Have you ever thought about turning your content into a book? If so, you might be wondering how to get started with this process! In this week’s #ContentWritingChat, this is exactly what we talked about.
We talked about what you need to do first if you want to write a book, the pros and cons of working with a publisher versus self-publishing, and more! If this chat is right up your alley, keep reading for out recap. It’s loaded with all the tips you need.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Turn Your Content Into a Book With Leah Ingram

Our guest host this week was Leah Ingram. Leah is a regular #ContentWritingChat participant, so we were thrilled to have her guest hosting. As a writer, she had a lot of amazing tips to help you create a book of your very own.

Q1: Why would you want to turn your content into a book?

Whether you’ve already been thinking about writing a book or you’re not convinced it’s worthwhile, this first question is for you. We asked everyone to share why they felt writing a book could be beneficial. Check out some of the responses:

Leah feels writing a book is a great way to build your platform as an expert within your niche.

Writing a book allows you to reach a new audience through a different medium, which is always a plus.

Julia said publishing a book instantly gives you authority in your niche. She was able to land a paid speaking gig and even secure new clients from publishing her own book.

For Carla, she felt a book was a beneficial way to answer all the questions she was commonly asked.

A book is a great way to put everything into one place, which makes it easier for your audience to consume.

As Ken said, portability is another benefit of writing a book. With all of your best content in one place, it’s easy for your audience to read and take with them wherever they go.

Q2: How do you know that your content is something your audience will be interested in?

Before you get started with a book, you want to make sure the topic you choose is something your audience will value. If they aren’t interested, they won’t buy! Here’s how you can make sure your book will be a hit with your target audience:

If you’re receiving a lot of comments or traffic on certain types of content, Leah said that’s a good sign you’ve got a winner. This is a great way to get started when turning your content into a book.

Make sure you’re listening to your audience. Take their feedback into consideration and allow it to guide your content.

Sarah’s advice is to research what your audience is responding to and sharing. This gives you a good idea of what their interests are so you can create the content that resonates.

If you aren’t sure what your audience truly wants, there are a few great options for you. Carla suggests doing surveys, asking questions, checking blog comments, and even viewing your Google Analytics. Discover what’s been a hit with your audience and go from there.

If you’re going to be repurposing some of your blog content as a book, that’s already going to be a good indicator of your audience’s interest. Were people sharing those posts or leaving comments? Those are signs that they liked what you were sharing.

Never be afraid to just ask your audience what they want. If you have an idea, present it to them to get their feedback.

Q3: What comes first — the book idea, the agent, or the publisher?

Do you need a book idea first or should you secure an agent or a publisher beforehand? To help answer this question, here’s some feedback from the chat:

Leah has always relied on traditional publishing, so she would create an idea first, then find an agent, and finally a publisher.

Iain recommends starting with a book idea. You want to have a topic that your audience will find valuable.

Julia said the book idea always comes first. She feels everything else will fall into place from there.

Carla starts with a book topic, plans out her idea, and then begins pitching.

Without an idea, there’s no book to be written!

As Tony said, it’s pretty hard to get someone to back you if you don’t have a great idea first.

Q4: How do you stay organized and productive throughout the writing process?

Once it’s time to start writing, you could use some tips to help you stay on track! Here are some organizational and productivity tips you can use:

Leah recommends setting daily word limits to give yourself a goal to work towards. This will keep you on track and ensure you’re making progress every day.

Don’t forget to block off writing time on your schedule!

Once you’ve got your writing time blocked off in your calendar, make sure you eliminate any distractions. You need to just focus on your writing.

You can get started by creating an outline of your ideas first. It’ll make the writing process much easier.

Julia recommends writing to match your flow, pacing yourself, and committing to deadlines.

Devin also sees the value in deadlines. They’ll ensure you’re progressing and staying on track.

Having a journal or a planner is a great way to jot down ideas and deadlines for yourself. It’s nice to have all of that information in one place for easy access.

Sarah said you should have a writing system in place. You can set deadlines to meet your goals. And make sure you’re taking breaks when needed to give yourself a mental reboot.

Whenever you get stuck, walk away from your writing for a bit. Do something else to refresh your mind and then come back to it later.

Q5: What are the pros and cons of working with a publisher versus self-publishing?

These days, many writers are choosing to skip working with a publisher in favor of self-publishing. There are benefits and downsides to both, so here’s what you need to know:

Leah said she’s more inspired when she already has an advance.

Working with a publisher gives you access to a wide array of contacts that can increase the visibility of the book, but that publisher will get some of your money from sales.

As Julia said, you can make more royalties with self-publishing.

Ken said that a publisher will hopefully set money aside for marketing, which is a major plus. If you go the self-publishing route, that task falls on your shoulders.

A publisher can also help keep you on track with deadlines, but some writers might not like having deadlines to meet.

With self-publishing, it’s all up to you. You have to be prepared to write, edit, and promote all on your own.

Q6: Once your book has been completed, what’s the next step? How do you spread the word?

Your book is done. Now what? To spread the word and increase sales on your book, check out these tips:

Social media, print, TV, radio, and guest posting are all great options to get your book out there.

You can reach out to your own network of friends and colleagues to help you with promotion. Influencers in your niche are a great way to expand your reach as well.

Your connections and influencers can really help get your book in front of more people.

Ken suggests engaging in online forms and on blogs. You want to put in the work before your book is released to build your audience and increase anticipation.

Utilize your social media outlets, network, and schedule TV and radio appearances.

Javier recommends running promotions that offer chapters for free or exclusive content. This is a great way to encourage sales and pique the interest of your audience.

Telling friends is great, but sometimes they won’t be your target audience. Make sure you’re spreading the word to people who would be most interested.

Q7: How do you actually make money once you’ve written a book (beyond an advance if you’ve gotten one)?

Your book is out there in the world and now you’re probably wondering how you can make money with it. Check out this advice for some great tips:

Leah makes money through her spokesperson income, as her books have helped her land gigs. She also suggests getting magazine assignments to continue building your platform.

For Julia, it’s all about the royalties that come in. She makes residual monthly income from her book.

You could even consider turning some of your book content into webinars that potential readers could tune into. The webinar should leave them wanting to buy your book. You can also run ads or land speaking engagements.

Make sure you continue spreading the word about your book via social media. Don’t forget about it!

As Cheval said, your book could help you land clients for your business. If your competition hasn’t written a book, you’re sure to stand out.

Zachary recommends building a website to continue growing your brand and to also try speaking gigs.

Q8: Any final advice on successfully turning your content into a book?

To close out the chat, we asked everyone to share their final tidbits on how to turn your content into a book. Here’s what some of them had to say:

Leah’s advice is that you shouldn’t try to go it alone. Having an agent can be a great support system for you as you write your book.

Work hard, set deadlines, and make sure you get an editor. These are important reminders from Iain!

Julia said you shouldn’t rush the process. It’s going to take time, so put in the effort that’s required. She also said to create a book you’re proud of.

Believe in yourself!

Katie said you shouldn’t force your content into a book format if it’s just not working out. You might find that something isn’t best as a book, which is totally okay.
Want to join our next #ContentWritingChat? Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat, then join us every Tuesday at 10 AM Central!