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Thread: Will a blog hurt my chances of selling a book

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Will a blog hurt my chances of selling a book

    Hi,

    I'm currently writing a nonfiction book and would like to post chapters
    from it in my blog. Does anyone think my book would be less attractive
    to publishers or agents because most of it will have already been published online?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW
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    Yes don't publish it to your blog.

  3. #3
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Yes, very much so. You need to retain first publishing rights. Some publishers won't care, but many will.

  4. #4
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Thank you both for your help.

    I was afraid that might be the case!

  5. #5
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    As per my view there's less of a stigma with self-publishing than there used to be, but it will be hard to get publishers to pick up a book that has already been published. If the sales are poor, then the publisher will assume that there's no money to be made publishing this particular book. If sales are good, that may sway publishers in the writers favor,but since it's a somewhat niche topic they may assume that lots of the people who would want to read the book have already bought a self-published copy. You'd be cannibalizing your own audience. In my point view sense there are a lot of language learners who are very geeky and plugged in and there's a good word-of-mouth network for excellent products, so I do think that self-publishing might work well for you.On the other hand, there is a third way. Start a blog and publish short articles about language learning. Then, you won't be cannibalizing your audience -- you'll be building a platform of people who are really excited about your book. Publishers really like that.
    Last edited by Old Hack; 12-17-2012 at 09:02 PM. Reason: Sig-line spamming

  6. #6
    Just the facts, please
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    I have heard the same thing about platform-building. If you blog about topics and issues and items in the news related to your subject, you're creating an audience for your work and perspectives. If you bring that to a publisher - "I blog on XY topics with a daily audience of 5,000 readers" - that's a feather in your cap.

  7. #7
    Old dog, a few new tricks
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    I definitely agree with the previous comments. A contributor to our blog won a book contract based on her online contributions. Editors, reporters, and even television producers occasionally troll our blog for material and writers.

    As for publishers, I'd go one step further and avoid signing with anyone who doesn't really understand the power of internet self-publishing/promotion. A simple well designed blog with interesting material can build up a dedicated following. A web-savvy publisher knows that a certain percentage of your readers will buy your print or ebook. This reduces their initial financial risk. I'd crunch a few numbers and point this out to them in the book proposal.

  8. #8
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    It would be as incorrect to assume the internet is important for all books as to assume it is irrelevant to all books.

    As a reminder the question here was about publishing the book itself, on a blog.

  9. #9
    Old dog, a few new tricks
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    It would be as incorrect to assume the internet is important for all books as to assume it is irrelevant to all books.
    I'll think that one over and get back to you once I've got 50 posts and graduate from New Fish to Thread Starter.

    In the meantime, to get back to the OP's question: I definitely think that blogging chapters of a NF book can be helpful in attracting the attention of readers and publishers. If the book is actually a good read or somehow useful it will probably find an audience beyond the limits of the blog format.

    I wouldn't blog an entire book, mainly because it would be a waste of bandwidth. Have you ever tried to read an entire book on a computer screen? Reach for the aspirin! (A downloadable ebook is another matter, so I won't digress further into that topic.)

    Assuming you do publish your entire masterpiece on a blog, only a few hardy souls can be expected to plow all the way through it. If they think the book is great, however, you've just gained your most effective marketing tool: "the talker".

    Or, to paraphrase the Furry Freak Brothers, "Word-of-mouth will get your book through times of no marketing budget, better than marketing will get you through times without word-of-mouth".

    From an author's standpoint, word-of-mouth and building a readership is really what blogs are about.

    As for concerns about specific publishing rights, that is best put aside until you've been offered a contract from a reputable publisher, not before.

  10. #10
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    If the publisher's concern is whether you still have first publishing rights, not worrying about it might cause you never to be offered that contract. It certainly would have killed the contract I finally got with Wiley-Blackwell.

  11. #11
    Just the facts, please
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    For a contrary perspective, there is Nina Amir: http://howtoblogabook.com/

    Not endorsing, just passing it along.

  12. #12
    My name is PJ. P-Jay's Avatar
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    Another ridiculously successful, contrary perspective, check out Tim Ferriss' blog. Lots of good information there about blogging and writing. www.fourhourblog.com

    In one of the blog entries, he mapped out step by step how he went from blogging, to meeting an agent, to writing, to marketing it all the way to #1 on the NY Times.

    Though keep in mind, Tim Ferriss is known to "hack" traditional procedures.

  13. #13
    practical experience, FTW FCameron's Avatar
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    Just a heads-up: It is so easy for blog content to be scraped in entirety and posted on another website.

    I've been blogging for years about home, garden & travel tips. It's astonishing how many times hundreds of my posts, including photos, have been taken and posted on other websites. In one case (a foreign group) stole EVERY post on my blog--duplicated it!

    I've managed to have some of those websites taken down by reporting to search engines, but it's harder to do that now as you have to go through so many legal hoops to prove the content was yours to begin with. Seriously.
    Freda Cameron

    Thriller: R&R underway for agent
    Thriller: WIP
    Historical Fiction: Researching

    When I'm not writing fiction, I blog (unedited) about what I love at Defining Your Home, Garden & Travel

  14. #14
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Thanks everyone for your great comments.

    It was actually Nina Amir's book that gave me this idea in the first place.
    Since my book is a collection of interviews with television legends, I may
    just blog about related topics and post a few quotes from the interviews
    as "teasers." On the other hand -- having any of it stolen
    (or giving someone else the idea to write a similar book which might compete
    with mine) are things to consider...

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