When is a Blog a Book?

Books & ravenAuthors who blog may have the intention to create a book from their efforts or may be prodded to either by their audience or by a publisher who spots an opporunity in their blogging success.  For writers who have been blogging regularly for some period of time, it’s easy to lose track of the content they have created.  Posts and comments accumulate, but as time passes, they slip into the archives. 

So how you tell when it is time to consider turning your blog into a book? 

Here are some potential factors to consider.  First – have you established an engaged and loyal readership?   Second – how much content do you have and how well organized is it?  And third – which content is suitable for publication?

The answer to the first question can be found in the myriad of traffic statistics available for web sites and blogs.  For example, unique visitors, number of feed subscribers (assuming you have enabled RSS feeds), average number of page views per month, downloads, etc.  A sample of the broad scope of statistics you can collect for your blog can be found by taking the tour at Clicky, just one of a multitude of web analytics service providers. 

The second question can be answered by examining the total word count for all your posts and comments.  Take this number and divide it by the typical word count in an average size book – say 75,000 to 90,000 words.  What you come up with is the number of book equivalents.  Since not all content may be appropriate for a single book, more than one book equivalent may be necessary to produce a coherent title.  The strength of the content organization can be determined in part by the categories the author has used.  Categories can, if chosen properly, can mirror the chapters in a book.  If there is a good balance of content across relevant categories, the material is off to a good start. 

Knowing what posts are most popular and evoke the most response is a good clue as to what content will most likely do well in a book.  If you provide content for download, knowing what material gets downloaded most often is also a good indicator for inclusion in a title.  Another indicator – which posts get bookmarked on social bookmarking sites like Digg, Reddit and del.icio.us

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