Friday, 8 June 2012
Blogs vs Books
Written by Gavin Webber
Blog posts are a great way to document an idea or story quickly. If I have a thought about some green/non-green event or witness something during the day, I can write it down in my A4 text book, that I carry around with me, and then type it up when I get home that evening. The story/post is online the same day for the world to read. All with minimal proof reading and editing (which is something I should take a bit more car wit). Done and dusted, with a post being as short or as long as I want it to be. The post can be rich in visual or audio content or simply text and photographs. You can also write from a first person perspective which I find suits my writing style, and you can be as random regarding topics as you like. I also love the instant feedback in the form of comments.
Writing an eBook is a different kettle of fish entirely. It is a structured writing form, which has to flow from chapter to chapter in a logical sequence, which also has to stick to the theme of the book. It has to be proof read, edited, re-written, proofed again, and formatted correctly for publishing. Most importantly, it has to be something that people will want to read and enjoy. There is no point in writing a book that no-one reads or likes!
Most authors write books because they have something to say, not because they want to become rich and famous. I am in the same boat, as I have something to say most of the time. I want to take the next logical step beyond blogging. I am not in it as a get rich quick plan, that is for sure.
What I have written so far in my book is part mini-biography and part 'how to', so I can get away with my writing style. I don't have to write in the third person, and can treat it a bit like one big blog post. That said, Kim reviewed my first draft and has given me a lot of food for thought. She grounds me often, gives me honest feedback and pulls no punches when it comes to reviewing. I now plan to expand each chapter further and add a few more topics that I had forgotten.
Like most things that I have tackled so far on my green journey, I am doing most of the work myself. From writing (of course), formatting, cover design, research, and most importantly, self publishing. eBooks are quite easy to self publish, with the aid of a third party site like Amazon or Smashwords. Distribution will also be handled by the third parties who take a small percentage of the overall book price. Some take as much as 40% with a few as low as 20%. It is a small price to pay for the global reach that these distributors have.
The illustrations are a different matter. I have never claimed to be an artist, with stick figures being my best work to date, however I do have a talented wife who recently graduated from London Art College with a Diploma in Children's Illustration. Her drawing skills surpass mine by a factor of millions, and I love her cartoon work (not biased much). So, I commissioned Kim to illustrate all of my books, to give them a light hearted and humorous tone. I thing her work is amazing, and I am truly a lucky man to have her in my life.
The final thing that I have realised about writing a eBook is that it takes time. It is a work of art, and good art does take a lot of time to get right. This process is enlightening and a great creative outlet after a hard day at work. Similar to this blog in a way, or not unlike cheese making, it helps me to relax and wind down. Some people watch TV, but I choose to write, and live sustainably.
So what is the title? Well as I write, it keeps changing. These are some of the working titles so far; The First Year, One Person Can Make A Difference, The Beginning, My Green Epiphany, and probably a few more that I didn't commit to paper. None of these made the cut, and I have one that is warming to me as I continue to refine the books contents. Time will tell if it makes it to the presses (so to speak, as there are no presses for an eBook)!
Because I enjoy writing the blog so much, it will continue on as usual. I will continue to document my journey and any actions that I take, because I have been told by many hundreds of readers during my four and a half years of writing the blog, that I am making a difference to their lives through my behaviours, thoughts and actions. I am humbled as always, especially when I think back to when I started the blog, as it initially set out to be a way of recording my personal journey towards a more sustainable lifestyle, albeit in a very public way. Call me naive, but I never expected this much attention from readers or the media, let alone be attempting to write a book.
Anyway, enough of my rambling for now. Suffice it to say that writing a book or eBook is a labour of love but oh so rewarding! I am glad that I am giving it a go.