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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Blog to Book - Publishing Your Blog as an eBook

Hello all.

Welcome to Self-Publishing Central. Today's topic has to do with publishing your collected blog entries in book form. It's easier than you might think. And it's a great way to help readers catch up on what they've missed.

Why would I want to publish my blog as an eBook?

Everything I've ever written on Self-Publishing Central, including guest posts, Tips lists and my real life experiences as a self-published author is still available, right here on my blog. It's all in the archives. Why would anyone want to buy a book containing the same information when they can get it for free here?

That's an excellent question. The answer is that, while all the blog posts remain available in the blog archive, in order to find one in particular, you need to page through each month's posts - one month at a time - and scan what you find for the post you're looking for. I've done it myself to link new posts with supplementary information contained in posts I'd already written. Frankly, it's a pain. Maybe there's a way that Blogger will let me index all these posts and I just haven't found it yet. If so . . . darn it!

By publishing the blog posts as an eBook, I can add a table of contents that will hyperlink directly to each post. In my mind, that's a huge advantage for anyone trying to use this blog as a resource. Information is no good if you can't find it when you need it.

What about all the web links contained in the blog? Won't those be lost in an eBook?

If you publish your blog the right way, the eBook you produce will contain live links to every web page you have referenced in your blog. Really?

Yes, really! Of course, the device used to read your eBook must be web-enabled and connected to the internet. But then, most devices these days, including Kindle and Nook, have that capability. And of course, if you're reading this blog right now, your computer has the capability, too. That means you could be reading the eBook right on your laptop using a free Kindle software download, or almost any reader software for the Nook (ePub) version. And yes, your eBook can also be made available in PDF, complete with live web-links. So you can use Adobe to read it, as well.

Can you imagine reading a paper copy of a blog and not being able to follow the blog references to the web? It would be frustrating as all get out. That's why eBooks are the ideal publishing format for blogs.

Okay. But isn't it a ton of work to retrieve those hundred or so blog posts, format them, make a table of contents, make sure the web links are live, etc.?

I'd say creating an eBook from your blog entries would be more work than it was worth, if it were not for the two brilliantly conceived tools I am about to share with you. (NOTE: There are almost certainly other such tools as well. These are the two I have used.)

The first tool is absolutely free and will convert your blog to a PDF-formatted eBook in just a couple minutes. It's called BookSmith, From Blog to Book. At the BookSmith site you simply enter your blog's URL, indicate whether you use Blogger or WordPress, select how many blog posts you want to include in your book and shoot from the hip.

The output is a PDF with a simple cover, a table of contents (including page numbers), and all the posts you selected, complete with live web links. You could publish your blog right at this point. But I'm not sure whether most eBook sellers will be able to read the links when the books are "converted" to their particular formats.

I know that a basic upload and conversion to Kindle or Smashwords from this enhanced PDF format will not preserve the links as you intend. Nor will such a conversion make hyperlinks out of the Table of Contents, as you would want for most eBook formats (since page numbers are fluid).

Enter tool number two . . . . This one costs a little money. (Hey, you can't expect everything for free in this life.) The second tool isn't really a tool - it's a company (or at least a guy). It's called ebookconversion.com. To use this service, you email the PDF of your blog/book to Bob Mehta at ebookconversion.com and he gives you a quote to accomplish the conversion to Kindle and/or ePub. For my conversion, Bob quoted me $153 for the conversion to Kindle and another $45 if I added ePub as well. I could pay an extra $63 for rush service to get the conversion completed in one week instead of two or three. (I elected to forgo the rush service. I'm in this for the long run.)

I spoke to Bob on the telephone after receiving his quote to confirm that all the web links in my blog would be live in the eBook and that the Table of Contents would be hyperlinked to the appropriate posts. He confirmed that such would, indeed, be the case.

His site had a bunch of positive testimonials and links to samples of his work. It all looked good to me. So I sent my book off to Bob this past Monday. Of course, I will report on the final product when I receive it. But I'm pretty optimistic that Bob will come through for me.

If you want to add a custom cover to your eBook, go for it. I'm working on a little something on my word processing software that I plan to use as my book cover on Kindle and Nook. I'm no artist by any means. I'm sure most of you can do better. You can see at the top of this post what I've come up with so far.

Conclusion

If you're blogging about writing (or anything, really) and your blog contains lots of useful information like this one does, why not make it a book? I plan to list "Self-Publishing Central" for sale on Kindle and Nook when it's ready. I'll add buy links at the top of this blog so you can take a peek at the finished product if you wish.

That's it for today. Thanks for stopping in.

Cheers!

John

7 comments:

  1. Very informative. I listed mine on Kindle. It was extremely easy.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear LM,

    Did you convert all the links, etc. by yourself? That looked like a lot of work to me. You probably have "skills." :)

    What the name of your book? I'll check it out.

    Thanks for commenting.

    Cheers!

    John

    ReplyDelete
  3. do you have to worry about copyright infringements if you have guest writers on your blog because technically, I would assume the post they wrote is still their intellectual property. Also, what about quotes from other sources and things like that? A very interesting idea. Thanks for the info on the publishing options.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Sheila,

    Anything published on my blog is under the copyright terms for my blog. That means it's mine to republish, as long as I give credit. Now a guest blogger couldn't republish his/her post on my blog without my permission. But s/he could publish his/her own content elsewhere.

    Confusing?

    Limited quoting is always permitted in written works as long as you give credit to the source. (It's considered "Fair Use.") Some books are literally ALL quotes.

    My blog doesn't quote others very often. It DOES link to others' web pages, etc. My book will also link to these original sources. The book won't be copying them. So that's okay, too. People want you to link to them.

    DISCLAIMER: This is my understanding of how copyright law applies. Of course, it's not a substitute for a lawyer's advice. You should consult a copyright lawyer if you have concerns.

    Thanks for stopping in. Good questions!

    Cheers!

    John

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