I’ve always thought that writing a book using a blog would be the logical thing to do. After all, writing a book, a play, poems, whatever, involves writing sections that you ultimately organize and put together. The process of writing can be empowered by writing for a public audience, receiving timely comments and feedback from readers. These comments for improvements or editing can be incorporated before publication.
Transforming Blogs into Books
If you read any amount of blogs you will be impressed at the quality and quantity of writing. And we now have many examples of how blogs have been turned into novels. While some of them follow a sort of journal/diary format, many of them can be transformed into many types of publications, including chapters or other headings.
Many years ago I read a blog that provided me with an idea for student writing: WWI: Experiences of an English Soldier (http://wwar1.blogspot.com). This blog was very creative–reconstructed from letters found from an actual English soldier. Well, I recently revisited this blog and found that it had been published to a book: Letters from the Trenches: A Soldier of the Great War.
One of my favorite blogs, LifeHacker, has published a couple of editions of books based upon their popular technology blog. They are now in the process of publishing their third book of their LifeHacker book, which you can read about on their WordPress blog: http://smarterware.org/6892/third-edition-of-the-lifehacker-book-due-in-2011
And most recently, I’ve read the book Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously, created from the author’s blog, the Julie and Julia Project. These examples provide powerful evidence that with a good idea, the desire to write, and others reading and commenting on your writing, you can be on your way to becoming an author.
Publishing a Book with WordPress
And what about publishing? This again is rapidly changing. Now, we have eReaders, iPads, iPods, and other reading software that allows us to read content, comment on it, bookmark it, and sync it among multiple devices. Digital publishing formats are developing, with the open-source ePub format being used with iBooks, the Barnes & Noble Nook, Google eBooks, and Adobe Digital Editions.
WordPress, one of the most popular blogging platforms, offers a convenient way to publish a book through a free plug-in called Anthologize. As you are posting to your blog (and editing your posts based upon comments from your readers!) you can organize content through Anthologize into sections.
Anthologize will then export your WordPress site into various formats, one of which is ePub. The quality and formatting of the export is excellent, and should provide many upstart authors with a convenient way to enter the digital publishing world.
WordPress Anthologize Publishing Example
For examples on how one class used this tool to publish a series of articles, take a look at The Book of mPub: http://tkbr.ccsp.sfu.ca/bookofmpub.
This creative and professional book was written in WordPress, then organized and published using the Anthologize plug-in. The blog also includes their project documentation, an excellent way to include a record of the process for review and reusing for another project.
Why Use Digital Publication?
If you want to get a book published, update your book more easily, enable linking to outside resources, and provide more options for your readers, then publishing in an ebook format makes a lot of sense.
Are you using digital tools to publish your content? What have been your experiences? Please post comments below and thanks for reading.