GoodEReader has posted several very informative articles that seek to educate authors of every ilk, whether they are traditionally published through a major publishing house with a four-book deal, self-published through an independent press, or have recently converted a manuscript to electronic format and uploaded it to an online site guided only by their own ability. While every author and his experience with publishing is different, there is one constant aspect to success as a writer, which is the need for the author to shoulder some or all of the burden for marketing and promotion.
Fortunately, internet availability makes this aspect of being a published author easier than ever before. Much has been said about the importance of an online presence, but one tool in the self-promotion arsenal that many authors still overlook is the necessity of writing and maintaining a work-specific blog.
“A blog is a relationship with your readers and your readers are ultimately your fan base. Your blog needs to be focused and must be interesting. You might even find that writing worthwhile blog posts to reach out to potential readers is harder than the work of writing your book in the first place,” remarks Penelope Trunk, top career advice blogger and bestselling author of Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success.
So often, authors develop a blog because they feel like it’s the next logical step in the process of becoming a published writer. But not having a blog at all may be a far better move down the road than having a neglected source of dry or pointless writing, especially when the author’s name is on it.
“Unless you can write and constantly update—and by update I mean in some cases as much as three times a week, between 600 and 800 words—a blog that is specific to your writing and to your audience, you might not be ready for the work of being an author. And unless you have an interest-oriented blog with a significant following, there isn’t much point in trying to self-publish yet. Your following is your fan base,” adds Trunk.
Such tough love might be painful but necessary for indie authors to hear. Fortunately, Amber Scott, author of Irish Moon and Play Fling and one of the co-founders of the Indie Book Collective, can offer slightly more encouragement; the IBC’s three author-founders co-wrote the soon-to-be-released Bible of self-promotion, Dollars and Sense: The Definitive Guide to Self-Publishing Success (June 29, 2011), and Scott’s view of blogging’s power to advance indie authors’ careers is more empowering. “Effective blogging isn’t easy when you’re first starting out. The more you know your books and the more you know about who you are as the author of those books, the better sense of direction you have in where your blog and therefore your writer life are going.”
“It’s your job to be interesting in your blog if you want to be a writer,” continues Trunk. “There’s no room for a sentence that is even a little bit boring, it is an insult to your readers to write a boring sentence. Everyone needs a beta reader to read even their blog posts before they go up, someone who will genuinely give you an honest opinion. Your job as a writer is not to share your great ideas or share your life story with the world, your job is to pique the interest of your readers.”