During the month of December my blog has been taken over by the characters in my books. Elizabeth Lane the heroine of Return Engagement is in charge so check back often to see what she and her cousin Nikki have planned for you.
Nikki: Pstt. Elizabeth!
Elizabeth: What is it, Nikki?
Nikki: There's a guy over there who said that Elaine told him he could guest blog today.
Elizabeth: Yes, that's right. She did line up a guest blogger.
Nikki: What's he going to blog about?
Elizabeth: (giggling) Never mind, Nikki. Let's let Mr. Stern talk to us about blogging.
Edward Stern is a guest blogger for My Dog Ate My Blog and a writer on online degrees for the Guide to Online Schools.
Many authors look down upon blogging. The blogosphere is a new creation, whereas literature has a storied history; anybody can blog and say anything they want, while only the best authors get published; and publishing a work takes time, even years, but bloggers can bang out posts in a matter of minutes without the care or precision of a skilled writer working for a living.
All these things are true, but published authors should still blog. Why? Because blogging is the ultimate promotional tool -- and it's free, or costs very little compared to any other kind of PR campaign. Blogs keep fans updated on news, and can allow them even greater insight into an author. Here are some reasons why you should -- actually, why you need to -- blog for your book.
• One-stop shop for updates: Keep fans informed on all your latest news through quick, concise, informative blog posts. For book tours, new projects, radio or television appearances, etc. advertise them on your blog. It will help get the word out, and hopefully boost attendance at your events.
• Show your talents: For those writers looking for agents or publishers, a blog can be a great way to show off your writing talents. Create thoughtful, well-written posts, and people will take notice -- because really, in the blogosphere, good writing is rare.
• Build an audience: Publishers only want to invest in projects they know are going to sell. Prove you have an audience by building one through your blog. Having a substantial following proves people are connecting with your words, and coming back for more of them regularly. That's really what the publishing industry is all about: promoting authors who people will follow, and keep spending their money on.
• Prove your expertise: If working on a research novel or theoretical work of some kind, it is essential that you prove you are an expert in the field you are writing about. Well written, thoughtful, and informed blog posts can be a great way to do so. Write on current events in your field, discuss past projects, or critique someone else's work.
• Get readers involved in the creation of a text: Use your blog to supplement your project. People love to see "making of's" of their favorite films; why not do one for your book? Don't give everything away, but talk about maybe interviews conducted for your work, how you found inspiration for a particular scene, anything to give your readership more insight into the creative process. Doing so helps build a stronger connection with your audience, and will help pique interest in your work.
• Demonstrate your promotional skills: In this day and age, having an author who can help promote the book independently is essential for publishers operating under tight publicity budgets. Help yourself out by proving you understand social media. Use your blog to build a following, and incorporate Facebook, Twitter, and similar services to further make connections and prove your expertise. Show that you are personable and more than willing to talk with fans -- publishers will like this for in-store signings or interviews on television or radio.
Elizabeth: Thanks for your good advice, Mr. Stern. Do come back and see us again.