22 Ways a Blog Can Sell Books

by | Aug 3, 2015

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the role a blog plays in the evolution of nonfiction authors. That’s one of the reasons I’ve been writing about entrepreneurship for authors, balancing risk and opportunity when it comes to investing in online training, and making the leap from blogging to authorship.

All these subjects have one thing in common: how authors can learn to get big results blogging, big enough to drive book sales and other ways to make money from your content.

Now I’ll admit that I started this blog late in 2009 as an extension of my book design and consulting business, so I always wanted to get those kinds of results. In other words, I wasn’t blogging as purely an artistic enterprise.

Maybe you’re the same, or maybe your blog is simply a way for you to let off steam, network with friends, or report on your personal activities. And that’s all fine.

But for nonfiction authors, there’s no disputing this fact:

Blogging is far and away the best marketing vehicle ever invented for nonfiction authors.

Why? Let’s count some of the things a blog can help you do:

  1. Establish and promote your author brand
  2. Build a foundations as an authority in your field
  3. Use your content to attract a targeted community
  4. Get direct market feedback from readers
  5. Refine your ability to write keyword-optimized copy
  6. Run surveys and polls to gauge your reader’s needs
  7. Create a way to grow your email list from your visitors
  8. Use a structured approach to create books from your blog
  9. Provide a mechanism for media who want to contact you
  10. Engage your readers in a dialogue through comments
  11. Forge a network with your blogging peers
  12. Use your blog site as the platform for launching new books, products, or services
  13. Generate income as an affiliate partner for others with products or services your readers need
  14. Develop and beta test your own products and services in partnership with your readers
  15. Create an active and engaged community that helps you get a contract with a traditional publisher
  16. Become a thought leader in your field
  17. Attract organizations looking for speakers for their events
  18. Promote events in which you will be participating
  19. Publish audio or video content through your blog or an associated podcast
  20. Create a hub that you can refer your social media outposts to
  21. Interest blog and magazine editors in running your content
  22. Syndicate your blog feed throughout the social universe

Well, I could go on and on, couldn’t I?

There’s only one problem: very, very few authors have any idea of how to:

  • start a blog that works,
  • build the traffic needed to succeed,
  • gain authority in their field, then
  • turn that work into the kind of results that can actually change your life.

I’ve been preaching this gospel here on my blog, in my books, and in live events for years, and while some authors seem to “get it” most others don’t. They continue to do the same things they’ve been doing for years, getting about the same results.

Something Special Coming For You

For those authors, and for anyone thinking about starting a blog, or anyone who wants to make more impact or get better results, I’ve got something very special coming for you next week.

I’m going to show you exactly how I got started in blogging and who taught me how to turn my blog into several six-figure businesses.

You’ll hear this “from the horse’s mouth.” I’m really excited about it, this isn’t like anything I’ve ever done before. It’s going to be awesome, so stay tuned.

Photo: Sebastian Wiertz

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12 Comments

  1. Aaron E Billings

    Is it illegal to release content as guest posts on popular websites to pre-sell a book on Amazon, and then use that exact same content from the guest posts in the actual Amazon book?

    Reply
    • Sharon Goldinger

      Aaron,

      Generally what you write is yours. However, you need to read all the fine print on any website you want to post on. There are some websites that say they own any material posted and then you might have a problem reusing that material elsewhere.

      Reply
  2. Jessica

    Excellent post, thank you. I’ve recently been struggling with how to prioritise my blogging vs book writing and I came to the conclusion I’m going to focus on the book. I won’t abandon blogging, but this makes me feel better about my decision.

    Reply
  3. James

    Blogs can make a difference and the points you listed are all good. The biggest issue is to not start and then stop; once you have an audience – remember to ‘feed them’ regularly. There are so may blogs out there that it is easy to lose your followers to someone else very quickly if you don’t keep updated – fresh content to keep the interest.

    Another point which i know isn’t about blogging – but getting your book out there – try contacting bookstores if you can to see if they may have any interest in stocking your book.

    I am a bookseller and get a lot of emails about from customers looking for certain books by ‘unknown’ authors (books I can’t order from the larger publishers/distributors). So letting bookstores know about your books could be a good idea. We can’t offer them to customers if we don’t know your books exist.

    Reply
  4. Hannah

    I agree that blogging is a great vehicle for many authors, however it is a labour of love. A blog needs to be nurtured over time and when new authors are just starting out, it can prove to be a little demoralising if traffic and awareness is low. But it is important to keep at it!

    There’s nothing worse than a stale blog or neglected social media account. So be regular with your updates.

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Excellent advice, Hannah. What new bloggers really need is a plan, a set of goals and some idea of how to get there. There are 2 sides to blogging, and most authors completely ignore one of them, leading to those “ghost town” blogs you find littering the internet.

      Reply
    • Michelle Dear

      Although the above may not apply for fiction, there are numerous reasons to create and maintain a blog for your readers. There are also additional types of content that you can create that will delight your current readers and bring in new readers.

      The typical digital marketing goal of an established author will almost always be additional sales, with a secondary goal of increasing readership. However, a new author may have an initial goal of establishing presence. Digital marketing goals change over time.

      Whatever you do, each piece of content, no matter your business, must speak to your marketing goal.

      For example, as an established author, you could extend your books with additional content. I had an author client that would include newspaper articles that were present in the books, and created visuals of them and provided them for her readers on her website. It was wonderfully creative.

      For an author who wants to establish a platform and create a presence before publishing, he or she might begin by publishing snippets or pieces of his or her content to create buzz around his or her upcoming book, create visuals, estabish his or her brand by writing about his or her genre and what he or she enjoys, etc.

      What I have noticed throughout my tenure working with author clients is that they tend to write blogs for other authors–not their readers. It is my belief that this is a mistake, unless they are recognized as an industry leader for authors. You create content for your target market. In this case, it would be your readers. And always use your website as your content hub. Own your content–and use your social media channels as your spokes. Don’t allow your content to be hosted on social media channels. Promote on the channels, but always be striving to bring them back to your hub.

      Reply
  5. Michael N. Marcus

    Many of my books are about book publishing, and my BookMakingBlog concentrates on book publishing to attract potential purchasers of those books.

    However, I also write books about other topics, and sometimes I blog about topics as diverse as eyeglasses, politics, sex and food.

    Search engines bring me people who may not care about publishing, but buy my other books.

    Even regular blog readers who expect info about publishing are potential readers of my books that are not about publishing.

    An author’s blog should show all of the author’s books, with links for ordering.

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Good point, Michael. And we are all interested in lots of topics, not just the ones we write or blog about and it’s good to keep that in mind.

      Reply
  6. Michelle Dear

    Joel, thank you for addressing nonfiction. It’s rare to find articles in the writing community that do, and most of my clients are publishers of nonfiction.

    Content will definitely drive your establishment as an industry authority and lift your reputation quickly.

    Per usual, excellent article with value-add and no fluff.

    Reply

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