Authors, writers, bloggers – do you have a dream? You know you do. Every author does. You want to be famous, sitting on the Today Show’s pretty chairs, don’t you? You want everyone in America gushing over your book.
Let’s back up a little. How did you get there? You wrote a damn great book. People are amazed by your turn of phrase, your ability to caress each word into a beautiful sentence unlike anything seen before. And good for you – you’ve been writing since you were in the womb, as your bio clearly states.
Before you get there, to the Today Show chair and glowing bio, there’s one big giant chunk of something missing…what could that be? Marketing!
Books don’t market themselves, no matter how gorgeous the prose, which sits beautifully upon the page, forever. You can wait until someone stumbles upon it, or you can share it in a way that isn’t the annoying, “Buy my book!” linky spam we see populating social media these days (that’s a future column, believe me).
Where’s the happy medium?
Blogging. Let’s deconstruct.
How is Blogging Part of Marketing Your Book?
I work with many authors, traditional and self-published, who see no point to blogging.
I’m too busy writing books. Why would I want to blog? or
What would I talk about? I’m a boring mom. Nobody wants to read about dog hair or my diet.
The answer is really much simpler. You blog for three main reasons:
1) To build relationships with readers
2) To increase visibility in Google (and other search engines), increasing SEO (search engine optimization) of your website and
3) To develop your branding as part of your overall author platform.
All of these elements contribute to marketing your book and ultimately, result in sales. Let’s review each one.
1) Building Relationships with Readers
Your blog is yours – it’s your home, if you will, to discuss topics that you are interested in, your passions, what drives you – that may or may not have anything to do with your book.
This is where many writers stop short. ‘Wait, I write erotica. You mean I don’t have to write about writing erotica?’ Nope. You can write about baking cookies if that’s your passion.
Building relationships with readers (and book bloggers and book reviewers, who are, after all, your audience and readers base, not other authors) is where your focus needs to be. The same can be said of social media. The medium itself may not sell books, but building the relationship with readers will ultimately help you to sell books.
Know your demographic! For example, most erotica readers are women (mainly between 35 – 60), so I imagine they are making a lot of cookies and no, that’s not a sexual innuendo, though it totally could be.
2) Increase Your Visibility in Google
Many authors don’t want to blog and decide to use Facebook as their main source of communication with their reader base. I get it. It’s easy and there’s no maintenance, knowledge level, or cost involved.
However, there’s a danger there. You are at the mercy of Facebook’s ever-changing algorithms, and if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that you are not allowed to be using your personal ‘friends’ account for promotion. You must use your author page for that, and the likelihood of anyone seeing your promotional posts are pretty small without you paying to ‘boost’ them with ad dollars.
Why do that? Your blog/website costs very little to set up, with the exception of purchasing your domain and paying for hosting – nominal costs. If you don’t know how to use WordPress.org (what many website experts far more intelligent than me recommend and what I use and love), hire someone who can help you, or watch some free YouTube tutorials.
Point is, drive traffic to your site, not Facebook’s. Bring your readers to your house. Invite them in, show them around, and give them a cookie.
3) Develop Your Branding
Blogging regularly will help you flex your writing muscles, and it helps you interact with you know, people. Actual readers of your work. Figure out about five subjects that represent you, the author (remember, brand the author, not the book) that you really like to write about, and stick to them.
If you’re completely stuck for topics, here are a few quick ideas:
* Share an excerpt of your current WIP (Work In Progress). I wouldn’t recommend doing this more than once every few months though. Surely there’s something else in the world to talk about than your WIP, right?
* What are you reading right now? Share the first sentence or a favorite passage and talk about how that resonates with you. Or any favorite book will do.
* Ask your favorite author to guest post for you. They can always say no, but it doesn’t hurt to ask! Or ask any author you admire.
* Share your five favorite articles that you read this week (caution: always give attribution – who wrote the article, link to the original source, give author credit, etc.). One friend does a Friday wrap-up every week of this and it’s my favorite blog to finish up the week.
Want to really see an increase in traffic? Participate in #MondayBlogs – share your posts on Mondays using that hashtag (absolutely not for book promotion). It’s a sharing meme, meaning you can still post any day you usually do, but share your posts on Mondays with that hashtag and be sure to generously retweet others.
(I founded the meme in 2012 and it now generates over 2.5K tweets weekly. I personally see over 4 times the amount of traffic on Mondays.) Open to any blogger.
I hope this helps you to see the value of blogging. It’s not difficult or all that time-consuming – I blog once weekly, late Sunday to take advantage of early #MondayBlogs. Here’s why: the average blog gets the most traffic on Monday, the most inbound links on Monday, as well as more visitors, comments, and engagement (Source: Dan Zarrella for SearchEngineLand).
So get started! You can do this blog thingy. Let’s see what you’ve got.
*A final caution: use pictures to attract people to your blog, but do not pull them from Google. Just because it’s on Google doesn’t mean it’s royalty-free. A photographer or company can sue you for not paying for an image. Instead, visit this website for a plethora of royalty-free image sites. My favorites are Unsplash, Pixabay, and Gratisography. Great shots, all free, no license required for blog use.