You have heard that you should have a blog, but you may have no idea what you should blog about. Do your readers want to know what you had for lunch (probably not) or your opinions on some political issue (even less likely)? Although your blog does not always have to be about you and your books, here are some ideas that can keep you writing great blog posts and selling more books.
Let your friends and fans know what you are doing and where they can meet you in person. Do posts about:
- Upcoming Events - When and where will you be reading from your latest book? How can they attend your book launch party or order autographed copies of the book?
- What Happened at Your Last Event - After the event, tell what happened. Was there a big crowd? Include pictures of you reading from your book, autographing books for fans, and everyone having a great time.
Most people will never write a book, and that makes them very curious about how someone actually writes an entire book. Write posts describing:
- How You Decide What to Write About - Where did you get the idea to make your heroine a truck driver? Why did you set your latest novel in Miami?
- How You Write - Do you write in longhand or at a computer? Do you create a detailed outline, or just start writing? How do you know when a book is finished? Do you imagine movie stars in the film version of your books while you write.
- Where You Write - Do you write in a home office? At the library? In a corner at your local Starbucks?
Even though the stories are made up, most novelists do at least some research to create credible characters and locations. Let your fans and aspiring writers know:
- How You Research - Most people haven’t a clue how to do research. You might be surprised by how many people can not even do an effective Google search. Where do you start with your research? Do you travel to locations in your books? Have you ever worked at the jobs any of your characters have, or have you shadowed people in those jobs? What are the fun parts of research vs. the tedious parts?
- Facts and Juicy Tidbits - Chances are your research turned up some very interesting information. It is also likely that lots of your research didn’t make it in to your book. Share some surprising and little-known historical facts or how-to with your blog’s readers.
Writers read, and your fans want to know what you read. Tell them!
- The Novels on Your Nightstand - What books have you recently read? What books are on your nightstand, waiting to be read? What are your favorite books?
- Books About Writing - Remember that many of your readers are also interested in writing, so let them know the books you find most useful. These might include grammar reference books, how-to books on writing, or books about the process of writing by your favorite authors.
It is your blog, but there is no rule that you can’t turn it over to your characters now and then to let them have their say.
- Lead Characters - Let the lead characters in your upcoming book introduce themselves in a blog post. If you write a series, they might blog about what is happening in their lives between books.
- Quirky Secondary Characters - Sometimes the minor characters are, in some ways, more interesting that the leads. The quirky characteristics that make them fun and interesting would drive everyone crazy if you read about them on every page of the book, but when they pop in for a few scenes, they grab interest and move the story along. Why not let one of them do a blog post? Readers will love it, and you will have fun, too.
Give readers a sense of ownership in your next book by asking for their advice. Ask them anything from whether your heroine should be blond to what her name should be or where the book should be set. Let them vote from a list of choices or make freeform suggestions.
Run a ContestEveryone loves to win stuff, so hold a contest and give away a few copies of your book. Structure the contest to get readers involved, such as asking them to write a short poem about something in the book, or telling what their favorite one of your books is and why, or anything that gets them involved. (Note: Laws generally prohibit requiring that entrants make a purchase, so be careful about that.)
Blog often to keep readers engaged. These ideas should get you started. What other topics do you blog about?
As the IdeaLady, Cathy Stucker helps authors, entrepreneurs and professionals attract customers and make themselves famous. For more tips on writing, publishing and marketing books, see Cathy’s book publishing site, http://SellingBooks.com/.