These days, the lion’s share of marketing your freshly published books falls to you – the author! With most publishers only allowing a miniscule budget for book promotion, you’ll be expected to get out there and push your work in whatever way you can. Of course, when you self-publish this task will fall wholly to you, so it’s useful to know the best methods of publicity and how to do them.
That may seem a little daunting, but it’s not really and one good way to get some buzz around your book is to start a blog. Sounds simple right? But, it’s not as straightforward as it may at first seem. While good blogs can pave the way to selling success, a bad blog could end up being a monumental waste of time, producing no sales whatsoever, and we wouldn’t want that! So I’ve put together the following tips to help you get the content right, increase your visitors and get sales flowing. The following tips will help you make your blog not only an interesting read, but a successful selling tool:
Attracting readers to your blog lets them see what kind of writer you are. If they like the style of your blog, they can assume that they’ll also like the style of your book. They’ll know a little about what you are like, what you write about and what your book is likely to be about.
Timing is everything, or so they say. Well, in this instance it really is. You need to create a buzz around your book before it’s even completed and published. For instance, you could start the blog in the last few months before completion and update the readers regularly on what’s happening with the publication process, where you’ll be appearing or signing copies of your book and so on. Invite pre-orders and maybe offer readers a chance to win a special signed copy or something similar. If you go on to be a super-selling author that signed first copy could be worth a fortune!
When people comment on your blog, make sure that you respond and, if they also have a blog, read it and comment on theirs too. Quite often you can include your website or blog address so others will be able to find you. You can also offer to guest blog and accept guest blogs. This works in the same way as commenting and helps you get more exposure and readers to your blog.
If you start your blog at the beginning of the writing process, you could ask your readers to get much more involved. I recently saw an author who held a competition to suggest a character in his next book. This created a real buzz around the book and plenty of traffic to the author’s blog. Others ask the readers what they’d like to see happen next in the story or in the next book. This is a great idea as it helps you with what your readers are looking to buy next, so you can write it, and creates positive publicity for your current book. It seems people love to feel part of the process. If you don’t want to go that far, you could ask for reader suggestions for the cover art or just feedback on what you’ve written. After all, it is likely that all those who participate in competitions and discussions will want to purchase the finished product.
Sounds like obvious advice, but it is really difficult to do sometimes. You’ll have to put time aside every day, week or month to maintain your blog, if you want to keep readers interested and, more importantly, coming back to your site again and again. You don’t want people visiting your blog, only to find that you’ve not updated it for weeks on end – they’ll just not bother coming back! But, if you know that you’ll only be posting once a week – just say so. Make it clear at the outset that you’ll only post once a week and people will not be disappointed.
As you can see, blogging can be a very useful tool for a writer to promote their work. And while it may seem a bit like it’s messing about, it’s not. It’s very important as you don’t want all the hard work you’ve done to get your work published spoilt because no-one knows it’s even out there. Think of this time as the marketing arm of your job as a writer – without it, you are only doing half the job.
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“I’m currently working on my fourth book, have been paid for my writing by at least 15 different magazines, and now earn half my income from writing – all thanks to The Writers Bureau’s course."
Sarah Plater - Writers Bureau Writer of the Year 2017