What makes a book a book and why you can’t just turn all of your blog posts into a book

“Can I just take all my blog posts from the past three years and turn them into a book?”

Sounds like it would be a pretty easy way to write a book, right? Well…

Let’s say you gathered all your presentations and emails and reports and papers and articles and more emails, etc., etc.

All the things you’ve ever written on a given topic.

If you gathered all that, organized it chronologically, and bound it, it would be 60,000 words of prose, easy.

But I think we can all agree, it ain’t a book.

Which means: a collection of a bunch of writings does not = a book.

New question: Then what makes a book A BOOK?

Answer: Story. A story arc, in fact. As in

  • Exposition
  • Conflict
  • Climax
  • Denouement (fancy word for…)
  • Resolution

When you’re writing a nonfiction book, even a nonfiction business book, you need a story arc just as much as you would if you were writing fiction. It’s the thread that allows people to stay with you as you unspool everything, and it allows them to make sense of the information you’re presenting.

Writing is one thing. Writing stuff that readers can make sense of–that’s hard.

When it comes to the blog posts example, “turning it into” a book means finding a way to connect all those blog posts so that they tell ONE story. Not the 50 stories of 50 blog posts.

It’s actually harder to transform 50 stories into one story than it is to start from scratch (even though the blank page is intimidating), and design your story arc from there.

That’s my take on turning a collection of articles into a book. If you’ve got a different take, hit reply and let me know. 😉

Maggie

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