WritersLife Wednesday – Blogging to Build an Author Platform

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I ran across a post today on how blogs aren’t as great for building an author platform as they are made out to be.  It’s here: https://authordylanhearn.wordpress.com/2015/08/05/there-are-easier-ways-to-sell-books-than-through-blogging/

I’m here to offer the counterpoint.  Now, this writer is completely correct in saying you should blog because you want to and not just because you are told you are supposed to.  If you don’t want to do it and you’re forcing it, odds are the readers can tell.

But I think he’s underestimating the power of blogging the right way (or at least the way I got from my friend Peter Grant)  Peter built up a following on his blog before releasing books and when the first one came out, he asked his followers to buy it on Amazon that day to help its visibility and get it under the noses of other readers.  He asked, they did it, and his book hit Amazon’s bestsellers list in that subgenre (military sci fi, not my thing but if it’s yours, check him out 🙂

I can’t say this would work for everyone.  Peter put five years of work into his blog before releasing a book.  The man thinks ahead, what can I say 🙂

But, and here’s the big but, the way to make this work, to actually build a following is to blog about something other than writing!

I know.

We’re writers, what will we blog about if not writing?  Peter blogged about politics, his experiences in the military, working in government, the news, government now, ect… He found people who liked his thinking and his style, or they found him.

The key here is to blog about things that aren’t writing, but are related to what you write about.  Again, that is a big factor in Peter’s success.  The people who read his blog are also the ones who would likely want his books because he writes about politics, military, governments, just set it in space.

That’s the key, and that’s the part I have a hard time with.  I already know what I can do, blog about law, government and politics because those are what my books are about, just set in urban fantasy realities.  I have a problem with it though because it’s easier for me to write about writing and just babble off my thoughts than it is to write about anything law related because that requires research.

No really, you want to know why lawyers are so expensive, it’s because we have to research everything and there’s a ton of it, and it’s constantly changing.  And that doesn’t even take into account the facts that laws differ by states and that I could get in trouble if I get too specific and people take it as legal advice.

Now, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to pick up the pace on my law pieces, it means I have to suck it up and put in some more research time and just make sure the dry, dry law facts are entertaining.

Oh is that all? 🙂  There’s a reason my law posts are few.  But I’m going to try.  Another thing is I could write about politics and the government.  That scares me because I don’t want to loose potential readers by being too controversial.  Basically, on that one I’m being a coward.  I’ll work on it 🙂

So, think about what in your books you are an expert in in real life, and blog about that sometimes, probably in between your writing or day to day life pieces.  Who knows, maybe it’ll help.  Maybe it’ll just teach you more in your field.

Happy Writing 🙂

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15 thoughts on “WritersLife Wednesday – Blogging to Build an Author Platform

  1. Reblogged this on Suffolk Scribblings and commented:
    This is a great counter-argument to my post yesterday. I think my central premise still holds, that there are easier ways to sell books than through blogging, but the post offers a number of good points why you shouldn’t write-off blogging as a sales tool entirely.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you. I have no problem with people disagreeing with me, especially when I challenge convention. I have, on occasion, been wrong (though I don’t admit that too often😉).

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  2. I love blogging exactly because I don’t have to write about my writing. Instead I spend 98% of my time talking about my passions. Some, not all, also find their way into my science fiction [because we take ourselves wherever we go], but the passion comes first. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, yes, absolutely yes. If all anyone does is blog about writing it makes me wonder whether their actual writing would be interesting enough for a reader. That’s why I like your legal posts (and how you write them). 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reading blogs and also read their comments. Wow, and what do I have to say? Here it comes.

    I don’t like blogging and never did. I wondered always if I should, but never came around. I follow bloggers and see that they don’t do more than I do, I mean with selling books. so why should I start a blog? It only takes my time. I love writing, yes, but only in my books, not around my books. I tell everything about my and my books in Interviews, when someone takes me. Writing is not a job for me, I write, because my head is full with ideas God has giving me and I have to write them down. They are for my books. I read the blogs, but that is all. Sometimes I think how can people write all that stuff. Well, good for them.
    Mailing list? Never again, bad experience. Never like to put my foot into other peoples mouth ever again.
    Just an idea coming from me, the author of the Talon series. Writing at the sixed book now.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. When I started Blogging 101 in July, my new blog posts dealt mainly with my new book. The assignments we were given over the 3 week span made me realize that I needed to branch out and I did. I looked at those who read my posts and began to speak to them. I think my blog is much more interesting now.

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  6. Who is most likely to read blogs about writing? Writers, of course! And most of us have enough to read, what with critique groups, beta-reading and books to review, not to mention writing. So it makes sense to blog about other things. But from my 5 years’ of experience as a blogger, I can’t say there’s any relationship between how much attention my blog gets and how well my books sell.

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  7. I’m glad you’ve said this. I’m always at odds with my science/nature writing side and my fantasy (of the outdoor adventure variety, of course) writing side when it comes to platforming. I love coming across others that share that duality.

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  8. This has been my point for quite awhile. Okay, theoretically there are “easier” ways to sell books. They are easy. Be a celebrity already or at least well known in a field. Selling books should be easy if you’re a half-way decent writer. Have a bunch of money. Pay for advertising. Much easier. Have friends in the publishing industry or who work for one of the major ebook retailers. No problem selling books.

    For the rest of us. There is no easy way to sell books. Period. End of story. The books that sell do not correlate well to good quality. They correlate well to people with social cred.

    This is why blogging can be helpful. It gives you social cred in a specific group of people who are likely to enjoy your books. (That is if you taylor the blogging well.) It is a very long haul type or proposition. But if you are not in one of the three categories of people who get to sell books the easy way (already well known, moneyed or with the right friends) then I don’t know of any other POSSIBLE way to sell books. We’re not talking easy. We’re talking possible.

    I write dystopian fantasy thrillers about social outsiders and modern Pagans. Who will like my books? Social outsiders. Political radicals. People who are into intense emotion. Neo-Pagans. Fantasy buffs, especially women fantasy buffs. (That’s a tough one. What else besides fantasy do fantasy buffs read? Well, one thing they are often into, especially the women which is stuff about historical and herbal lore. It is a common shared interest.) So, I blog about several things. I do blog about books and writing in genre on one blog, including genre book reviews. But on another blog I do practical herb lore tips. On another i do radical politics, issues about social exclusion and a lot of disability rights stuff. Then I have another page that is on everything Pagan.

    So far so good. My mailing list has tripled. (It wasn’t all that big to begin with but it’s a lot bigger.) Back in April I could basically trace every book sale back to someone I had personally talked to. They weren’t “friends and family” sales anymore but they were “met you on the internet” sales, just about every one. In august. I made a good handful of sales and got two new five-star reviews and I have no idea who these people are. I’m not saying I’ve got it made but my books are so low on Amazon that it is physically impossible that these people found my books anywhere except my blogs. Without my blogs or money for advertising, I think there would have been no sales.

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