In this day and age, if you are a writer, one particular tool you definitely should make use of is a blog. In my case I have been regularly contributing to this blog since February 2010. A few days ago the number of my posts finally exceeded three thousand. In fact 3335. This is something I never envisioned happening way back then.
Your readers want to know what makes you tick; maintaining a blog helps to ensure that. Despite what some may think we don’t spend every waking hour at our keyboards writing several thousand words each day. We’re not automatons. Like you we also lead normal lives.
A lot of writers still don’t make use of the humble blog claiming it is a waste of their valuable writing time. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s a far better medium to advertise your work as well as engaging with your potential readers than social media sites in general. Some writers merely make use of sites like Facebook, Twitter and the many others out there, believing that that is all they need to do. Wrong! While they are good as they go, they leave a lot to be desired.
Twitter is OK up to a point for links to your books, providing the length of the link doesn’t exceed the rigid limit of characters allowed. But you cannot fully engage with your readers, owing to that same character limit.
Facebook is useful merely because of its ‘Chat’ facility, allowing you to have a conversation with others. But as for advertising your books, the way it is set up means that whatever you post there doesn’t remain in view for more than a day, sometimes far less than that.
Yes you can go to the trouble of setting up an author page where you can place covers, reviews and links for your books. But unless someone is actually looking for you, because the page is not right in front of the potential reader, in other words like the regular ‘home’ page where Facebook users you have made your FB friends see all posts, which is like publishing something in a tabloid newspaper (here today, gone tomorrow), they will hardly, if ever, visit it.
Plus, don’t forget that if someone inhabiting Facebook decides that your advertising posts are spam, they can, and do, have them removed! Endlessly advertising your books on Facebook will soon gain you a reputation for spamming. Not a good idea!
I was forced to have one specific post removed this morning after one fledgling young writer decided to add my name to thousands of others in the vain hope of raising money to have her book published. I believe the practice is called cloud advertising. Had she had the decency to ask me personally, I may have obliged her. Equally I may not have. Either way, like most people in our game, I steer clear of that kind of blatant act! Most midlist writers like myself simply don’t use those kinds of tactics. We don’t need to. Either your talent as a writer ensures that your book sells or it doesn’t!
Some writers make use of the blog feature on book sites like AuthorsDen, but because the sites aren’t as popular as Facebook etc, most people simply don’t bother to go there. I also had a page there. But all I did was use it as another specific advertising outlet for links to my books on Amazon.
New writers please take note – when setting up an account on Facebook or Twitter, using the word author as part of your name on any social media site is highly undesireable, unless your parents decided to be cruel and christen you ‘Author’ that is, in which case you have my heartfelt condolences. Employing the word in this particular instance is offputting to a lot of people. Serious writers like myself refrain from doing it. You’re impressing no one; merely showing yourselves up as wannabe posers!
Merely advertising your books is not enough! In my case I have placed all of the Amazon links worldwide for my books here on my blog in the ‘About’ page. Yes its true, I do sometimes advertise my books on my blog, or even reproduce reviews pertinent to a specific title. But that’s it! If that was all I used this blog for, potential readers and others would soon stop visiting it. From time to time I have been known to add extracts from some of my books here as well as the odd short story.
Finally, don’t forget that as you become known, your blog will become widely read, plus you will gather followers eager to read what you have to say next. Who knows, they may even feel inclined to read your books…