With publishers emphasizing platform to ascertain evidence of future sales, blogging your novel can be much more lucrative than you think. Blogging is still considered to be one of the greatest ways to expand your reach. After all, authors have to think like entrepreneurs and blogging our book is just part of that extensive marketing package. By building a platform of devoted readers, we can offer our services as speakers, consultants, workshop leaders, mentors - the list is endless.
The challenge however for authors is to feel comfortable blogging their novel when they still haven't gotten a full grasp on their narrative. Because blogging requires an "outer voice," authors might feel their creativity or thought process might get stifled. While it's possible to blog and write at the same time, it's reasonable to wait until the manuscript has simmered and the basic premise and idea of the story has surfaced. In the short while, I've nurtured a young readership while blogging my memoir, Accidental Soldier: What My Service in the Israel Defense Forces Taught Me about Faith, Courage and Love, I've also learned more about my memoir and while I'm not blogging a novel, the blogging techniques are the same across genres of writing:
Blog Your Themes
Drive the themes of your novel home by blogging about them. It's an informative way to test your idea and your market. No need to post endless chapters that will tire your reader.
If you are working already with an editor, she will be able to help you identify some of the literary themes or big picture ideas. However, this is not as clear to the novelist as it is to the memoirist so allow me to explain. When you blog your literary themes, you're essentially sharing information about the meaning or the lesson that the surface story teaches us or the conclusion that can be drawn from the events. So how do you do this?
• For each blog post, you post short snippet from your novel (WIP). It can be a scene involving dialogue, setting, characterization - whatever you want.
• Drive home what each snippet is "teaching" the reader thematically. Symbols are great multilayered material for showing what's happening thematically with a character, plot, etc. They are also easier point of entries for the reader.
It has been said that good works of fiction often mimick the themes of the real world. How can you drive these themes home for the reader?
Blog How You Overcame Problems
Another very authentic way to build readership is to blog the pitfalls you've dealt with and how you overcame them. These posts are extremely helpful for the reader because you are essentially solving a problem for your reader!
I've seen lots of these kinds of blog posts and the more creative, the better. For example, brainstorm all the possible problems your target audience could be facing. If they are fiction writers, then one possible post can describe how to promote and sell more books. (Thus, the importance of blogging!) Perhaps another problem could be how to write compelling and believable characters, or how to write a satisfying ending, or how to outline your fiction without messing up your story. For each problem, post a short blog post and then illustrate how you solved the problem. You can do this in a number of ways:
• Use an infographic to show how you mapped a character or plot
• Use a "before" and "after" snippet taken from your novel (WIP)
• Post an image that is connected to one or more issues connected to the writer's crafts.
By embedding snippets of your novel, you're already creating mini-buzz around your book so when it is published, you'll have built in readership.
Blog about the Life of a Fiction Writer.
What does it mean to write fiction in today's hectic and fast-paced digital world? How is it possible to write fiction in a world so inundated with social media? These are two questions that often occupy my thoughts. I greatly welcome any guest blog on my blog, Giving Voice to Your Story that will help elucidate how fiction writers stay motivated to write because fiction is so different than other genres. How do they write compelling stories and believable characters?
As a reader, I always want to see a "slice of life" moment that authors rarely seem to share online. For example, Elizabeth Gilbert on her Facebook author page, recently posted a picture of herself with notecards during the year when doing research for her latest novel, The Signature of All Things. In her post, she described the joy of doing research and how much she loved it and how it brought clarity to the writing process. The post generated many hits and comments. Like Elizabeth Gilbert, maybe you have an exceptional idea or practice that helps writers clarify the writing of their story or a strategy that helps with the research process?
Consider that with this idea, you'd be killing two birds with one stone. You'd be blogging about the life of a fiction writer and showing how you overcame problems. Maybe you could also snap an image of one of the research cards to show the creative writing process at work?
As you can see, there's lots of ways to blog your novel. All it takes is a little bit of creativity and an open "marketing" mind. Blogging is not going away anytime soon, and since we're already writers, we might as well take our writing (and sales) to the next level.