The first blogger I ever read, a woman from Seattle, published her first book a few years after launching Orangette—I bought it. Today, she’s working on her second, even as dozens of the other sites I read have turned into launch pads for cookbooks, memoirs and do-it-yourself guides. Clearly, there’s no denying it: the blog world represents great potential for writers.
Knowing this, many authors will create blogs to support the launch of their new books, a decision that can be either savvy marketing or a clumsy waste of time—do you know what makes the difference?
Should you start a blog to promote your book? And if so, how?
To consider those questions, let’s look at both the potential benefits and the most common mistakes associated with blogging for book marketing.Potential Benefits of Blogging to Sell Your Book
It’s worked for other writers—will it work for you? Here are some of the advantages of using a blog to promote your book.
- Creates a Brand
Blogging offers a way for you as an author to establish and enhance your brand: the tone and style that is uniquely yours. Then, as readers become acquainted with and attracted to your voice in the blog world, it’s a natural progression that they also be interested in the books you write, which are just continuations of how they’ve come to know you.
What’s more, blogging amplifies all your other branding efforts, from previous articles to public appearances, because it reinforces your image to consumers.
- Builds Deeper Connections
Thanks to the transparent nature of social media, blogging offers an opportunity for readers to see more of the behind-the-scenes in an author’s life, which can often be exactly what it takes to draw and keep their interest. Kate Hardy, author of more than 25 novels, says that, for her, “Blogging means that readers get a glimpse into the ideas behind my work … It also updates my website frequently to bring readers back; I use it to interact with my readers and my publishers can use it on their websites as a publicity tool.”
When readers feel like they come to know you, personally, through your blog, you forge deeper connections than that of seller and consumer, and ironically, that’s exactly what makes them want to buy your book.
- Provides Immediate Publicity
A loyal blog audience is more than a group of people who will read your posts—it’s a network of people who will care about and help spread your message. That means, when you announce the book launch you’ve already told them was coming, they’ll be quick to tune in, want to read and want to tell others to read what you’ve written.
The viral nature of blogging can be immediate publicity when your book publishes, the kind of publicity that means instant exposure and sales.
Despite all the advantages blogging can offer, in some cases, it doesn’t help authors promote their books at all—or worse, it backfires. Here are some of the reasons why:
- Waiting Too Long to Start
The time to start your blog is now, not months after your book has launched. In fact, the best book promotions via blogging begin long before the book is published, sometimes even before it’s in progress. The sooner you start building your online community, the better your results will be.
Tips for beginning your blog:
- Choose a simple and memorable title relevant to your subject—it doesn’t have to match your book title
- Keep your blog design simple and professional
- Write on your blog the way you’d write in your book, with the same tone and style
- Promote your book subtly and consistently
- Post updates on book’s progress, amongst other content
- Post good press and reviews of your book
- Failure to Market the Blog
Remember that before your blog can promote your book, someone has to promote your blog: the more people who read your blog, the more potential customers it creates. A blog with an audience is a golden marketing tool—an automatic source of interested readers, who are already, by choice, tuned in to what you have to say—but a blog without readers, on the other hand, is just another URL.
How can you promote your blog?
- Link to it from your website or portfolio
- Talk about it: on business cards, in email signatures, at appearances, on social media
- Through interaction: commenting on other blogs in your field, building community
- Through contests, incentives, giveaways, other promotions
3. Failure to Understand Your Audience
Maybe you’re writing a book for senior citizens or maybe to people against technology—in either case, the people you’re writing your book for aren’t the people who are most likely to be online. If your target demographic isn’t reading blogs, then blogging isn’t the place to meet them.
How can you know if your audience is online?
- Consider your demographic: Is it a large part of the population or a small sect?
- Search related blogs: Are there any? Who’s reading them?
- Go with your gut: Ask yourself if your audience is active online before moving forward.
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