Should Every Author Blog As Part of Book Marketing?

A.S. ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

SHOULD EVERY AUTHOR BLOG AS PART OF BOOK MARKETING?
ONLINE BOOK MARKETING TIP
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Blogging Dice

Blogging by Literatis.net

I just entered “why blogging is important to your book” in Google and I got 9,850,000 results in 0.25 seconds.  I then typed “why blogging your book is a waste of time” and I got 1,760,000 results in 0.37 seconds. Common sense would prevail from this simplistic experiment that perhaps all indie authors should at some point think about blogging as part of their book marketing plan.

Having read a myriad of pros and cons of blogging, I don’t believe it adequately helps you, as a self-publishing author, decide if you should blog or not. It is important to decide if this is something that is viable for you and if it is platform that you believe will yield positive results and eventually translate to book sales.

I would therefore like to share some of my personal view points that may help you in making this decision.

OPPORTUNITY COST
Blogging is an opportunity cost to your writing. The more you blog, the less time you have to write. It can also be all consuming and you may continually feel pressured to create regular posts. I think it is extremely important to set a target you can work with. Don’t place unnecessary goals for yourself or you will just stop blogging all together. It is also important to be organised. For all my different segments on my blog, I have draft posts ready to go for the next couple of weeks. So I am always ahead of the game.

TWO BIRDS WITH ONE STONE
I believe that all self-publishing authors MUST have a website. The market needs to be able to find you. I didn’t want to pay for a website and also maintain it so I chose the blogging route and killed two birds with one stone.

ONE STOP SHOP
My blogging provides me with a one stop shop for all things related to me and my books. I have my reviews, press, Q&As and feature posts, all in one space.

CHEAP
Blogging is cheap.   My WordPress.com blog and personalised domain name costed me USD$34.00. It has given me a level of exposure that far exceeds the monetary expense.

CREATIVITY AND STYLE
You must be creative in your blogging and you must have a style that can attract a market that is important to you. I am no professional but I am very happy with my blog and how it has grown over time. I believe sometimes we over think things. I certainly didn’t have in my mind some of the things that I currently blog about over a year ago when I started. It has naturally evolved over time and I ensure it blends in with the overall theme well.

SOCIAL MEDIA
It gives me fodder for my social media. I need something to talk about!

LOVE
I naturally love blogging. If you don’t, please don’t start. It truly will be a complete waste of time.

DON’T WORRY TOO MUCH
Don’t worry too much about the aesthetics and the back end requirements of a blog. If you spend too much time worrying about how it should look and worry about HTML coding, plugins, CSS, RSS etc… it will put you off blogging entirely. Start nice and easy. I knew nothing about blogging when I started and am amazed how much I have learnt over time.

GOAL
Before you start your blog, have a very clear vision of what you wish to gain from it. If you don’t, it will just be a mishmash of information and you won’t be able to retain followers. I am not blogging for blogging sake. I am blogging to create exposure and for SEO optimisation. Therefore I have to create information that is worth reading whilst also trying to gain readership of my children’s books.

I hope my blogging experience, albeit still in its infancy compared to the big players in the market, is helpful. So far, I have enjoyed the process and find it useful for me. The important thing to note here is that you don’t have to blog if you know for a fact you can’t maintain it. If it’s just an information page, just get a simple, user-friendly website to house pertinent information and that should suffice. Don’t feel pressured into creating something that is doomed to fail anyway!

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7 thoughts on “Should Every Author Blog As Part of Book Marketing?

  1. I have a self-managed website (www.hazeledwards.com)
    which also has an online bookstore and links to other places where my books are available. As a one-person author operation, how you spend your time matters and maintaining a blog is NOT viable for me. Guest blogging on hi profile blogs is fine. But the time taken to blog regularly on broad issues which are not just self-promos is out of proportion to the returns unless you are just starting out. Cost is a variable and a blog is cheaper than a website but you need to analyse which is more relevant at your stage of writing.This issue of whether or not to blog is also covered in my ‘Authorpreneurship;The Business of Creativity’ e-book. Currently blogging is one trend for indie writers to reach audiences, but if everybody is blogging, it is less effective. Be honest. Why are you blogging? The discipline of writing regularly? If so, why not use that writing on your major project?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Hazel. All excellent points and good questions to ask oneself before embarking on this journey. It certainly isn’t for everyone. Personally, I love blogging as it hones in on my non-fiction writing part of the brain:) Also, it is my platform to share the information I deem important. This segment of the blog, Book Marketing Tips, is a way for me to diaries my learnings. I am constantly on the internet doing research anyway so I might as well put it to good use.

      You are absolutely right about understanding your needs as a writer, depending on where you are at with your writing. Thanks for sharing!

      Like

    • You welcome thegreedyfish! Practise makes perfect and you’ll soon be able to navigate your way around easily. I keep tweaking mine as it evolves and changing it as my content changes too. Good luck with it!

      Like

  2. Honestly, I have to admit–the idea of adding to the flood of bloggarhea is abhorrent to me. The Net is already awash in blogging, from “message” blogs to self-promo blogs, to this, to that. Couple that with “micro-blogging,” aka Facebook and Twitter and everything else, and it’s an ocean of mostly worthless content–let’s be honest. Blogging obviously comes naturally to you; you have a certain viewpoint that you want to get across. But a lot of people don’t, or have no interest in promoting a given social agenda, or even their own books, for that matter. I think that for the millions–if not billions–of us who loathe blogging, the better alternative is to find other blogs and write the *occasional* guest-post.

    I remember being told by Hubspot, when I interviewed them to assist me in marketing my own business that I needed to be ready to spend EIGHT HOURS A WEEK blogging, tweeting, Facebooking, etc., to market my company. To me, that’s patently absurd, and a luxury that most people, and certainly 99% of most small businesses (which is what a self-publisher is) can’t afford. I most assuredly can’t take EIGHT HOURS A WEEK out of running my business, to sit around and gab aimlessly, just to feed Google. I mean…that’s what we’re talking about, here. Feeding Google. Giving GOOGLE new content, so that it moves pages up in search, etc. Because the fact is, most of us aren’t that damned entertaining. I’m not Jen from Cakewrecks. I’m not the curation guy on ClientsfromHell.net. I run a small business, and the only entertaining stories I could tell would be at the expense of my clients–which seems pretty counterproductive.

    Honestly, I think authors are best served by using that precious 8 hours a week perfecting their writing, rewriting their WIP’s, and doing real promotion, using reviews, etc., than in foisting another blog upon the public, unless they really ARE the next CakeWrecks. And let’s not forget–when you get done blogging, how many hours are you THEN going to spend promoting your BLOG, never mind your book, to get the readers to THAT?

    Sorry, but…fewer, higher-quality blogs would actually serve the world–and authors–better than simply MORE. It’s like trying to find anything of actual value on Twitter. 99% utter self-promotional garbage, mixed in with .5% of twaddle, .4% of porn, and perhaps .0001% real, worthwhile material.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Hitch! I couldn’t agree more! My post was not to tell authors hey have to blog. In fact, I do mention that if its not their cup of tea, please don’t start as it is an opportunity cost to their writing. This was just to give writers, who are thinking about it, just some simple points to mull over. You have certainly added additional relevant points to think about. Thank you so much!

      Like

  3. Dear A. S. Chung,

    Blogging has brought more people to look at my website. I blog about many different topics, including sports, language, books, movies, and writing. I do some book reviews. I also post news about my publications and speaking engagements. I also think that it is good practice for writers to put well-thought-out words down as often as possible.

    Best wishes!

    Janet Ruth Heller
    Author of the poetry books Exodus (WordTech Editions, 2014), Folk Concert: Changing Times (Anaphora Literary Press, 2012) and Traffic Stop (Finishing Line Press, 2011), the scholarly book Coleridge, Lamb, Hazlitt, and the Reader of Drama (University of Missouri Press, 1990), the award-winning book for kids about bullying, How the Moon Regained Her Shape (Arbordale, 2006), and the middle-grade book for kids The Passover Surprise (Fictive Press, 2015).
    My website is http://www.janetruthheller.com/

    Like

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