How Your Blogs Will Help Sell Your Books
As a writer, your greatest wish is to write an amazing novel, put it up for sale, and watch as the five-star reviews and the money come rolling in. You quit your day job, move to Martha’s Vineyard and sip wine during the day while pondering your new life and your next work.
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.
If you can’t afford a publicist, or even an agent, you may have to do things yourself. The first step to being a successful self-published author is to start a blog. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to get your name out there and start building your author platform, but it will take time, and like everything else, effort. You can host your own website for about $4 a month. That’s less than you would spend on your daily visit to Starbucks.
Why You Need an Author Blog
There’s a blog out there for everything. Want to know how to knit cat hair into a rug? There’s a blog out there for that. Want to know how to make ice cream using only a toothpick and honey? I’m sure there’s a blog out there for that too. Everyone can be, and is an expert at something, when it comes to writing and promoting your books, you are the expert.
Who knows your writing better than you? Who knows your struggles as an aspiring author better than you do? The answer is no one, so capitalize on that.
Blogs build reader trust, which in turn builds visibility and separates you from mainstream writers. While big name writers have websites, those sites are usually run by someone else and lack the personal feel of a personally written blog. So as a writer with a blog, you are in a unique position to speak directly to your readers.
Using Your Blog to Speak to Your Readers
Blogs are used as a tool to engage people. Ask your readers questions. Ask what they like or dislike about your work. Think of all the questions you would like to ask your favorite author and answer those questions for your readers.
Make sure that your readers can easily find contact information for you on your blog, and that all of your other social media links are easily visible. If a reader is looking for your website, it stands to reason that they will also want to find you on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
You can also use your blog to talk about special promotions, run giveaways, post excerpts and previews from your latest work. Make your blog a unique place for your readers that offers them special content they can’t get anywhere else.
The First Rule of Blogging
You would think that writers writing for their own blog would be easy, but for some, it can be terribly intimidating. It doesn’t have to be, but before you start your author blog remember, there really is only one rule. Write and write often.
Readers are coming to your blog to find out more about you and your writing projects. Nothing will turn a reader off faster than seeing that your site hasn’t been updated in two years and that it still says, “Happy New Year 2012” at the top of the page.
Set a schedule and stick to it. To help you with your social media presence, and keeping up with your blog, check out the Wicked
With Ink Weekly Writing Planner (download link). You can use it to keep track of what you post and how often you update. This can be a lifesaver if you feel like you are drowning under your social media to-do list.
Update your blog with anything you find relevant to your writing process. This doesn’t strictly have to be posts about writing prompts or writing inspiration. You can literally write about anything. It’s your blog. Just make sure you keep it professional and that you’re posts are in line with your author brand.
What to Write on Your Author Blog
Now that you understand how starting a blog will help you sell your books – what do you write about?
- Background information on your books. How and why did you pick this subject? Did you have to do any research for it?
- Why did you pick the names you did for your characters? Do they mean anything important to you?
- Snippets from your books
- Create a soundtrack for your book and write about why you chose those songs
- Explain scenes from your work. Think of this like the directors cut in a movie. Talk about why you chose a particular scene to reveal something important.
- Show your edits.
- Publish a prequel for your new work. Make it an irresistible preview, but short enough to make readers want more
Let Others Do the Writing For You
- Guest Post – Ask other authors to do a guest post on your site. Even if you are still building your audience, reach out to other authors in your genre and ask if they would like to do a guest post.
- Author or Reader Interviews – Again, all you have to do is ask. I asked some authors that I love to do interviews for me and they did. I also decided to ask readers to do an interview for me as well so that I could get a better understanding of the people that like my writing.
- Infographics – A picture tells 1,000, so why not find or create infographics that are relevant to your craft or that provide valuable information to share with others?
- Photos – Have a favorite spot to write? Love your favorite notebook? Well show your readers in pictures. It makes you more accessible to your readers and will give them a better understanding of who you are.
- Polls/Surveys – ask questions of your readers, and they will answer. Maybe you’re writing about like in Oklahoma and need some answers. Ask away.
- Reviews – Ask writers and readers to do a review of your work. This can be another great way to generate buzz for your work.
Check out my list of Blog Topics for Authors to get you started.