If you’ve had a blog for more than a week, you likely have at least one blog post up. More than a month or so? You may even have a whole blog series up.
Which means . . . that in another month or so, you could theoretically create a helpful non-fiction book out of your blog post or blog series.
I’ve done this before (5 or more times), and many others have done this too, so if you decide this is the year to publish your book by expanding on something already on your blog, you won’t be alone.
When expanding on posts that already exist for free on the Interwebs, it’s a good idea to take a step back and take a fresh look at the whole topic from the reader/customer perspective.
This comes in the form of five questions you can ask yourself about your current post or series as well as five general idea-generating questions you can ask yourself to create an awesome chapter/content list for your book. You can download the worksheets below (just click on them) to help you work through and record your ideas from this post.
For the purposes of this post, let’s take for example a series you did on car maintenance for your “modern superwoman” blog. P.S. If it is a single post you are turning into a book, break it down into the main points/sections you made. Below, I assume it is a series, but you can change my list out for your post sections.
1st post: Changing a Tire
2nd post: Checking All Important Car Fluids
3rd post: Changing the Oil
4th post: Changing Your Air Filters
5th post: Adding Air to Your Tires
When it’s time to write the book Car Maintenance: Superwoman Style, you’d step back and review these:
Five Questions to Ask About Your Current Blog Post or Series
For each of the posts in your series (or points in your blog post) ask yourself:
1. Can I expand it with additional points?
For example: Your post on Checking All Important Car Fluids might have included transmission fluid, engine oil, brake fluid, steering fluid, and coolant. Awesome. But now that you’re creating a book out of it, you have room to expand. Can you possibly cover windshield wiper fluid now as well?
Homework: Use the accompanying worksheets to record any expansion you can do (on each post in your series) that will add value or present a more full picture of your topic.
2. Can I focus on a different aspect?
For example: Your post on Changing a Tire might have taken a wonderful and in-depth look at each step in the process, but could you maybe focus on which tires are less prone to go flat? Or what you should look for in a spare tire? Or checking your car to make sure you have a spare? Or where to get a premium tool kit for tire changes?
Homework: Use the worksheets to write down different viewpoints/aspects of each post or point you’ve already created.
3. Can I give more background information?
For example: You may have told us all about Changing the Oil, with high-res images and everything, but might we also be interested in the background of the different types of car oil and which types are best for certain cars? And with all your great instructions on Changing a Tire, might we still need you to clarify that if we’re changing our tire on the side of a highway, there are different sets of concerns we need to address? And yes, we can check our car fluids, but are there Three (Non-Fluid) Checks You Should Do Before You Drive Your Car Each Day?
Homework: Decide >> what are some additional background points you can make (or chapters you can create) that will help your audience? Are there possibly some things you’re assuming your audience knows that they might not know? Try to talk with someone who would be an ideal reader and figure out what background information they might appreciate. Write down your ideas on your worksheet in the appropriate section.
4. Can I make it apply to a segment of people?
For example: You told us all about Changing a Tire and Checking All Important Car Fluids, but were those just general tips or did they apply to those who live in severe cold temperatures? Are there different concerns for a certain segment of people? Those who drive in the cold or in extreme heat? Those traveling great distances vs. those who only drive a few miles at a time? Those who only use their car once per week or once per month?
Homework: Think about each type of person who might want or need your book. Is there content that doesn’t fit for them? More importantly, is there additional content that you can add and create a completely different and more amazing experience with?
5. Can I write the follow-up content?
For example: You did an amazing job educating us on Changing a Tire, but now that we’ve changed it, what can/should we do with the old one? Recycle it? Donate it? Make a tire swing out of it?
Homework: Think through each post in your series (or each point in your post) and ask yourself if you followed the point all the way through? Is there something that comes afterward that your audience will consider useful? I, for one, have no idea what to do with a tire after I change it, so if there’s a way to easily donate or recycle it, I’d love to know.
Use your worksheets to write down your expansion ideas. Then, use your worksheets as you contemplate:
Five Idea-Generating Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Topic
1. Why does my ideal reader want to learn about this topic in the first place?
Our car maintenance blogger should ask: Why would my ideal reader want to learn about car maintenance? Is it because she drives an older car and doesn’t ever want to be stranded on the side of the road? Is it because she’s finally purchased her dream car and wants to keep it pristine?
This might inspire some new chapter ideas:
Chapter Idea: Tips and Tricks for Both Old and New Vehicles
Chapter Idea: Preventative Maintenance: How to Upkeep Your Baby on the Regular
Chapter Idea: The Basic Tools Any Savvy Superwoman Should Have on Hand
Chapter Idea: The 10 Checks You Should Do Before a Road Trip
Homework: Ask yourself why your reader is interested in your topic. When you write down that answer (or those multiple answers), see if it inspires any topic/chapter ideas you don’t already have written down on your worksheets.
2. Where does my ideal audience member need to start?
Our car blogger should ask: With my blog post series I just jumped into changing a tire, but is that the beginning? Where does my reader need to begin their knowledge of car maintenance as a whole?
This might inspire some new chapter ideas:
Chapter Idea: The Parts of a Car and How They All Work Together
Chapter Idea: Knowing the Lights on Your Dashboard
Homework: When you knew nothing about this topic, what would have been most helpful to know? What order would you explain this in to someone in the seventh grade? To a young child? To someone who knew almost zero about the topic? To someone who has never heard of your topic before? Write your content ideas down in the correct column of your worksheet.
3. What are additional concerns my audience might have that I have had before, heard before, or can relate to?
Our car maintenance blogger should ask: What are the things I’ve been doing so long (or have known so long) that can be real roadblocks to someone encountering them for the first time? What questions and comments do I hear when hanging out (online or in real life) with my ideal readers or people like my ideal readers?
This might inspire some new chapter ideas:
Chapter Idea: When to Take Your Car In (and What to Look For in a Mechanic)
Chapter Idea: When to Sell or Give Away Your Car
Homework: Consider surveying your friends + readers, or simply thinking through past conversations or your own experiences to develop a list of additional concerns, thoughts, or needs that might be a good fit for your book. Add your ideas to your worksheet.
4. What additional resources will enhance my audience’s understanding of this topic?
Our car blogger should ask: Are there certain topics or sections that won’t work as simple text? Does any of this fit better as videos, links, worksheets, downloads, a list of tools/resources, etc.?
This may cause new ideas such as:
Resource Idea: (Video) How to Check Your Tire’s Air
Resource Idea: Links to all the best resources to estimate what your used car will sell for
Resource Idea: (Worksheet) Car Maintenance Checklist for Cars Over 10 Years Old
Homework: Review the ideas you’ve had thus far on your worksheets and figure out whether something other than text is necessary to convey your points effectively. Write down your ideas for additional resources or materials that can complement your book.
5. Which of these topics and ideas fit together as one book and which ones could be expanded on later or made into separate books?
Both you and our car blogger should ask: Is some of this too advanced for where my ideal audience is at? Will certain chapters overwhelm my audience? Can I create additional streams of income and more specialized content by breaking some of this into mini-books, workbooks, a class, or other content?
Homework: Pull out any ideas that you want to save for a later project and set them aside. Flip back to the first page of your worksheets and record all your final chapter/content ideas. Use this to make your official outline for your new book.
So yes, there are definitely ways to use blog post content, but make it more full and more useful as a book. I think you simply focus on developing the important things that you know will really make a difference for your audience, and then plan out your current book (and any follow-up books) to address the needs and immediate interests of your readers.
If they are your primary motivation during the process, you’ll likely see great content ideas naturally form, and meh ideas naturally fade. So tell me good friend of the Internet, will you be creating a book or product out of some of your blog posts? Have you already done so? Do tell . . .
Photo (c): @skmuse_ (from Unsplash.com)
Thanks for this post! I haven’t turned a blog post or series into a book yet but I think it is totally possible after considering your tips. I’m doing infobomo right now and LOVE it–you are all so incredibly generous with your time and the information you’re giving us. I am curious, is it too much for a blogger to come up with new eresources each month or every other month during the year? Would readers get overwhelmed with yet another thing for sale?
p.s. I really need this superwoman car maintenance book. Someone please write it. 🙂
Haha, Jennie. I need the book too. Plus video tutorials. And probably in-person trainings as well.
In answer to your question, I don’t think that’s too much. Especially if you frame it as building your digital library. “Hey friends, I added another resource to the digital library today, it’s a short eGuide on ______” doesn’t seem sales-y or like you’re trying to get all my money.
And hey, the reality is, if you’re keeping up with useful free content in the meantime and I really want/need what you have to say, then I’ll just happily give my money and budget for the books/products I want the most from you.
Thank you so much for your kind words about InfoBoMo as well, Jennie. We’re really loving all the progress and interaction!
Thanks for your reply, Regina! 🙂 I would absolutely need to have in-person consultations for car stuff.
My blog is only 1 month old, but one of my goals is to publish e-books. So, these tips are really useful. Thanks for sharing!
LOVE the name of your blog, Rosa, and the bright colors. Congratulations for setting up your blog so well; I actually can’t tell it’s only 1-month old. Thank you for taking the time to comment on this post.
Thanks! I’m quite proud of my “baby” blog.
Saw the cat marshmellows on your blog….you have a new subscriber! 🙂
One of the best parts of my day is seeing a new post from you! Your content is always so purposeful and I really appreciate the tips you’ve outlined! One of my long term goals is to create an ebook. I love knowing I can expand on posts that I’ve already written and thus don’t have to start over! Can we say winning? You made a once complicated topic (for me) extremely relatable with the car analogy! Love your content and can’t wait for the next post!
You are so incredibly sweet to say that. Thank you. Your Styled Stock Photography webinar looks so great. Love that graphic too, by the way.
Thank you again for taking time out to leave this comment.
Hi Miss Regina!
Thanks so much for your kind words! The webinar has been an amazing opportunity. You’ve been such a blessing to me and I really appreciate you!
Awesome post + information as usual Regina! One of my goals this year is to create at LEAST one e-book, (my first!) and this will be something that I can refer back to when looking through my current content to come up with ideas. And I really, really love how you include “homework” in your posts! (I’m a sucker for fun homework.) 🙂
Allison, I’m really happy to hear about your first eBook, and I seriously hope you’ll have the time to update me as you’re creating it or when it’s ready.
P.S. I love how freaking fun and beautiful your site is. Oh, and I’m a sucker for homework too, so in other words . . . I think you’re super cool.
Thank you for taking the time to comment, Allison. I always love hearing from you.
It is an interesting read and highly informative!
This is so awesome! I love all your examples on how to think outside the box bc that is something that’s really difficult for me. These prompts and questions to ask myself can really help in developing some great content. I want to eventually write a book or e-book and have been trying to figure out what it would be about and if I could even write enough. Thanks for sharing!
Erin, thank you so much for your comment. I would LOVE LOVe LOVE to see a book from you. You have so much depth to share.
And on a non-deep level, do you have a favorite homemade almond butter recipe on your blog? Would love to know how you make it.
Thank you for taking the time to comment, by the way. That means a lot to me.
So my two favorites are my amaretto almond butter and dark chocolate sea salt:
They’re so easy to make! Let me know if you do!
This was great! My biggest trouble came at the beginning of last week of #infobomo — I was feeling kind of down because I was like “maybe this would just be better as a blog post” and then I read through a couple of things on your site, one of them was the blog post template that involved coming up with “baby questions” and that honestly saved my book idea. I was inspired to rearrange my outline and a lot of the “baby questions” I came up with for my self helped me figure out how to fill-in my book.
This post was definite reassurance that I’m on the right track + I love adult homework (:
A.G., thank you for this comment. Baby questions save my life and my writing on a regular basis. I’m seriously glad I’m not the only one.
Also, thank you for loving adult homework. I’m so glad us homework-lovers have a place in this crazy online world.
Also, also, thank you for being epic on Twitter. You make that place way more fun.
Yes, yes, and yes! lol of course.
I just wanted to tell you what a tremendous online resource you are to me! I got your Epic Love my band kit to start filling out. Listened to your podcast and cannot wait for the next one.
I already have a brand and am relaunching and I find this is an excellent time to re-evaluate strategy, focus and finding the heart of the value and the difference I can make in people’s lives.
So thank you so much!
Delicious information as always.
I’ve been itching to write a book but can’t settle on a subject but this an absolute help. Thank you, Regina.
Thanks so much for this info. I’m actually in the process of doing this very thing. The worksheets will be a wonderful asset. Is there a way to download the worksheets? Thanks again for sharing.
I need to finish a partially written ebook/workbook that I’ve had in the works for way too long. I love all of these questions. Keeping stuff out seems to be the tricky part for me, I always find myself adding more and more and more detail.
I had this idea….but backwards. To create a series of posts based off a book to increase sales of the book. So write a book, then write spin-off posts to link to within the book and to link to the book from then..wait….now I’ve confused myself….I think I like your plan better 😉
So far I’ve created a short eBook for one of my sites, but once I have more content (my site is only a few weeks old), expanding blog posts into a book would be totally do-able.
I’m working on the “starter version” of INFOBOMO right now, and I appreciate all of the tips and guidance from you and the team. I discovered your site about a month ago, and I thought that it might be time to actually leave a comment and express appreciation for all of your hard work.
Thanks for being an inspiration,
OMG yay! Someone from twitter forwarded this to me because I’ve been thinking of turning a blog series I plan on starting soon into a book if it all goes well. Glad I read this now I’m really excited to do it! 🙂
This is immensely helpful! I’ve been thinking I need to set up my subscription service with a free download, but wasn’t sure what to make for the download. I’ll have to browse my blog to come up with a topic, but I know where to go from there now!
Thank you for sharing this post. I’ve worked on my first ebook where I am supposed to turn my blog post series into for a few months; however, I have one big problem in my mind: “What book title should I put?” So I just want to find the best book title. I am glad that your “homework” plan works for me 🙂
Brilliant Regina – I love this post! I am literally in the process of writing a post series (in fact, I’ve just started it) and the other day I was thinking ‘could I turn this into an e-book?’. Needless to say, I’ve downloaded your worksheets for some serious planning.
Inspiring and invaluable reading as ever. Thanks so much for sharing this. (I’ve already shared it on Pinterest too!)
Ah! I should have read this earlier this week, haha. Totally helpful for my new epic post vs series/ebook 🙂
I also have been wanting to create a library of guides so this will come in perfect for that. I have begun monthly themes on the blog and will package up the themes plus additional info and quotes from my readers into a guide to add to the library. Love this post so much, thanks as usual!
Thank you so much for this great post. I’ve just started a blog and I would LOVE to one day write a book. It’s very insightful and to see how you would break it down and it’s something I should consider with each blog post in compiling a book one day. I really enjoy reading all of your posts about blogging as there aren’t many well written ones that are female based. Thank you and keep up the good work!! 😉
This is a really cool idea. Love the way you presented it. It might be something I can do by next year when I accumulate enough posts 🙂
This is my first time here and I’m already in love with your images Regina!
I love the idea of turning blog posts into a book! I published a book in my last year of university but it was just stories, I’ve never considered my blog content as publishable, but now that you mention it, some of it would probably make an interesting collection!
Thanks for the useful information! I want to make a blog and I will use your tips.
Can you tell me more about this topic? Thanks.
Regina, every time there’s a new post from you on your blog it totally makes my day.
So – I’m a little late joining the party. I registered for the course anyway because I need the guidelines and to learn the disciplines of actually doing this. I’ll be starting my Infobomo in July (June is just unrealistic and I have to accept that). I’m excited to learn all this. Your blog has been such an inspiration. Thank you. (btw – I signed up for Infobomo with a different email than the one I’m registered by to receive newsletters. That ok?)
Awesome as always. I’ve been wanting to create an ebook to sell, but I’m really having a hard time. But this post is super helpful! Thanks Regina!
Hi Regina! I’ve been reading through a bunch of your posts (just finished my blog business plan!) and this one especially resonates with me as I have a half-finished 10-part series that would so make a great e-book! I’ve been pretty lax and inconsistent about blogging thus far but am really determined to make a go of it this time – thanks for the inspiration to finish the series and then turn it into an e-book! 🙂
Thanks for posting this article. I just to let you know that I just check out your site and I find it very interesting and informative.
This is fantastic and really came at the right time for me because I’m in the process of creating a free printable that folks will get when they join my email list and was stuck. Thank you for breaking it down into bite sized pieces. 🙂
Great post! I started my blog on May 1 complete with a free ebook. Your tips have been a revelation! This was so timely as I work on my first book to sell. I am trying to figure out how many pages make it legitimate.
Once again… You Rock!!!
AMAZING as always, Regina!
This is AWESOME! I often feel like my blog posts are actually turning into books. I didn’t even really think about the fact that I could possibly make them both. Thanks as always for the great info 🙂
Great post! I’ve bookmarked it and printed out the worksheets in case I ever DO decide to turn one of my posts into a book. 🙂 Thanks for posting such epic (free!) content! #ReginaIsTheBest
This is perfect for me! Appreciate!
Thanks for this great information. I totally agree with your perspective. Your articles made me want to read more.
I just wanted to say thank you so, SO much for this post! I’m in the process of expanding a few of my blog posts into an e-book, and these questions/worksheets are right up my alley.
Being a brand new blogger (about 3 months), the whole process has been a lot to take in, but your posts and awesome-sauce info have helped me so much along the way!
Keep on doing what you’re doing… you rock! 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing this! I’ve recently been thinking about turning a blog series into an ebook and this post will definitely help me with that process. Much appreciated!
Regina… i just discovered your site last week and I LOVE IT!!
Listening to the podcast on what to email to your email list… so full of good tips! I should really be paying more attention to my email list. For now, I only use it for sending weekly updates of my blog posts (showing an excerpt with a link to the actual post), and sometimes I send out a newsletter.
Also thinking of writing e-books and expanding some of my popular how-to posts into ebooks that can be sold! Thanks so much for all the work you’ve put into sharing all these tips!
Jenny from Little Girl Designs sent me over. I’ve been toying with the idea of making an e-book. Thanks for the tips!
This is genius! I had been struggling on what to include in my upcoming ebook and really worried about not having enough information but after cursorily going through your suggestions and prompts, I’m rock solid on what will be in the book and what will be even more specialized content. THANK you! This is fantastic!
This is such a wonderful and timely resource for me Regina, thank you! I’m in the process of creating a post series of Art Business Resources for new artists. I had been asked so many times how I got started in my art business, how to do art shows, wholesale, etc. So I started this series last month and I’m now seriously considering creating an ebook out of it! I’m definitely printing out your worksheet and getting to work! Thanks again!
I need to get started on this, thanks for the post Regina! I’ve noticed that a post I’ve written about egg free cupcakes has gone viral! And although it’s not something I want to pursue right now, I thought I’d put a free egg allergy guide as a content upgrade just to see the interest and you know what? People are signing up! Since I don’t want to turn my whole brand about that, I was looking for a monetizing alternative and this is just perfect! I mean, I could start a separate blog for that or something, but for now an ebook is a good alternative for a few extra bucks.
Julie @ http://www.xfallenmoon.com
OH MY GOSH… Because OMG just doesn’t cut it. This post. End all, be all! I think most people starting out with info products wonder this!! How do you re-use your free content into paid content. Not only can you apply this from blog post series to book; but also expanded into courses, workshops – the list goes on! Regina, you’re a genius.
I would like to register for the InfoBoMo, is it still open?
One of the reasons I started my blog wss to generate content and feedback for a book.
This is exactly what I needed, I’m looking for ways to grow my podcast “The Browngirl Experience” into more and this was the missing part
I love you for this
Thanks for posting. Food for thought here. I’ve been mulling over this idea for a while now. Husband said why would someone buy your book when can get it for free on my blog. Youve raised some good points. Thanks