Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been focused on writing fiction. Oddly enough one topic came up again and again in my chats with writers: blogging to sell books. (By “books” I mean ebooks too, of course. :-))
There was a lot of confusion around it, and the entire topic of social media in general. Writers asked: “Does blogging sell ebooks/ Do I need to blog/ What do I blog about” etc.
Blogging Sells Books, But…
Does blogging sell books? Yes, but probably not in the way you think. Authors make a hash of blogging, and then say it doesn’t work… and that applies to all social media too. It’s why authors say that Twitter, Facebook et al are a “waste of time.”
As you may know, I’ve been blogging since 2000, long before it became fashionable. It was profitable for me then, as it is now. Nothing’s changed, except that many more people and businesses are blogging now.
Regarding the “probably not in the way you think”. We’ll have more to say about that in a moment. Consider these authors who used blogging to sell books:
- Kate Mosse blogged Labyrinthe a decade and more ago. She’s a bestselling author now (I searched for her original Labyrinth blog of 2001, but I can’t find the link, so that blog has probably been taken down);
- Bethany Kehdy turned a food blog into a business; and of course…
- Julie Powell, the original foodie turned blogger, with the Julie/ Julia Project.
If you want to sell books, pay attention to what those three ladies did, and you’ll learn a lot. Authors are selling books by blogging. You can too.
Tip: get creative, and be yourself – and if you HATE blogging, don’t do it.
Let’s look at some tips to help you to sell books by blogging.
1. Platform, Platform, Platform: Win Readers One Reader at a Time.
We talk about platform on this blog a lot – a blog builds your platform. (Readership.) You do that ONE reader at a time. A reader reads a blog post, then another one a few weeks later. Maybe he joins your mailing list.
Then a few months later, he buys a book. Awareness counts. Awareness builds bestselling authors like Barbara Freethy when they write in series. Here’s a video interview with Barbara; she started publishing her own books in 2010, and has sold four million books.
2. “Who Are You?” Your Blog Answers Questions.
People want to know who you are. “People” includes readers, and also includes people in publishing. Your blog tells them who you are.
The amazing Amanda Hocking started blogging when she started self-publishing. Did her blog help her to sell books? I have no idea… But I AM convinced that her blog AND her books made her appealing to St. Martin’s, which gave her a two million dollar book deal.
3. Opportunity Knocks: a Book Is Just a Book, But a Blog Is a Person.
Kate Mosse, Bethany Kehdy, and Julie Powell blogged and found enormous success, because their blogs made it obvious that they were real people. People identify with people. And in the case of these three ladies, opportunity knocked. You never know what will happen as a result of your blog.
You may get discovered…
4. Accountability and Inspiration: Your Blog Feeds Your Creativity.
The biggest challenge in blogging is consistency, and persistence. Oddly enough, that’s exactly what it takes to write books. Blogs and books can be a match made in heaven.
Your blog gives you satisfaction. You can can publish a blog post much faster than you can write a book. I spend a couple of hours on Sunday afternoons, half-watching a movie or two, but primarily focused on my iPad and blogs. I work out what I want to blog over the next week or two.
While I brainstorm blog content, I find that I get ideas for my current book projects. Over the years, I’ve found that when I skip blogging, I don’t write as much as I could on other projects.
5. “Tomorrow Is Another Day.” Your Blog Records Your Writing Journey.
Writing is a journey. As the years pass, you’ll discover that your best memories are of writing – not of your successes. Bestselling authors write. They wrote before they were published. They write today.
Let’s say you’ve published something – a nonfiction book, a novel, or a novella – and it goes over like a lead balloon. So what? It won’t make any difference to your writing today (unless you decide to mope). You’ve still got to get your writing done. And… “After all… tomorrow is another day”, as Scarlett O’Hara so wisely put it.
You never know what will happen with your writing – or with blogging to sell books. Blog away…
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