Wednesday, January 30, 2013

101 Thoughts on Self-Publishing -- 002: Write a Blog

Last time I talked about why being active on social media is important for writers. That's all well and good, but it won't benefit you a whole lot if you don't have anywhere to send people. Sure, you can give them links to your product pages on Amazon, B&N, etc., but that doesn't do much to build relationships or help them get to know and love you. And an "official" website is important--I'll write about that in the future--but a blog is even more important for staying connected with your potential readership. Why?

Well, people like content. People want to be informed and they want to be entertained. And if you're a writer, making regular blog posts will not only do that for your audience, it will help you hone your skills as well.

So what should you write about? The answer is fairly simple: anything. Be wise, be funny, be profound. Some posts completely unrelated to reading, writing, books, etc. are fine, but you do want to tailor the majority of posts to your audience. If they like science fiction, write about science fiction. Give your thoughts on books you've read, film adaptations of novels, writers to watch, etc. Keep readers up to date on your work in progress or give them insights into how you developed the books you already have out. Some writers post short stories to their blog or excerpts from their novels. I also like to do interviews with other writers and even open up my blog for guest posts from time to time.

Blogs are meant to be fluid. They're meant to be updated regularly. But don't write a blog post if you really don't have anything to write about. Remember, a blog is intended to get potential readers interested in your books by informing or entertaining them. If it does neither, they're likely to move on. I also personally feel it's a mistake to write too many highly-controversial blog posts. Making people uncomfortable or angry is never good when you want them to consider buying something from you.

And some people approach blogging like diary writing. In this day and age, it's become common for people in the public eye to share far too much information. I don't mind slice of life moments in blog posts at all, but understand when you've crossed the line from warmly conversational to hotly intimate. There are many times when it might feel good to share, get things off your chest, but that is what friends are for, not strangers on the internet.

I would also suggest making sure readers can easily link to your books from your blog. They may like what you've written, but if you don't have a prominent link, they're probably not going to search out your work on their own volition. Visual links are best, like the little banners I have in the sidebar to the right. You'll also see I have a "Connect" section so readers can seek me out on Facebook and Twitter as well as visit my "official" website. With everything you put out to the public, always give people an easy way to find you and your books. Your readers may like a good mystery, but not when the mystery is how to buy your novel.

Finally, you can give readers an easy way to stay connected. If you look again at my sidebar, you'll see that you can follow my blog via email. This means you'll get an email update every time I post something. Go ahead and enter your email address there so you can see how it works. :o)

Ultimately, your blog will be what you make of it. Don't waste readers' time and don't insult them. Make your blog a place they want to visit. Give them articles that will make them want to come back to see what you're up to. As a writer, you're trying to sell people on your written word. Let your blog reflect the care and attention you put into your books.

If you're enjoying the series so far and would like a single page to bookmark, I'll be adding each of my 101 Thoughts on Self-Publishing here.

You might also be interested in my new eBook, Building a Promotional Package: How to Prepare for Your Successful Book Launch. Details about it can be found here.

All the Best,
Michael K. Rose

1 comment:

  1. Great post, so many 'author blogging' blog posts seem to skirt around the issue of what exactly we should talk about to make readers interested. Nice to actually read some guidance on this!