Blogging is a great way to create content and share it with an audience, and a website is an ideal platform in which to display all your work. But eventually there will be so much information on your site that it becomes harder for people to find everything that is available.
One of the ways to overcome this is to group content together in a way that makes sense to readers.
Produce an e-book.
E-books are often mentioned by blogging sites, as a way in which you can re-use material without too much effort.
This might be a slightly simplified take on e-book production, but with the right support and guidance it can still be relatively easy to do.
In this article I will share some of the techniques that I use to create content for an e-book.
Creating Blog Content
The first stage in re-using blog content is to (obviously) write the content as blog posts. Ideally, although this might not always be possible, it is better to write the posts with the end product of an e-book in mind.
What should you consider when designing your blog sequence.
- Choose a theme – your book needs to be focused on a particular theme and each blog post will be on a topic that contributes to this overall theme.
- Make sure each blog post is self contained (like a chapter). This means not depending on any internal or external links, which work great on websites but can’t always be used in an e-book format.
- Post length is consistent, probably between 1,000 – 1,500 words unless you want to combine posts for one chapter.
- Have a particular level in mind. Is it a beginner or an advanced guide you are writing then all the posts need to be at the same level.
Once you have written sufficient content, the next stage is to think about converting your material into an e-book format.
Using Writing and E-Book Software
Writing the content of an e-book can be done in any software or publishing package, however converting to an e-book format is not always readily available. Although there are different ways to do this, the way I have chosen is through a software package called Scrivener.
There is a detailed review of Scrivener already on this website, which explains what the software offers. It is a general writing software package used for many things not just e-book publishing.
One of the options it has is to compile content into different formats, including in .epub for an e-book in Kindle.
The screenshot shown opposite shows how simple the software is to use. It is a two click process that is exactly the same as a saving content.
Editing Blog posts
Most blog posts are written in WordPress and although they can be cut and pasted into Scrivener, I have noticed that if I paste them into Word first and remove any formatting that WordPress has added, this tidies things up a bit more.
Otherwise this can become a problem with blog posts that have numbers or bulleted lists, or images with labels. After that is completed I simply do another copy and paste into Scrivener.
Formatting in Scrivener
I have learnt (the hard way), that the way to structure your content to produce chapters, is by using the folder system on Scrivener.
Each chapter is its own folder, as shown on the left hand side of the screenshot below. This ensures that when it’s compiled, a chapter heading and page separators are automatically formatted in the right place.
Editing Your COntent from a Blog Post to an E-Book
Most of the content written for your blog will remain, but there might be some slight editing things to watch for;
- replacing the phrase in this article, to in this chapter.
- removing links to websites (although I have kept some in because on Kindle people can still link)
- ensuring the content flows from one chapter to the next
- removing concluding statements in blogs such as – please share on social media or please leave a comment below.
In addition make sure at some point to add a link to your website, in case anyone is purchasing the book but has not visited your site, it is another promotion opportunity.
Publishing With Amazon
Publishing your e-book is the next stage in the process and again there are a number of options for doing this. I have started my own books with Amazon and this is the process I will share with you in this article.
Although many writers might not like Amazon the main reasons for me doing this were;
- It has the largest kindle and online book sales.
- It offers a library so readers have the option of accessing your material in different ways.
- It has an easy to see and manage dashboard, so you can see when book sales increased (in line with promotions you ran).
- It has an easy (when you are used to it) system for uploading e-books.
- It has the option to design your own cover.
In short it is easy to use even if you have absolutely no experience in producing e-books.
Uploading Your E-book
Amazon has a very simple step by step process for uploading your e-book once it has been formatted and is ready.
You start by setting up your own Kindle Direct Publishing account and you will start with a dashboard such as the one shown in the screenshot.
Once you have clicked on the Create new title, the process is divided into 6 steps, that are laid out in a very simple and easy to follow format.
- Book Details – this includes the title and a sub title if you want and a description of the book. There are also other categories such as whether it is part of a series. There is also the option to include the name of a book publisher if it is a publisher using the Amazon platform.
- Publishing Rights – this gives two options whether the book is your own material or is content already publicly available.
- Target Customers – this gives you the option to choose your categories that the book will be listed under. These headings are very broad so finding a best fit could be a little challenging.
- Book Release Option – two options either release now or offer as a pre-order.
- Book Cover – you can upload or create a book cover. The first book I printed I had difficulties using their own cover tool and ended up using my own photograph and adding in the details. However for the second book it worked very easily.
- Upload Book – you upload the book and also select whether you want the digital management enabled. This is related to distribution and lending rights and is designed to stop unauthorised distribution.
Pricing Your E-Book
The next stage is to decide a price, Amazon has a system that calculates your size of book and category and compares it to other similar works in the system. A recommended price and royalty option is then offered that is designed to maximise your earnings and sales. You can change this if you aren’t happy – and remember most e-books are sold relatively cheaply.
Once this has been decided the book can be launched and you will receive an email with your Amazon link, so you can start promoting the product.
Monitoring Your Sales and Readers
Amazon has a nice sales dashboard for monitoring sales and checking on your progress. There are two report graphs in your dashboard, the first shows sales made and the second shows the pages read through the Kindle library scheme.
The graphs can be changed to show all your titles or just for a particular book, and you can look at sales over different periods of time up to 90 days.
At the bottom of the page there is the summary of royalties to be paid from each of the Amazon sites.
Using Amazon Author Central
Another factor that I like about using Amazon is the author central feature. This is the author description for any books being sold on Aamzon, but it also has a number of other important things for writers.
My own author profile can be seen at Marie Hainsworth
- You can add a RSS feed of your blog site so that the 10 latest posts are included on your author profile.
- You can add a brief description of yourself and change it as suits.
- You have all your books listed across the page with access links to them.
- People can interact and start discussions with you.
- There is an opportunity to highlight future work to be published through the topic discussion thread.
The author central feature is separate and will require having to set up another account. I have also found that I had to upload my books manually to this (it’s easy to do) rather than relying on Amazon who may take a few days to get round to it.
Turning Blog Posts into E-Books – Summary
It is a fairly straightforward process turning blog posts into an e-book, but not without its problems. Just remember the following 4 points.
- Plan your theme for the posts and the eventual e-book
- Have the right software available to write and publish
- Edit your blog posts to suit a book rather than a website
- Use a well established and easy to use publishing platform such as Amazon
Creating an e-book is a process that becomes easier with practice, so perhaps start with a smaller book and learn the process before moving onto a bigger project.
Other pages on this website that might be of interest on this theme are.
I hope you enjoyed this article if so please feel free to share it on your own social media networks, thanks and good luck in your own writing.