For most authors, it’s only when you come out of the writing cave that you realise how warm and cosy it was in there. Many will say that it’s when the book is published that the real work starts. Whether self-published or traditionally published, it’s a lot of work to send out press releases, get press coverage, promote the book on social media, attend interviews, do book signings and sell those books. Blogging will reduce your workload, increase your press coverage and your sales, and have many other advantages too.
9 Reasons Authors Should Blog
1.Blogging Builds Your Audience
Writing a blog means having readers. Not just readers of your blog but potential readers of your future book. If people enjoy your writing on the blog, it’s likely that they’ll enjoy your book too. If you’re a historical fiction author and you share some of the research within your blog posts, those interested in that historical era are bound to read both your blog posts and your books.
It’s also worth remembering that in this digital age, people like to get to know the personality behind businesses. People buy from people after all. As your audience gets to know you better from your blog writing, they will be much more inclined to seek out your book.
I was surprised to receive an email from an American lady who had ordered six copies of my book. She had never commented on any of my posts and I was totally unaware of her. Although living on a beach in California, she enjoys my tales of farming life and decided to purchase six books for Christmas gifts. Without my blog, that’s at least one sale I would have missed out on, not to mention countless others.
2. Test Your Ideas
You can use your blog to test your ideas, different styles of writing, different angles within your blog posts and then gauge the reaction to see what might work best for your book. It also helps you to identify your target audience and work out what they enjoy and yes, what else they read. If you get good feedback, it gives you more confidence too which is particularly important if you are self-publishing.
3. Improve Your Writing
Practice makes perfect and writing regular blog posts will certainly improve your writing. I find it great for helping to deal with writer’s block too. I just tell myself I’m writing a blog post and before I know it, I’ve another thousand words of the book written.
4. Free Press Coverage
How can a blog get you free press coverage? Well, journalists read blogs. Your blog may turn up on the first page of Google in response to a search for a topic. If a journalist can see the standard of your writing (and your photographs) they are much more likely to get in contact.
I’ve been featured in many magazines and papers as a result of writing about my self-publishing journey (which included a crowdfunding project). Even if the feature wasn’t directly about my book, it was always mentioned in the last paragraph. Getting on television a few times has largely been because a journalist has checked out my blog too. In truth, your blog is a little like your resume or curriculum vitae!
Remember people often need to see your book numerous times before they purchase. If they see it featured in magazines a few times, they are much more likely to pick it up when they spot it in a bookshop.
5. Getting A Publisher
If you would like to go down the traditional publishing route, having a following on social media will help to secure a publishing deal. Yes, it does happen that an author is just about to sign that publishing deal, the book is brilliant, everything is looking rosy and then someone in the publishing house googles the author’s name and there’s nothing. No LinkedIn profile, no Twitter account, no blog which all adds up to zero following. If you can prove your blog attracts x readers per day, it’s more than a nudge in the right direction.
6. Distribution and Sales
Where can people buy your book? Most people expect to buy it as an ebook or see it in the bookshops. If you’re self published, you’re going to have to prove to distributers that the book is selling well, that you’re getting press coverage and you’ve a marketing plan in place. Your blog and other social media platforms prove that you are reaching people.
If you add woo commerce to your website, you can sell the book from your own site or you can provide the various links to where it can be purchased, just as Belinda Pollard has done. Your calls to action within posts should increase sales too.
7. Guest Blogging / Article Writing Opportunities
Having a blog means you get to know other bloggers. If you are a writer of romantic fiction, you’ll have opportunities to be interviewed on book review blog sites. If you write historical fiction, you could write a guest post on a history blog or write articles for relevant magazines (online or offline). You’ll be competent in writing shorter pieces and by building relationships with other bloggers, you’ll make friends as well as getting attention on other blogs.
8. Book Blog Tour
Have you heard of book blog tours? They are a virtual book tour where instead of you taking off around the country to sign copies and meet readers, bloggers around the world will write blog posts on your book. There are people who organise book blog tours but it’s easy to do it yourself once you’ve got to know other bloggers. I’m currently organising my second tour for my farming book and the bloggers include a historian, an editor, a book reviewer, three farmers and a lifestyle blogger. Some will review the whole book but most will explore the sections most relevant to them (and their readers) and one will include an interview. The variety in blog genres means the posts will reach readers with different interests. And yes, while I have only met a couple of these in person, I know all of these bloggers via their blogs and other social media platforms.
9. Two Way Conversation
I mentioned above that that you can use your blog posts to test the reaction on readers e.g. how much traffic and how many shares does a particular post generate? A blog is also a vehicle for a two way conversation as people can respond via the commenting system, and tweet you their comments on your blog post or even email you a more personal response. Readers love being able to communicate with authors and your blog provides a really easy way to do so.
Don’t be discouraged if your blog isn’t an overnight success. It takes time and work to build a loyal readership. You do have an advantage over many other business owners in that you know you enjoy writing! If you would like to grow your readers and improve your blog, consider taking our 3 week eLearning ‘Improve Your Blog’ course which starts on 2nd November.