If you’re a first-time author, you may be surprised to learn that writing the book is only 20% of the work. The other 80% comes from selling it! Even if you’re published by a traditional company, these days the selling of actual copies of your actual book is actually…up to you.
If you’re watching a parade of “buts” run through your mind right now, you’re not alone.
But….I’m a writer, not a marketing person!
But….I don’t want to be salesy!
But….I don’t know where to begin!
So here’s the first piece of good news: you don’t have to be a marketing expert or a smarmy salesperson in order to get the word out about your book.
The second piece of good news for the but-I’m-a-writer-not-a-marketer set is that writing is one of the best ways to start marketing your book!
Specifically, I’m talking about writing blogs—those bite-sized pieces of juicy writing that keep readers coming back for more. Every author-to-be should have a website that includes an up-to-date blog.
Tip #1: Use blogs to choose your book’s topic before you write the book.
In an ideal world, your book will be about the #1 topic your core fans want to hear from you. But how do you know what that is?
The answer is to choose the topic or idea that gets the most engagement from your audience. Engagement includes clicks, shares, likes, and comments.
If you post on Facebook, look back through your posts and see which topics tended to get the most interest. Same goes for Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter, depending on which sites you use most.
If you already write a blog, check your site analytics to see which posts visitors spent the most time reading. If you allow comments on your blog, see which one got the most engagement.
Tip #2: Write about yourself, using personal experience.
For most writers of transformational nonfiction (self-help, spirituality, etc.) expertise is borne out of personal experience. In other words, your power is in your story.
Which is a good thing to remember when blogging, since human beings remember stories much longer and more effectively than we remember ideas, statistics or theories.
The more revealed you’re willing to be about your own journey, the better. Tell your own stories; show your own vulnerabilities; let your reader get to know you. We bond with people, not brands. Give your readers the chance to love you by opening your world and being real.
Tip #3: Turn your story into learning.
Once you’ve told an anecdote about your life, break down the learning for the reader. What do you hope they will get from reading that story? What are the lessons you yourself learned?
Pick three to five useful observations to highlight. Perhaps it’s a step-by-step process, a list of tips (see this very blog) or a set of lessons you gleaned from the experience.
Allow the learning to reveal itself to you organically. If you’re having trouble figuring it out, sit in contemplation for 10-15 minutes and ask for clarity to bubble up from the unconscious smartypants within.
Then, hop to Tip #4 to chop that learning into digestible chunks for your reader.
Tip #4: Break it up.
There’s nothing that makes a gal’s eyes glaze over like paragraphs that take up a whole page, sans break.
When it comes to reading on the web, allowing your reader to scan the material is key. This is most easily accomplished by chunking your text and ideas into smaller pieces.
Some tricks of the blogging trade:
- Use 1-3 sentence paragraphs.
- Incorporate numbered lists.
- Use bullet points!
Tip #5: Aim to write as often as you can, but be realistic.
Setting blog-writing goals is a great way to keep yourself on track. Consider drafting an editorial schedule where you plot out in advance what topics you’d like to publish a blog on, and when. Then give yourself deadlines in your calendar to ensure you make those dates.
That said, be careful to set yourself up for success by adding a dose of realism to your plans.
If you are someone who can easily punch out a blog a week, go on with your bad self. That’s a great goal to aim for.
If, however, you are just getting started with this blog thing—and you’re squeezing it in amongst a thousand other to-do items—you may want to go easier on yourself and set a monthly goal.
Once a month is the least you should be writing; once a week is probably the most.
There are thousands of great blog writing tips and tricks available on the web. Check out problogger.com for a start. And if you’d like help generating an editorial calendar—and posting strategy—that will help ensure the blogs get written and then read, we’d love to help you with one of our marketing coaching packages! You can sign up for a 100% no obligation, zero-salesy-weirdness, free informational call by filling out our questionnaire here.