Blog to Book Project — Maps

Maps! Yes, you can include maps in your blog to book project.

If you are chronicling your travels in the jungles of  Asia, why not include a map that highlights your adventures? If you are writing about herbs, you could include a botanical map. A book about the Mojave Desert might have a geologic map. A backpacking through Europe book could feature a road map. If your book focuses on finding the best place for expats to retire in Mexico, a climate map is an excellent addition.

If you dedicate a section to a particular theme that would do well to have a map for visual clarification, go ahead and create a map. There are several free map creator sites available online.

You can even find historical maps at Old Maps Online. Most of these maps are public domain images and free to use, but be sure to check the copyright information when using a map created by someone else.

Are you compiling a collection of Viking myths and need a map of Valhalla? You wish is granted with these fantasy maps generators.

Maps are fun to create and add a unique visual element to your final blog to book project. Make sure to save your map as a jpg or png image.

Assignment:

Find a section of your book that would benefit from a map. Create it!

Blog to Book Project – Lists

You may want to include some very specific lists in the front matter of your blog to book project. All of these are optional.  

If your book includes a number of unfamiliar abbreviations, a list would help your reader make sense of the text. The list should be alphabetized by the abbreviation, not the full meaning. Thus U.S.A. instead of the United States of America would determine where the abbreviation falls in the list.

A list of contributors is where you can include the names and a brief bio about the people who contributed to your blog to book project. This is not the same as the acknowledgments page although you are acknowledging the contributions of these people. A list of contributors includes relevant biographical information, like membership in certain organizations, current position demonstrating expertise in an area, academic affiliations or published works. Contributors are listed in alphabetical order by last name but written in standard order. So Henry S. Pingleton is not written Pingleton, Henry S. in the contributor list and comes before Johnny Quimby and after Yori Oliver.

If your text has a multitude of visuals including figures, diagrams, drawings, photos, charts, tables, or maps, you might want to include a list of figures, list of tables or list of illustrations.  Capitalize the figure titles in the list. Use a highly descriptive title. Table 3 is not as informative as Table of Live Birth Rates in Mexico from 1887 – 1997.

Throughout your text, the figures should be numbered in Arabic numbers consecutively as they appear.  Otherwise, you can use a chapter – number system to keep track. For instance Figure 8-2 would be the second visual in chapter 8.

In your ebook, you will hyperlink the figure title to the figure in the text. In a print book, listing the page number is sufficient.

Although most often found in fiction books, you may also want to include a list of characters in your blog to book project if it would be hard for the reader to keep track of the people and relationships in your story without a guide. You can organize the list by order of appearance or family groups or overlapping relationships, whichever would be most useful for the reader.

A reference list is found at the end of each chapter in an ebook. Here you would include all works that are cited in the chapter. This list may also be called endnotes. List the entries alphabetically unless you are using a numbered citation system in the chapter.

Assignment:

Decide if your blog to book project needs any lists. If so, make it so.

Blog to Book Project — Hemingway App

There are several excellent free online aids that will substantially improve your writing as you complete your blog to book project. Today I’d like to talk about Hemingway Editor.  

To use the free online version, copy and paste your text directly into the app and watch it do its magic. In seconds, a rainbow of colors will appear with suggestions on how you can make your text better.

You can also use the WRITE mode and type your text in manually. You won’t get any suggestions until you toggle over to the EDIT mode though.

On the right, you’ll see a column with information to help you decipher Hemingway’s suggestions. At the top, you’ll see your text’s Readability. Based on the structure of your sentences and vocabulary choices, Hemingway rates your writing on a U.S. grade level scale.

The average U.S. person reads at about a 10 grade level. Hemingway himself wrote at a fifth-grade level.  Someplace between the two of those levels would be good, depending on your topic.

Below that, if you click on Show More you’ll see an approximate reading time and how many letters, characters, words, sentences, and paragraphs your text contains.

Now for the color coding.

  • Blue is for adverbs.
  • Green is for passive voice.
  • Purple is for simpler alternatives to what you have written.
  • Yellow is for hard to read sentences.
  • Red is for very hard to read sentences.

What you choose to do with this information is up to you. If you hover over the highlighted text, you’ll see some suggestions on how to improve your writing and word choice. Maybe the yellow and red sentences can be divided into smaller sentences. Passive voice sentences can be converted to active voice. Consult a thesaurus for alternate choices for the blue and purple highlighted words.

At the top of the app, you’ll see some features to add style to your prose. Bold, Italics, headings in H1, H2, and H3 sizes, Quote, Bullets, Numbers, and Link. Use what you like and leave the rest.

Here’s how this post was rated by the Hemingway App.

Then when you are satisfied that your writing is the best it can be, copy and paste it into your book. The Hemingway App does not correct spelling or grammar mistakes. This is soley for stylistic betterment. We’ll talk about spelling and grammar in another post.

The online version of the app is completely free. There is a paid version but is quite reasonable at $19.99. The advantage of the paid version is that you can download to your desktop and use it without the internet. You can even publish directly from Hemingway to WordPress or Medium.  

Assignment:

Play around with the Hemingway App today. Find out how your writing rates.

Blog to Book Project — Glossary

Today we are going to talk about a glossary. Not every book will have one. However, if you use regional expressions, terms in other languages, or vocabulary that your readers might not be familiar with, then you might include a glossary as one of the back matter sections of your book.

For example, I use many Mexican Spanish terms in my books. Although I define or translate the words and phrases in the text, usually using parenthesis, I could very well create a glossary and have those terms listed alphabetically for reference in the glossary.

If you include medical or legal terms, you might want to consider adding a glossary as well. It might not be convenient to stop and define these terms as they appear in the story. Hence, a glossary.

Ebook and print book glossaries are designed differently. In both types of books, there is a separate glossary section that readers can scroll through. In an ebook, the words that appear in the glossary are underlined in the text and hyperlinked to the definitions in the glossary. A print book obviously doesn’t have this linking capability.

I use Pressbooks to format most of my books rather than Microsoft Word, which I find overly complicated. Pressbooks has a glossary function and step-by-step instructions on how to create an interactive glossary.

If you are using Word to format your blog to book project, you might find this video or article helpful.

Google Docs also has instructions on how to create a glossary using their program which you can find here.

Ultimately, whether you include a glossary or not is up to you as the author. If your readers need help understanding some of the vocabulary used in your book, then a glossary is one way to help them out.

Assignment:

Decide whether or not your Blog to Book Project needs a glossary, then make it so.

Blog to Book Project — Front Matter

Front Matter

There are several parts that comprise the section known as the Front Matter of your book. Not all books have every part however. The front matter uses Roman numerals to number the pages rather than cardinal numbers setting this section apart from the main text.

An optional half title page only has the title of the book. It’s the first page you see when opening the book.

A frontispiece is an illustration that is printed on the side facing the title page. It’s not required.

The title page has the title of the book and the author’s name as they appear on the cover and the spine (if it is a print book).

Your copyright page is also known as a colophon. It is on the reverse side of the title page. Here you’ll find copyrights information, ISBN, publisher, and disclaimer. (See Copyright).

A dedication page is another optional section. On this page, the author customarily names a person or people to whom the book is dedicated.

The epigraph is a page where a poem, quotation, excerpt or phrase is included as a sort of introduction to the book or theme of the book. This is also not required.  

The all-essential table of contents lists the section and chapter headings and any back matter sections. In a print book, each heading is followed by the page number where that section begins. In an ebook, the heading itself is a hyperlink to that section.

You might have a list of figures/illustrations or list of tables section after the table of contents. The list of figures page has an inventory of illustrations or figures included in the book, their titles and their page numbers. The list of tables does the same for any tables included in the book.

Similarly, you may include a list of abbreviations or characters. If you use a substantial number of abbreviations throughout your book, then you might want to include a page that lists them. A list of characters page, although typically found in fiction works, also could be appended in a non-fiction book. The list would name the characters and provide a little background information about them, possibly including relationships among the characters.

Books where the order of events is of paramount importance, could include a chronology or timeline. Memoirs might have a genealogy or family tree page instead.

The foreword is a written by someone other than the author. It may provide an introduction to the book or to the author him/herself. The foreword is always signed, usually with its author’s name, place, and date. It’s optional.

A preface is another introduction, this time written by the author. It might talk about the inspiration behind the book or background material that the reader needs to know to understand the book. It’s not a requirement.

In the acknowledgements section the author publically thanks anyone who contributed to the creation of the book including editors, Beta readers, supportive family and friends, fans, cover designers, and sometimes God himself. It’s a very personal but optional section.

Along the same lines, a list of contributors page is a recital of those who have contributed to the book, sometimes with public gratitude from the author. If a contributors page is not in the front matter, it should be positioned right before the index in the back matter. Names should be listed alphabetically by last name, but be listed first name last name.  After each contributor, there may be short biographical notes, academic honors or other publications by the contributor.

In the introduction, the author talks about the goals of the book or discusses the organization and scope of the work. It’s not required. Prologues are found in fiction books. Here the story scene is set through the eyes of a character in the book, not the author.

If the front matter section is extensive, there might be a second half title page, identical to the first. It appears before the beginning of the text. The page following the second half title page may be blank or may have an epigraph.

Who knew that the Front Matter section was so substantial? Take heart, we’ll talk about each of these segments in time.

Assignment:

Decide which Front Matter sections you will include in your Blog to Book Project.  

Blog to Book Project — Ebooks vs. Print Books

Remember, this an alphabetical listing this month, so expect some topics to be out of order when it comes to assembling your book.

Ebooks vs. Print Books

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) makes it easy for you to create both an ebook and a print book. (I’ll talk more about KDP in a few days). As streamlined as KDP has made the process, there are still some formatting issues that you should be aware of.

Ebooks are digital text that can be read on a Kindle or other ereader device app. Since the ebook can be read on multiple devices (Kindle, iphone, tablet, ect) the formatting is not fixed in order to accommodate text size differences. For this reason, ebooks do not have page numbers.

What this means for you, is that it is easier for you to create chapters from your blog posts without do a lot of formatting changes. You can leave images interspersed throughout the text of the chapter because the ebook formatting allows for that.

The same can not be said of print books. Both soft and hard cover books have strict formatting guidelines. This impacts the size and placement of your images. To make sure your image isn’t behemoth or teeny weeny when it appears on the page, I recommend you use Canva to create standard size images or even a collage of images.

To do this, go to Canva and sign up for an account. It’s free. I use the social media 800 x 800 px template, but you could choose another size. There are even full page options. Once you choose the size you wish to work with, click on it and a new tab will open.

On the left, you’ll see a column with a variety of options. Choose Uploads. Click on  the Upload an Image blue bar at the top. Choose the image to upload from your computer.

Now go to Elements in the left hand column. Then select Grids.

If you have just one image, you’ll want to use the first landscape image. If you have more than one image, click on a layout that meets your needs.

Return to Uploads. Click and drag your image to the layout. It will fit itself automatically.

Download your image to your computer. I recommend either PNG or JPG format. Now replace the image you have in your blog post with this new formatted image. Voila!

Another suggestion that will save you loads of time when formatting your print book is to reduce the number of images included in each chapter. Do you really need every single picture of Aunt Fran making the cake or can you get by with just the final pastry masterpiece? Then start the chapter with that image before the text or end the chapter with the image after the text. While you can certainly insert the image someplace other than the beginning or end, doing so may create more white space than you want in a print book.

Canva also has a template for making your ebook cover, which is really nice! Print book covers have more requirements and are a bit more complex, so we’ll talk about covers another day. For know, I’ll just mention that ebook covers have far less information on them than a print book cover.

There are some other differences between ebooks and print books. You can leave your hyperlinks just like they are in your blog post when you create an ebook. Print books, obviously, don’t have hyperlink capability. Therefore, if you want keep those hyperlinks, you’ll have to write them out and it tends to look messy. I recommend hyperlinks get transferred to the Appendix (remember that part?) We’ll talk about hyperlinks in an upcoming post as well.

Print books have an index to help readers find certain information. Ebooks have a search function instead. Both types of books have a table of contents, however only the ebook is interactive. There are no headers in an ebook. Footers in an ebook are converted to endnotes and appear at the end of the chapter. Ebooks can not include charts, tables or columns unless they have been converted to an image (see above) first. Ebooks also do not include tabs, paragraph returns, symbols, colored font, or text boxes (unless they are converted into an image).

So, there you have the major differences between ebooks and print books, in a nutshell.

Assignment:

Use Canva to format your images for your Blog to Book Project.

Blog to Book Project — Disclaimer

Disclaimer

A disclaimer is a statement that limits your liability for the information contained in your Blog to Book Project. For instance, if you write about investing in the stock market and someone follows your advice and loses every red cent he has, your disclaimer will keep him from filing a lawsuit against you.

You may have some sort of disclaimer already on your blog. Affiliate and External Link Disclaimers are the most common type of blog disclaimers.

There are several types of disclaimers you can use for your book or blog.

Accurate Information Disclaimer

Although the author has made every effort to ensure that the information in this book was correct at press time, the author does not assume and hereby disclaim any liability to any party for any loss, damage, or disruption caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident, or any other cause.

Affiliate Disclaimer

Some links included in this book may be affiliate links. When you purchase a product via that link, I will receive a small commission for your patronage.

External Links Disclaimer

This book contains links to external websites with no guarantee of the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, completeness of those websites. The author assumes no responsibility for broken links, errors or omissions of external websites.

Fiction Disclaimer

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.  Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.

Fitness Disclaimer

This book contains health, fitness and nutritional information designed for educational purposes only. This information in no way replaces professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Legal Disclaimer

The information in this book is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional legal advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, and images is for general information purposes only.

Medical Disclaimer

The information in this book is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, and images is for general information purposes only.

Memoir Disclaimer

This book is memoir. It reflects the author’s present recollections of experiences over time. The events and conversations in this book have been set down to the best of the author’s ability. Some names and characteristics have been changed to protect the privacy of certain individuals.

Nonfiction Disclaimer

The advice in this book may not be suitable for every situation. This work is sold with the understanding that the author will not be held responsible for the results accrued from the advice in this book.

Assignment:

Write your disclaimer.

Blog to Book Project — Blog Posts vs. Book Chapters

What is the difference between a blog post and a book chapter?

There are some basic differences between the two. However, what you’ll find is that with a little tweaking, you’ll be able to create chapters for your book from your blog posts.

Sections of a Blog Post

  • Headline
  • Hook ‘em stellar introduction
  • Tell your story
  • Add some bullet points
  • Link to credible sites that support the details
  • Add eye-catching images
  • End with a call-to-action (respond in the comments, share, buy)

Chapter of a Book

  • Title
  • Interest grabbing introduction
  • Tell your story
  • Conclusion
  • Pictures

As an example, let’s compare the structure of a blog post that I turned into a chapter in a book.

The blog post had the title: Women in Mexican History–Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez. When it became a chapter of A Woman’s Survival Guide to Holidays in Mexico, the title of this chapter became: Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez.

There were two images in the blog post to break up the text. These were rearranged in the book chapter so that one was at the beginning and one was at the end of the chapter. Doing so helped with the page formatting so that there wasn’t a dangling sentence on one page all by itself.

There were a number of hyperlinks to back up the historical information as it pertained to Josefa ’s story. Those hyperlinks were moved to a section entitled Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez in the Appendix for the book. (We talked about the Appendix yesterday remember?)

The blog post ended with the call to action for readers to buy the book A Woman’s Survival Guide to Holidays in Mexico. The book does not have a call to action at the end and the chapter concludes at that point.

In this example, there weren’t any drastic writing changes in the conversion from post to chapter. Sometimes more information will need to be added to the chapter if there are gaps in information. This might happen if you have written about a topic on your blog and link to a prior post rather than go through the whole story again. Sometimes information should be removed from the chapter if it isn’t relevent to the book topic.

This post didn’t have any bullet points either. For the most part, my chapters don’t have bullet points since they tend to mess with the formatting in a book . If they aren’t just so, you can have more white space than you want. However, there’s nothing wrong with bullet points appropriately positioned in a book chapter.

Theme

Although it seems relatively straight forward converting your blog posts into chapters, you need to keep in mind that the book you are creating should not just be a collection of your blog posts.

Books have themes that tie the chapters together. Your Blog to Book Project should have a dedicated theme.

To illustrate this point, I wrote a series of blog posts about being a Prepper and living off-grid in central Mexico. I compiled those 30 odd posts into a book for Preppers considering Mexico as a bug-out location. I ONLY included posts related to our life as Preppers. I did not include any posts about me being an ESL teacher, our animals, or building our house. Those are topics I am in the process of compiling into separate books.

How to Choose a Theme

As you blog, you should have been organizing your posts by category or tag. Checking which categories have the most reader interaction would be a good way to pick a topic for your blog to book project.

It often helps to think of your future blog to book project as a proposed solution to a specific question. In the book A to Z Reasons Why La Yacata is the Place to Be in Any Disaster: A Prepper’s Guide to Mexico, the question is whether Mexico would be a good location WTSHTF (when the shit hits the fan) or not. The book addresses natural, political and personal disaster situations from the perspective of a long-time resident of Mexico. By the end of the book readers should have an idea about the most important drawbacks or benefits to living in Mexico and if there are ways to alleviate the danger of these disaster potentials.

Organization

You should also consider the structure of your book. In the above-mentioned book, the chapters were listed alphabetically. In another book, A Woman’s Survival Guide to Holidays in Mexico, the chapters were organized chronologically from January to December. The organizational strategy that you choose should be easy to follow and make sense for your topic. Chapters are very rarely organized by the date they appeared on your blog.

Your assignment for today is to choose a topic for your Blog to Book Project and decide how to organize the posts that will be included.

Blog to Book Project — Appendix

Today, we are starting with the end of the book–the Appendix.

So what is the appendix and why do you need one in your blog to book adventure?

Yes, yes, I know it’s a part of the human body that spontaneously combusts and causes life-threatening infection or even death. But in the writing world, an “Appendix is defined as the section at the end of a book that gives additional information on the topic explored in the contents of the text.

Do you need an appendix? Not necessarily. However, if you need to explain something in addition to the text of the book, this is where you would put it. This is also where you would list other books related to the subject your blog to book project is about, references and citations.

Since your blog to book project is non-fiction, having an appendix that lists this information adds credibility to your story. For instance, if I’m writing about how I do not have internet access at my home in central Mexico, I might include a summary and link to a study done by the Mexican government that states that in the area I live in only 1 in 8 people have internet access. The citation says “See, people, I”m not making it up!” and my story is, therefore, more believable.

So biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, and research-based books all would do well to have an appendix backing up the statements in the book. You could also include full copies of letters you excerpt in your blog to book project since including the full letter in the text might be uneccessary. Or maybe something scientific needs further explaining, so you include a graph or diagram in the appendix. If it adds to the credibility or understandability of your story, then it should be in the appendix.

You can actually have more than one appendix section. One section might contain a bibliography of works cited. Another might cite the sources for all the quotes you used in images throughout your book. A third part might list background information about people that appear in your story. In this case, each separate appendix might be titled Appendix A, Appendix B, Appendix C.

Your assignment for today is to take a look at the information you want to include in your blog to book project and decide what will be in the appendix. Then make it so.