Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Writer Promotion - Blogging

With the expansion of publishing into so many different avenues beyond the traditional model, many authors get left holding the promotion bag. It's not a chore for the meek and unassuming, but there's still several ways you can cultivate a readership that don't require painting yourself blue and setting your hair on fire. If you're the quiet and thoughtful type, blogging might be one of your stronger promo techniques.

Blogging is almost always a solitary affair and blog posts can be written at any point of inspiration.

It’s a good idea to have a list of subjects to blog about. Brainstorm a list of blog subjects that will will be of interest to both your target audience and other writers who work in the same genre. You need to blog at least once a week to keep your content fresh. Since you also need to keep your author website fresh, you may want to update your website with the first couple paragraphs of your blog post and then link it to the entire post in your blog.

You have built an author website, right? For tips on author sites, check out our posts HERE.

It’s very difficult to feel fresh and ready to blog on the day you’re supposed to, so it's just good planning to write up several different subjects to about blog and then sit down and write them out as you feel inspiration or find time. It never hurts to have several in the can ready ahead of time to post. Of course, if you’re prolific, you can post every day, but try to blog at least once a week.

This is also where you can let others help you out; you can network with other writers to provide “guest posts.” This builds relationships with other writers who may ask the same of you and help you promote yourself and your books to new readers.

Once you feel reasonably comfortable blogging, and have a good idea of your blog's focus, it's time to find readers.

The first thing to do is to invite your contacts on other social networks to read your blog. Post a link on your Facebook page or tweet it to Twitter followers. Put the URL to your blog on your social network profiles and in your signature blocks for email and forums.

DO comment on other people's blogs, because it gets your name out there, builds important relationships with other writers and bloggers and can give you link backs to your blog or author site. These links back to your site increase the chances your site will come up in search engine results. There's a couple of important things to remember, though:

1) Follow blogs that are relevant to your genre and industry.
2) Use "Google Alerts" to find new relevant blogs.
3) Add something to the conversation. Don't just “me too.” Make a thoughtful comment and if you disagree, then do so politely and intelligently. Never flame.
4) Don't push your books, unless it actually has something to do with the subject of the post. Even then, be restrained with the sales message. The link backs alone are worth the comment, so there’s no need to get greedy.
5) Submit your blog to relevant blog directories. Some of them require that your blog show an established history of regular updated content, but do being placing it as soon as possible. Remember that link-backs are the main driving force that generates search engine results and that means a wider audience.

Blogging can be fun or it can be a chore, and like most things in life, the difference is in how you approach it. Think of blogging as a way to make friends with your readership and fellow authors. Plan far enough ahead so that it isn't a scramble. And keep an open mind.