What’s a Blog?
A blog is a personal diary where you can record your opinions and thoughts on a regular basis, and publish it for the whole internet world to read.
A blog can be an effective way to market a book. A blog site devoted entirely to your book will help create more sales by whetting the interest of your target market with helpful and authoritative information surrounding or related to your book. But this does not happen like magic. There are things that you need to do to make this happen. Let me give you some pointers on how to use a blog to successfully promote your book.
Start a Blog
Start a blog early: Even when you’re still in the middle of conceptualizing your book, it pays to already start a blog. Frequently add a post to your blog: Posting a 120- to 130-word original, inspirational and engrossing daily article on issues associated with your book would be ideal. But if this is not possible, 2 or 3 new blogs a week will be okay.
The important thing is for you to establish yourself as an authority or a fount of information on matters or issues relating to the subject of your book. In the case of fiction writers, it will give potential readers a taste of your writing style. Aim to create a genuinely useful body of knowledge over the following 12 months.
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 your blog in the same tone and style you’d use to write your book.
- Promote your book subtly and consistently in your blog writings.
- Post updates on your book’s progress amongst other content.
- Post good press and reviews of your book.
Market Your Blog
Remember that before your blog can promote your book, someone has to promote your blog: the more people 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 website.
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 various social media...
- Through interaction: comment on other blogs in your field, build your own community
- Through contests, incentives, giveaways and other promotions
Understand Your Audience
Maybe you’ re writing a book for senior citizens or maybe for people who are against technology - in either case, the people you’re writing for aren’t the people who are most likely to be online. If your target demographic isn’t into 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 section?
- 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.
If you want to use your blog to write or blog about your book while at the same time build an author’s platform or readership, here are nine steps to help you do that easily, efficiently and quickly:
1. Choose your topic carefully. Choose a topic that attracts readers, that interests you and a lot of people. If possible, choose a topic you feel passionate about since you’ll be writing about this subject for a while - even after you finish blogging about your book. Pick a topic that motivates you to post and post often. Fiction writers should consider their market and readers when they develop their plot as well.
2. Create a business plan for your book. Take the time to look at the big picture for your blogged book and see it through the eyes of an acquisitions editor. This means going through what I call the book “ proposal process”; this is how you create a business plan for both book and author. You don’ t have to write a proposal, but you do need to compile the information necessary for a proposal. Study the markets, come up with a promotion plan, do a comparative study of both existing books and blogs, determine how you stack up against similar authors, what you need to do to build your platform, etc.
3. Hone your topic for success. Based on the information gleaned in Step #2, position and angle your blogged book. Based on the blog and book competition, evaluate if and how you need to angle your blogged book. Make sure it is unique in the marketplace - the book store and the blogosphere.
4. Map out your book’s content. Do a huge “brain dump” of all the subjects you might cover in the book. You might consider using a mind map for this project. Take the topics you “dumped” and group related subjects into chapters. In other words, pick 5-10 main themes from the different subject areas; these become chapters. Group the other subjects by relevance into these chapters; these become content for the chapters.
If you are writing fiction or a memoir, you will want to map out your story arc or do a timeline of events you plan to include in your book. Then create a content plan delineated by chapters.
Your content plan should include material that will not appear on your blog. Having a few chapters, parts of all your chapters, or some sort of extra content that will only be available in the printed version or the e-book version of your blogged book offers an enticement to your blog readers and to a publisher to purchase it.
5. Break your content into post-sized pieces. Blog posts are short - between 250 and 500 words. The topics from #4 that you grouped into chapters constitute blog posts. Organize and break down your chapters further by developing actual subheadings for each topic you will cover in each chapter. A 5,000-word chapter, for example, will have 10-15 subheadings.
If you are writing fiction or a memoir, you will want to break your story arc and timeline down into vignettes or scenes you can easily write about in post-sized bits.
6. Blog your book often and regularly. To build the kind of loyal fan base successful bloggers garner, you now need to blog your book on a consistent and frequent schedule. Sit down a minimum of twice a week - three to seven times a week is better - and write a short bit of your book (a post) in a word processing program so you create a manuscript. Then copy and paste this post into your blogging program, and hit “publish.” This shouldn’ t take long - 30-45 minutes, maybe an hour. If you write more than 500 words, break your piece into two posts.
7. Publicise your posts. Share your work on your social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. This is where having a promotion plan helps.