Does Blogging Really Help Authors Sell Books?

by Tricia

in Author Blogger, Community, Influence

This guest post was written by Susan Daffron, the Book Consultant.

Special Offer!

If you want to learn more about writing, book marketing and publishing, get inspiration and advice at the third annualĀ  Self-Publishers Online Conference. Use the code Tricia11 and get 10% off your registration.

****

Many authors feel like they “have” to start a blog because “everyone else is doing it.” That’s probably the worst reason to start a blog. Whether or not blogging is right for you depends on a couple of factors.

  • Where your readers hang out. If your readers aren’t online and don’t read blogs, blogging may be a waste of time for you.
  • Whether you are willing to commit to the task. If starting a blog is going to prevent you from finishing your book, you may want to focus on the book.

Many authors think their blog must relate to the subject of their book. Fiction authors in particular often are at a loss for what to write about and wonder how a blog could make any difference in their book sales. These are valid concerns, since every writer only has so much time to write.

Why Limit Yourself?

Here’s something a lot of aspiring bloggers don’t think about: Your blog doesn’t have to be on exactly the same topic as your book. In fact, if you have a lot of books on different topics, it probably shouldn’t be.

If you take a look around the blogosphere, you’ll notice that a lot of popular author blogs have nothing to do with their books.

For example, Joe Konrath writes about self-publishing, not his various novels. On his blog, you rarely read anything about his characters or the stories in his books. And yet, you can tell from the comments that people who visit his blog do buy his books.

Many people who read are also writers. How-to posts are perennially popular and search engines love them. People who read Joe’s books may be curious how he wrote them. His blog tells how in sometimes excruciating detail. And his readers eat it up.

What Can Blogging Do for You?

Realistically, there is no one right way to start an author blog. It can be as unique as you are. Having a blog can help your career in many ways. A blog gives you:

  • Added credibility and accessibility. A book is static. With a blog, you can expand on ideas and express opinions over time. Times change and people change. Your blog can record those changes and give you an opportunity to offer commentary on what’s happening in your world and the world around you. Media love to quote people with strong opinions on topics, so having a blog may give you additional opportunities to be quoted as a source.
  • An online platform: If you yearn to be get a traditional publishing contract, it’s almost impossible without a platform. Agents are looking for authors with high-traffic Web sites and large opt-in lists. If you have established a community around your blog, you are a lot more likely to sell books. Publishers know that. If you self-publish, a blog gives you a ready audience of buyers.
  • A social media home base. Social media is a great way to get incoming links to your Web site and Google is starting to give these links more credence. When you write helpful blog posts and link to them from your Facebook and Twitter account, not only do you get more exposure for your writing, you may also get more attention from search engines
  • Search engine love. Speaking of Google, the best thing you can do to improve your Web site’s findability by search engines is to post good content frequently. Posting on a blog is an easy way to get attention from the Big G.
  • A place to explore new ideas and receive feedback. You may think that you’ve come up with the be-all end-all idea for your next book. Consider posting some of your ideas on your blog first. You’ll find out if your idea resonates with readers and what questions and comments it inspires. Some people find that blogging actually improves their books. Chris Anderson has said that The Long Tail became a better book thanks to the feedback he got from readers on his blog.

Although it does depend on your market and readership, a blog can be a great asset to an author. Instead of viewing blogging as a chore you “have” to endure, look at it as an opportunity to increase awareness and make more money from your writing.

Special Offer!

If you want to learn more about writing, book marketing and publishing, get inspiration and advice at the third annualĀ  Self-Publishers Online Conference. Use the code Tricia11 and get 10% off your registration.

****

Susan Daffron, aka The Book Consultant owns a book and software publishing company. She spends most of her time writing, laying out books in InDesign, or taking her dogs out for romps in the forest. She also teaches people how to write and publish profitable client-attracting books and puts on the Self-Publishers Online conference every May (starts today!)

Moulton A. Mayers August 16, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Hell:

I am a writer with a book in the making. I have often wondered if the time authors spend attending to the obligations of social media really translates into book sales. It is a very chic idea,–and a popular one, too; but does it really move authors’ books. On the surface, it appears as if it should, but what do the data say on this matter? I like the idea, and I love to write; but my number one priority is selling books–and I would use social media and blogging if they do deliver in that regard. I have read some articles recently that bluntly take an opposite view.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: