Tuesday 17 April 2012

9 reasons why authors need a blog

Blogging, eh?  When I started, donkey's years ago and by pure chance, I had no idea how big the whole blogging 'thingy' was. Then I was invited on a trip to Florida, to Disney, and met a bunch of US power-bloggers and my jaw dropped. These people wielded huge power and earned big bucks. We UK bods felt like little kids sucking our lollipops while the grown-ups drank champagne. However, since that trip, my fellow UK bloggers have gone from strength to strength and one of them, the lovely Erica Douglas (who writes an award-winning mummy blog) and is on Twitter as @erica ) has become a total blogging guru.  
Her new book - Blogging: The Essential Guide is just out and so I figured I'd ask her, and co-author Antonia Chitty, just why authors should be blogging. 

9 reasons why authors need a blog

If you are an aspiring author or have books already published, are you blogging yet? Antonia Chitty and Erica Douglas, authors of Blogging: The Essential Guide share 9 reasons why every author should be blogging regularly.
  1. A blog is a great outlet for ideas. Antonia says, “I started a blog after one of my first books, Family Friendly Working, came out and it has been one of the best things I’ve done. It gave me a place to add in all the extra information I found after the book was completed. If you’re like me, once you develop an interest in a topic you keep on wanting to write about it and the blog was ideal for that.”  Erica says, “Blogging doesn’t have to be difficult, blog posts need only tackle one topic or idea and the usual length is around 300-500 words”
  2. A blog will build your followers. Once you have started adding lots of great content to your blog, along similar themes to your books, you’ll find you attract blog readers. People who love your blog are likely to love your books too, so write about it when you have a new title out.  Erica says “A blog is a great platform to not only build a fan base but from which to sell your books too”
  3. A blog can kickstart your creativity. If you are a follower of Julia Cameron’s 'Artist's Way' you’ll know the benefits of writing Daily Pages as a warm up. Writing a short blog article can act as a way to get your mind going before you start on the main work of writing the next part of your book.
  4. A blog can help you build a relationship with your readers. People who visit your blog site will be able to leave comments, telling you about what they like about your latest book or blog post. Listen and learn and this will provide useful guidance for your next book. Reply to comments and you can start to build a better relationship with your readers.  Erica says, “If you’ve always wanted to be a writer but didn’t know how, blogging can kick start the habit of writing.”
  5. Blog articles can turn into book content. If you have an idea that you want to write about, but it doesn’t fit into your current book, blog it! When the time comes to pitch your next book proposal, look through your blog for themes as you will find plenty of inspiration. Some authors have created books entirely based on blog articles.
  6. A blog allows you to contact people in a new way. Once you have started your blog, make sure you have a way for people to input their email to get blog updates from you. Feedburner is a simple way to do this, and it means that readers will be notified by email or in your RSS feed when you post. Put a strong call to action like ‘New book out for you to buy now’ in your post title, and people will know about your book launch before they even visit your blog.
  7. Blog readers will become book buyers. Alongside your Feedburner link, you can also sign up to an email service provider. Embed an email sign up box in the sidebar of your blog and you can now get in touch with people directly with news and updates about your books. People who receive this sort of email are 167% more likely to buy than other people.
  8. Make money while you blog. Antonia says, “I don’t know about you, but I find there can be a big gap between receiving the advance for the book and the time when royalties start to come in. I have found, since starting Family Friendly Working, that my blog can be a great source of income. I have advertising subscriptions and will run the occasional sponsored post, which smooths my income out considerably.”
  9. A blog can get you a book deal. Yes, only a few people (!) find that a publisher stumbles across their website and gets in touch offering them a deal BUT many more new authors will be able to use their blog as a showcase for their writing and give potential publishers proof that they have the skills and commitment to come up with a great book. If you have yet to get a book deal, use your blog as a showcase for your work and network online to draw the right people in as readers.  Erica says, “I never thought I’d end up being a published author but my blog has helped me build credibility and I’ve gone on to write two books, both of which will be published this year.  The power of blogging!”

Me again.  Now I wonder why there are just nine? Is nine a magic blogging number? It's a mystery.

Thanks for this, guys. Now, of course, all I need to do is follow your sage advice and stop mainlining the jelly tots. 

Seriously though, the book is really great - it's got everything you need to start blogging and there are some nifty tips for old timers too.  It's clear, concise and beautifully presented. It's not padding and waffle - it cuts to the chase and tells you just the important stuff.  Oh, and I'm quoted in it!  But don't let that put you off.  :-) 


Posie said...

Jelly tots...its scones and chocolate cake here ;-), every opportunity builds opportunities, who would have thought people would be buying books about blogging....

Hollie Smith said...

Thanks for the tips. I'll definnitely be buying a copy.

Hollie Smith said...

Hopefully it will inlucde some tips about how to post without including any typos!! :)

Hollie Smith said...

OMG. Just did it again. LOL. I'm getting my coat. NOW

Anne Wareham said...

Am I odd in being surprised that a book on blogging isn't available on Kindle?

Maybe there's no special reason why it should be....Thanks for flagging it up.