Many of you don’t believe it’s true, that blogging can sell books and further your career. And you’re right, in the sense that blog posts should not be used as a direct-sale tactic for most authors. But I’m here to argue that a well-written, consistently updated blog can help novelists make sales.
How? Blogging makes your name, your voice, and your product recognizable, and builds a community that will help support your efforts. In addition, adding content on your blog delights Google, and when Google loves you, the search engine brings visitors to your site so they can see what you have for sale.
There is no doubt in my mind that blogging can be a value-added marketing strategy. True, you have to work at it, and it can take time to build traffic. But when readers start to find you – and they like what they see – you’ll make sales. Here’s what I think blogging can do for an author …
1. Blogging sells “you”
Professional commission-based sales reps who market any product or service know that selling is all about building relationships. The more interesting, engaging, helpful, encouraging, inspiring, and solution-oriented the salesperson, the better their chances of pulling down big commission checks. That’s why the best salespeople understand and nurture these qualities.
It’s similar with authors. Your blog gives you an opportunity to share with real and potential readers. Your blog is your “voice.” Who you are shines through. When people like you, they support you – and one of the ways they do that is by buying your books and spreading the word to other readers.
2. Blogging enhances your writing skills
Over time, once-a-week blogging just hands-down improves a writer’s skill in all areas of the craft, including fiction. And as we all know, the better the quality of our work, the better the word of mouth, the better the reviews, and the better our titles will sell. I published my first novel mid-2012 and didn’t get my second fiction title published until late 2013. What did I notice after two years of blogging? I wrote faster, better, and with more confidence. Better writing = better books = more sales.
3. Google Rules, and consistent blogging makes Google happy
Anybody in business nowadays pretty much has to have an online presence so people can find you. Your goal is for your website to show up on page one of Google search results, right? If you have an unusual name, that’s relatively easy (as long as people know how to spell it). But do you know how many Molly Greenes there are in the world? And famous ones, too. It was an uphill battle for me to eclipse the most popular, but after only one year of blogging, there I was.
Every time you publish a post, the search engines come to your website to check it out. So if you want Google to be your friend, consistent updates via regular blog posts will keep them coming back. You’ll be easier to find, and people will learn about you and see how cool you are, and, eventually, buy your books. Blogging will help accomplish this.
4. Blogging’s hidden payback: Repurposable content
Personal essays, short stories, how-to’s explaining subjects you’re passionate about, nonfiction subjects you explore in your novels. Nearly every blog post you write can be repurposed into something else if you have a plan. Is your main character a cosmetologist? Write a 10-chapter giveaway outlining how your readers can create time for themselves in their own home spa, and offer it as a freebie for new subscribers. Each chapter can be a blog post. Or, compile your best essays into a small volume and put it up on Amazon or give it away.
Get my drift? Be really smart. Leverage your blog so that nearly everything you write has a dual purpose.
If you’re repurposing blog posts, your return on investment (ROI) goes through the roof because posts are moving other projects forward. And the undeniable truth is that free giveaways used as a subscriber incentive will build your email list faster, and more titles help sell more books.
5. Blogging builds social authority
Blogging gets you out there in social media in a way that doesn’t scream “BUY MY BOOKS!” By now I think we all know that loading Twitter and social media with aggressive book-buy demands just turns off potential readers and supporters. On the other hand, a well-written blog can build credibility and “social authority,” which just means people know who you are, and, if you’ve done your homework well, they respect your work. And when all these things come together and people are interested in you, they’re more inclined to buy your stuff. Put in the time, write good books, be positive and engaging, and a community will successfully be built.
Last but not least, your blog will familiarize you with life online. Blogging throws you into the world of social media. You’ll learn to navigate popular websites, interact successfully with others, gain tech education by managing your website, and get comfortable with putting your writing out in the world on a consistent basis. In other words, blogging helps you build confidence and other beneficial skills. And the more comfortable you are, the better you get at book promotion and sales.
I’ll concede that blogging isn’t for everybody, but I’m delighted that I spent time writing blog posts and promoting my blog online. Anne R. Allen agrees and has a great post about it here: How to Blog your Way out of the Slush Pile and onto the Bestseller List.
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