Blogging 101 for Authors
Whether you're writing fiction or nonfiction, consider an author blog.
It's a good idea to incorporate an author blog into your regular writing routine, as well as your sales and marketing plan. In fact, the best time to start your blog is before you finish your book.
Why should authors blog?
There are many blogs for authors on the internet, and the best ones typically help sell books. Is that the only reason that you, as a new or established author, should blog? Not exactly! Consider the following reasons why you should write an author blog:
- For writing practice.It's important to both continuously hone your writing skills and keep them fresh. Even a monthly blog allows you to return to your creative roots long after your book has been published.
- To build and maintain author-reader relationships. Fans and potential readers enjoy reading about their favorite authors. Establishing a personal connection to them is even better.
- To be an active literary citizen. Being a literary citizen means celebrating books, authors, publishing, and the written word. As an author, you undoubtedly appreciate these things yourself and want to share them with others. But there's a bonus: By bringing attention to all things literary, you're also bringing attention to your own work.
- And yes, to sell books. The more your name is out there, the more often it will be found and, more important, read! The benefits of blogging include staying relevant in the industry, spreading the word about your published books, and garnering interest in your future ones.
What kind of content can authors blog about?
So now you know you want to write a blog, but what should you write about? There are as many specific answers to this question as there are specific author blogs. However, there are a few basics that can help you discover or expand your niche including making the most of your expertise, establishing what you want your brand to look like, and writing in your own voice. Next, consider the following:
Cornerstone content. This is the kind of content that attracts new readers to your blog. It is informative, go-to, helpful content that address a specific question or problem in the context of popular culture. As an example, a mystery writer might write a blog entry on how to poison someone. The content could include comprehensive information about various poisons like polonium, which was recently used in the real world to poison Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian KGB agent.
Get personal. Just how personal you want to get is up to you. If you're a private person and enjoy maintaining a little bit of mystery about yourself, you don't have to blog about your vacation, your family, or even your day. If you enjoy sharing things about your personal life, doing so may foster more intimate author-reader relationships. It's okay to promote both your work and yourself.
Write about writing. Create personal connections with your readers by blogging about how you write. Author Nicole Krauss's successful book Great House is about a locked writing desk and its 19 different owners. When the book was published, she revealed that the desk in the book was a "character" based on her own very first writing desk.
Write about reading. Blog about what you're reading, and publish interviews with other authors who write in your genre and/or professionals who work in the field you write about.
How can authors get started with a blog?
It's a good idea to start blogging before you finish your first book, but it's never too late to start. It might take a little longer to reap the benefits of blogging, but blogging good content on a consistent basis is more important than when you start.
1. Choose your platform.If you have an author website, attach your blog to it. This will make it easier for your readers to find you.
2. Name your blog.If you select a clever title, be sure it reflects what your blog is going to be about. Add a subtitle if you need to.
3. Decide on theme/content.Will your author blog be about literary citizenship? Or will you write more personal entries?
4. Design your style.This includes font type and size, colors, arrangement of columns, widgets, plug-ins, and
5. Help readers connect.Write an "About" page so readers can learn who you are. Allow auto-approved comments and check them regularly. Provide ways for readers to follow and contact you. Ask questions or conduct surveys that engage readers, and answer questions ASAP.
Once you've started your blog, be prepared to tweak your content, make technical adjustments, and to be patient while you build an audience; it doesn't happen overnight. But above all, keep it up; quality content and consistency are the keys to successful blogging for authors.