Friday, January 07, 2011

From Kitty Blogger to Kitty Author

From Kitty Blogger to Kitty Author
By Sparkle

Remember a few years back, when there was all this hype about going from blog to book? A lot of potential authors took note, and hardly any of them acted on it. Well, I actually think going from blog to book is a great idea, and I have two books out that generated from my blog (although my second and latest, Dear Sparkle: Cat-to-Cat Advice From the World's Foremost Feline Columnist, contains a lot of material that did not originally appear in my blog). Going from blog to book is a great idea if you do it the right way. Let me explain how this kitty did it:

• I had a blog long before I even thought of doing a book. But not every blog is book material. You need a niche, something you specialize in. Since my blog was written in First Person Cat, I already had a niche going, and I drilled down from there. So you humans need to have a focus or topic for your blog, if you want to do a book someday. If you are a novelist, there has to be some aspect of your character's lives that you are passionate about - make your blog about that. Or perhaps you write in a certain genre, such as romance, science fiction or mystery. Blog about aspects of that world.

• Explore different themes within your niche. Within my blog, I covered certain topics - book reviews, cat-to-cat advice, my diary (things that went on in my life), product reviews, feline celebrity interviews, etc. Over time, I realized I could put together a whole book of cat-to-cat advice - for a long time, it was the most popular part of my blog. As long as it is all within the blog's character or personality, you should allow yourself the freedom to cover topics related to your niche. You may discover ideas generating from your blog that did not at first occur to you. In the beginning, I had no idea that I would wind up being the world's first cat expert... who also happened to be a cat!

• Treat your blog like a magazine, with an editorial calendar and regular updates. You don't have to update every day, as I do, but at least do it a few times a week. Get in the habit of writing regular posts, and if you are going to be away from the computer or out of town for an extended period, write posts in advance and schedule them. Writing a book takes discipline, and blogging in a professional manner - posting regularly, creating deadlines and keeping up with them - will help teach you that. If you are serious about writing a book, this is one tip you absolutely cannot skip.

• Grow your fan base through social networking. I was an early adopter in social networking. I have never been in the first wave of users, but I came in shortly afterwards. I started my social networking with a site called Friendster in 2005, and from there went to MySpace, then to Twitter and Facebook. I made a lot of friends through these venues, and many of them became regular blog visitors too. The secret there was that I shared myself with my social networking friends and cared about what they did and had to say; I did not just talk about my blog. When it came time to promote my book, I did so both on my blog and through social networking, and since I had already established a friendship with these groups, it came off naturally, instead of sounding hype-y.

• If you are self-publishing, or micro-publishing, give your book extra-added value - don't just spit out your blog's content into book form. My first book was micro-published, and I included lots of nice black and white photographs to illustrate the advice columns I used. I also had an editor comb through my book to correct any errors or typos, and had the book laid out in InDesign to give it a professional look. Luckily for me, my human is an expert in these areas (she has been an editor for several cat generations!), so I just gave her the task. You may have to pay someone in something other than headbutts. It is also a good idea to hire a professional book cover designer to create your book cover. It shows when an author skimps on that.

• Use your blog to promote your book. You might think that would be redundant, since part or all of your book's content is on your blog, but you would be surprised at how many humans who read your blog will also buy a copy of your book! Although I still have not yet set it up, having a section of your blog totally devoted to your book or books is not only a great idea, it really is mandatory.

• If your book is being sold on Amazon, whether it's micro-published, print-on-demand or (like my latest book) traditionally published, create a page for yourself in Amazon's Authors Central section ( You can feed the RSS of your blog to your Amazon Author's Page, giving both you, and the content from your blog, a presence on the largest book-selling website on the internet.

I hope you find some of these tips helpful! Creating a blog that is worth visiting regularly is really an accomplishment, and if you can do that, chances are there is a book somewhere in there.

Sparkle is an award-winning author, blogger, advice columnist and supermodel. She is also a cat – a ruddy Somali of champion lineage, in fact, whose father, GC Tajhara’s Miles Davis, was twice on the cover of Cat Fancy. Sparkle’s first book, Dear Sparkle: Advice from One Cat to Another, won the Wild Card category at the 2007 Hollywood Book Festival and honorable mentions in several other contests. She also recently came home with the Pettie Award — the pet blogging equivalent of an Oscar — for Best Cat Blog. Sparkle lives in Los Angeles with two humans, two feline roommates (both rescue cats), and (unfortunately) a dog.

Dear Sparkle: Cat-to-Cat Advice from the World’s Foremost Feline Columnist (Adams Media) is her second book.

You can visit Sparkle’s blog at


  1. Kitty lovers might find this interesting. The world's oldest cat.

    All I can say is WOW

  2. This is fabulous. I love kitties...sorry got off topic. What a great idea and certainly a niche in its own right.

    I am so glad that I came and visited today. I may have to get the book for my cat Lola...


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