Blogging a Book: Challenges

Photo: Irene Robert Wright, fsp. © Daughters of St. Paul

Photo: Irene R. Wright, fsp © Daughters of St. Paul

Three-day weekends when we can take two days in a row to really relax are rare in convent life. Often Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays are times when we participate in special events or pastoral projects. However, since I’ve been assigned as a writer for digital media at our publishing house in Boston, I’ve had two three-day weekends (July 4th and Labor Day), and both have allowed me to move forward with my newest writing adventure: blogging a book!

With the news just days old that my book has been accepted for publication both as a blog and as a book, I was especially excited to dive in. I want to complete blogging the book within a year. Usually with that kind of a deadline, I’d be worried about finding the time to write it. But this time I face other challenges:

  • Keeping to the overall length. Initially I proposed that the book be about 52,000 words. (About 1,000 words a week, give or take!) But I’ve been asked to keep it to 40,000 words. I’m not sure how to do that and still cover most of the approved table of contents in sufficient breadth and depth.
  • Writing about spiritual topics in byte-size posts. The publishing team also told me that short entries are better, even in print form. I imagined 250-500 words an entry; they are recommending closer to 250 words. How do I deal with spiritual topics in only 250 words? And when I revise the blog into a book, do I really want to keep each blog post separate? The “experts” recommend weaving it together, but the publishing team is recommending keeping the book in “byte size” chunks.
  • Engaging readers so that the blog is truly interactive. This is by far the most exciting part of blogging my book. To do it, the blog needs lots of readers–readers who are really engaged and who comment, share, etc. I have lots of ideas for how to make the blog engaging, but I have no clue which ideas will work. I suspect that marketing the blog and making it truly interactive will be harder than writing the book. But it will be amazingly fun if I can connect with readers as I’m writing the book, and allow them to shape the content. For me, this seems the ideal way to communicate Christ–not a one-way communication, but a true dialogue so that the readers actually become co-creators of the book, and so that what I write about is truly helpful, and really resonates with the readers.

If any readers have successfully blogged a book, or developed a book from a website, or are thinking of doing it, I’d love to hear any questions or advice you’d like to share! (From the number of people reading and following my entries on this topic, I think a lot of the readers would be eager to hear further advice as well.) 

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11 thoughts on “Blogging a Book: Challenges

  1. I have not written a book but I can give some advice.

    Keep it short; ask the Holy Spirit to help you, not for your sake, but that His Will be done through Christ Who is in you; write when prayerfully inspired; delay writing when not prayerfully inspired.

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  2. That’s exciting! I’m sure you’ll have people willing to interact on the new blog, and help spread the word about the book if you keep them up to date with the whole process on this blog. I’d love to know more about the logistics of how you release a blog and book with the same content concurrently.

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    • Marilyn,

      Thanks for the encouragement! I’ll try to keep posting as the blog develops. Right now, we’re in the process of finalizing a title for the blog–which needs to be tied into the book’s title, if not identical. Since titles are not a strength for me (and my publisher knows that!), we’re doing it together. God bless!

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  3. Congratulations on getting permission to blog your book, and to publish it as a book too. It sounds like it’s going to be difficult, though. Good luck.

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  4. What a neat idea and good luck! I’ve just started a blog this week and am previewing parts of an upcoming book … so I don’t have any advice to offer yet 🙂
    May God bless you and your ministry.

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  5. Pingback: Blogging a book: Week One! | Windows to the Soul Blog

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