Thanks to everyone who listed their favorite book/publishing blogs, my Google Reader thanks you (feel free to continue posting on that topic if you stumble upon a new gem). The Internet has really been wonderful for books — as space for books in newspapers keeps shrinking, the Internet has really filled the void.
Segue. One of the other benefits of the Internet is that people without a platform and starting from scratch have a new opportunity to get up on a virtual soapbox and make themselves heard. These days publishers are all over well-trafficked bloggers like stink on a monkey (stole that one from Seinfeld).
I receive a lot of questions from bloggers about how much blog traffic counts for a platform, and how they can translate their blog into a book deal (this mainly applies to nonfiction — the rules of fiction are mostly the same). To me, even apart from the audience a blog reaches, I ask one main question about a potential blog book: would the book be better than the blog?
Think about the appealing characteristics of blogs: they’re instantaneous, they’re free, they can respond to current events, they can be linked to, they’re free, you can leave comments, and they’re free. As much as your blog audience loves you (really, they told me you’re awesome), do they love your blog enough to plop down $24.95 for a book that doesn’t even have a comments section that they can curse you out on? Or more to the point: does your book idea contain enough unique material and is it on a meaty-enough topic that it can transcend the year it takes to get a book from writing to published?
So yes — there are certain blogs that can benefit from the length and scope of a book, and there’s a reason publishers have been snapping up blog books. But for others, especially blogs that are current-event driven, it’s tough to beat the timely material you’re already dispensing for free. So if you’re hoping to transubstantiate your blog into a book deal, make sure you have a clear idea why a book based on your awesome blog would be even awesomer.