How to make a good book from a blog

RR from the Reluctant Runner blog read my post on how to turn a blog into a book and asked:

Over the past two years I have written a light-hearted fitness blog specific to running. I am going to start turning it into a book. I am beginning the process of going back through my posts and searching in a “Table of Contents” type of manner, seeing what would fit…what won’t. My question is: How do you do to fill holes? I assume a book can’t just be post after post…but rather expand upon these posts as ideas and write and fill in around them?

Writing a book is one thing, writing a good book is something else. There’s no easy answer to your question as it’s very subjective.

It turns out you can just have the book be post after post. There are no laws against it. The Diary of Anne Frank, is effectively just post and after post and it’s one of the most popular books in the world. Montaigne, the dude who invented the essay, wrote  a book on intentionally unrelated topics, yet he’s quite popular.Then again, many books from blogs are heavily criticized for having the exact same format as Frank or Montaigne. The difference then is:

  • The quality of the writing in the posts
  • The order you put them in
  • How interested a reader is in subject you’ve written about

The best advice then is to go look at other books made from blogs and see how they deal with the problem. Some examples:

Another wise approach is to make a draft version of your book and ask friends or readers of your blog to read the draft. Ask specifically for feedback on discontinuity between sections, and suggestions for other topics they expected to see to help close the gaps.

When you find a gap, you have four choices:

  • Add a new post/chapter to fill the gap
  • Change the order of posts in the book
  • Remove a post from the book
  • Rewrite one or more of the posts to better fit together

Good books apply these four choices better than the bad ones. But with books there are no rules to follow. You as the author have to decide for yourself what you want your book to be. Good luck.

5 Responses to “How to make a good book from a blog”

  1. Jay Schumacher

    Just to throw out another example, Getting Real and Rework from 37Signals are “blog-esque” type books, with a good portion of the material coming from stuff they had previously posted. Those are probably good examples of filling in gaps with new material that compliments the posts.

    1. morgan

      so if i read a book called the goodbye quilt and i can reword it and the title of the book of different names and example the first sentence is how do you say goodbye to a piece of your heart. ok what if i say how do you say goodbye to my heart and my friends.

  2. rachel

    can you go by someones book but change names and some of the sentences. and the title of the book


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