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From Blog to Book in real time

August 1, 2007


Most of the talk at BlogHer07 last week focused on taking a blog and turning it into a book, and using blogs to promote books.  They didn’t cover something that we at Wiley have done, and that’s to create a book in a blog. 

One of our first and most visible experiences with this method of content creation was with Naked Conversations: How Blogs Are Changing The Way Businesses Talk With Customers, where authors Robert Scoble and Shel Israel posted chapters on the book’s blog site.  We as publishers learned a lot, good and bad, from this experiment…

* Blogging the book allowed us to have our target audience comment on the book as it was being created.  Feedback, for better or worse, was taken by the authors and editor Jim Minatel and used to craft the final version of the manuscript.

* The authors were able to apply the principles that they were putting forth in the book live on the site. It served to engage the audience and get them jazzed about the book before it was published.  They then promoted the book in the blogosphere to others and helped generate good word of mouth.

* Another reason the authors wanted to create the book this way was to generate interest from the media, to use it as a PR hook, if you will.  Unfortunately, most journalists were not comfortable with reviewing a book this way, and wanted to wait for an advance copy of the final manscript.  The process itself was not deemed newsworthy by conventional media and coverage did not really start until after the early galleys were sent out.   This went for both journalists who cover the publishing industry as well as those in the tech and business sector. 

In retrospect, for the most part our editorial and marketing goals were achieved. We’d certainly look at creating a book this way again, given the opportunity.   I think we’d have to look at new ways to engage the media, but as they may be seeing this approach more often in the future, hopefully the comfort level will increase. 

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