"While the intriguing, laugh-out-loud, or soul-stirring content on your blog has amassed a 6-figure subscribers list and a great social platform, that content alone won’t be enough to garner a deal."
The words of wisdom above come from Dawn Michelle Hardy, also known as The Literary Lobbyist. The name was given to her by EBONY Magazine years ago for her experience in guiding and advocating for new and self-published authors in the literary world. For 15 years the award-winning publicist and literary agent has gotten authors press coverage on platforms like Essence, BET and ELLE magazine.
Hardy attends a variety of writing conferences and other events where she facilitates workshops on author platform building, memoir writing and landing a book deal. Below, she offers her perspective in order to shed light on what it takes for bloggers to reap success as authors.
PHOTO: Will Foskey
Follow the 80/20 rule.
"Many bloggers think adapting your blog into a book is a matter of transferring content from your domain to the inbox of an acquisitions editor, and that’s incorrect. Publishers want to 'break new stories and content.' I have told authors that editors want 80% unpublished content and 20% of the content already live on your blog. If the format of your book that you are pitching is a series of vignettes taken from your blog, why would readers buy those stories for $24.95 when they have already read them on your site free of charge?"
Move from journaling to prescribing.
"This can sometimes be difficult for bloggers. Let’s say you have a blog journaling an experiment of living on $25 a day and you take your readers on a yearlong journey to see how you lived on a dramatically reduced and fixed income. The tone of your writing needs to transition from 'this was my experience' to 'these are the steps to copy my experience.' Your writing needs to transform into prescriptive tips that readers can learn from your experience. The book would not be a direct adaptation of your blog posts, rather advice on how the reader could find success in your experiment too."
Yes, you will need to write a business proposal.
"When submitting your idea to a literary agent, you will need a proposal and sample chapters of the book narrative or concept inspired by your blog. Your blog posts as a writing sample will not be enough for most industry professionals. As mentioned above, many blog posts are written in a journaling style. If you choose to write prescriptive nonfiction, a memoir or a guidebook, then you’ll need to show that you can write more than a journal entry."
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