If you hang out in online author groups or attend writing conferences, when the question of marketing techniques comes up, invariably blogging is recommended. That is often followed by a groan because it’s hard enough to write a book, how can you add blogging to the mix?
This becomes even more challenging for fiction authors who can’t figure out what to blog about. Sure, you can blog about writing a book, but will that attract readers who don’t necessarily care about writing?
Before I continue, I do believe that romance authors should have two things for sure:
- Author Website
- Email list
Sure social media is helpful, but no matter what, authors need their own home on the Internet (website) and an email list to stay in touch with fans.
But what about a blog?
I’m like many other authors who’ve found it hard to regularly blog on my author site, JennaHarte.com. Not that long ago, I removed the blog content from my home page. There is a link to my blog, but my lead magnet (free book to sign up for my email list) is front and center, along with my books, and some info about me. I did that so my site wouldn’t look like it was sitting dormant with old blog posts.
That doesn’t mean I don’t think blogging isn’t helpful. For example, I’m all for blogging a book as a serial. Or providing fun and entertaining content for your readers, such as character interviews.
Other benefits to blogging are:
- SEO – Getting ranked in Google for keywords related to you and your books
- Connecting with readers and writers
However, you can gain much of that without blogging.
SEO – You can guest blog on someone else’s site that has good SEO and traffic related to your writing. While that won’t improve SEO on your name or books’ names, you can piggyback on existing good SEO in other keywords related to your genre or tropes.
Credibility – You can gain credibility by guest blogging, being a podcast guest, or sitting on a panel at a reader event.
Connecting with readers and writers – This is where social media shines. You can create a fan page or group to hang with your readers.
And there are downsides to blogging such as:
- Having to create content weekly
- Getting stuck on what to write
- Needing longer content that may or may not be read
Alternative Ideas for New Authors
Why is blogging recommended? Because it’s something you can do to attract readers. But often authors are told to do things that attract readers with the expectation that they’ll show up. This is true of email lists and even social media.
However, very little is discussed about outreach. Instead of building something and hoping people come, authors need to figure out where their readers hang out to learn about books and go there to talk to them. If they like you, they’ll follow you on social media, visit your website, and sign up for your email list.
If I were with a new author or an author struggling to make sales, I think my suggestion today would be two-stepped:
1.Build Your Platform:
- Get a website so you have a place readers can go to learn about you that you own (as opposed to just a FB page)
- Set up an email list so you can keep in touch with your readers.
- Have one or two social media accounts where readers can engage with you more regularly. This is a great place to put short-version content you might normally blog, such as new releases, character interviews, factoids about your books.
2. Go Out and Find Readers
- Find out where readers of your romance genre spend time talking or learning about books. This includes social media groups, podcasts, YouTube shows, magazines, etc.
- Join in the conversation (social media)
- Reach out to write an article or be a guest
None of the above require blogging.
The problem with blogging, as well as other marketing recommendations, is the idea that if you build it, the readers will come, and that’s not the case anymore. Just having an online presence isn’t enough. Instead, you have to go where the readers are and let them meet you and get to know you. Then they’ll follow you on social media or visit your website.