Writers are lazy. We ARE. Come on. I’m constantly writing and while I love it and am happy to actually be making some bank at this stuff finally, it’s easy to lose focus due to real life. We can be easily frustrated. And it’s hard work to write something people actually want to pay to read.
Oh freakin’ well.
Writing is your job. Treat it as such.
So when I hear from authors that they’re so entrenched in writing their opus that they can’t possibly have to time to blog (even once a week), I scoff. Yes, I scoff because I’m that much of a bitch.
Not really (okay, kinda). More it’s that we are all of us busy. We are all living real lives (okay, some more than others). I’ve got two kids, I just moved, and I have a full-time social media/author marketing business on top of writing books four and five and marketing the first three (latest release is Broken Pieces. Click here for a free sample. See? Marketing.)
Let’s not discuss laundry.
Really, I need a wife.
And here’s where the truth comes out: if nobody knows who you are, how or why will they buy your book?
Let’s discuss the excuses I hear about not blogging and why people’s sales are flagging (do you think there’s a connection? Hmmm.):
1) I’m too busy writing. Fine, I totally get that. But even the Big 6 publishers will tell you this: even if we sign you, you will still need to connect with readers through blogging and social media. They will not do it for you. How do I know — being self-published and all? Because I have traditionally published clients who pay me to help them with their social media. And at the recent San Francisco Writer’s Conference (Feb, ’13), every single publisher and editor there said the same thing. Write and market. There’s no either/or.
2) I don’t know what to write about. Are you kidding me? Aren’t you a writer?
But I get it. Many people are capable of blogging — that’s not the issue. They just have no focus. They have no idea what to write about because they haven’t taken the time to really crystallize what excites them. And I’m telling you, it’s not that hard! We’re all drawn to certain genres and topics for a reason — they fascinate us. I write about relationships, love, and loss because it’s those stories that most capture my attention or nag at me until I write them down.
But that’s not the only thing I’m interested in. Social media is like this whole new world I can’t wait to learn more about every single day. So I share what I’ve learned — on my Twitter, Facebook, other social media channels, and my blog here or on BadRedheadMedia.com. Social is something we all need to do and if you’re not, you must start.
Finally, you can always write about writing. But what else do you know about? Surely you have knowledge or interests outside of writing. If parachuting dogs is your specialty, by all means, write about that.
3) It takes away from my focus on my book. Yes, I get that. When you write a blog, you have to interact, share, check for comments, and if you want to connect with others, go to their blogs and comment, share, and interact with them. But this is the secret sauce: all that stuff? That’s called MARKETING. Even if you stick to promoting other authors and never yourself (which I don’t recommend but encourage a good balance), you’re still getting your name out there.
4) I don’t get all this tech stuff. So I won’t do any of it.Yep, I know. It’s confusing and where the hell do we start?
I was there in 2008 — I didn’t know what to do, either. But, if you’ve ever worked in sales or marketing, you realize early on that YOU are your brand. Not the book. Not the site. You. And even if you don’t know the tech stuff, you’re smart. You made it here, right? Click around and see what happens. So far, I’ve not blown anything up, so I think you’ll be okay, too. And guess what? If you can afford to have someone help you, great! And if you can’t, read a book about whatever you want to learn: creating a site, a blog, your social media, an author platform, whatever. And Google stuff! It’s a life saver.
Tip: put your link to Amazon (or wherever) on your Twitter and Facebook bios. Just send people there. It’s not spammy and you’ll cut down on all the links. I didn’t even go into your Google ranking and how fresh content increases both your Google and Author Rank (that’s another post). Here’s another tip: put your blog link on your Twitter and other profiles (Twitter has room for two URLs). And for goodness sakes, make sure you put all your social media buttons on your blog. The point is to create connections, right? How can we connect with you if you hide your social media stuff? Duh.
So there you have it. My college journalism prof told me once to always make time for writing. A blog allows you that opportunity. You attract people to it and build a tribe for when your book does come out. Nobody can possibly work on only one thing all the time and a blog makes for a nice break. And if you are on social media, great. You’ve started a reader base already.
Just remember: be social. If you share you blog posts, check for comments and answer them. Twitter and Facebook are not free radio, one-way advertising. It’s not all about you. I just read this: you get 30 TIMES more followers when you share information content, as opposed to one-way ads with links to your work. Think about that.
Would love your questions, thoughts, comments, or feel free to throw darts. Bring it. 🙂
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