How to write a book in Wordpress - Book Brand Business
How to blog your book in wordpress

How to write a book in WordPress

Do you really want to write a book in WordPress? Ok, let’s rephrase that and ask why would you write a book in WordPress? (Other content management systems are available.)

We know that blogging your book is a great way to build your brand, gain clarity, get feedback and be able to write your book (first or second draft) quickly.

That’s why you would write your book in WordPress.

When I write a blog which is essentially what you are doing when you write a piece of content for your book, I write it in WORD. You could, of course, use Google Docs, Scrivener or Pages on your Mac. As they say, other word processors are available.

Get organised before you write a book

The point of this is, always write your content in a computer-based system and make sure you have it saved in something like DropBox (your file system in the sky).  This gives you a backup and peace of mind.

I’ve talked in previous articles about how to blog your book and write a book, I’ve talked about

Now it’s looking at WordPress and thinking about how you would set that up. But before we go there I am assuming that on your computer based filing system you are already organised?

By that I mean you have a folder for your book.

E.g. My books – name of book – plan – chapters – cover – marketing plan – images – diagrams

I always write each chapter separately and then when it’s time to get a proof I put all of the content (obviously) into one document.

I was once asked if I was a Virgo (they are very organised alledgedly) because I was so organised, the trouble is I have in the past over organised my content and then lost it, so whatever you do make it simple and work for you.

The same applies when you want to write a book in WordPress.

I’m going to make lots of assumptions here.

  • You are already using WordPress and know that you write your articles in posts
  • You are using categories. E.g. Brand, Business, Write a book
  • You use tags when you write an article. E.g how to blog a book, write a book, writing a book
  • That you are blogging your book, for the reasons above rather than writing a book on WordPress, which is your book in readable form on WordPress (and I’ll cover this another day).

First things first you need a content plan

When you have your book outline, you need to plan your content. I am not going to teach my grandmother to suck eggs, get yourself a proper content planner such as this one from Kevin and Sarah Arrow. It will save you hours of work.

If not, create a spreadsheet with the relevant columns and track it that way.

Categories and tags

Once upon a time, when I was a young girl there was only categories in WordPress and to get tags I had to use a plugin. Now both are available, but before you jump in let’s think about this.

Categories and tags are the two main ways to categorise content. Categories are general and tags let us get down to the detail. Both are useful to the site structure, search engines and your book.

I am not a super-duper SEO expert, I am learning as I go along and things keep changing (how very dare they). If you find planning your content a struggle please talk to an expert and use the content planner – it will be far easier in the longer term.

When I was writing Plan your non-fiction book, I used a category structure name of the book and then each chapter. It was not my most sensible decision, because it became very messy. Additionally, it made it difficult to hide these categories on my blog. The solution was to first use a hierarchical structure. E.g.

  • Category – Write a book
  • Subcategory – Plan your non-fiction book
  • Sub subcategory – PYNFB Ch 1
Categories

But… there is always a but, the display in the sidebar did not conform for some bizarre reason and it looked messy.

The next step (I use Thrive Themes) was to create a menu of the categories I did want to show and place this in my side bar.

There are probably lots of other solutions – this worked for me.

Recap

  • Create a sensible structure (you will see a drop-down box with parent category in
  • Create a custom menu with just the categories you want to display
  • Add your custom menu to the sidebar

Tags

When you have outlined your book you will have sub headings and keywords that are meaningful to both the book and the search engines. This takes some work but will be worth it. Think – what is my ideal reader looking for? What would they type into the search engine?

Great we have a plan, outline, chapter framework, categories and tags, what else?

Write a book as a blog

We write blogs differently to how we would write the content for a book and that’s ok. You are using your blog to get your book written fast, to test your ideal readers reaction, to get feedback and clarity.

You write blogs for your book all the way to the final draft (if you wanted to), but remember it must never be identical content to what you publish. When the book is published you can repurpose again.

With your blogs you have the opportunity to create videos, infographics, memes, quotes and all kinds of fun things that would not look right in a book, but which would be attractive to your blog reader.

Which also gives you lots of opportunities for promotion across your social media platforms.

How I blog a book

Without nagging you, have a plan, knowledge map, outline and chapter framework. Then you must very clearly identify your ideal reader and what questions they are asking. What do they search for to get the support that they need? You will find out this by hanging out with your ideal readers and researching your subject very carefully.

Ideal reader

If I use HealingOsteoporosis Naturally, as an example. My book is aimed at the newly diagnosed – just as I was. I started a brand new journal so I knew what questions I was asking, but I was also able to see what other questions were being asked time and time again, but with no clear answer or process. If I found it confusing, I am sure others did too.

My ideal reader is someone who wants to explore their life to find out how they got here and rebalance all aspects which leads to healthy bones, mind and body. And they are prepared to put in the work – just as I did.

Many people (not all) just want a quick fix, are in fear or are not prepared to sort out their lives at a deeper level. Deeper means digging for dirt and cleaning up your life and that is not for the faint-hearted.

So I am not for everyone and I don’t want to be. The research was fascinating but also upsetting as so many lives are ruined by mis-diagnosis, not being listened to and having inappropriate drugs pushed at them. I cried a lot.

Book process and outcome

Then it was about the process of finding the root cause and process for healing naturally. As a subject matter expert (writing, energy healing and nutrition not a bone doctor) we often want to share too much, we have to come back to basics and remember to not overwhelm the reader.  This applies both in your book and on the blog.

What is the journey you are taking the reader on for this book and what outcome do you want for them. It’s about them not you.

Search engines – what are people really looking for?

With your ideal reader, questions, a clear process and outcome – how healing osteoporosis naturally – you can then tackle the search engines and working out what is asked there – that was a bit harder and I am still working on it. I have a tendency to write quirky headlines and have to come back to common sense.

Write and use your feedback wisely

It’s easier to join a blogging challenge and write for 30 days. When you have a challenge and a team rooting for you it’s easier. But more importantly you have a body of work to edit.

I found that by blogging I could see where the gaps were and when I got asked questions I was able to tighten up the outline and my content.

Reflect

Blogging your book is a fast(er) process, but like all quality books, you need to take time out to reflect. I wrote thousands of words for the blog and book and then unpublished most of them, because my plan was to publish the book much later and tie the book launch into National Osteoporosis Month.

With the book in edit and loads of blogs prepared I can when ready start that launch process properly and I have already saved myself lots of time.

Sure I will need to edit the blogs, but that’s easier than writing them all from scratch.

Make this work for you

My process will not be yours.

I like to take my time when it comes to producing a book, especially a healing book that I am living as I am writing. I enjoy the challenge of getting lots of content out and then taking time out to reflect. In that reflection time, I can heal some more, undertake more experiments and have more experiences to share. And I can watch how the market place for these types of books plays out. It’s all fascinating stuff.

Write a book in WordPress – Recap

  • Plan the book (Plan your non-fiction book and online course will help you)
  • Create an outline and chapter framework
  • Do a knowledge audit
  • Do a content gap analysis
  • Set up your WordPress categories and tags (get help if this confuses you)
  • Get a content planner
  • Write (think about how to optimise for the search engines)
  • Promote
  • Reflect
  • Execute the next part of the plan

I do hope that you enjoy the process, I know that I do.

PS: you can still get my course Plan your non-fiction book via the Navigate bundle for £99 – along with 18 other great products and courses.

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Dale Darley

Dale lives in the hills in Spain with her three furry writing muses. She works with her clients to support them to plan and write a book, build their brand and create a business that they love.

  • Simon says:

    Nice idea! I didn’t use wordpress for my last book but I used the same ideas/principles… and it worked well!

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    10 rules for writing a brilliant book