Many authors are now finding that the new onramp to publishing success is the blog. The list of success stories for writers starting out this way is growing every week. Some examples include:
- Gina Trapani – book: Lifehacker; blog: Lifehacker
- Tom Reynolds – book: Blood, Sweat & Tea; blog: Random Acts of Reality
- Julie Powell – book: Julie & Julia; blog: What Could Happen?
So what’s behind the nascent success of “blooks” – blogs that are converted by their authors into books? Probably the biggest reason is illustrated by Judy Clain in an interview with BusinessWeek (April 25, 2006). She is an executive editor for Little Brown, which picked up Julie Powell’s book. “There was a built in audience.” She recalled that, during a 2005 New York book fair, over a third of the people who claimed one the 1,000 copies of Julie’s book knew her blog and had been waiting for the book. Writers who blog can build their audience while they’re developing the material for their book and then they (or their publisher) can market the book back to that audience.
Publishers also like writers who blog because it gives them the opportunity to see the quality and tone of the author’s writing.
Another important factor is that blogs have many associated metrics. Publishers looking to limit their risk can see how many visitors the blog is getting, what they’re viewing and what content is the most compelling to the audience. Comments left on posts can provide some idea of the demographic / psychographic profile of the audience. They can also see what sites are referring the traffic.
In a world where publishers are looking to limit their risk, blogs can provide a little more certainty about where they should make their investments.