Why Blogging is a Powerful Marketing Tool for Authors
Do all authors need a blog? Nope. But blogging sure can save you a lot of time and marketing money…and it’s the easiest way to establish your author brand.
Authors must be on social media these days—and a blog is the only social medium where you’re in control. Your Facebook page’s reach gets more restricted all the time, and Pinterest and Instagram are all about images.
But you’re a writer. Blogging is writing.
I’m not telling you to use a blog for direct sales. Social media is not about hard sales. It’s about making friends, networking and letting people know who you are (also known as “building your brand”.) Once people know you, they’ll be more likely to buy your book than if you throw your title at random strangers.
I’m amazed at how many new writers still think a book launch involves an expensive party at a local bookstore, a big splash at a nearby book fair, press releases and interviews with hometown newspapers and radio stations.
Today, a writer’s market is global. And blogging is the best way to reach the most number of readers all over the planet. You can reach more readers with one blogpost than with months of those painfully ill-attended “signings” or those $1000-a-pop book fair booths.
In Person Sales vs. Online Sales
A few weeks ago an author friend hosted a big launch party in an elegant venue with great refreshments, a band, and lots of publicity. On the same day, I ran a sale of one of my old titles on my blog.
My friend felt her launch was a big success. She sold 20 books! But her cost was many hundreds of dollars.
I sold the same number of books during that 2-hour period. My cost: zero dollars.
I’m not saying you should go on an expensive blog tour, either. An informal series of guest posts and interviews with other writer-bloggers in your genre can get your book in front of just as many potential readers.
In fact, blogging can be absolutely free. A blog at Blogspot.com, WordPress.com, or Wix costs nothing.
Here’s What Blogging Can Do:
- Make you visible and gets you into search engines.
- Allow you relate one-on-one with potential readers.
- Connect you with other authors and publishing professionals.
- Puts YOU in the driver’s seat.
- Let you show off your writing chops
- Give you a regular writing venue
My blog sure has made all the difference in my own career.
Eight years ago my career was over. My publisher had gone under. My fourth agent had dropped me. My freelancing jobs had dried up.
I was bloodying my knuckles on the doors of agents and publishers, invisible to Google.
So I started a blog. At first nobody read it. But traffic picked up after I learned to network with other publishing professionals.
Blogging Provides Results
Fast forward a few years and miracles happened.
- Publishers came to me—I didn’t have to query.
- Ruth Harris, the NYT million-selling author joined the blog as a permanent guest.
- I was invited to write a book with another NYT bestseller, Catherine Ryan Hyde.
- I was asked to speak at writers’ conferences.
- Magazines and anthologies solicited my work.
- High-circulation publications from slick fashion magazines to prestigious journals contacted me when they wanted an interview, because the first thing that came up in a Google search on various subjects was posts from my blog.
- I was invited to contribute to the Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market
- I had 10 books in print and two were on the Amazon humor bestseller list for over a year.
And I’m not the only author who’s found blogging the key to career success. Listen to what Nat Russo said after an expensive launch that failed to make any book sales.
“I slashed the number of book ads…and went back to blogging…sales rocketed…they leaped from 3/day to over 70/day, where they’ve remained ever since.”
Got that? He stopped buying advertising and went back to blogging. That took him from a negative bottom line to making a nice living from his books.
And not only is a blog free, it doesn’t have to take much time. I’ve never blogged more than once a week.
A working fiction writer doesn’t need to post as often as the “monetized” business blogger. Business blogging has a stringent set of rules. But authors can ignore most of them, and just have fun!
How about you? Do you blog? How has it helped your career?