Nina Amir – writing coach, author, and extreme blogger – shares inspiring ideas that might make you think about completing a book one blog post at a time.
Every author, or soon to be author, who reads this blog knows one indisputable fact: completing a book is hard work. Blood, sweat and tears flow – and that’s just to get through chapter one. Yet there’s really no other route to the publishing finish line, save hiring a ghost writer or having your last name be Kardashian.
Or is there an easier way? Publishing expert Nina Amir thinks so, and after reading her book, How to Blog a Book: How to Write, Publish and Promote Your Work One Post at a Time, I do too.
Full disclosure: I have the privilege of interviewing a lot of great authors in my role as president of BookBaby. But I seldom have time to read much of their writings. Nina’s book has been an exception to this rule. Why? Because her ideas to write a book using the power of blog posts makes just too much sense to me!
This summer, as I approached the start to writing my next book (you can get my first book, The End – Now What?! free by clicking here), I wondered how I was going to find the time in my busy work and home schedule to get it done by the end of the year. Running out of ticks on the clock has stopped many a promising novel or book from even being started – let alone completed.
That’s no excuse says Nina, who is (take a deep breath) a nonfiction editor, consultant, and writing/book/blogging/author coach. She hosts five blogs, including Write Nonfiction NOW!, How to Blog a Book and As the Spirit Moves Me, pens two national columns AND speaks weekly about writing and publishing on a radio show.
“The thing that stops the majority of aspiring authors is that writing a book seems so overwhelming,” says Nina, who manages to also find the time to be a voice dialogue facilitator and currently is working on her life coaching certificate. “The project is too big, too hard, and I just don’t have enough time.”
Sounds familiar. So how does Nina recommend you start? By creating a website and featuring a blog.
Wait. If I don’t have time to write, how could I possibly have the time to write and maintain a blog?
“Every successful author is going to need a website, and really, a blog is a website all by itself,” says Nina. In fact her website says it all: Blogging provides the quickest and easiest way to write a book. You can blog your way to a book deal or to a successfully self-published book, one post at a time.
“It’s a completely doable process for writing a book, although it’s easier with non-fiction than fiction,” says Nina. “It’s chunking your book down to bite-sized bits. Blog post-sized, if you will. That means writing 300 to 500 words a day – two pages – worth. Most people, if they focus, can do that in an hour or two.”
“If you think about it, that’s an average of 400 words a day. If 70,000 words is a good sized non-fiction book, that’s about six months,” says Nina. “You could, in theory, blog two books a year if you’re dedicated. If you want to do short books, you can be blogging a book every couple of months.”
The process of writing your book “in public” on your personal blog is what makes Nina’s method appealing to me. Her method isn’t necessarily writing the book, chapter by chapter, in successive posts. (“That’s serialization,” she notes.) Her approach is a few steps upstream in the writing process.
“It’s a strategy and tactic. You’re planning and writing the book at the same time,” she says. “Breaking down your thoughts into post-sized bites. Not writing chapters out but breaking them down into, say, 10 sub headings that translate into blog posts.”
By trotting out ideas in front of your blog readers, you can actually improve your book on the fly, according to Nina. “You have real readers following your blog, and that’s so much better than beta readers,” she says. “These are people interested in your topic. You’re hitting your exact target market, and if you watch the statistics on your site, it can reveal things about your content.”
Of course, writing is only half the battle for self-published authors.
“Authors have been given the message that self publishing is easy and is a fast route to being a successful author,” says Nina. “That’s just not the way it is. I’m all for having positive thoughts and having a vision, but too many authors don’t realize that without the marketing, they won’t sell books.”
And that’s where your blog comes into play again.
“I started blogging my book at a higher pace than maybe most folks, like five to seven times a week. I put a ton of content on the blog. You can’t just do this one time a week or month,” says Nina.
It wasn’t search engine optimization wizardry or tricks that brought traffic to her blog. “It’s simple really. You have to be focused in on your topic,” says Nina. “The more consistently you blog, the more chances you have of Google finding your content, and cataloging the keywords and search terms that bring people to you. “
Nina advises each post to be between 300 and 700 words to attract search engine attention. “I did this for five months, and by month four I had the number one search spot on Google for my topic,” she says.
Nina’s book offers a wealth of tips, ideas, and – for me – inspiration to get going.
Sure enough, I’ve launched my own website and blog (authormarketer.com) and I’m kicking off book number two next month!
P.S. – Nina will be our guest for the August edition of our monthly #BBchat Twitter chat. Sign up here to get a reminder!
How To keep Blogging Simple – 5 Tips For Authors
Blogging Tips For Authors: How To Generate New Blog Ideas
How To “Blog A Book” And Become A Successful Author (An Interview With Nina Amir)
11 Articles That Will Inspire You To Finish Your Next Book
Finishing Your Novel: How To Know When You’re Done Writing Your Book