Blogging for authors: the whys and hows

You may think that you’ve written everything you want to write in your book. However, you have a multitude of stories connected with it. People have ‘liked’ your social media sites because they have met you and liked the way you presented your book. They want to know more as they feel they have invested in you. Relating to a ‘famous’ author (that is, you!) makes them feel special. So give them inside stories about your book. Begin blogging.

A blog is a ‘web-log’, an article of about 300 to 2000 words that appears on the internet. The advantages of blogging are almost too numerous to name in a book this size. However, the advantages for your book are, if you embed key words in the blog, you will rank higher in internet search engines (that is, people will find your book online more easily), generating more sales. Personal advantages include providing a platform where you can demonstrate your expertise, bringing feedback, advice and further information on your book topic and an increase in confidence. Advantages for others are that you will inform, educate and inspire them, it will make you relatable to your readers and build connections.

If you have your own website for business, blog there. Otherwise, there are many free blog sites. I have used WordPress in the past; it’s easy to write on and insert images into (and it isn’t hacked like Wordpress web sites). Other sites include Blogger and Weebly. They all have design templates so that you can insert your colour, logo and images. Every time you write a blog and publish it, advertise the blog link on your social media sites and your website. Search engines like Google look for activity between sites, which ranks you higher on their first page, which means people who don’t know you personally find out about your book, which means more potential sales. Other advantages are that every blog can be collated into articles for magazines, or even another book — all great marketing material for your present one!

Blog topics could include:

· What inspired you to write in the first place

· Experiences you’ve had in your chosen field

· Interesting facts you discovered in your research that aren’t in the book

· Your writing schedule (people love to know how to overcome writer’s block)

· Tips about the publishing process

· How becoming an author has impacted you personally

· Current events that relate to your book.

Snappy titles should include at least one of the following:

· ‘How to…’

· A number, e.g. 5 dazzling ways to wear a scarf

· Ask a question

· Hypnotic words, e.g. magic, powerful, exclusive, extraordinary

Search engines (and humans!) like images, so always include at least two in every blog. There are many free image sites on the internet. I have images send to me once a week that are not the usual stock standard ones. Try pixabay, picjumbo, Unsplash and Death to the Stock Photo for a start.

If you are writing a book on family history, you could upload photos of the family, snippets of information from the book, images of current places that are relevant. If it is a self-help book, post handy hints, the latest product, even humorous photos of what can go wrong if they don’t follow your advice. Upload images from the book, announce who the publisher will be, blog about the writing process — the material is endless.

Don’t think that the research you didn’t include in your book is ever wasted. You can use this in blogs or even emails to inform your database. This will promote your status as an expert in your field, making them even more certain to buy your book when it comes out. When I was looking up birth and death dates for the family trees in a memoir I was editing, I discovered that one of the aunts and an uncle had died in two different towns, both a long way from the main action of the story. The locations where they died were significant — both were well known for their mental institutions. The author confirmed that they were indeed ‘mad’ when I asked her. This story wasn’t in the original book but I was able to write up that story in a genealogical magazine, which attracted further sales of her book.

Keep alert for news items that are related to your book. Where do you find these articles? Set up an online account with Google Alerts (it’s free). Depending what you enter into its search engine, you will be sent links to related news articles every week. I keep mine in a Word.doc on my computer that I can draw upon if I need to write an article when I’m suffering from ‘brain drain’.

Even in this digital age, being an author of a print book has prestige attached to it. Your new fans want to know about you as much as people who read magazines want to know about celebrities. You have written the book because you have something to say — so say it!

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