TL;dr – As many of you know, I announced a few months ago that I am working on an ebook about blog marketing. If you didn’t know, you should sign up to hear about when it launches after you’ve finished reading this post.
I’m also looking for 10 people to provide me feedback on what I’ve written so far. If interested, sign up now (and for more details about what’s involved, read the bottom of the post) -
I had a Twitter DM exchange in early December with Ryan McLaughlin that went like this -
Ryan – How’s the ebook coming?
Me – Not well man. I haven’t any time to write on it, and I’m extremely unmotivated.
When I announce my intentions to write the ebook, I didn’t have a plan for when I was going to write it. I had just taken the Head of Office role for the Distilled New York City office, I still had all of my clients, and I was mentoring startups and traveling a lot to conferences and for work. In short, I was in over my head.
Over the past couple months, the book has hung over me like a dead weight. It’s been in the back of my mind constantly, but I haven’t had the brain space to actually really start writing. I was feeling like a failure because of this. Whenever I would start writing, I would quickly realize anew that writing a book is much different from writing a blog post. A blog post, even an epic one, is 2,000-3,000 words long. A book though, even an ebook, is by its nature going to be longer, which is incredibly intimidating. I could never figure out how to organize my thoughts enough to even get started.
Writing Longer Content
Recently, though, Mike over at Koozai published a post called How To Write An eBook, Whitepaper, or Other Types of Long Content. In this post, Mike pointed out that long content takes a lot of time (obvious, but needed to be said) and he spelled out the amount of time to expect it to take. He talked about word counts and drafts and how long each might, or might not, take. Reading these words from Mike made me realize that I had been approaching my project in the completely wrong way – I had been looking at it like another blog post, expecting to get it done and published and able to move on to the next project.
This isn’t how long content works though. Long content is hard because it requires sacrifice and commitment. It requires learning when your productive times of day are and allowing yourself to be free in those times. It means starting to write, with a rough map and outline made, and then allowing yourself to write and not edit. As you write, other ideas and avenues will come up as well, and you must allow yourself to explore these. Some of them will turn into new chapters. Others may not survive as full chapters and will be folded into another. But at least you are writing. You’re moving forward, making progress, and learning the process (which is something I did not expect).
I have been in Costa Rica for the last 10 days with my family over the holidays. While there, I realized that I am intensely creative and focused for the hour and a half after I’ve had my first cup of coffee. Then I hit a wall and need a break. But in that hour and a half, I get a lot done. And during those periods of time, except for the two days I was in the jungle, I wrote.
(Slightly) New Direction
The book is starting to take more of a Guide to Blogging format than just blog marketing. It definitely contains a lot about marketing, about spreading your message, about the different avenues of traffic and building them, but it also gets into branding, content types and content creation, and much much more. You could probably still say that it’s all tied to marketing, and I would very much agree, but I wanted to let all of you, my readers, know that this is the direction that it is going.
So this is me processing the process I have gone through over the past few months to get to the point where I am now enjoying the process. Of course, I have all of my duties at Distilled and those take priority in my life, but I am now working along well on this book project. To set expectations, it will still be some months before it is ready, as I still have a lot of writing to do, not to mention editing and polishing. But I’m excited about it, and I hope you are as well.
The book now contains chapters called:
- * Shut Up About Yourself
- * Building Authority
- * Driving traffic
- * SEO
- * Video
- * Social
- * Rss
- * Where is my audience?
- * Let’s Talk About Content
This is just a snippet of what will be included. There’s a lot more as well that I’m sure you’ll be stoked on.
Now to the points of this post. First, if you haven’t signed up to hear about the launch, you can join the email list right now -
I’m also looking for a few people who want to provide feedback on early drafts. In true lean startup fashion, I want to make sure this book is resonating with my audience before I get to a finished product and no one wants it. If you’re interested, I’ve created a separate email list for people who want to help me out. I’m only taking 10 people, so if you want to help out sign up now -
If you sign up and you’re not one of the first 10, your email address will be added to the overall list (if it is not already there). I’ll also keep it separate from the list, and should someone drop out, the next person in line will get an email from me. Deal?
You guys are awesome. I’m excited about this.