Believe it or not, blogging has so many advantages for writing far beyond honing your writing skills. I always had the wish to write a book at the back of my mind. However, the book that I have self published is very different to the book I imagined (in terms of genre) but it came about because of my blog. Having finished it, I realised that I have actually fulfilled that piece of popular advice ‘Write about what you know’. My book is a non fiction look at life married to an Irish farmer but blogging will have the same advantages for all writers.
Writing a blog has so many advantages for writers and wannabe writers. Not only do you want to write a book but once it is written, you need to be able to sell it – this is also where the blog comes into play. Blogging isn’t just for personal bloggers, foodie bloggers or for corporate businesses – it is also very valuable for writers. Here are six reasons why writers should blog:
A blog post may provide the inspiration for a book or short story. This is exactly what happened in my case. When a particular blog post entitled ‘Advice to those considering marrying a farmer’, written in a very tongue in cheek style, became hugely popular, the seed was sown as I wondered if people might enjoy a book on the subject – also written in a humourous style. You may find that one particular post or perhaps a particular topic are much more popular than your other posts – is there a gap in the market for that subject matter? Could it be developed into a book? Could it become a short story?
When writing the book, I occasionally wrote a short post based on an idea for book content. If it was well received, I then developed it into a longer section for the book. By writing in a similar style to the book or even posting an extract and asking for your readers opinions, this will hugely inform your decisions for your book. Use your blog readers to gauge the response to a future book.
#3. Prevent Writer’s Block
I think all writers experience writers’ block at one stage or another. There will be days when the words just don’t flow. By being in the habit of writing posts, even a short one, it can fire up your tapping fingers and your mind so that when you do go to work on the book, the ideas will flow. I had a tight deadline for my book and whenever I felt overwhelmed and almost unable to write, I pretended the section was just a blog post and was able to tap out 2000 words relatively easily.
Your blog might be where you write up your research. For example, if you are writing a crime thriller, your blog could be a book review blog of crime books you read or you could use it to record and share your thoughts on unsolved crimes or various types of crimes. The same goes for any genre of book. By writing up book reviews it ensures you are reading (and as they say, all writers should read) plus you will encourage enthusiastic readers to your blog and they will be ready to read your book when it is published. I now write a book review every Friday and have a goal to read 52 books this year. Some of these books will be in a similar genre to my next book so I will be critiquing them as I read.
#5. Promoting Your Book
A significant percentage of readers say they often discover books on the author’s website. Blogging provides your website with valuable search engine optimisation juice so relevant readers find your website. People buy from people and if they enjoy your blog writing and have got to know you, they are much more inclined to purchase your book, even if they put it on the long finger for a little while. I know I read blogs by authors who have just published books and fully intend to purchase their works.
I haven’t gone down the traditional published route as I self published my book but publishers will want to see evidence of your social media activity (as will wholesalers). They will want to hear about your blog traffic, your twitter followers, the interaction you receive. If you are interacting with other bloggers, you can ask relevant ones to review your book in a ‘book blog tour’. Twitter gives you the opportunity to chat to other writers as well as readers. You will be able to see what people are saying about your book and converse with them. Social media is essential to promote your book once it is published. As many authors discover, the publisher doesn’t necessarily generate all the PR, you have to. Social media will give your book’s presence credibility and it is never too late to start.
I can’t say what percentage of my 800 book sales in a month were due to my social media and what percentage were as a result of the few radio interviews but they all contributed to an excellent first month of sales. I was also able to provide followers numbers when contacting Ireland’s main book wholesaler too. It all helps to improve your credibility.
#7. Don’t forget Pinterest
Pinterest could also be very useful when planning your novel or staying on track. You could create a secret board and pin images of particular people for your characters to help you visualise them. Pinning images of the book’s location will help you to communicate the city’s appearance and atmosphere. Pinning front cover images could help you decide on your own design. If you are trying to describe a particular scene such as a frosty woodland walk, pinning images of such scenes may help you to describe it appropriately. Even going and pinning appropriate images for ten minutes can get rid of that writer’s block as it fires up your enthusiasm.
If you haven’t started a blog yet – be it for business or personal use or because you feel there is a book inside you bursting to get out, do check out our ‘Blogging for Business’ online course which starts next week. It takes you through the process of setting up a blog and all the technical aspects to showing you how to write content that people will enjoy and ensure they find it! We are running Pinterest courses too.