Tuesday, January 17, 2006

From Blog to Book: Naked Conversations

From blog to book: Naked Conversations has come full circle, and now the real adventure begins.

Naked Conversations
is a testing ground for:

1. Blog to Book Conversion

Transforming blog posts, interviews, and reader insights, all readable in the blog itself, into an edited print book to be sold online and in bookstores.

Some say the writing style of a book is very different from that of a blog.

Not true.

While there are some specific guidelines for online and blog writing, hardly anybody willingly follows them.

Most bloggers have not radically altered their writing and editing skills to accommodate the peculiar characteristics of blogs and blog readers.

Most bloggers still write like their readers have all the time in the world, and eagerly anticipate each fresh utterance, no matter how tangential or obnoxious.

Most bloggers, including this one, have not mastered the webocentric writing style that is best for online readers: short paragraphs, short sentences, easy to skim hurriedly, copy chunking, brief teaser intros, one topic per post, bulleted lists, heads and subheads, bold type for emphasis, and high information hyper-text link wording.

So I think the transition from blog writing to book writing should not be that difficult. One of my earliest lessons in direct marketing copywriting, from a former IBM executive who started his own business, was to use contractions and colloquialisms: write close to how people normally talk, not exactly, but close.

Thus, write "can't" instead of "cannot", "I'm" instead of "I am". It reads faster and sounds more natural.

This principle holds true for both blogs and books. The only real difference in book writing is you can say more, quote more, and put in more offline references than might be suitable for a blog.

If you have imposed upon yourself the discipline of daily or frequent blog post composition, writing fast, smart, and interesting--your overall writing, thinking, researching, networking, debating, and self-editing skills are skyrocketing in quality.

Every day, your blog is evolving with diverse but focused content. A mediocre writer can become great, just by having a blog to which he or she is devoted.

2. Blogging a Book-To-Be.

This is very sensitive, this posting the book composition process on your blog. Naked Conversations (The Red Couch was its placeholder working title) blog is a:

blog about a book about business blogging that will be blogged about in business blogs.

Is it wise to let people, potential customers, see the product evolve? In a blog? And be open to nasty, spammy, or off topic comments? Comment spam was a big problem at the blog, but other than that, the blog about a book was a good read, almost a seminar for blog consultants to sharpen their theories in. A consortium of major marketing and business bloggers flocked to the blog, and continue to rally behind the book.

Blogging the book, putting most of it on the blog, rough drafts and edits, and even the germinal ideas that would later evolve into chapter heads, was I predict: a smart move.

Blogging the book Naked Conversations engendered a loyal audience and a cult following, a blogospheric buzz apparatus, of which I am a tiny part.

While I'm not thrilled with using a tentative working title, then switching to a very different title, still, I think everything will pan out okay for the guys. I prevented them from choosing a bad title, as they themselves admit right in the acknowledgement page of the book, so I rest content with that.

Naked Conversations is making publishing history in more ways than one. Watch the story unfold.

3. Blogosphere Buzz Tracking

Naked Conversations is an experiment in tracking the buzz in the blogosphere, the reactions to the book, as bloggers and comment posters form conversations about it.

RSS, Google Alerts, Technorati, BlogPulse, BlogStreet, Alexa, and other tracking services will be used to monitor the impact of Naked Conversations.

How accurate and timely will this feedback be?

What controversies might erupt? How will the authors and publisher handle them?

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

The best book on blogs
is now in bookstores:

Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers


by Shel Israel and Robert Scoble (forward by Tom Peters).

$24.95 USD

(John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2006)
ISBN-13 : 978-0-471-74719-2 (cloth)


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The odd thing about all the high tech equipment we have today, from computers to vcrs to dvds to whatever, is that whenever we have a problem it's always a new one, one we've never seen before.

So once you learn how to handle one problem, a new one pops up that causes different trouble.

It's amazing how many new problerms can appear.

Oh well, I guess it's another test.

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