How A Blog Post Helped Me Land a Book Deal

A new graphic for a new RW&G series!

Dear friends:

I have a book deal.

Yup.

And I got it from a blog post shortly after I reshared via social media–on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter simultaneously using BufferApp.com–several months after it first appeared here at RW&G.

There’s a lesson here about making the transition from blogger to newbie author.

A couple of them, actually.

Lemme break them down for you:

1. Write good content. If you want people to “discover” your mad word skills, you gotta put yourself out there.  And what you write needs to be good. I’m not talking about immaculate paragraphs filled with textbook-calibre grammar, folks. As a former magazine editor for a regional publication, I gave up on grammatical perfection a long time ago. (Unless your biz card reads “Copy Editor,” and then it’s your job to be perfect). Nope, in the case of most writers, your work needs to channel your unique voice and interests. Plus, the more you practice writing, the better you’ll get at it, so…

2. Write often. I’ve been hearing for years that I should “post every day.” Last fall, I decided to try it for six months, see what happened. One of the blog posts–written because I’d developed the “habit” of writing so often–is, you guessed it, the very one that the my new editor “discovered.” Creating a large volume of writings and diversified topics gave me a boost as a writer. (There’s a bit more to discuss regarding the wonders of daily posting that I plan to address in the future.) Once you’ve written your posts though, they aren’t going to do anyone any good unless you drive traffic to your site, so…

3. Regularly place links to your posts via social media where people can see it. And if an opportunity presents itself, put a good post out there again. I wish I could take credit for the idea of resharing old content, but I can’t. Some bloggers are fearful of doing that–it feels dishonest to them or “spammy”, but if you’ve got a lot of content on your blog or site and it’s just sitting there in isolation, you are putting a great big ol’ basket over your awesomeness. Actively seek out opportunities (a conversation, a meme, a Zeitgeist thing) to reshare relevant and engaging material. Then pin, tweet and share away. If you’re worried about overkill, keep a list in your head or on a sheet of paper and make a point to reshare only one post per week.

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As you can guess, I’m pretty excited about this book project. It’s the perfect blend of my interests, my current skill level as a non-fiction author, and reflects the changing face of book publishing. For my first book (detect the optimism?), I was lucky to sign with an upstart, boutique publisher that has an excellent reputation in a growing niche market. I’ve promised not to reveal too much about the specific topic until my publisher does some sharing of their own, but the rest of the book scoop shall appear here very soon.

Now, guess what? I intend to share this new experience with you, dear readers, in a series of short posts entitled “From Blog Post to Bookshelf: One Writer’s Journey.” (Hence the new graphic up top.) I love process-oriented posts that offer readers a glimpse “behind the scenes,” and I thought this would be a great way to show what it’s like for me and perhaps inspire one (or two!) of you to make the transition.

Note that my friend Chris Barton (a fabulous, award-winning writer and fellow former East Texan) started a process-oriented series on his blog, Bartography, for his latest book just as I was signing the contract for my project. Credit to him for the general idea–and please go read his blog and buy all his books. Stat!

As for my series, feel free to weigh in here or via Facebook or Twitter (links below) with any specific questions that you have about this newbie author process thing, and I’ll see what I can provide by way of an answer.

Next in the series: How to Create a Filing System for Your First Non-Fiction Book

Explore More:

• Be sure to check out my Career? What Career? Pinterest board. Lots of good stuff over there for writers, bloggers, authors, etc. Currently, I have this image pinned (with old-fashioned pins) above my desk for inspiration.

• Earlier this year I decided to go with a monthly book giveaway program. It’s helped me reach new audiences and get the word out on some great books by fellow (!) authors. This month’s featured giveaway is here. Go register!

 

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17 comments

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge. I especially liked what you said about grammar. It’s something I have fretted over a bit on my blog, but I am glad to hear that perfection isn’t expected. I followed you over from the TX Blogger group, and I am so glad to have discovered you, and I can’t wait to continue following your blog.

    • Aw, thanks. For print I always say, “Good writing is rewriting… and spell-checking,” but I think for blogging a good, solid first draft is fine.

      Heck, I misspelled a word in this post and didn’t find it until after it posted. So I fixed it. No biggie.

      My feeling is that as long as you can communicate your ideas clearly, your grammar is fine. And you can always run it through Word for a grammar and spelling check if you’re really worried, right? =)

  2. Congratulations! Your information about everything and social media is always so intriguing and helpful. Can’t wait to see the book. And you on CTG to promote it!!

    • Well, this book isn’t a gardening one, but the next one might be… so I will hold you to that!

  3. This is so wonderful, I’m incredibly happy for you! And the fact that you’re sharing the process with your readers shows again your generosity of spirit. I look forward, as always, to reading about this new branch of your journey.

  4. I’m so happy for you! How very, very exciting! I’ve just started reading your blog last year, but I really appreciate all that you have to share. I’m really looking forward to reading your book. I’m also so happy your going to share your experience here on your blog, too. I’m working on getting together some short e-books to put up on Amazon’s Kindle, so I’m interested in hearing your own publishing journey.

    • Thanks for the note, Christina. Unless I get lucky again–and because the publishing world is changing so rapidly!, I anticipate that my next book will likely be self-published via CreateSpace or similar. Therefore I’ll be interested to learn more about YOUR experience, too.

  5. I just came across your website through http://ht.ly/b9T4p (Social Media and Gardening Podcast) and wanted to let you know that I’m enjoying your blog.

    Regarding this post – Congratulations and thank you – as an aspiring author myself, this is really good advice. As for me I plan on self-publishing to start, but once I build enough of a platform, maybe I’ll get approached. Enjoy!

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