I’ve heard a lot of people in the publishing industry say, “Every author should have a blog,” but do blogs really work? Each author must decide for themselves, but first it is important to understand what a blog is and how to use it effectively.
A blog is an abbreviated version of the term “web log”. It is basically a newspaper or newspaper that is online for the public to read. Businesses use blogs to share information about their products, new articles in their markets, and other information relevant to their industry. Blogs are similar for authors who want to connect with readers, books being the product, and readers being the customers who want the product, at least after reading your blog.
Blogging is a great marketing strategy for authors because it’s a way for them to tell their stories, talk about their books, share information, topics of common interest to readers, and ultimately inspire people to buy their books. Whether they’re writing fiction or non-fiction, most authors tell a story, and a blog is just another way to tell a story – the story of you the author – of a more personal way that will make readers love you and want to hear more of what you have to say.
Having a blog does not simply mean posting anything and anytime. As an author, you want to have a strategy for your blog posts. Ultimately, your goal is to sell your books to your potential readers. Make sure your posts reflect this strategy. If you write romance novels, it doesn’t make sense to post about your gardening interests – unless you can link them to your book – for example, if your heroine’s name is Cecilia and she’s a gardener in your book, then you could get creative and feature Cecilia’s gardening tips.
Here are some key tips for making your blog effective so that it engages your readers:
- Have a headline that grabs attention.
- Keep content relatively short – just a few paragraphs – one chapter a day of your book may be too long, so spread it out over a few posts – remember that people online have short attention spans.
- Publish selections of your books.
- Write why you wrote your book – tell the background story.
- Preview future books or ideas you’re working on.
- Review products that interest your readers – if you write historical fiction, review other historical novels or historical films. If you write about nature, the outdoors, activities like rock climbing, write reviews of nature hiking trails, the best places to kayak, or the latest rock climbing gear.
- Share information about your industry or genre – many readers want to become writers, so talk about writing, publishing and marketing books – be helpful to anyone asking for help (within reason) .
- Offer points of view that may be a bit controversial.
- Ask your readers for their opinion on what you post. Solicit their comments. Asking for feedback tells your readers that you want to know what they have to say and that you want to understand your customers. Respond to comments people write. Remember that many people think of authors as celebrities. They will be delighted that you took the time to respond to them. The more reviews you get, the more people will want to leave reviews. Don’t worry about negative comments – you can control the comments that appear on your site, but a little controversy can also help.
- Ask your readers what topics they would like you to post about. Ask them for ideas for future books, or write a text and ask for their opinion.
- Create links to other sites and exchange links. Find authors who write on similar topics or in similar genres. Interview them or review other people’s books. The links will help you optimize your search engine and you will have more links to your site to attract readers.
- Advertise your blog. Simply setting up a blog on your website will not bring people to your blog. Announce it through your mailing lists. Get involved in social media sites like Facebook and Twitter where you can promote your blog.
- Avoid trying to sell directly. No one likes a pushy salesperson. Share information and make people curious about your thoughts, opinions and writings. People like to do business with people they know and like. As they get to know and like you, they will become more curious about buying your book.
- Go beyond the written word. Include photographs in your blog to attract people who are more visual. You can also include audio and video on your blog. Take turns playing with or changing different types of blog posts.
- Automate your blog so that everything you post goes to your social media sites. Ping.fm is a good site that allows you to cross post.
- Get listed in blog directories so people looking for information or the topics you write about can find you.
- Follow other authors and people in publishing industry blogs and post comments on those blogs. Your website will be included so people follow you to your website.
- Post an average of three or more blogs per week so you always have new content and keep readers engaged.
Blogging can be a fun and rewarding way to promote your books, have conversations with readers, try out ideas for future books, and learn a lot about how to market your books to attract readers. Ultimately, you won’t know if blogging is working for you unless you try it.