Blogs offer authors a powerful tool to develop content, build an auidence for their work and market the finished book. Blog shave everal key advantages in this regard, including:
- Blogs are a special type of website. Due to their generally heavy use of links and their relatively frequent updates, blogs tend to rank well in search engine results. These factors makes them an attractive tool for building an audience around your content.
- Blogs are very similar to book in structure making it easier to transition from blog to book.
- Blogging offers you the opportunity to establish a relatively painless writing discipline. Blog posts are typically just a few short paragraphs, about 300-500 words in length. Posting with a regular frequency lets you build your book’s content in a measured and disciplined manner. As your blog’s readership builds and you realize you are writing for an audience that wants to consume your content, the task becomes easier.
- Blogs are very measurable. You can track your readership to a very specific degree. This is important because having an audience and knowing who your readers are is valuable information for publishers. The statistics you collect can also help you decide which content is popular and valuable, and which might be better omitted from your book.
- Finally, because it is easy to search and find blogs discussing the topics you are writing about, the blogosphere is an effective medium in which to market your completed work.
First consider the size and structure of the blogosphere. The popularity of blogs has soared in the last few years. There are now over 100 million blogs tracked by Technorati, which doesn’t even include the more than 70 million Chinese blogs. According to recent demographic surveys by the Pew Internet Study and the New York Times / CBS News, blogs have become mainstream and represent virtually every audience and topic area.
Blogs focused on a given topic tend to link to similar blogs. What this means is you can use blogs to:
- Develop an audience for your work while you write
- Promote your book effectively and at low cost once it is written
A blog bears many resemblances to a book. Both have a title and subtitle that reflect the content of a book. Blog posts can be organized into categories which serve as a kind of table of contents to classify and group related material. Blog posts, typically 300-500 words in length, represent the raw content of a book. Links within posts or on the blog roll serve as a bibliography, showing references to source material.
How do you attract people to your blog? Initially, through searches individuals make on popular search engine sites like Google, Yahoo, Ask and MSN. By using popular keywords in your blog title, subtitle, categories and posts, your blog will begin to turn up in these searches. You can discover these keywords using keyword discovery tools or simply checking out popular blogs in your topic area. The more you blog, the more others discover and link to your blog content, the higher will be the ranking of your blog site in search results, and the greater the traffic you will receive.
Blog software usually provides a basic set of statistics that allow you to track important information such as number of visitors, page views, referring sites and average time spent by each visitor. Page views and comments left by visitors for specific blog posts provide an indicator of popular content. This makes blogs an excellent way for you to field test and select material to be included in your book.
Once you have cultivated an audience, you can transform your blog into a great marketing platform. For example, you can:
Feature your book on a special blog page, with your bio, a book description, excerpts, press releases and testimonials; thus your blog can double as a book website.
Promote your book to a wider audience by arranging a blog tour. A blog tour is a series of scheduled guest appearances on related blogs, where you have the opportunity to talk about your book. This is a low cost, high impact method to discover new readers for your work.
The blogosphere is not the only place to market your work, but it can one of the best.
Whether you are publishing independently or trying to sign on with a traditional publisher, blogging can be key to your success. More publishers are now starting to view the blogosphere as a fertile ground to find promising writers. Why? As an author who blogs, you can quantify your audience and this is attractive to risk averse publishers. This is, in essence, the new author book pitch.
Blogging is a low risk, low cost way to build your audience while you are developing your work, and then promote your finished book to that same audience. Give it a try!