Should All Authors Blog?

Should All Authors Blog? A few years ago, the standard wisdom was that authors, both fiction and non-fiction, should have blogs in order to gather an audience and build relationships with readers. Now, not so much. As social media and online marketing have evolved, my thoughts on blogging have changed. I think each author needs to carefully consider whether blogging is an appropriate vehicle for them based on: 1. If they can do it well; 2. If they enjoy it; and 3. If their writing career can benefit from it. If blogging doesn’t suit you, don’t spend too much time trying to make it work. Why aren’t blogs the appropriate vehicle for all authors?  The proliferation of blogs in the last five years has made it increasingly difficult to stand out in the crowd. Many authors are blogging faithfully...
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Who Needs a Platform?

Who Needs a Platform? I was talking with a friend about a new consulting firm being built by a small group of professionals. I learned that, in creating their business model, they made a decision: a prerequisite to being a partner in the firm is that each individual must be building and maintaining a solid platform. The method is up to the individual: writing books and/or blogs, speaking to large groups, interacting with the public via social media or traditional media. It’s an acknowledgment that each primary member of the firm has the responsibility to: 1. Personally be proactive in reaching out to people who might potentially become their clients; and 2. Personally take part in increasing the company’s public visibility and reputation. Isn’t this the job of somebody in the marketing...
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6 Tips for Successful Networking

6 Tips for Successful Networking Whether you’re a writer, a publishing professional, or in any other job or field, you’re probably going to be networking at some point. These days we do a great deal of networking online; but there are still the old-fashioned ways of building networks: face to face. You may be at a conference, a cocktail party, or industry event where you have the opportunity to meet people who can become part of your “network.” What are the best ways to bring people into your personal and professional networks? These tips apply to Twitter, Facebook, conferences, and every other networking situation. 1. Focus on relationships. The strongest network is made up of real relationships. Treat people like people—not as a means to an end. 2. Be genuine. People can tell when you’re...
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How to Build a Readership for Your Blog and Books

How to Build a Readership for Your Blog and Books Guest blogger: Jody Hedlund, @JodyHedlund Let’s be honest. We all want readers. Whether for our blogs or books, we crave the validation of having others read and enjoy what we write. But with all the blogs and books competing for the limited attention of readers, we face an uphill battle in building our readerships. In fact in the crowded marketplace, sometimes it can feel next-to-impossible to glean readers. I’ve been blogging for the past three years and now have three published books. And one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that there is no quick path to success (at least for most authors). Whether with blogging or with our books, the growth in our readerships happens gradually over time. If I were to graph my blog readership statistics during the past several...
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13 Simple Tips for a Better Blog

13 Simple Tips for a Better Blog I was talking with a client who has a book releasing in about a year, and she was concerned about how to begin building her blog and increasing the traffic. At the moment she doesn’t have a great deal of time to devote to it, since she is still writing her book. We brainstormed and I gave her several tips off the top of my head — simple things she could immediately begin to change about  her blog, that wouldn’t change her blog traffic immediately, but over time would have a positive effect. Here are the things we discussed. 1. Focus first on improving the content of your blog rather than any fancy strategies for increasing traffic. The better your content, the more your blog readership will naturally grow. 2. Make sure every post contains a single main idea. It can be...
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8 Tips for Promoting Your Book Online

8 Tips for Promoting Your Book Online 1. Begin well in advance of your book launch to build an email list of people who “opt in” to your newsletter or monthly email. 2. Avoid the “Buy my book!” tweet or Facebook post. ALWAYS offer value to your reader… Tweet a quote, a question, or something fun, along with a link to your book online. 3. Start talking about your book online long before the launch, but don’t just talk AT people. Get them engaged and invested in the process by sharing your writing and publishing process, by letting them help choose the cover, title, etc. 4. Use Pinterest to pin quotes from your book. You can piggyback off of this and hold a contest on Pinterest. 5. Get people involved in conversation related to the themes in your book. For example, if your book deals...
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From Blog to Book: Building an Online Platform

From Blog to Book: Building an Online Platform Guest blogger: Erin Reel @TheLitCoach When I was a literary agent I received a nonfiction book proposal, Twinspiration, from Cheryl Lage in 2003, right about the time when “platform” started to become a buzz word in publishing and before the blogging craze really took off. I immediately fell in love with the work. I was excited to read the About the Author section of the proposal to see who else knew about Cheryl. Aside from her role as a volunteer twins lactation consultant for her local hospital and a few locally published articles, the world was missing out on what Cheryl had to offer — delightfully refreshing advice on how to have a successful twins pregnancy and first year of twin parenting. Although a little deflated by the lack of platform, I felt this author...
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Should Unpublished Novelists Be Platform-Building?

Should Unpublished Novelists Be Platform-Building? A couple of weeks ago I blogged about My Love/Hate Relationship with Social Media, and the vocal response in the comments confirmed that many of you feel the same way. Some of us love it, some of us hate it, most of us are just trying to keep up. We all recognize the potential hazards of social media—mainly, the TIME it takes. The question we each have to answer is: How can we use social networking to the extent that it’s positive and helpful, but no more? There are two things I’m constantly stressing on this blog: (1) Building a platform using social networking is important. (2) Mastering the craft of writing is crucial. But for some of you, the two are not equal. Unpublished fiction authors—this is for you! Your writing should be first priority. Spend most of your...
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My Love / Hate Relationship with Social Media

My Love / Hate Relationship with Social Media I don’t know about you, but some days I find keeping up with blogs, Twitter, and Facebook (not to mention Goodreads and Pinterest) to be quite … challenging. A plethora of content is generated daily, even hourly. News is shared minute-by-minute. You get that terrible feeling of being “behind” if you ‘re out of touch for half an hour. While there’s a lot of useless chatter out there, the real problem for me is that there’s so much that’s valuable. I can’t imagine how I’d know what’s going on in publishing, how I’d stay up on blogging techniques, how I’d get constant inspiration and business advice, without the relentless stream of blogs I read. I’d rarely know when there was a TV show worth watching without...
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Rooted Marketing: Building Marketing Tools into Your Story

Rooted Marketing: Building Marketing Tools into Your Story Guest blogger: Dineen A. Miller Nothing like a book contract to make you suddenly aware of the need to think about marketing. Before the release of my first novel, The Soul Saver, I started questioning if current marketing trends in the Christian publishing industry were working. The big picture out there can be quite overwhelming, like a megastore with more choices in products than I have years to live (don’t ask how old I am). My questions put me on a journey that’s now led to multiple areas of intentional marketing—intentional as opposed to just doing what everyone else is doing. With every marketing avenue we consider, we need to ask why and will it be effective for our particular book/brand/ministry. One avenue of intentional marketing is something a group of my cohorts and...
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Four Ways to Make Your Own Luck Using Social Media

Four Ways to Make Your Own Luck Using Social Media Guest Blogger: Alexis Grant When good things happen, people tend to think you’re lucky. “Oh, that’s so lucky that you landed a literary agent!” they say. Or, “You’re so lucky you got a book contract!” Or even, “How lucky that freelance writing client found you!” But the truth is, only a tiny sliver of what you achieve is based on luck. The rest is hard work. You get “lucky” when you work hard to put pieces in place so opportunities come to you, and when you work hard to build a network that wants to help you succeed. In many ways, each of us makes our own luck. And lucky for us (pun intended), there’s a relatively new and super effective way to make our own luck: social media. Social media allows us to access people who otherwise probably wouldn’t give us the...
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Do You Have a Marketing Plan?

Do You Have a Marketing Plan? Giveaway today! See below. Guest blogger: Book Marketing Expert Rob Eagar In today’s erratic economy, publishers pay more attention than ever to the strength of an author’s platform (for non-fiction authors especially). I define “platform” as the amount of people you’re sure will buy your new book within the first 90 days. If publishers don’t believe that you can help sell a lot of books, they’ll tend to reject your book proposal and choose someone else. This doesn’t minimize the importance of good writing, but it means publishers place a premium on authors with a large marketing platform. The problem is that most authors spend over 80% of their time writing a manuscript but less than 20% preparing for how they’ll market that book. Yet, it’s the marketing...
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The Truth About Book Publicity

The Truth About Book Publicity Guest Blogger: Chuck Sambuchino, editor of Guide to Literary Agents (which, coincidentally, would make a terrific Christmas gift for any writers on your list — including yourself!) BOOK GIVEAWAY. See the end of the post for details. In 2010, Ten Speed Press released my humor book, How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack. As the editor of Guide to Literary Agents, I try to be knowledgeable in everything that goes into getting a book published, but I quickly found myself learning all kinds of things that happen after a book gets released—specifically, things about publicity. Let me share five things about how the world works concerning coverage and exposure for your book. 1. Publicity is insanely hit and miss. After my book got mentions in Reader’s Digest and AOL News, I thought it would...
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Platform for Non-Fiction Authors

Platform for Non-Fiction Authors If you’re writing a non-fiction book and it’s not memoir, keep in mind you’re going to need some kind of platform in order to sell it. You’re also going to need a strong hook or a fresh angle on the topic. Put yourself in the place of the reader or book-buyer: If you need a book on dog-training for example, and there are 55 books available on that topic, how will you make your buying decision? You’ll be looking for the book that takes an approach that appeals to you; and you’ll be looking at the individual authors and how qualified they are to give you advice. You might gravitate toward someone famous (Cesar Millan) or you might prefer someone you’ve never heard of but who seems to have an incredible track record of training dogs. In any case,...
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