Author Blogging: Why You Should Be Doing It

by | Dec 30, 2010

Ed: I’ll be off for New Year’s, and back on Sunday with This Week in the Blogs, and I can tell you it’s one of the best weeks ever. See you there, and Happy New Year. I wish you great success with your writing and publishing plans in the coming year, and thanks for making me part of your journey.

People who know me ask me about blogging. They know I started blogging about 15 months ago, and that I love it.

When I started blogging Jill told me no one would want to read about fonts 5 days a week. So I switched to 7 days a week. I hated the idea that readers would stop by and there wouldn’t be something new for them to read.

Authors are told all the time to blog. Even big publishers are pushing authors to start blogs. On the other hand, every year, someone announces that blogging is dead.

Here’s what I think: blogging is a lot like self-publishing. What’s the difference, really? I don’t edit as much, I don’t publish a book every day, but there are similarities.

There’s no editorial board, no one to ask for permission. You blog/publish what you want, when you want, for whom you want. You go direct to your market. You are the market. Your market decides whether you succeed or fail.

But I think it would be smart to blog, if you like to write and you enjoy communicating with people. You don’t have to have a book to sell, you just need a story to tell. Or something to teach.

It takes time to find readers. Slowly you build a community around what you’re writing about. I have a client who blogged about an experience he was having for 7 years. When it came time to write the book, he had hundreds of people waiting to read it. That’s called platform.

You Can Do This Too, You Know

If you want to publish your own book, if you want to make a profit from your efforts, you need to market your work. And the best way to find your market is by talking to them. Blogging is a low-cost, easy-to-learn skill that gives you instant access to publishing online.

When I started this blog I had a business helping publishers and authors who are publishing their own books. Book design, production, consulting were what I did. And I loved to write. So I started blogging about the things I’ve worked on for many years, and the incredible changes taking place in book publishing, and in the wider culture.

Keep in mind I haven’t published a book of my own in over 20 years, but that the possibility has been in the back of my mind all along.

Here are some of the things that have happened since I started this blog:

  • My articles got re-published by websites like Self-Publishing Review, Publetariat, RIT Open Publishing Labs, and others.
  • I got invited to be on a panel at the Commonwealth Club of California and at several publishing-related workshops.
  • Other articles were reprinted by the IBPA Independent, the largest print magazine for independent publishers.
  • Currently, I’m scheduled to talk to at least two writing and publishing events in January 2011.
  • I’ve been signed up to write articles for the CreateSpace community boards, which I’ll be starting in the new year.
  • People have offered me several joint ventures, each of which is very flattering, although I haven’t participated in any yet.
  • I’ve been interviewed three times, and have a one hour teleseminar packed with tips and information on publishing that I’ll be offering for sale in the new year.
  • Just last week I launched the Self-Publisher’s Quick & Easy Guides series, which I expect will eventually grow to 12 or more titles in the next couple of months.
  • Behind the scenes, I’m working on some exciting training programs for self-publishers that I hope to test later this year.

Why am I telling you all this? Just blowing my own horn? Not really.

What I’m saying is that you can do this too. After a year of blogging, I have much better insight into the world of self-publishing, even though I’ve been working in this field for years.

You’re an expert on something, too. Putting what you know out there is an incredible experience. You have to own what you know, who you are, where you’ve been—and that’s a big payoff, too. So here’s what you do:

Get writing. Give the best stuff away. Gather the tribe.

I can’t wait to see what you’ll do.


Image licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, original work copyright by bjornmeansbear, https://www.flickr.com/photos/bjornmeansbear/4234821800

tbd advanced publishing starter kit

16 Comments

  1. Ian Martyn

    I must admit when I started it was mainly as a vehicle for getting my name out there for when I published my books. But since then it has become much. It makes you think about your writing and genre more deeply. It also a great place to experiment. I even blogged 5 good reasons for blogging: https://wp.me/p3ycbY-df

    Reply
  2. Leonard Rattini, CCP

    I well understand a need to have a blog. What confuses me is, some experts say we authors need to have a web site too. I interpret a blog as an ongoing fresh interactive communication medium. I interpret a web site as a frozen billboard conveying the same message. Am I wrong?

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Hi Len,

      I don’t see any difference any longer between a “blog” and a “website” especially since software like WordPress is equally capable of creating hierarchical pages as well as chronological posts. I’ve build static websites with WordPress as well as blogs. In fact, you don’t have to call your site one or the other. You could call it an “information center” or just about anything else that works for your readers.

      Reply
  3. Raji Lukkoor

    Thanks for the tips, Joel. I jst started blogging…still tinkering w/ its workings. But I’m fired up and hope to blog regularly.

    Reply
  4. Rima

    Joel – terrific article. What are your thoughts on fiction authors and blogging? I’ve heard conflicting advice.

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Hi Rima,

      I’ve addressed this a couple of times on the blog, and the opinions are split from what I can see. This means to me it’s going to depend on the individual writer, their goals, the kind of book they are working on, and their personal work preferences. I know novelists who won’t breathe a word of their book until it’s complete and finished. Others seem to do fine posting pieces as they go along. You might be interested in these posts:

      The BIg Problem With Blogging Your Book

      Top 5 Reasons Authors Shouldn’t Blog Their Book

      and particularly check the comments. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  5. Joan M. Sargent

    Oh, how I wish I had started blogging earlier because, as a writer with twenty years of advertising work behind me, I did not realize how much I missed doing short pieces! Plus, if you’re trying to flog a book, there’s nothing like a tasty writing sample to bring in the customers. Thanks for your great site and glad to hear of your success. PS-Don’t know if you knew Phil Wood of Ten Speed Press, but he was a great mentor to a lot of us in the world of communications and I’ve set aside a dedication page to him on my site this week.

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Joan, thanks so much for the homage to Phil Wood. I didn’t know him but followed Ten Speed for years.

      You have a great author website to blog on, it’s beautiful and well organized, clearly one of the most attractive I’ve seen.

      I worked in advertising for a number of years, and I think blogging is one of the greatest innovations of the social web, both for writers and for readers, and beyond the commercial benefits. The ability to talk directly with many people is something totally new in publishing and social communication. I hope you’ll stop by again.

      Reply
  6. Cari Hislop

    I just found your blog and it’s right up my alley! As a self published author I need all the help I can get. As you’re challenging people to give away their work, I’m giving away a free e-book (one of my best) but only till Jan 1 2011. If you love historical romances come to https://blogspot.regencyromancenovels.com/ and get the coupon for Redeeming a Rake (on Smashwords).

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Terrific, Cari, glad I can help. I’m sure there will be some readers who want to take you up on your offer (fixed your link, too).

      Reply
  7. Linda Nagata

    Joel, thanks for blogging. I’ve already learned so much from you as I go about publishing my first indie book. I’ve been doing my own author blog for sometime, but it’s been a random affair. One of my goals for 2011 is to make it more useful–like yours!

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Linda, thank you for reading, and good luck with your blog!

      Reply
  8. Lynne Spreen

    Joel, I love the way you put this: gathering your tribe. I started blogging about a year ago, and now I have a tribe of middle-aged girl buddies, and the occasional male voice, and 50 subscribers who actually want to see my stuff in their inbox about once a week. It’s so much fun, and so gratifying. Now I just have to remember to finish the damn novel. Happy New Year!

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Lynne, I have no doubt you’ll finish the damn novel. There’s nothing better for a writer than having enthusiastic readers and you are well on your way to “gathering your tribe.” Thanks for stopping by and best wishes for continued growth in the new year.

      Reply
  9. Mike Piper

    I can’t agree any more strongly with the advice that authors should start building a blog readership. Just last month (around Thanksgiving) I released my first book since having more than a fairly small blog audience. Result: December has had more than twice as much revenue as any previous month for my business, and it doesn’t even look like things are slowing down (yet).

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Mike, that’s a fantastic result, and a payoff for the excellent blog your write. Hope your success continues into the new year.

      Reply

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