Too many books are like the millions of sperms reaching out for that egg. So exactly how many is too many? Here’s one response that puts the number at 190,000. Actually, I prefer what the New York Times website had to say on the topic. Why does this matter? Because the majority of new books are never promoted. Who’s at fault?
While I don’t want to make my friends at the Society of Midland Authors (SMA) my enemies, I say the author is the main villain. That’s because the author usually puts in the greatest investment of time and effort into a project and does not always think about how their books will get in front of potential readers. That’s why this week, I’m presenting a program for the Society of Midland Authors called, Blogging for Authors. For those who attended the program and saw my Power Point presentation (dowload here) and those who did not, I’d like this post to point to what I talked about as well as a few other ideas.
First, I don’t believe that blogs will save the world. However, they can save your book. Why? Because every book has a unique audience. And traditional public relations cannot handle the demand for the 100,000 plus books that come out every year. Rather a blog is a tool, and even a free tool, that can help you build readership.
One of the blogs I pointed out in my presentation is called Greek Tragedy maintained by Stephanie Klein. Reasons for using it as an model are:
- Nice clean layout
- The book covers are a good size
- The links are set up for interested people to buy her books
- Every post has several comments (details on this were explained in my live presentation, I saved some good stuff for the Tom-Ciesielka-in-person presentation)
- The authors “About Me” page is engaging (it also “sells” by showing how much legitimate attention her writing garners)
- There are several comments on a number of post which shows that she knows how to engage her followers
I also talked about Problogger written by Darren Rowse. Darren focuses on information about how to make money from your blog. Look, I don’t believe that you can spend money with any type of on-line marketing actitivity and make a pile of cash. It’s never been that easy and never will. However, your goal is to become more popular and authoritative, then you must think about “selling” who you are and what you’ve written.
Finally, not referred to in my live presentation is a link to badlanguage.net. This post walks through 18 tips on how to be a better blogger. Most of which I touch upon during my presentation. Why? No, I’m not a copy cat. Rather, the fundamental rules for building an audience through communication never change. It’s always been about coming up with a compelling message for the right audience and connecting with that audience. Think about the New York Times or Wall Street Journal. (I’m sure most SMA members would not want to seriously think about USA Today.) My point is that they took decades and lots of money to build up their name and audience. It’s no different for an author who is a blogger.
Here’s the difference: You could have a few articles about you and your book in the New York Times (nice for show and tell) and maybe found a few people who will be crazy about your book. However, with blogging, you can search for your audience and build a relationship with them directly. Something impossible with traditional media.
There’s plenty written about blogging and on-line marketing. I’m sure there are many, many Dummy books available. Which reminds me, did you know that Sex for Dummies is one of that series most popular titles? Seems like a bad idea to me. Do you really want those people procreating?
But seriously folks, if you’ve not started a blog, go to Blogger and start one for free. And if you have a blog, please leave me a comment. I enjoy blogging. However, one of my great joys is seeing others use blogs successfully to get their message out.
P.S. I was just reviewing my notes for tonight’s SMA program and found another great source for blog book tours for authors. Helpful information.