Blog to Book: The Pros & Cons of Self Publishing
By: Taylor Davies

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Have you ever thought about turning your blog into a book?

Over the past few years, we’ve seen many of our favorite blogs transformed into books (The Sartorialist, P.S. – I Made This…, I Spy DIY, Cupcakes & Cashmere) This is a fabulous achievement for the entire style blogging community – but certainly not a reality for everyone. These bloggers have the support of literary agents, publishing houses and PR teams to help them through the development, production and promotion of a book.

However, don’t let the daunting stats behind these bigger blogs deter you! If you have a clear vision, quality content and a lot of dedication – you can publish on your own. Perhaps the most well-known success story in our community is that of Yuli Ziv, who’s book Fashion 2.0: Blogging Your Way To The Front Row has become a must-read among bloggers. She self-published her book through Create Space in July of 2011.

How Do You Start?

“Originally I was going to do a short 40-50 page ebook,” says Crosby Noricks, who self-published Ready To Launch: The PR Couture Guide To Breaking Into Fashion PR in the spring on 2012. “Only after the book kept getting longer and longer did I think about doing something else. I was inspired by Yuli’s choice to self-publish using Amazon’s Create Space, and decided to try my luck that way.”

Noricks writes a blog called PR Couture, and says the decision to write a book came before knowing what she was going to fill it with. Sally McGraw, who recently turned her blog, Already Pretty, into a self-published book agrees, but says her process was a bit different.

“I wrote a proposal and sent it to literary agents,” says McGraw. “It took about five months of submissions before I connected with an agent and signed on. I spent a full year submitting my book to various publishers, from the behemoths of the industry to tiny indie houses. All of the publishers said some version of the following: The book is well-written and original, Sally is terrific, and we’re not going to publish it because she’s not Tim Gunn and it’s too much of a financial risk.”

McGraw decided to take matters into her own hands. She had dreamed about becoming a published author since she was eight years old, and her desire to produce a book that was truly of her own creation motivated her to publish on her own. As she and Norcks will tell you, there are some serious pros and cons to the venture.

The Pros of Self-Publishing:

  • You have total creative freedom
  • You control how, when and where you market your book
  • “The accomplishment of building something from the ground up.” – Sally McGraw
  • You can use a platfortm like CreateSpace – an Amazon-owned company – to print and distribute your book. “They were very helpful, and it only took a few weeks from file submission to live on Amazon,” says McGraw

The Cons of Self-Publishing:

  • As a solitary opporation, it can be incredibly stressful
  • Literary agencies and publishing houses have an already established network of connections, and built-in distribution channels
  • Unless you can find someone else do help, designing the physical layout of the book can be extremely time-consuming
  • You’re responsible for all promotional costs, which can get expensive if you’re working with a tight budget
  • With the proliferation of ebooks and digital publishing, the print route is risky

Some ideas from Noricks and McGraw for promotions:

  • Reach out to fellow bloggers about possible reviews, giveaways and promotion incentives
  • Work with press that’s small, local or specialized to your book’s topic
  • Organize a local event to promote youself and encourage sales

And in the end…

“Maybe I’ll sell 100 copies to my friends, family, and loyal readers and then the book will disappear forever. But it feels fantastic to have followed this project to completion, despite being pooh-poohed by the struggling traditional publishing industry.” – Sally McGraw

“For me, writing the book was a natural progression after five years of writing PR Couture and speaking all over the country about fashion marketing and social media – it feels good to have the added legitimacy of the book, and it’s a great excuse to throw yourself a party!” – Crosby Noricks

 

Have you ever thought about turning your blog into a book?

(image credit: Tommy Ton on JackandJill.com)

Comments

  1. Tali says:

    Interesting article, I didn’t know about almost any of the books listed here.
    As for turning blog into a book, I got the impression that most of the books here talk about how to become a successful blogger and are not just a copy of a blog. Speaking of which, I don’t understand why people need to print another book, spending more and more trees when there’re electronic solutions present, especially when it’s just a copy of what we’ve already seen (I’m referring to the Sartorealist book). As for advice and how-to’s, those I always find very interesting, especially written by successful people.

  2. Jamila Payne says:

    I have self-published a book and it did really well at launch and is still selling through Amazon. It’s a detail oriented process if you want to deliver a good product but if you are a highly creative person beyond writing it can be enjoyable. I would be happy to share some tips on my blog later this week. If anyone wants a link when they are published let me know or join my feed {at} jamilapayne.com

  3. Avatar of Filipa
    Filipa says:

    I would love to publish a book with my own photography. I’ve been thinking about it for a while, and the idea seems even better after I’ve read this post.
    But I’m still a beginner, so I guess I should wait a few years and make a nice collection.
    Thank you for writing this, it’s really helpful!

    Filipa from http://ohmyfilipa.blogspot.com
    xx

  4. Sabine says:

    It’s nice to see that more bloggers release their own book. It’s very inspiring!

    For more than five years I own my blog, Shopperella.net. A dutch blog by and for a shopaholic. And I have to admit that it was sometimes difficult to continue blogging when there was not much traffic.. I had so many times when I wanted to quit, but I didn’t. If you enjoy what you’re doing for a long time notting can go wrong.
    Three years ago I got a very surprising mail from a company that publish schoolagenda’s. They’d asked me if I would like to make a agenda with them. Of course I could’t say no to that! I always had a dream to design and make something in the form of paper. This year the second agenda was in stores and the third agenda is in the making. It is truly a dream come true!

  5. Clive says:

    Self publishing companies are like a ray of hope for the struggling writers who have been rejected by many publishing companies or put on the strange terms and condition. On the other hand Self publishing companies give you the freedom how would you like to treat your book and with their experience guide you on every aspect of publishing a book even promote your book through various mediums.

    Great post as always!

  6. Interesting! PR Couture is a beloved resource among fashion PR girls, gents and brands who rely on our fresh insight into public relations, marketing and social media as well as expert interviews, strategic counsel and job leads. Our articles, resources and community keep you outfitted you for success – in and out of the office. Thank you!

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