If you have ever written copy for an ad, brochure, or other marketing piece, you can appreciate the value of good writing. It’s simply not as easy as it looks. There’s a reason copywriters and good authors get paid the big bucks.

Like millions of wanna-be authors in the world, I have been thinking of writing and publishing for many years. I have started numerous projects, some still in my head and others which have actually made it to text files waiting patiently on my computer, hoping one day to find their way to something more than random musings.

You probably have some writing aspirations yourself. Those who consider writing seriously however, quickly realize the monumental task involved. Most of us simply do not have the time it takes to produce something the publishing world (let alone a small audience of friends and acquaintances) would consider worthwhile.

Lately I have come across the concept of producing e-books based on one’s area of professional expertise. Anyone with a creative or marketing background probably has unique experiences or a slightly different way of looking at things. In fact, everyone has something unique to offer to the conversation. So the idea is: Why not take that experience and publish it as an e-book and offer it to the world? It could be a free promotional piece for your clients, an e-book offered for a nominal fee, or perhaps even a print-on-demand book.

Getting Started

There are many online marketing programs that suggest publishing an e-book as an incentive for signing up to a mailing list. Last Fall I went through the 30-Day Challenge which basically walked participants through the process of producing an e-book. Personally, I found the information helpful, but much too fast to expect a finished book after 30 days. Sorry, I’m too much of a perfectionist to work at such a pace.

From Blog to Book

One idea I do like, however, is blogging with WordPress as a way of writing a small e-book. A recent post on wptavern discusses this option and offers a few WordPress plugins useful in re-purposing your blog posts into an e-book format. You can read the full article here and contribute to the conversation, but here are the plugins featured in the article:

Anthologize – perhaps one of the best with 39,000 downloads at time of this post.

BookPress Client – this also looks good, but there are not many downloads and the website appears to be a bit dated.

PressBooks – this service looks great, but this plugin is outdated at time of this post.

And here are some other options not featured in the article:

MagPress – for serious bloggers serious about creating an e-book.

DotePub – gather a collection of webpages and save them as an e-book to read later, on or off-line (just don’t publish it if it’s not your original content!). But it could be a good starting point to gather your own web pages or posts into a book.

bloxp – export your blog to a downloadable e-book

I am interested in exploring these further (particularly Anthologize) because converting blog posts into an e-book is fairly new to me. If one’s original intention in blogging is to publish an e-book, blog posts may be structured to suit the publishing task, making the transition from blog to e-book much smoother. However, I do know a few bloggers who suddenly realized that they had the makings of a book hidden amidst the archives of their WordPress blogs. These plugins provide a very helpful means of organizing posts into an e-book.

But for those of us who are thinking of publishing a book, using a WordPress blog is a very attractive option to test ideas that might go into a book. Personally, I am more inclined to use an off-line tool such as Scrivener to create a serious book for publication.

For bloggers looking to offer their experience and knowledge as an e-book, these WordPress plugins may be a great place to start. Now to find some tools to help stay focused on research and writing…

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