13 January 2010

To Blog or Not to Blog

Source: Bookhitch.com

...Author’s blogs are almost a medium unto themselves. They meld the journal of the personal author as well as the corporate message of a business. The combination of the two is certainly a challenge for many authors, because you have to be personable while selling yourself at the same time. You need to let the reader into your life, but only so much. So how do you tell where that fine line is? How do you begin?

First, make your entries personal. Think about what you want to write ahead of time. Don’t necessarily write about your book and only your book. For example, say your book was a critique of modern parenting. Instead of plugging the book every chance you get (which is just outright selling something and no one will read it), continue where your book left off. Talk about things you would have liked to include, current events, etc. The more you expand your scope, the more readers will be drawn back to your site and the more likely they are to recommend it to others. Be passionate about your subject, but try to remain focused.

Talk about your writing process. Treat it like a journal (without being too forthcoming). Fans and readers love to know inside information about their favorite authors, and it creates quite a bit for you to talk about besides re-writing your book. How did you research for this book? What was interesting about it? If you’re promoting upcoming publications, talk about your events and what you hope to accomplish. What is your purpose? What do you have to say?

Don’t forget to ask yourself: Is this something I would take the time to read myself? If the answer is no, you may need to rethink your strategy.

Second, encourage collaboration. A lot of sites that host blogs have communities or groups to join. This is a great way to encourage readers to your site, and a great way to take tips from fellow authors. Other bloggers love it when you link to their sites, and it encourages them to return the favor. The more places your domain name gets posted, the more traffic your site will get.

Third, encourage comments. Make sure there is contact information for someone to reach you. Setting up an alternate email address may be necessary, but never fear. Most search engines have free email (like Gmail or YahooMail) that require nothing more than an address and password. Don’t delete comments if you can help it. Criticism is just as helpful as praise sometimes, although you may want to look into a spam blocker (most hosting sites have them built in).....

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