5 Reasons Authors Must Have a Blog
Created By: A. Yamina Collins
If you’ve written a book, but don’t yet have a blog on the internet to showcase your work, then you’re missing out on a vital way to connect with your readers and market your product.
Yes, yes I know. Blogs can be time-consuming to manage. But they can also be a lot of fun. And in this day and age of publishing, when the author is becoming increasingly aware of his/ her need to market their books, blogs remain an essential tool in their promotion arsenal.
Blogs are dead, people say? Hardly. Here are 5 reasons why blogging is more important than ever:
Blogs Are Your Personal Store
Think of your blog as your own little store for the world to visit. The URL is your address now, and you don’t need to dump tens of thousands of dollars into a physical shop on the corner of a major metropolitan city somewhere.
This store, thank heavens, is free to low-cost to operate, and fairly easy to manage. What a blessing.
It’s where your readers can find you and it’s where your collective works can be stored, all in one spot. It’s the place where people can go when they Google your name, or your book. It’s the spot where you get to define how others view you, and where you get decide what people know about you. It’s your landing spot, separate from Facebook, and Linkedin and Twitter, where you can exert total control over what’s published on your page.
The blog, essentially, is your personal store and your home; and both are a necessity.
Blogs Allow You To Interact with Fans and Readers
Blogs are much more interactive than websites. When I think of websites these days, I think of something that is static and unmoving; it invites little to no communication with others.
A blog, on the other hand, is combination of two words shortened together: web log. And that’s essentially what you’re doing when you’re blogging; you’re keeping a digital journal. You’re making a record of things you want to talk about and discuss. And since blogs list the most recent entry at the top of the blog page, readers get to “keep up with you” in real time, so to speak.
Yes, as you build a loyal fan base, this allows you myriad opportunities to interaction with your readers about what’s going on with your book. Even more than your book, many fans can get to know about you, the author as well.
Remember: don’t leave it to places like Facebook and Twitter and Google plus. etc to define you. Those places are great for social media marketing, keeping up with friends and networking with like-minded individuals, but the scope of these sites are usually limited to people who already have permission to interact with you. A blog can be designed for the world of fans who don’t know you to participate in.
Book Review Bloggers Will Take Your Book More Seriously
Having a blog encourages other book bloggers take you more seriously when trying to get your book reviewed.
Trust me. I’ve learned this from personal experience. I run a book blog, Yaminatoday.com, that receives 12,000 visitors/23,000 page views/130,000 hits per month. Those aren’t HUGE numbers, but they aren’t chicken feed either.
And once a fellow blogger learns that I run a book blog, I seem to have no trouble getting a guest post or book-review on their site, provided that my book meets their guideline requirements.
For example, having recently launched my new short story collection “The Blueberry Miller Files”, I’ve been in contact with several book and marketing bloggers who have eagerly accepted my proposals about reviewing my book, or allowing me to post snippets of the story on their sites, or accepting author interviews from me.
I liken having a blog to having “street cred.” It adds a legitimacy to you in the book blog world; and this in turn can help you get your name and your book out into the world.
Because Blogs Are Not About You
Ok. Number four has less to do with why you need a blog, and a lot more to do with what you should do with a blog once you have one.
Let’s make this easy to remember: your blog shouldn’t be about you. Or rather, it shouldn’t be about only you. Spread your wings. Use your blog to help other writers promote their work; find like-minded writers and support one another.
Because “me, me, me,” blogs are dull and boring. You, the writer, become more interesting and less one-dimensional when you let others shine. Not only can you get great content for your site when other writers are promoted on your blog, but you begin to build relationships with these writers who can become “friends” “cross-promoters” and “information consultants” in the long-run.
Quite simply, you’ll increase your readership this way too.
Like I said, my blog is by no means BIG. However, I can assure you that on my own I am not so interesting as to attract 12,000 people to me every month. It’s all about other people, mostly.
Ironically enough, in the end, you’ll be the one who benefits the most.
Blogs Are Fun
Honestly, they really can be fun. Ok, ok, they can be time-consuming, too. And many writers will find that they don’t love blogging (I actually prefer hosting guest posts on my site). But then again, marketing isn’t often about what we love to do, but what we need to do. I liken this idea to those authors who hate writing, but love having written.
Nonetheless, blogs can be fun.
I get a kick out of seeing my words published on a daily and weekly basis. I love it when a post that I or someone else wrote inspires another person; I love it when people comment or “like” my page without my soliciting their participation.
I like knowing I’m offering something to the writing and reading communities that will hopefully add value to their lives.
Yes, blogs are a lot like children; sure, they can sap you of your time and energy, but watching them grow is such a joy. Such don’t let the hard work fool or discourage you.
Finally, when trying to decide if you’ll even enjoy blogging, I’d like to add these final bits of advice: just go for it. That’s the only way you’re going to see if you like it or not. It’s also the only way you’re going to truly learn how to blog.
So follow other blogs that you admire and learn from them. Get inspired by what you see and try to add a new twist to that theme.
For example, I love the layout of the Huffington post and my dream is to one day have a literary blog that rivals HP in terms of content, guest bloggers and visual media. It’s a big dream, but hey, that’s what writers are anyway: dreamers.
So go ahead and dream big. And enjoy the blogging ride.