How to turn a blog into a bookMay 29, 2023
Every two weeks I review books of fellow authors to learn from them on behalf of my audience. Those articles are added by an interview with the authors to provide more insight than a short review on Amazon or other e-commerce websites. The inspiration gaining from this process helped me to write my own book, too.
After 20 reviews of other authors I want to take the chance to introduce (not review) my first own business book, “Connect & Act – Systematic Social Selling”. Intended to be just a selection of my weekly Social Selling posts, it became a full book written from scratch using the foundation of my blogging activities.
The major difference: I added statements from a range of experts in their fields. Every social media channel is a raw place on its own like a micro cosmos. That’s why I wanted to add more voices to give a rounded picture about the topic of Social Selling.
What do I mean with Social Selling? Discussing a couple of definitions in the book, for me it is “a clever approach of using social media and digital tools to enhance business conversations.” This way we take a conversation offline into a call or a meeting to advance your business agenda, in my view the universal target of Social Selling.
The book follows a structure which I declared by LEGO bricks: This first regular step in Social Selling represents your digital representation or personal brand, therefore I call the chapter “Complete”. This is followed by “Connect” about finding the right people and building lasting relationships with them. The third step “Content” is all about writing and engaging different types of material while the fourth step “Convert” takes a conversation to the next level.
The book follows those four chapters including longer interviews with Roger Christie, Wendy Lloyd Curley, Scott Rogerson and Mark McInnes, added by an insightful foreword of Raul Kumar. Further 16 experts add other aspects of those four chapters.
Many people don’t read full books given the attention span challenges. Therefore I spread the content across 42 double pages, each of them with four practical tips to execute right away. When updates to those topics become available, a dedicated landing page with QR code gives further insight.
I am extremely grateful for the kind comments from members of my network about the book like Cian McLoughlin (“… Gunnar’s personal experience and research with long form interviews and shorter content segments, to deliver a very impactful and important new book.”) or Rema Lolas (“His tips and advice are practical and easy to implement to build your social presence and connect to meaningful relationships.”).
Q&A with Gunnar Habitz
1. What was the deciding moment to write this book?
As an active content creator, I started a weekly blogging series on LinkedIn about Social Selling with the hashtag #socialsellingmonday back in November 2018. After 100 episodes I thought about compiling those into an eBook to have a reference. A few weeks before hitting the 200th week of posting, I realised in August 2022 that a real book would be a better format with enhanced content. Just something else would be required to build a comprehensive package: adding the voices of fellow experts with their practical experience.
2. How long did it take from concept to launch?
It took about a month to define the concept in September 2022 until I came on the idea of using practical double pages. After collecting material and reading other books to find my unique angle, I invited the carefully selected guest contributors in January 2023. The writing process itself took six weeks until just after Easter. As my birthday on 4 May approached, I wanted to launch it on that very day as a birthday launch party. This marked seven years from arriving in Sydney to my leadership studies, also on my birthday.
3. How did you perform the research to create the practical content?
Since starting to post regularly in 2017 (nearly ten years after joining), I never stopped and gained immense research on trial and error, added by learning from others. Initially I wanted to compile the first 100 into a book as they are but then realised they needed more density. Also thanks to the feedback from my regular webinars and coaching clients helped a lot.
4. What was the biggest challenge along the process (and how did you overcome it)?
My biggest challenge was the moment to get started. I had plenty of content and a concept, invited my guest contributors – and “just” had to get going. That kicking moment set in when I realised that my birthday would be a great launch trigger but I had only ten weeks to go. That got me the energy to write consistently every day. The second challenge was aligning the time with my exact editor, Karen Crombie. We worked beforehand already and I knew she would turn my German structure of my written English into beautiful sentences – which worked very well.
5. What was your own reflection along the journey?
The material from my weekly blog often had a current character based on some trigger at that time. I have been surprised that most of it had a long-term usability if I only rephrased that. Instead of closing with a call to action as in a typical blog post to move the reader to some activity, I changed that approach towards showing the life after the transformation in the eyes of the reader.
6. What is the outcome in having this book available?
This is not my first book as I started my publishing career as a travel book author back in 1999. Being my first self-published business book in English makes a huge difference as I can show what I teach. While I also created online courses, a book is still seen as a reference and door opener. The current media coverage and guest podcast invitations would not been possible without having this book published. And I am humbly proud that famous book authors reached out and congratulated to the publication!
7. What would you advise others about writing their book?
Before writing any sentences, I suggest creating the whole structure of the book after asking yourself who it is for and what you can give to them. Ideally a future business book writer has their own approach or methodology already so it should be translated into a book structure. I suggest showing this and talking about the book based on a table of content and an elevator pitch. Once members of the target audience raise their willingness to read the book, you can start composing it further so that at the end it is only about filling the structure with the material. It is helpful to have a draft cover sticked to the wall behind the computer to get going. As in my own example I know that setting a timeline with a physical launch event creates a trigger to make it happen – it feels like the well-deserved applause of an actor or singer.
Gunnar Habitz: “Connect & Act – Systematic Social Selling”, Connect & Act Media May 2023, ISBN 978-0-6458027-0-2 (Paperback), 978-0-6458027-1-9 (eBook), 978-0-6458027-2-6 (Kindle), 978-0-6458027-3-3 (Audiobook, coming later), 978-0-6458027-4-0 (Hardcover).
More about the author and the book: www.connectandactbook.com.