BLOGGING YOUR WAY TO … IF NOT FAME AND FORTUNE THEN AT LEAST BOOK FANS
Most of us who use blogs for promotion purposes think of these as something new. They’re really just updated methods of techniques we’ve used for centuries.
As common folk were just learning to read in Elizabethan times, itinerant chapmen wandered from village to village selling their wares. They would leave in their customers’ hands small booklets that they’d either given away or sold. That way, those who had come by their cart could share the offerings with others.
Sometimes the books were filled with pictures of product. Sometimes they were filled with the chapman’s poetry or other literary efforts — or both. That’s why we use the word “chapbooks” for small books of poetry today. It was a kind of viral marketing scheme, really, one that encouraged interaction between the sales person (or poet) and his customer.
The world of technology brought us something similar with blogs, which let us reach farther and do it faster than the chapman could, but the basic concept is the same.
And, of course, new technology requires new words. We writers have always loved to put two words together to make new ones. So, now we have “blog” — a blend of the words “web” and “log” (and not a very good combination if you ask us). Nevertheless, it is an important concept for the marketing of books. And especially for the so-called “hard-to-market” book.
What exactly is blogging?
Blogs come in all different stripes, and authors can model their blogs to meet their own needs. Blogs are described in current encyclopedias as an online, regularly updated journal or newsletter that is easily accessible to the public because it is posted online.
The authors of blogs report and comment on topics that interest them. These bloggers post using software specifically designed to facilitate blogging. They link to other Websites and may include photos, videos, and podcasts. The most recent entry by the blogger is posted at the beginning of the blog, with earlier entries following in reverse chronological order. Visitors respond to the blog by leaving comments after each entry.
So how can blogs help writers with books to sell?
Blogs are ideally suited to us writers, both in terms of what we like to do (write!) and how effective blogging is for reaching our audience (readers!).
Your blog may consist of private information — or not. It should consist of regular entries, but there are all kinds of ways to keep the workload to a minimum. (We'll discuss this later.) The important thing is that writers learn to use a blog as a marketing tool that best fits their personality.
The beautiful thing about blogs is that a writer needn't know a lot of techie stuff to use them. Gurus at blogging sites have already done the 100-pound lifting for those of us who are technically challenged. That is, these sites provide a choice of templates for your blog design, archives for your past posts, labeling (kind of like an index) and search functions (tech-talk for offering ways that the Internet world finds what you’re doing with that blog of yours).