How Authors of Fiction Can Blog for Success
There are some important techniques that all authors should follow in order to use their blog as a platform to successfully connect with their ideal readers. I have been asked by some authors who write fiction how they can write a blog as the process is different to non-fiction in many ways.
There are always plenty of bloggers willing to share their tips on how to capture an audiences’ attention. The main problem is that most tips relate specifically to authors of non-fiction or experts in a specific field.
One of the main key points for producing a successful blog is to have your readers come back time and time again. That requires fresh and informative content. This is where most authors of fiction struggle as they tend to run out of ideas for what they can blog about. Below are some ideas to help you achieve your goals when it comes to blogging.
1. Pre-publication Blogging
Some of the most interesting blogs I read are from authors who make you feel a part of their story. They keep you up to date with the writing process, how their story is tracking and how the characters are evolving. They are great storytellers.
Two authors of fiction to learn from are Joanna Penn and Hugh Howey. Both keep you up-to-date on the progress of their next eBook as well as discussing their eBooks without coming across as selling. Hugh has a feature on his blog providing detailed information on how many pages he has written for his upcoming eBooks.
Joanna Penn combines posts about her fiction eBooks as well as advice for writers and authors about her self-publishing journey. After all, writers and authors are also readers! Hugh often writes more ‘provocative’ posts as with his recent posts about ‘author earnings.’
Where non-fiction bloggers differ is that they are often trying to educate, inform and solve a reader’s problem. Fiction bloggers need to entertain and connect with their readers for their niche genre of interest. Just an additional note on that point; if you write eBooks in multiple genres you may want to consider having several blogs with each one dedicated to a specific genre.
Trying to engage too many readers of varying interests on one blog can become messy and will often discourage your readers. This is also why some authors use pen names when writing in very diverse genres. JK Rowling is an example here when she used the pen name of Robert Galbraith for her The Cuckoo’s Calling eBook.
When you blog ‘pre-publication’ you are working towards the goal of engaging your target audience so that when your eBook is published they will want to go out and buy it. You can give your readers a taste of what they can expect from your eBook by sharing some chapters or stories.
Don’t be afraid to share some great stories that are compelling and draw your readers into the story. The one point I want to make here is that if you constantly change your story, characters or plot then you will only frustrate and lose your readers.
2. Write for Your Audience
You should have already conducted research and identified those people who would want to buy your eBook. Once you know your target audience then you can provide posts that cater towards their specific interest. Keep writing frequently to keep your readers coming back for more.
As an author of fiction you can include posts about ‘you the person’ so that your readers can get to know you on a personal level. The majority of what you write must be targeted to the interest of your audience. Don’t get caught up in self-promotion or selling your eBook.
A great blogger will let their posts sell their eBook for them. Mix in some personal posts but remember that your readers are visiting your blog because of the stories you tell. Find a good balance of both.
3) Quality over Quantity
There are various metrics used to judge the success of a blog. The first one that comes to mind is the number of subscribers or visitors you have to your blog. This can be valuable when selling advertising on your blog. It can also help you to gauge an idea of the size of your target audience.
My advice is to not get too caught up on the ‘number.’ Your main goal is not to generate revenue from your blog but to build a relationship with your loyal fans. What is more important is the ‘quality’ of subscribers. When I say ‘quality’ I am referring to:
- Those who regularly visit your blog.
- Those readers who engage via posting comments.
- Those readers who ‘share’ your posts via social media.
- Those readers who may email you for further contact.
- Those readers who have a passion for your genre.
- Those visitors who will go on to buy your eBook.
If you have 5000 subscribers and 300 buy your eBook then that is a good conversion. But what would be more impressive is if you had 1000 subscribers and 500 bought your eBook. Trying to cater to a larger number of subscribers can often lead you to move away from your goal of providing compelling posts specifically for your ideal readers.
When your readers are talking about your eBook then you have succeeded in connecting with them. Nurture this relationship for as long as you want to be a successful author that sells eBooks.
Goals for Your Blog:
- Capture your reader’s attention.
- Engage your readers.
- Nurture this relationship.
- Provide compelling posts.
- Tell great stories.
- Invoke curiosity so they are forced to by your eBook to read the entire story.
- Entertain your readers.
- Create a trailer for your upcoming eBook and post it on YouTube and your blog.
- Be generous in the content you give away.
- Use your blog as an extension of your eBook to make your readers feel a part of the journey.
- Provide updates and progress charts on your writing.
- Remember it’s not about you but more about your story, characters and genre.
Summary of What to Blog About:
- Tell great stories.
- Talk about your characters.
- Set the scene (location) for your story.
- Provide sample chapters.
- Write engaging posts that compel readers to post comments or share your posts.
- Post the progress of your eBook.
- Write posts about you to ‘personalise’ your writing journey (keep limited).
- Write about eBooks within your genre you enjoy (become a source for recommending great eBooks).
- Become an expert for your genre.
- Interview fellow authors within your genre (don’t be afraid to recognise fellow authors).
- Provide tips and advice for writers in your genre.
- Involve your readers in the process (let them select your eBook cover, provide three options).
If in doubt, learn from those authors of fiction who already have successful blogs. Make note of what they blog about and then ‘model’ your blog on one of these authors who know how to connect with their target audience.