As a fresh-out-of-the-oven, self-published author, I find myself struggling with a lot of things that the indie-publishing industry requires. Unfortunately, we don’t have the advantages that traditional publishing brings. No hordes of editors and marketers to do the cringe-worthy, dirty work, no publicist or agent to accept or reject calls for our talent and skills; just our hands and minds to work with.
Most of us are people who have dreamed for the glories of being a best-selling author but lack the massive amounts of time that that dream requires, or lack the funds to do so. Most are full-time workers elsewhere and only put part-time effort in the dream.
But like with most things, if an author wants to really hit off their writing career and make the dream come true, then they’re going to have to put the effort in to do so. Starting off, a writer may think that writing, editing, and putting the book out on the market is all they need to know. But nope, nada. Not only must you promote your book in as many places as possible (and inevitably spending money to do so), but you must also constantly maintain your online presence.
Which is where blogging comes in. It is one of many things that an indie author must do and possibly one of the most important things (besides writing the books, of course).
Here are the many reasons why an author blog is important (a lesson that I also need to learn, even as I am typing this blog post):
- Your readers get a person behind the books and blog posts/articles they’re reading. If your readers are enjoying your books, then they’re most likely going to look for you online. As a reader myself, I do this; I not only like to see how the author is faring as a business owner (which, essentially, a self-published author is a business owner), but I like to see what they have to offer on their website. If they have helpful writing or book-reviewing blog posts, I’m more likely to keep track of them.
- You may connect with other authors. This can get you several things: friends, which are always a plus, beta-readers (especially if you write the same scope of genres), and possible promotion partners (every indie author wants to expand their readership and if you find a scratch-me-scratch-you writer, then not only are you benefiting from the symbiotic relationship but so is that author).
- There may be companies out there that appreciate your posts and may contact you. Being an active blogger means getting your brand out in the open. If you have nice, well-put, and educated blog posts out in the opinion, you may attain ethos (credentials), and in turn, not only will you get exposure but so will your books. Someone could ask you to guest-blog on their website.
- You can promote updates about your books. This is probably the best place to do so. While social media may get the word out, there’s always some catch (limited characters for Twitter and harder for your posts to get discovered on Facebook). It is best to let the world know in depth about what’s going on in your indie-writing life with a blog post and then share it via your social media.
Blogging is a fantastic marketing tool, but the problem that seems to run in many indie authors (myself included) is that they lack the frequency of their posts, and some may not know what they want to say in this posts. There are topics that are overdone (but people are still interested in) and there are also authors that think that just updating their readers about their books is enough. In some cases what they lack in their blogging capacity is made up somewhere else in their marketing, but in others, blogging might be the something that writer is missing.
There are many websites that talk about writing prompts for bloggers. Googling these lists will suffice. But if you want to see what is working for other author-bloggers, then surf around your favorite authors, or other indie authors that seem to be doing well, and see what they blog about. This brainstorming may not work if you’re browsing authors that don’t blog well. For a few examples, I suggest Lindsey Buroker and Jane Friedman (she’s more of a publisher insider/professional editor/professional columnist than an average indie author trying to grow their brand, but she presents many great posts for indie authors trying to survive). There are many other great author-bloggers out there that have fantastic content (I may end up updating this post with more names to share, but until then…).
So go forth and blog! May your website become rich with content and may your books blooom gloriously!