Most indie authors who are successful (by this I mean selling well) will tell you that a blog is an essential part of your marketing platform. This is true, but a lot of little things make a blog effective, one that will compel your readers to come back, and better yet, to sign up for your contact list so that every time you create a new post, they are notified of a new post. And people who become fans of your blog will hopefully become buyers of your books. I will have a number of posts on this topic as there is so much material to cover. I also have a video to show you some blog basics on your audience.
Blog Basics For Indie Authors – Your Audience
As I write this, there are over 70 million blogs in cyberspace. How do you think people will find your blog? Sure, Twitter, Triberr, and other sites can help get you traffic, but there is so much more that you can do to get targeted traffic (someone who is looking to buy what you’re selling) to your blog. Konrath, Hocking, Locke and others built a huge following, in part because they targeted certain audiences and those people became book buyers.
Before you start blogging (or if you already are but you want to build your following), this first blog basics question you need to ask is who is my audience? Who is it that you want to reach? For most of us indie authors, that’s easy – we want to reach readers who will buy our books. That’s nice, but there are millions of readers out there. You can’t possibly reach them all, nor would you want to, as readers out of your genre can hurt you with poor responses to your books or bad reviews (a literary fan most likely won’t enjoy my novel Nephilim Genesis of Evil and would give me a poor review because it’s out of his genre).
Blog Basics For Indie Authors – Narrow Your Focus
I see so many indie authors blog about all kinds of things, and that’s fine, if you don’t care about building a following. If you do want to grow your blog, I would suggest you avoid the scatter-shot approach (blogging on whatever tickles your fancy in the hopes that eventually people will take notice). You need a blog strategy and this starts with finding a narrower focus for your blog. Why? So you’re not lost in the 70 million blogs out there.
It took me a while to find my focus, but I’ve decided to blog mainly for indie authors (or any author wanting advice). This is a good/bad scenario. On the one hand, I’m gaining a following and a reputation as someone who dispenses quality advice to authors delving into the self-publishing world. I enjoy helping others and it is flattering that other indie authors seem to like what I’m offering. That’s the good.
The bad is that I’m writing to other authors :). Most authors aren’t going to buy my books. Authors want people to buy their books. They don’t tend to buy a lot of books from authors blogging on writing and marketing. From a marketing standpoint, I’m reaching the wrong audience. At least right now. As this blog grows, and the more successful I become, more authors might buy my books to see what it is in my books that makes me a selling author. And then this, along with other strategies that I’m implementing, might get my blog the kind of notice that will help sell a lot more books.
Blog Basics For Indie Authors – Topics To Cover
Along with giving tips to indie authors, I’ve also tried to write for the specific genres I write in. This again may be a good/bad scenario. I write the Reed Ferguson mystery series, and my main character loves film noir and detective fiction. That’s why I regularly post on film noir. In these posts I do try to put in tips for authors, like plot structure, points on dialogue, and so on, but I have a feeling my author followers don’t like these posts as much. That’s not what they’re here for. I also have a few posts on the Nephilim, since I wrote the horror/supernatural mystery novel Nephilim Genesis of Evil. This is the first horror book in a trilogy, so I’d like to do more posts on the Nephilim and ancient history. But I’m not hitting my target audience as well as I might if I separate this topic into another blog.
At some point I might consider creating separate blogs for film noir and the Nephilim, so that my posts are targeted for those specific audiences. For now, I’m keeping just one blog because trying to set up a whole new blog seems too time-consuming (so my fans that don’t like the film noir or Nephilim posts, sorry :)).
Blog Basics For Indie Authors – Your Strategy
One of the things I did when creating this blog was to carefully choose my blog name. I chose To Become A Writer because I knew I would blog to other writers (I just didn’t realize the scope), and I looked for a phrase with keyword relevance. If you haven’t started a blog yet, or if you are thinking of starting a new one, consider a name with keywords in mind. It would have been better if I’d named my blog How To Become A Writer because it’s a phrase that is searched for more than To Become A Writer, but I liked the way To Become A Writer sounded. Since people search this phrase, my page will rank high (it was on the first page in Yahoo when I checked) because the phrase is in the blog name (more on keywords and page ranking in later posts).
Watch this short video for some blog basics on your audience. And come back for more in my series, Blog Basics For Indie Authors.
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