From blog to book: The Cheap Diva shares her wisdom on moving to print
May 07, 2010
Writing a book and being published is an aspiration for many bloggers on TypePad. One blogger, Stephanie Ann of the cheapdiva.typepad.com recently realized that ambition and was kind enough to share a few moments with us answering some of our questions about her book and explaining how her blog has played a pivotal role in making the move into print.
You’ve just launched your new book – tell us a little bit about it
My book, The Cheap Diva's Guide to Frugal and Fabulous Living: How to Shop Smart, Look Your Best, Decorate with Style, and Have Fun for Less Money! is all about living better by spending smarter. It's full of fresh ideas on everything from shopping strategies that really pay off, how to look great on any budget, cheap and easy ways to enhance home decor, and simple ways to have more fun with friends and family without spending a fortune.
Who do you think will find this book helpful?
Women looking for easy strategies that enhance their lifestyle and make the most of their time and money will enjoy my book.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I get my style inspiration from lifestyle magazines, fashionable movies, window shopping, looking at the way real people dress and decorate their homes and by looking at different objects and imagining the possibilities of how they could be rearranged or used in new ways.
How has the blog helped with the book writing process?
Like many bloggers, there are various things outside my blog competing for my time and attention. Writing a blog helped me stay focused and consistently create new content for the book. Because my book covers various topics, having a blog with separate categories for fashion, beauty, home decor, entertaining and money savvy ideas allowed me to keep everything easily organized while creating content for different chapters. By the time I was ready to put the book together, I had plenty of content for each lifestyle section.
Would you say a blog is a good way to promote your book?A blog is an excellent way to promote the book for several reasons. Having a blog allows you to build an audience interested in that subject before the book ever comes out. If your book is available at online bookstores, it sometimes takes a while for search engines to recognize the fact that the book is available at those bookstores. By having a blog you can create awareness for the book and provide a link to online booksellers as soon as it comes out.
What other tools are you using to get the word out there?I am giving away books in contests hosted by outside resources, such as an online newsletter that targets my audience, I have created articles that link to my blog and have a direct link to wherever the book is sold for various web sites. I also do some offline marketing such as leaving stacks of bookmarks in coffee shops (with the owner's permission of course).
What is your number # top tip for looking fabulous on a shoestring?Always be open to the possibilities. For example, it's easy to create new looks by layering. A basic black dress layered over a long sleeve T-shirt and tights takes on a casual vibe, while the same black dress with an elegant jacket layered over it takes on a more elegant look. It's also possible to look fabulous with fewer beauty products by using one product in different ways, such as using a subtle shade of lipstick as a blush as well as a lipstick.
What advice do you have for others thinking about going down the book path?
I suggest doing a lot of research, such as reading writersweekly.com and the latest Self Publishing Manual by Dan Poynter before publishing anything. Develop a well rounded marketing strategy before the book comes out that includes both online strategies and offline strategies. For example, promoting live book signings through local news media is a great way to gain exposure
Stephanie Ann has offered to answer any questions you might have about publishing in the comments. So take it away!
What an exciting story and a wonderful interview. I love this Guest Star category from Claire - Typepad Team and look forward to the questions others may have for you. I also love the fact that your helping women. I'll push that priority endlessly and I'm so happy for your success....
Posted by: Bill Van Loan | May 07, 2010 at 06:27 PM
Thanks for the positive feedback, I really appreciate it!
Posted by: Stephanie Ann | May 07, 2010 at 08:14 PM
From book to blog
Good luck with the book, Stephanie Ann. It's a tough market out there these days. Cover looks great.
I have posted three of my old out-of-print books on my blog together with two for which I have yet to find publishers. I am currently writing a historical novel set(mainly)in SE Asia.
The blog is a great way to put one's work "out there". In the old days, the typewritten copy was likely to be relegated to a drawer after being knocked back by publishers.
Posted by: Ian Stewart | May 08, 2010 at 08:40 AM
Thanks for sharing what you learned in the process of giving birth to this book.
My blog 'Serge the Concierge' is about Food, Wine, Travel.
For trips abroad visiting wineries, restaurants and other places of interest, I have thought of raising funds through my readers by offering them an exclusive E-Book after the trip in exchange for a contribution.
What do you think of the idea?
I have widened my reach recently by starting to do interviews like the one with Peter Gordon, a New Zealand born chef based in London.
Here's the link to that piece
In the process of setting up these interviews, I am also establishing links with publishers, agents and the like which could always be useful.
Have a good week-end
'The French Guy from New Jersey'
Posted by: serge the concierge | May 08, 2010 at 09:02 AM
Thank you for sharing this. Definitely an inspiration to me as I continue to develop and dream up my book. Have a wonderful weekend.
Posted by: Account Deleted | May 08, 2010 at 10:46 AM
Congratulations! It is always inspiring to hear other TypePad blogger's success stories.
Did you have any issues because some of your material had appeared first on your blog? One item on my Someday/Maybe list is to write a cookbook, but I'm not sure how publishers will react to the fact that many of my recipes will have already appeared on my blog.
Which print market do you recommend first - books or magazines? I'm working on a magazine article. If I can get a few magazine articles published, I'm hoping that'll work in my favor when I try to publish my first book.
Posted by: A Twitter User | May 08, 2010 at 11:04 AM
I'm working on a book of my own, but have not yet decided on the exact path. However, I decided long ago that self-publishing is the way to go for me to get to market quicker.
And BTW, Dan Poynter is a friend of mine. :)
Posted by: Jeff Korhan | May 08, 2010 at 03:43 PM
I am very impressed by your entrepreneurial efforts. I think you have a terrific topic for a blog and a book that lends itself to a variety of money making opportunities. You could organize wine tasting parties and charge people to attend, get paid to give lectures to caterers/people in the food service industry on food and wine pairings, focus on building up your blog traffic to the point where wine merchants, restaurants and wineries would be willing to pay for banner advertising or sponsor blog posts. If you want to travel and get paid for it, you might look into the possibility of organizing wine tasting tours.
As far as asking for contributions from readers in exchange for an E-book down the road, I don't know how many readers would be willing to pay now for something they will get much later. Also, some of your blog readers may prefer reading short blog posts regularly instead of reading an entire book, so it's important to keep in mind that when you market your book you need to market it to people who are not just blog readers, but book readers as well. I hope these suggestions are helpful, and I wish you the best of luck with your blog and your book!
Posted by: Stephanie Ann | May 08, 2010 at 06:42 PM
I haven't worked with a traditional publisher so I don't know if having recipes already published would be an issue. My book is published by a print on demand publisher, not a traditional publisher. I chose my particular POD publisher because they allowed me to keep all the rights to the content, the book cover design and the ISBN number. Having my content on a blog before it came out in a book was not an issue because I owned the rights to the content before and after the book was published. Whether you go with a traditional publisher or a POD publisher, be prepared to do a lot of the marketing yourself. A cookbook doesn't have to be sold only in a book store, it could also be sold in cooking supply stores and possibly gift boutiques.
Publishers are looking for authors who have already established an audience before they come out with a book. My suggestion would be to develop your audience through the blog while still submitting articles to magazines for publication. Establishing a relationship with magazine editors before a book comes out is a great idea because a magazine editor is more likely to review/promote a book by someone they are familiar with.
Good luck with everything,
Posted by: Stephanie Ann | May 08, 2010 at 07:08 PM
Thank you for your kind words. Getting published by a traditional publisher is one way of making your book available to the public, but you might consider other options. You can self publish and be responsible for all aspects of the book from printing to marketing and distribution. Or you could work with a reputable self publishing company like Booklocker.com that handles the printing and distribution, doesn't try to sell you a lot of extra services and allows you to maintain all the rights to the content. Whatever you decide, it sounds like you know your way around the book business and I'm sure you will enjoy terrific success!
Posted by: Stephanie Ann | May 08, 2010 at 07:25 PM
Thanks Stephanie for your words of wisdom and encouragement
Posted by: serge the concierge | May 08, 2010 at 11:41 PM
Thanks for sharing your story of how you moved from blog to book! It's very inspiring! I started my blog Lyric Fire- http://lyricfire.typepad.com last year and initially was worried that since my novel hadn't been published yet that I'd have nothing to write about or "promote." But having a blog is helping me stay creative and I'm also building a following which will be helpful when my novel does get published.
I have been waffling back and forth about whether I'd like to self-publish and learning about how you did it is very helpful.
Cheers and congrats on your success!
Tameka / @Tamstarz (Twitter)
Posted by: Tameka Mullins (Tamstarz) | May 09, 2010 at 09:31 AM
Grazie mille and mi complimenti, certo.
Good on you!
Posted by: Bailey Alexander; An American in Piemonte | May 09, 2010 at 10:59 AM
I am currently writing a book. I would love to know more about the self publishing vs the traditional publishing. I also started out as a blog, divorce to happiness and now after 6 months of writing am starting my book. Thank you for the great story.
Posted by: Divorce to Happiness | May 11, 2010 at 04:36 PM
Thanks SO much for your thoughtful and detailed replies to everyone's posted comments. They're just as insightful and practical re advice for all of us as the Q&A article itself.
How much time was there between the blog and getting your book published?
All the best,
Posted by: Kathy H Porter | May 12, 2010 at 09:44 AM
So inspiring. How long did you blog before your book deal?
Posted by: Mollie Cox Bryan | May 12, 2010 at 11:12 AM
I prefer self publishing for many reasons. With the print on demand publishing company I worked with (booklocker.com) they allowed my to keep the rights to the content, the book cover image and the ISBN number (the identifying number under the barcode). Also the print on demand publisher made my book available through multiple outlets, such as amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com, and if I attract retailers who want to buy large quantities they can buy directly from booklocker.com. With traditional publishers they own the rights to everything but you still have to market the book as aggressively as if you were a self published author. Many print on demand books are not sold in bookstores, but working with a traditional publisher does not guarantee your book will be sold in stores. If a traditionally published book is sold in stores it typically has a short shelf life before unsold books are returned to the publisher so the bookstore can make room for new books. When choosing a print on demand publisher look for a company that sells through multiple outlets, allows you to keep the rights to everything, and doesn't pressure you to buy additional services from them such as editing and proofreading.
Good luck with everything,
Posted by: Stephanie Ann | May 12, 2010 at 02:33 PM
I started blogging in February of 2007 and the book was officially released in May 2010. Writing the book after writing hundreds of blog articles made me feel confident that I would have plenty of content to chose from and I wouldn't have to create a lot of new content just for the book.
Posted by: Stephanie Ann | May 12, 2010 at 02:48 PM
The Cheap Diva blog was launched in February of 2007. Technically my book was accepted by booklocker.com for publication several months before the book came out in May of 2010. Between the book deal and the actual book publication there are many issues, such as working with a book cover designer, or formatting the content in an attractive way, that need to be addressed. So getting a book deal through a print on demand publisher is only the beginning of what can be a long process of actually getting the book published. For me, the satisfaction of holding a printed book in my hand that I actually wrote makes the whole process worth while.
All the best,
Posted by: Stephanie Ann | May 12, 2010 at 03:24 PM
Good luck on the book, and great interview!
Posted by: ProArticlesDaily | May 14, 2010 at 01:42 PM
Congratulations on your new book!
It's a big leap to go from blogging to creating a real book. I'm a fellow Booklocker author who has published two books with them. I agree 100% that they are easy for new authors to work with.
I'm actually doing things backwards. I'm just now getting around to starting a blog: http://funtowrite.typepad.com
I mainly publish fiction, but non-fiction publishing is only slightly different. The main thing is to get your ideas organized and then just do it!
Posted by: Donna Monday | July 05, 2010 at 02:11 PM
Congrats Stephanie! Keep on writing and publishing!
You are a motivator.
Posted by: Ben | July 09, 2010 at 11:45 PM