It’s been six weeks since the launch of the ProBlogger book and it has been a lot of fun to see people’s reaction to it.
Last week Amazon sold out of it and a 2nd print run took place which was pretty exciting and we’ve begun to hear reports of the books hitting shelves of bookstores outside of the US (it should be available in most countries in the next few weeks).
Two questions that I’ve been asked quite a bit recently about the book have been:
- How is Writing a Book Different from Writing a Blog?
- Why Do You Need to Write a Book and a Blog?
Today I’d like to write a few thoughts on each.
How is Writing a Book Different from Writing a Blog?
While there are some similarities between writing a blog and a book they are very different beasts.
Size and an Overwhelming Task – For me the hardest part of tackling a book was simply that a book is a much larger job and at times can be quite overwhelming to write.
While ProBlogger (the blog) has ALOT more content than the book (over 4000 posts compared to 220 pages) bloggers don’t tend to look much further ahead than their next post or two when planning a blog. But from the day you put your book submission into a publisher you are forced to look at it as a completed thing.
Deadlines – most bloggers work to the beat of their own drum. They are their own boss and post what they please when they please. While our editing team at Wiley were supportive all along the way it is a different feeling to know that you have deadlines and people watching over your shoulder to ensure you get the job complete.
Editing – most bloggers (including myself) could probably do with some editing and proof reading – however it’s not always as easy as it might seem to have someone looking at your work with a critical eye. Again – the people we worked with were good at what they did but it can take some adjusting to have someone send what you’ve written back with critique – particularly if you’ve been your own editor for years.
Co-authors – I really enjoyed working with Chris on this project for a number of reasons. For starters it was just nice to have someone else to work with (blogging can be a lonely thing at times) but I think it also enhanced what we could offer. Two people tackling a topic means two perspectives, two skill sets, two sets of experiences and expertise. I think the book is richer and more useful because of the collaboration and considering that Chris and I have never met and that during the whole process only spoke voice to voice once on Skype – I think we did OK!
The Aftermath – one of the most satisfying feelings that I have as a blogger is hitting the ‘publish’ button on a new post. Hitting it fills me with a little relief (that it’s done) mixed with anticipation and a touch of fear ( as to how it will be received).
With a book the moment of finishing it has similar feelings – yet they seem to be amplified. Perhaps it’s the length of time that it takes to write and then get published or perhaps it’s the size of the work – but waiting for reviews and reactions to trickle in is a pretty amazing feeling. It’s also been a great feeling to watch the reviews come in (there are 20 really helpful ones at Amazon).
Why Do You Need to Write a Book and a Blog?
One of the most common questions that I’ve had in interviews about the book is people wanting to know what the point of having both a blog and a book on the same topic is. ‘Can’t people just read the blog?’ and ‘Isn’t it just repeating the same stuff?’ are two different expressions of this question.
The reasons that I always wanted to do ProBlogger as a book are numerous:
Logically Presented – when you write a ‘how to’ type blog one of the frustrations is always to come up with a way of presenting the information in a way that is accessible to new visitors to the site. With 4000 posts in the archives written in a chronological order it can be difficult to come at the topic in a way that guides a new blogger through the process of setting up a blog. Even with categories and pages like Blogging for Beginners I get emails on a daily basis for people struggling to find information in a way that leads them through the process. A book is quite linear in how it is presented – and therefore meets a different need to the blog.
Up to Date – another limitation of a blog is that it is written over a period of time and as a result dates. When I started writing this blog I was a different person, using different technologies, there were different trends and tools etc. I wrote for an audience who had different needs and out of a different context myself. Again this makes it hard for someone digging around in the archives of this blog to work out what is still relevant. A book will also date – but at least all the information in it is currently current.
New Audiences – over the last week I’ve begun to hear from a different kind of reader at ProBlogger – a reader who discovered this blog through the book. Most of the book sales that we’ve had so far have probably been ProBlogger and ChrisG readers finding the book through our blogs – but when you work with a publisher like Wiley and have your book appear in stores like Borders, Barnes and Noble etc – it opens you up to new audiences. Add to this the promotional activity you do with interviews and other publicity and a side benefit of writing the book is to discover new readers for your blog.
Different Mediums Suit Different Learning Styles – I had an email from a reader today that says:
“I have been subscribed to your blog for 8 months now and have always felt like I should be getting more out of it. But today when I read your book (in one sitting) it all ‘clicked’ for me.”
She went on to explain that while the book was written in a similar style to how Chris and I blog that she felt that it was that it was in a book that helped her to ‘get’ what we were saying. Perhaps it was the more familiar medium, perhaps it was that it was presented more linearly…. but a book just seems to work for some readers better than a blog.