At the moment, it is August 2014, and authors not in the international star category must have blogs. You ask why. Wheels within wheels, I say. It’s all about promotion. To push sales of your book, you need to build a water cooler where your readers can come and pass ‘round the dixie cup. The water cooler can be a blog or a website with a blog; it just can’t be erected in the wilderness if the object is to attract readers.
The Do I Have to Have a Blog FAQ
Q: Isn’t a website enough?
A: No. Google wants you to have a lot of activity on your website, and the easiest way to do that is with a blog.
Q: Can’t I just put up a blog and not have a website?
A: With a good blog platform, you can have what is essentially a pretty nice websitish blog.
Q: Isn’t my Facebook page already doing everything I need?
A: Not everyone is on Facebook, and some people don’t want to go there. But you can write your posts on your blog and share them on your Facebook page. Ditto for Google+ and any other social media sites you like to use. And all that activity will please Google.
Blogging and Liking It
There are other considerations, aside from driving up your Google ranking, which may be more personally rewarding. Presumably, you write about something that interests you. If you think it is interesting enough to write about, you may really enjoy sharing your knowledge or experiences on a blog. Plus, there are other people out there who are interested in knowing what you know. These folks may find your blog because of the subject matter and hang around to buy a book.
As a practical tool for managing your event calendar, blog posts should alert your fans to signings, tours, interviews, and upcoming releases.
Finally, writers write. Your blog is your marginalia, your journal, your correspondence, your samples, and your resume. Your posts are frequent exercises for developing your writing chops. It’s like working out at one of those gyms with nothing but a window between you and the sidewalk. The foot traffic will evaluate how fit and strong you are as a writer by what they see on your blog, so don’t get sloppy!
Great Writers’ Blogs
Kathryn Lang-Slattery’s website concentrates on the subject matter of her book and is a fantastic example of an all-around useful site. Her blog keeps fans updated on the book’s progress and provides additional information that is well written and relevant.
Eva Vanrell’s blog doesn’t call itself that, but her site is porous with links that take the visitor from post to post to post. Vanrell’s pages are simple and attractive, and she manages to avoid the curse of many richly developed sites–the dreaded cluttered screen. She invites the reader to know her characters and shares her progress and insights.
The Anne R. Allen blog contains this indispensable post on blogging blunders authors should avoid. Allen promotes her own novels in the right margin while graciously sharing truly useful advice—which pulls in new readers like you—in the main section.