Blogs vs Books

As I have very recently discovered, writing a book takes time and patience and as such is a different beast than blogging.  Allow me to compare the two.

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.

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  1. says

    What a project – good luck. Your writing style is very readable and makes dry topics easy to understand, so I’m sure your book will be good. And die hard fan of traditional books printed on paper though I be, an e-book is probably about as eco-friendly as you could be, a perfect fit!

    • says

      Cheers SSF. Probably the main reason I choose the eBook medium over paper based, and I am writing it with 100% renewable energy to boot!


      P.S. Added your wonderful blog to my blogroll!

  2. says

    Hi Gavin, this is Jaime from Environmentality. Mate I have to say that your blog and your story are a constant source of inspiration good on you! I was wondering if at some point you would be interested in reading parts your E-book for our listeners, just like they do in the Book Show (Radio National), maybe 10 minutes at a time… I also like car wit joke, it shows a lot of wit :)

    • says

      What a coincidence Jaime. I was just listening to the podcast of your show on the way home last night, now that you have uploaded all the episodes from April, May and June.

      I accept your invitation, and would love to read part of the book on your show! Give me a call in about a month as it is taking a little more time than I thought.


  3. says

    Hi Gavin,

    You should call you’re book the Greening of Gavin. It’s perfect. Who cares if it’s the same as your blog. The book is part of the evolution of your blog, the two go hand in hand. This is so cool.

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