Book writing lessons from Art Petty’s Leadership Caffeine

Sep 11, 2014 | Writing A Book

Earlier this week, I had a rollicking conversation with Art Petty about his next book. Art taught me a great lesson years ago. I thought collecting your blog posts into a book was a bad idea. Art convinced me that it could be a good idea, if you do it right.

Here are lessons you can learn about turning your blog posts into a book from Art and his book, Leadership Caffeine.

Start with good material

Everybody’s blog post quality is uneven. Pick your best stuff. Readers deserve your best stuff. One reason that Leadership Caffeine is good is that Art’s posts were good to start with and he picked some of the best for his book.

Add structure

Art grouped his posts by topic. You can group them so they tell a story or teach a lesson. Chronological order should be a last resort. Think of it as the refuge of the lazy.

Revise what you’ve got

Revise your blog posts to make them better. You can always do that.

Pay special attention to time and reference frames. Most posts are written at a specific point in time about a specific topic or situation. Make sure your references make sense in a book.

Pay attention to links. In a blog posts, links allow readers to jump to another bit of material. Readers can’t do that in a paper book. Add definitions or explanations if you need to.

Add material

Add some “connective tissue” to the posts to make them a book. Introduce the book, tell about your blog, add a bio, introduce individual posts or sections. Add whatever you must to make your collection of posts a coherent and helpful book.

Add any other material that will make the book better. Forms and checklists make your posts more useful.

Do it right

Doing it right isn’t easy. It’s harder than just dumping a bunch of posts into a file and getting them printed up. But it’s the extra work and care that can make your collection of blog posts into a great book.

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