In the current book market authors have to be more proactive than ever to promote their books. Blogging is one of the handiest tools for an author to interact with their fans. Not only is blogging fun, it helps tighten editing skills, opens doors to meeting terrific people, and gives prospective fans a chance to get to know writers.
Last week I attended a discussion to learn more about how to use blogging to attract readers presented by the award winning and all around awesome Tristi Pinkston. With her permission I am now going to pass this secret knowledge to you.
Well, ok. It’s not that secret. Chances are, if you are an author, you are blogging already. But, are you truly embracing this medium to it’s greatest extent? If you’re an author and still working to get your first book published, or have already ventured onto the world stage with your works, blogging is a great tool to interact with your fans and also find new fans.
There is a difference between having a website and having a blog. Tristi explains it like this: A website is like a resume, it shows your work, your qualifications, and has contact information. If someone wanted to hire you this serves to get them interested. A blog, however, is like a personal interview. It is where the reader gets the chance to learn about who you really are and about your style. Ultimately, you are marketing yourself first. If people like you and the things you share on the blog it is far more likely that they will be interested in reading your books as well.
Before you can become an effective blogger you need to understand the needs of the reader. Both books and blogs are a form of escapism for the reader. Readers read to make an emotional connection with someone else. If you as the writer can make your reader feel, then you can create die hard fans.
What should you do on a blog?
- BE PROFESSIONAL. Your blog represents you as a person and an author, it is your brand.
- You blog should answer two questions: What do you want to be known for? What do you want people to think of when they hear your name?
- Be an EXPERT. You don’t have to have some fancy certificate to be an expert about something, you just have to know a lot about it. A blog is a great place to share your knowledge.
- Find a focus, or several focuses and make it clear those things are important to you.
- Share what is interesting to you along with things that you feel are important.
What should you NOT do on a blog?
- Thou shalt not feed the trolls (people who make nasty comments). The goal of a troll is to get you and your readers upset, responding to them usually only feeds the problem.
- You are under no obligation to respond to nasty comments, you have the right to delete anything that you feel is inappropriate.
- If nasty people continue to cause problems you have the right to block them
- Do not be too personal. No one needs to know if you are fighting with a family member. You must maintain a wall that defines what you will talk about on the blog and what you will keep private.
- Remember, that a blog is not a dumping ground for ideas and scenes that you aren’t going to use. Always post quality material.
Remember, it is your responsibility to keep yourself safe and secure
- Never give out important numbers, addresses, phone, birthdays, etc. Check pictures before posting and blank out anything that could help a predator identify where you and your family lives, works, or goes to school.
- Never give out the names and ages of your children.
- Overall – don’t do dumb things.
How to run a virtual book tour
- Contact other bloggers who you already have a relationship with, meaning you comment regularly on their blog and they come to yours.
- Get them a copy of the book.
- Schedule them for posts including reviews, cover reveals, posts, interviews, etc.
- It doesn’t really matter if the bloggers are fellow authors, authors make great readers!
How to attract more visitors
- Most importantly, have quality edited material for them to read. A blog won’t do you any good if a reader can’t get past the errors. Sloppy writing and bad grammar sends the wrong message, it tells the reader that you don’t care.
- Comment, comment, comment! Read and comment on as many blogs as humanly possible. You are striving to create personal connections and the best way to do so is to show that you care.
- Don’t pass up chances to promote your blog, have a tag line in your emails, send posts to Facebook, and carry business cards with your blog info.
- Join a Blog Hop. This is a fast, fabulous and fun way participate with other bloggers and readers online.
I think that covers all the important bits. I’d like to give a huge thanks to Tristi for sharing her expertise about blogging.
If you would like to check out more of Tristi’s stuff here are her links, be sure to show her some bloggy love!