How does an idea become a book!??
Local blogger and Portland Bloggers leadership team member Suzannah (from Create/Enjoy) here. I’m the author of a new sewing book, DIY Wardrobe Makeovers, and I’d love to share with you some background on how I turned my blogging success into a book!
Blogging is a fun, exciting hobby or part-time profession for many of us, but I’ve noticed in my 5+ years of blogging that many successful bloggers turn their online presence into something more than a regular online journal. Some people start online courses or programs, some work with TV networks or magazines, some open brick-and-mortar shops, some write books!
Writing a book was a goal of mine since early on in my blogging career. I started my then-sewing blog, called Adventures in Dressmaking (now Create/Enjoy), from the bottom and grew with its readers as my content of projects and tutorials for embellished tees, home decor knock-offs, pretty dresses, and holiday decor slowly improved. I found a niche in the sewing/DIY blog world, and I got more ambitious. I developed a goal of someday writing a book, maybe of my favorite types of projects from my blog!
For a long time I had no idea how to go about it, though. It’s been a long process, but now my book is published and for sale on Amazon (DIY Wardrobe Makeovers), and I’m holding a book signing on June 7 at Barnes & Noble in Portland!
Here are three tips for how to turn your book idea into reality!
3 tips for turning your blog/book idea into a book!
Do you have an idea for a book?! Great!! Start formulating your concept and collecting chapter or project ideas. You’ll probably need to write a proposal and send it to publishers (or your agent). But first, here are three things you can do to get started on the right foot!
- Talk to bloggers in your niche. I got my contact for an agent in the sewing/DIY realm from asking a (local!) crafty blogger who had just published a book. She introduced me to her agent, who was absolutely essential in me putting together a good proposal and getting seen by publishers.
- Beef up your skills. Depending on the type of book you write and what you plan to contribute to it, you may need to be really great at photography, technical writing, or other skill you probably already have some of from blogging in your topic area. But regardless of who will shoot all the photos or do the design for your book, you will probably do the proposal yourself. I had a photographer friend help me with the first photos for my proposal, but I used my InDesign skills to lay out a mini-book (23 pages!) complete with an overview, marketing/reach info (such as blog stats and background), comparable titles, annotated table of contents (with photos of similar projects from my blog), sample projects, and “about the author.” And once it was time to write the book, I did the photos myself–I definitely improved my photography skills in the process, but it was really hard at first! If you have a chance to take a class in the skill you’re honing to get some practice, do.
- Do background research. Spend some time in Powell’s in the shelf where your book would be sold. Flip through other books of your nice and get familiar with the publishers’ names, the years the books came out, the similarities… and check Amazon’s recommendations for similar titles. Has someone already written a book like you were picturing? What will your book contribute that isn’t already published? An important part of my proposal was a summary of several other titles in my (then future) book’s genre. I also put together a spreadsheet of about 30 books in similar topic areas, which I sorted by year published, publisher, number of projects, etc. Get very knowledgeable about the industry you’re about to enter!
Hope those tips are helpful!
It’s so exciting to see local bloggers succeed in their goals, be it Etsy stardom, contributing to a big online mag, or writing a book! Best wishes in your blogging goals and beyond!
And, whether you’re interested in repairing and making over your wardrobe or not, I’d absolutely love to see you at my book signing on June 7 at Barnes & Noble–RSVP here! Happy to chat about blogging, Portland Bloggers, and getting a book to the finish line!