Using the Blog Platform for Writing a Book

A week or so ago I finished a complete non-fiction book draft using a password-protected blog as the writing platform. I used my TypePad account, but it could have just as easily been in WordPress. I don’t know the other platforms that well.

I’d cite the blog for you and reference it, but it’s password protected until the publisher, Entrepreneur Press, decides whether or not we should just open it up. That’s a marketing question, theirs to decide, not mine.

The draft is about 80,000 words for The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan, to be published by Entrepreneur Press and due out next fall.

Why? What were the pros and cons? The draft is done now, so I’ve been coming back up for air, thinking about it.

  1. The major advantage was access to the draft, to read, revise, and write more, from any computer with a network connection. I’ve been doing a lot of traveling lately, so that was important.
  2. I didn’t have to keep track of which copy was the latest, going through the hassle of not overwriting my work as I transferred Word *.doc files from one computer to another. The latest was always posted there.
  3. I found a way to make the structure work. The book is divided into six sections, each of which has 5-15 chapters. I made sections and chapters categories in the blog. It was easy to move things from classification to classification, as I changed my mind. (I do write following an outline, but as I write, the outline changes.)
  4. It was easy to order the appearance of the chapters by managing the dates posted. TypePad gave me the option of having the oldest post appear first, and then the rest in date order from oldest to newest, which was easy to deal with. Between the posting date and the categories, structure was easy to see and manage. Of course you realize you don’t actually post in order or deal with real dates posted; you set the date, artificially, with each post.
  5. I was able to back up frequently during the process using TypePad’s export blog feature. I saved those exports just in case of disaster.
  6. I used amazon.com’s S3 facility to save the illustrations in one place and refer to them uniformly as I did the draft.

The biggest disadvantage was having to get the whole thing into Microsoft Word, and printed up (the manuscript was 400 pages) to send to the publisher. I had somebody to help with that. It took her two full days of work.

3 thoughts on “Using the Blog Platform for Writing a Book

  1. Presumably yur helper had to cut/paste from the blog into Word when you were done"? I wonger if you can XML it out?

    I was more thinking that the blog platform is ideal to air your ideas and see what comments/questions/criticism that you get …

    Sort of what I'm doing with my "Rich Dad, Poor Dad"-on steroids blog.

    Hopefully, publishers read blogs too?

  2. AJC: no, Typepad offers an export of the entire blog, all the posts, which we then opened up with Microsoft Word. It did a decent job with most of the embedded styles, but took some work reformatting. Tim

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