Bob Baker's Book Promotion Blog

7 Reasons Every Author Should Publish a Blog

Perhaps you've been hearing advice about starting a blog but haven't gotten around to it yet. Maybe you started one a while back but have let it sit idle for months.

Or perhaps you're a semi-active blogger who has lost steam and is wondering why you should bother anymore.

Whatever category you fall into, heed these words of advice. I've been blogging pretty consistently on my Music Promotion Blog since 2004 and on this Book Promotion Blog since 2007. I'm here to tell you, blogging does an author good.

Especially if you consider yourself a "writer" (in addition to being an author or book publisher) then I highly recommend you create a blog and add new content to it on a weekly basis.

Why? Here are seven important things a blog can help you accomplish:

  1. Develop a following. When you create new content on a regular basis, you give readers a reason to reconnect with you and your topic time and time again. A static web site gives no incentives for repeat exposures, and short tweets or Facebook updates are too fleeting. Good blog posts help you connect with readers and build a fan base.

  2. Expand your online presence. You may know by now that my Internet book marketing philosophy is all about outreach and creating a trail of topic-specific breadcrumbs that leads readers to your website. Every time you publish a new post to your blog, you create yet another trail that your ideal fans can find. Blogging (and sharing links to your posts via social media) helps you build your web presence.

  3. Earn better search result positions. Google and other search engines love blogs because it gives them more content to categorize, and it demonstrates which sites are active and growing. The more active and relevant your blog is, the greater your chances of ranking higher in search results.

  4. Hone your craft. Despite your work ethic or best intentions, you never "arrive" at being a great writer. It's a lifelong process that requires constant practice. What better way to motivate yourself to ply your craft than to commit to writing something new every week on your blog?

  5. Produce material for future books. I love this aspect of blogs in particular! While you're honing your craft every week, you are also stockpiling a small library of content. And that content can some day be repurposed into articles, reports, white papers, and even new books. Creating new content (via your blog) should be an ongoing activity.

  6. Know your industry. This is especially true for non-fiction authors. If you position your blog as a resource on your topic (which you should), that forces you to always be on the lookout for news, trends, and fresh ideas related to your subject matter. That makes you even more of an expert and the go-to man or woman in your field.

  7. Create interaction and community with your readers. Most bloggers allow readers to leave comments. That's another thing that sets blogs apart from static web pages: people can interact with them. You should encourage and ask your readers to leave comments. That will make your blog a place readers want to visit often and express themselves at while there.
No doubt, I'm convinced that blogging should be an essential part of every author's routine. What do you think? I welcome your comments.

A great resource on this topic is 31 Days to Build a Better Blog by Darren Rouse of ProBlogger fame. I recently purchased it myself and love the way it's put together. It's not only a very helpful, step-by-step resource (even for a more a seasoned blogger like me), it's also a prime example of an excellent how-to report format. Take a look at Darren's sales page for it here - which is another great marketing model to emulate.

* Note: I do make a small commission on any sales of Darren's ebook via the links above.

You'll also find more advice about blogging, podcasting, social media, author website design, and lots more in my book, 55 Ways to Promote & Sell Your Book on the Internet.

P.S. Did you enjoy this blog post? Get more tips like these when you subscribe to my Full-Time Author ezine -- filled with even more book promotion tips and author career-building advice. Go grab your free subscription now.

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The Amanda Hocking Success Formula


Want to know the secrets to self-publishing success? They may not be as mysterious and elusive as you might think.

A music business blogger named Bob Lefsetz wrote a great post on this topic recently. These two simple sentences in particular really stood out for me:

"Only the best and the brightest, the top of the elite, make it in the democratic Web/self-publishing world. Without all the marketing, without all the hype, all you've got is the naked product -- and it had better be damn good."

Brilliant!

What inspired Lefsetz was a New York Times article on 26-year-old author Amanda Hocking. As you may already know, over the past year or so, she's become the poster child for self-publishing success in the book world.

After writing several novels and honing her writing chops in obscurity since she was in elementary school, Hocking decided to write in a specific genre (paranormal romance) and in a style that she felt had potential commercial appeal.

Still, traditional publishers rejected her over and over again. In the spring of 2010, she self-published her first novel as an ebook on Amazon (which is fairly easy to do). She started getting a steady trickle of sales right away.

As sales grew she wrote and submitted more novels to the Kindle store and other online ebook retailers.

Things snowballed far beyond her wildest expectations. It's been reported she made about $2 million USD in 2010. And in 2011 she signed a $2 million deal with a major book publisher for a three-book series.

Of course, as Lefsetz points out on his blog, there are not a lot of indie authors out there enjoying Amanda Hocking's huge sales numbers (although I read about new modest success stories all the time). In the indie music world, the same can be said for success stories like Jonathan Coulton (who grossed a half million dollars in 2010 as an unsigned, independent artist).

It would be easy to write off both of these examples as flukes and discredit their success instead of celebrate it (and, believe me, MANY people do). But not honoring what led to their good fortune is shortsighted.

Here are the traits that both Hocking and Coulton share:
  • They are both prolific; they have created a vast body of work over the years
  • Through years and countless hours of effort, they have honed their craft and created books and music that a certain slice of the population deems "damn good"
  • They have been willing to use the Internet and the digital tools available to them to connect with an audience
  • They create even more books and music to feed the appetite of their existing audience, which further grows their fan base and income streams
There's your modern day formula for success -- at indie book publishing, music and anything else, for that matter!

To reinforce these steps, here's the "business model" that musician Jonathan Coulton recommends:

"You need to work extremely hard, make music that is great, and find people to buy it from you. The end."

What are YOUR thoughts on these modern DIY success traits? I welcome your comments.

-Bob

P.S. Here are links to the Bob Lefsetz blog post, the Amanda Hocking article, and Jonathan Coulton's blog.

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St. Louis Writers Guild Workshop Feb 4

For those of you in the St. Louis area, I hope you can attend this workshop. Here are the details:

The St. Louis Writers Guild presents

The E-Revolution: Creating, Promoting, and Selling Your Work Online

presented by Bob Baker

Date: Saturday, February 4, 2012
Time: 10 AM till 12 Noon

Kirkwood Community Center, 2nd floor
111 S. Geyer Rd.
Kirkwood, MO 63122

Get map and directions here

SLWG members attend for FREE; $5 admission fee for non-members

You can register in advance on this page.

Workshop description:

Whether you want to publish your own book, get exposure, connect with readers, sell a lot of books, or make money (while making a difference) with your written words β€” or all of the above β€” Bob Baker will reveal how he has done it successfully, while helping countless writers, musicians, and other creative people along the way.

In this two-hour session, Bob will cover the current state of ebooks and the best ways to publish and sell them, along with his nuts and bolts formula for marketing yourself online.

Bob has been making a good living publishing his own books, reports, audio programs, and more since 2003. His publishing journey dates back to 1992, when his first book was published. He’s learned a lot of hard lessons along the way, and on Saturday, Feb 4, he will show you how he did it β€” and how you can too!

Bob Baker is an author, musician, and workshop leader who is dedicated to helping creative people of all kinds get exposure, connect with fans, and increase their incomes through their artistic passions. Bob's books include "Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook," "55 Ways to Promote & Sell Your Book on the Internet," "Unleash the Artist Within," "Guerrilla Music Marketing Online," and more. Among his many credits, he is the current President of the St. Louis Publishers Association.

Get more tips and inspiration when you subscribe to my free "Full-Time Author" ezine. I'll even send you a free download of my Self-Publishing Confidential report. Learn more about the free subscription here.


Or just sign up using this quick and easy form:

Your First Name
Your Primary Email

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