I'm getting a ton of email and messages through the social media channels asking me to pre-order or buy their book. Many times I don't know who these people are and I'm often annoyed by these pesky messages.
Take for example a local author who sent me a link to buy her book. I'd never heard of her -- never read one post by her. But apparently she had heard of me. As someone who strives to build relationships online as much as I can, I am daunted by salesy posts and messages that blatantly want you to buy. I was really annoyed.
But here's the thing -- there's so many authors right now trying to make a buck and a name for themselves. But the competition is outrageously competitive. More than 8,200 books are published each day. (Bowker Annual Book Production Report, 2011). So you are just a very tiny tiny fish in a vast ocean. You need to get known and quickly. You need to hit the mark when it comes to sharing yourself online. The way you do this is by blogging. There are no shortcuts unless you vlog and that's another story.
I cannot blame this local or others for not making her post personable. The online connection obviously numbs out the personal so one really has to work very hard to build a connection.
As a memoirist, I work tirelessly to help authors build their platforms by educating them on the importance of blogging. One of the first lessons of my 6 day e-course, Blog Your Book teaches author/bloggers to really zoom in on their field of expertise. You'd be surprised how many will say "my field of expertise is such and such," but I have nothing to say about it when it comes to blogging. That's because blogging is a marketing tool and platform that is very different from writing a book. You have to think much more compactly to suit the online reader while still blogging about the themes and messages of your book.
So if authors want readers to buy their books, they MUST be blogging on a regular basis and here's the "why" and "how."
1. Blogging is the door to building a know-like-trust relationship with your readers. Many of our customers will come from online connections, which is different than building a know-like-trust relationship with those you already know.
From a blog post, your readers get a peak into your world. You get to be transparent -- which is a beautiful gift. Your readers will learn something intriguing about your writing process or a few facts from your book. A few more blog posts later, and they are off to check out your book you've been tweeting about so much. Eventually they'll buy the book. Now you wouldn't be able to do this if you just sent a "buy now" link now, would you?
2. You get a chance to help other people. Maybe your readers are looking to fulfill their dreams as an author are looking to you to inspire and help them. Can you write a post that addresses some of the issues, problems and struggles of your target audience?
3. You get a chance to use your book as a "centerpiece" standing out from others. First, there are many authors who are sending lots of "buy me" messages. But you're not. You're different. Capitalize on that "empty" space that many authors aren't using. Then find what it is that separates you from the rest of the other authors in your niche and blog about it using your book as a "centerpiece." Are you a therapist writing about how to handle failure? Then you can blog using highlighted stories and snippets from your book to illustrate a point. Stories always work well. Are you a memoirist writing about the hero's journey? Then you can blog about some of the themes and lessons you've learned to illustrate a bigger point as I have been doing. Are you getting this?
Blogging is such a viable way to make a connection especially in and around social media where there's just so much "noise" and "talk." You really DO need to find a way to make yourself visible and known. You can schedule your blog to go through all channels of social media, but please do me a favor, people. Make it real. Be authentic. Build a platform.
Your Blogging Assignment is Here!
1. Do a content intake of your book and see what "themes" and "lessons" lend themselves to a 500 word blog posts. Organize them around any evergreen topics and/or special days. Keep of course, the interest of your target audience in mind as well.
2. Start writing shorter blog posts using one of the strategies mentioned above. Then increase your word count as you get the hand of blogging. And ideal blog post should be anywhere between 500-750 although blogging experts are now encouraging people to write longer posts and not quite often.