Editor: This is the first in a series of articles charting the founding, successes, failures, and lessons learned from 7 years of blogging. Authors ask me all the time about how to build a blog that will help their book marketing, and I’ve often recommended—especially to nonfiction authors—that building a blog and a community is actually a more pressing task than publishing the book they’ve been working on. I hope that you’ll be able to profit from the lessons I’ve learned along the way, and maybe you’ll make fewer mistakes than I have. Enjoy!
You may not know this, but I was completely out of book publishing for a few years early in the 2000s. After working in graphic design, advertising, and book publishing, and owning and operating my own publishing company, I had taken time off to help Jill in her business.
So coming back to book publishing in 2009, I found there had been lots of changes. The biggest, of course, were two technological leaps that would shake the industry and continue to disrupt it today:
- the development of affordable print on demand for print books, and
- Amazon’s breakthrough ebook reader, the Kindle.
Fascinating! I’ve been making books for decades, had published my own book in 1986, but this was a whole new world full of amazing opportunities for authors. I was reading articles and catching up on all these new developments.
At the same time, as many will remember, we were only beginning to come to terms with the economic freefall that started at the end of 2007. I needed to get back to work, and was looking for ways to re-start my book design business at Marin Bookworks.
Writing Practice Actually Works
Luckily I had spent the previous two years practicing free-writing, and I don’t think there’s a better preparation for becoming a blogger.
In free-writing, you learn to write faster than you can think, without stopping, to a specific prompt, and for a set amount of time.
Due to all that free-writing practice, I knew I could write articles quite quickly, and that was the basis for my original blogging plan: to write about the best practices for book design, production, distribution, and marketing.
From my reading online, it didn’t look like anyone else had taken on this important subject area. Tens of thousands of new authors were kicking aside the gatekeepers and going straight into book production once they had finished their manuscripts. This is probably why many of the early self-published books in the print on demand era were poorly published, and embarrassing, when you look back at them from today’s perspective.
This represented a great opportunity, because designing and producing books had been my life for many years. Although book typography and indie publishing was very much a niche field, I was excited to rejoin the industry.
Can Online Training Really Work? It Did For Me.
This concentration on a niche subject area perfectly matched the advice I had found on the whole subject of blogging.
After all, I was reading many blogs and learning a lot, but I was on the public side of all these blogs. The whole world of blogging seemed mysterious.
- How did these blogs actually work? What was happening behind the scenes?
- Why did some bloggers have dozens or hundreds of people reading and commenting on their articles, while others—whose content was just as good—had no one but the crickets keeping them company?
- And were any of them getting the kind of business or monetary success that would actually make all the work worth it?
Those are the questions that were running around my head when I ran into the Blog Profits Blueprint, a free guide from a young fellow named Yaro Starak. Since he had it in both PDF and audio format, I downloaded both and dug into it.
CLICK TO KEEP READING