We’ve all heard the story – a newly minted author, who’s climbing up the New York Times Bestseller list, started on the internet as a blog. But what is this phenomenon, and more importantly, how do I cash in this gravy train?
To be the bearer of bad news, blogs get turned into books when the author has enough of a platform to garner attention from publishers. As previously discussed, platforms are what writers argue to publishers on why their books should be bought and printed.
Publishing is a business – blogs that become books only got to that stage because they had a platform worthy of making money. Let’s consider what might be the most successful blog to book (to movie!): Julie & Julia.
What started as a way to shake her life up, Julie Powell’s blog found success and ended up as fodder for a movie starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams! But contrary to popular belief, it wasn’t an overnight success. Powell had to blog for months to gain the following needed to sell a book. And then it was another 4 years after the book was published before the movie was released in theaters.
Let’s look at another example: Colby Buzzell.
Buzzell began blogging in the summer of 2004, sharing his experiences as a soldier fighting in Iraq. His honest portrayal of life during one of the biggest events in America (at the time) and his easy to follow storytelling attracted hundreds of followers. But while Buzzell started blogging in 2004, it wasn’t until a year later that a book become a reality. Buzzell was featured by numerous media outlets for his blog’s honest content — which helped him form a platform — but it wasn’t just a one-time event. Buzzell worked on the blog long before anyone thought it was book-worthy.
Here’s the dirty little secret to the Blog to Books phenomenon: it takes time and hard work. Just like writing a book.
Blogging may be seen as this carefree, easy-to-do hobby, but like most assumptions, you’ve just made an ass out of you and me. There are no shortcuts in writing. Working hard and spending time writing are the only ways to write books. Choosing to start as a blog and hoping to end with a book doesn’t replace the time and work needed.
So keep typing. It’ll pay off.