub-sub-chapters. (Don't do that. Sub-sub-chapters are enough.)

Pantsing is where you fly by the seat of your pants. You just make it up as you go along and see where the story takes you. That's great for fiction, not for nonfiction.

Plantsing is where you work out a basic chapter structure with a few sentences about what happens in each chapter. Then you start writing and stop when you get to the end of each chapter. You sort of plot the book out, but you're still flying by the seat of your pants. Again, great for fiction, not for nonfiction.

If we're turning your blog into a book, you need to plot your book. So, no pantsing, no plantsing.

A Quick Detour: Promoting Your Book

This is not an article about book promotion, but I would be remiss if I didn't tell you that now is the time to start promoting your book. Not when you finish the manuscript, not when it's published. Now.

Start finding readers of your book on Instagram and Twitter. Follow them, engage with them on social media, and communicate with them regularly. Do a Twitter search for people who work in that field; find other writers of the same subject. Follow them and create a list just of those people so you can see what they're talking about and respond.

If you start promoting your book when it's done or nearly done, it's way too late. You need to build up your momentum so your friends and fans are eagerly awaiting the book and will start pre-ordering it at the appropriate time. If you wait until publication time, you won't have a chance to build up any momentum and your sales will flop.

We now return you to your regular article.

How to Organize Your Blog into a Book

Let's say you've got a blog about dog training. You've written about different training methods, training games, training mistakes to avoid, dog psychology, how different dog breeds react, how-to topics, why topics, case studies, expert interviews, and product and service reviews.

You've written the blog for five years, publishing one blog article per week. That means you've got 260 blog articles. If each blog article is 1,000 words long, you've got 260,000 words.

The average book is anywhere from 60,000 โ€“ 80,000 words long. That means you're either going to have an extremely large book (I don't recommend that), or you have roughly three or four books' worth of information in your blog.

Insider tip: Book authors don't think about a book in terms of pages, they think in words. That's because the page count depends entirely on the print size of your book. There's a big difference between 5 by 8 inches versus 5.5 by 8.5 inches. It also depends on the size of the font, and the line spacing. The average debut novel runs around 60,000 words. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is 46,333 words; Catch-22 is 174,269 words. Shoot for around 60,000 words for your first book.

Since you have 260,000 words, you need to make some decisions about the topics you want to write about.

Remember, our topics are

  1. Different training methods
  2. Training games
  3. Training mistakes to avoid
  4. Dog psychology
  5. How different dog breeds react
  6. How-to topics (how to teach your dog to stop barking)
  7. Why topics (why does my dog keep barking?)
  8. Case studies
  9. Expert interviews
  10. Product and service reviews

At first glance, we could create one book just out of each topic. They may be a little short โ€” if we're lucky, we can have 10 books of 26,000 words each. But we're not going to be that lucky.

So we have to be a little selective. We could cluster things into different groups. I would put different training methods, training games, and training mistakes into one group. The second one would be dog psychology and how different breeds react. Number three would be how and why topics.

I would mix case studies and expert interviews into all three groups, and I would drop the product reviews altogether.

And with that, we have enough material for three books. Even if you're not planning on writing three books, you should at least leave yourself open to the possibility. You don't want to write an exhaustive book on the topic because it will take you years and will be very expensive.

But if we turn our blog into three books we can release them one after the other. We can discuss book release and promotion another time, but for now, we at least have the idea for our first book:

How to Train Your Dog in Three Weeks: Games You Can Play and Mistakes to Avoid.

It's Time to Start Writing Your Book

It's time to start writing your book

Now we can start plotting our book. We have three sections, 1) training methods, 2) training games, and 3) training mistakes to avoid. Now we need to list out the chapters and sub-chapters in our outline. This will help us decide which blog articles we use and how the entire book is going to flow.

Next, choose the blog articles for each of the three sections and lay them out. There are two basic ways to do this:

1) Create a spreadsheet with three columns, one for each section. Put the title and link to the appropriate blog posts in the appropriate columns. Listen them in the order of the outline. If you want to use multiple posts on the same topic, put the best posts first.

2) Write the title of each chapter, sub-chapter, and sub-sub chapter onto index cards, one item per card. Lay them out on and organize them into a logical order. Rewrite the cards into a spreadsheet or word processing document. That's your outline.

Next, create a word processing document for each chapter of the book. You'll put everything into a single document later, but for now, we want to keep everything as small as possible. Be sure to use the same naming convention for each chapter.

  • Chapter 1: Sit and Stay
  • Chapter 2: Lie Down
  • Chapter 3: Heel and Come
  • Chapter 4: Working Off Leash

And so on.

This way, chapters will appear in alpha-numerical order in your folder. Speaking of which, put all the chapters, plus your research and notes, into a single folder. You don't want to have to search for everything as you're working.

Next, write the outline of each chapter into the corresponding document. Leave a few spaces and format the headings so they're easy to find as you're scrolling. Look at this article as an example. When I started writing it, I listed the sub-heads for each section I wanted to cover. Then I formatted them as a Heading 2 so I could more easily find them.

Your Chapter titles are H1, sub-chapters are H2, and sub-sub-chapters are H3.

Copy and paste all of the blog posts into each chapter under each heading and sub-heading. If you have repeated a topic in multiple blog posts, pick a few of the best ones. Paste them in order of best/most thorough at the top, least best/thorough at the bottom.

If you are missing sections and sub-sections and haven't written any blog posts about them, fill them in. Write about them as if you were writing another blog article. In fact, turn that section into a blog article just so you can keep your blog momentum going. (Don't stop doing that while you're working on your book!)

You're still going to have a lot of text in your book and it will seem disjointed and clunky if you're just publishing a collection of posts. So you need to rewrite everything so it all flows smoothly from one section to the next. That means taking big chunks of text out and adding other chunks of text. You need transitions between sections and between blog posts, so don't just think that turning a blog into a book just means copying and pasting and hitting publish. There's still a lot of work to do. Luckily, the hardest part, about 75%, is done.

Another Method for Writing a Book

What if you don't have a blog, and you'd like to turn a book into a blog.

It starts with the outline. Think about all the things you'd like to write about and then either write an outline or use the index card method described above. Be sure to take several days to think about the outline. Brainstorm ideas about what you want to cover. Keep good notes and write down ideas as they come to you. Talk with friends and colleagues in the field and ask them what they think you should cover.

Write out your outline and tweak it throughout this process. You have until the manuscript is done to actually commit to the outline, so treat it like a work in progress.

Next, write a blog article for each sub-chapter and sub-sub-chapter of the book. Just work one at a time, and thoroughly write up each blog post. Research it, write about it exhaustively, and make it as perfect as you can.

Publish the blog posts once or twice a week, and be sure to promote them on your social networks. Skip around, rather than writing them in book order.

When you finish each post, plug it into the appropriate document for each chapter. As you work, you'll fill in each section and eventually the book will get done.

Yes, this will take longer, but you will be able to have more time between blog posts. You can write one or two in a week, and make sure every one is properly edited, vetted, and researched. In several months, your entire book will be finished. You'll still want to edit each section so it flows smoothly, but it's a great way to accomplish two goals at once.

I admit this isn't as fast or interesting as the first method I described, but if you don't have a lot of time to spend on the book each week, this is a slow-but-steady way to get it done and to build your blog at the same time.



with the discount code



Final Thoughts

These are the best ways to turn a blog into a book. You've already collected the materials, and now it's just a matter of editing and streamlining to make it all fit your outline. I've known several people who have done exactly this, and with some extra work, they've been able to create a book with a smooth flowing narrative and not a collection of essays.

Don't worry that people won't buy the book just because you've taken all the material from your blog either. People want to see all your valuable information collected into a single place, and the book is the best way to do that.

Get to work and join the pantheon of other book authors, sharing your knowledge and expertise with your audience. Happy writing!

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