Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Should I? Or should I not?

I have been asked to consider turning my blog into a book, and I'm now pondering the idea. It's true that I have written a lot of stuff over these past years, but I'm not convinced enough of them would be non-internet-specific enough for a print version.

It is certainly less work than writing a book from scratch - but it's also sort of non-ordered, non-sequitur, and containing a lot of filler posts or link lists.

And I'm just not sure whether anyone would really want to buy a version of this blog in form of a book. So I would be grateful for any feedback - what do you think about blogs turned books? Are there any articles I wrote on that blog that you'd like to have in a print version? Or should everything rather stay as it was?


Anonymous said...

If you don't mind my asking who is the publisher? I have heard a lot of the blog to books are actually scams.

That being said I know one person who turned their blog into a book and enjoyed it. Though it seemed like he spent just as much time writing the book as anyone else who wrote a book. Nice thing was he was paid a good chunk of money for it.

Kellie said...

Lurker here: I've enjoyed reading about your fiber work for a while now. Thank you!

I've worked with many indie publishing projects (of both the self-pub and trad-pub sorts), and the big question is always "Why should I, the reader, pay for something I can get for free online?" Especially when going to print necessarily limits the linking you can do and the quantity/quality of images that you can include. Even e-books are somewhat limited, and there are still permissions issues and concerns about whether links will still work over time.

I wouldn't recommend just converting the whole blog to book. It's best to curate the collection so that it has a solid focus or goal (creating a portfolio, sharing techniques or information, being your memoir, etc.). It's also good to do some editing, both to correct typos and to remove irrelevant or dated text. After that, adding some new essays or an introduction not only offers something that can't be gotten for free online, it can also draw the collected posts together into a cohesive book.

I think that it takes time and effort to do it right, whether it's self-published or put out through an established publisher. And it will take lots of marketing work to break even on investments of time and money, too.

I found your experiments with making and spinning on the great wheel very interesting, and together they make up roughly a chapter about a living history experiment. St. Elisabeth's dress is another complete experiment. Could you collect enough similar project summaries to use hands-on reproduction techniques as the central idea of a book? Does another idea strike you as potentially central, or do readers ask for more of something that could make a book's worth of writing? Do you have all necessary permissions to reprint your fantastic photos of extant pieces? What should readers expect to get out of the book? (Your personal story, directions on making their own reproductions, an introduction to the field, etc.)

If you just want an archive of your work in hard copy, that's fine too. But it won't read the way most people expect a book to read, and that makes it hard to sell. The less work you do beforehand, the more likely you are to lose money on the print/e-book edition.

That's more than I planned to write, and I hope you don't feel that it's an imposition from a total stranger. But I would definitely like to read more writing about turning abstract research into practical fiber applications. And I know from my profession that it takes time and effort to make blog posts into a full-fledged book, and any service that claims otherwise is thinking money first, quality second.

a stitch in time said...

Thank you both for your input! That was very helpful.
Doug, I'd rather not name the publisher right now, but I will make sure that it's not a scam before signing anything.

Kellie, thank you for your thoughts - I definitely don't think it was an imposition, that was exactly what I needed!