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