How To Blog To Sell When Writing And Publishing A Book

Posted at 01:37am on 16th October 2009

You’re an author and you have a book to sell. Selling in bookshops is one thing; selling online another. You have a question: which is superior, social media or search engines when it comes to promoting your work?

In my last blog post I concluded that, as a reader or researcher, I prefer the latter. It follows, therefore, that from the other side of the coin, as a book author, this is the method I would choose to use to promote my material. But is that merely preference? Or is there any logic to it? And how can you achieve the high level of traffic you need in order to sell something as nebulous as a few hundred pages of printed words? I mean:

  • A book is not a hamburger: it doesn’t satisfy a human need i.e. hunger.
  • It’s not a new sofa: so it doesn’t meet a desire for comfort and style.
  • Nor is it a car: so it provides nothing in the way of transport.
  • And neither is it a saucepan or a stove: a basic functional commodity.

In fact, a book is a take-it-or-leave-it article. Isn’t it?

HOW DO YOU SELL BOOKS?

So what sells particular books?

  1. First and foremost, I’d say that creative writing styles have a lot to do with it.
  2. Secondly, I’d say it was because the reader likes the author.
  3. Thirdly, because the cover is eye-catching.
  4. And fourthly, because the blurb on the book jacket appeals to a need in the reader.

Let’s take a look at the first two points on this list in more detail.

CREATIVE WRITING STYLES

This is where a blog – which can be found by search engines – is vastly superior to 140 characters! Visitors to your site are going to be able to read and judge your material for themselves. If they like the subject matter and content of what you write, plus the way in which you handle it, then you are well on the way to selling your books.

I blog regularly on creative writing, writing and publishing a book and - in the context of providing resources for an aspiring author, as well as offering support, information and encouragement for those who fall into the following categories of society - stepfamilies, relationships, debt, bereavement and personal growth / confidence coaching.

In all these niches I ensure that I optimise search facilities. Consequently, most of my visitors arrive on my website via search engines. And although I make sure that I ping URLs to all my social media sites, little of the traffic on my blog comes from that quarter.

So we can conclude that blog marketing is more effective than using social media.

KNOWING & LIKING THE AUTHOR

My aim – as yours should be - is always to provide my readers with high quality articles. If they have taken the trouble to search and find my blog, then the least I can do is to make every attempt to give them what they want! I’m not interested in how many clicks-throughs they make – as you see, I carry no advertising on my site. Nor am I obsessed with the numbers-game - blog traffic to my site. What I want – my prime aim - is to make somebody’s life a teeny bit better after reading my blog than it was before.

Perhaps this is best summed up in my attempt to answer the question “What’s It All About: What Drives You?” posed to me by a reader of my books:

“And then it came to me! The answer . . . lay in the content of my writing. I realised that every one of the books I’ve had published, the three or four which have yet to find a publisher, and the dozens of articles, features and series which I’ve written (under various pen-names) had a common theme: a thread, which runs through them all. I hadn’t planned it to be so. Without knowing it, this was what had been driving me. What I learned about myself is that I have a passion to bring hope to the hurting.

“Years ago, in the days when it wasn’t obligatory to have an accreditation, I trained as a counsellor. And what I discovered, as people shared their stories with me, was that many of us are hurting inside. I know that much of the time I’m pretty good at covering up my feelings and putting on a good front. It seems that that skill is universal. What’s more, even though the ‘plot’ of someone’s life ( i.e. the story you can see) may be quite outside your experience, the underlying ‘theme’ – the fears, the sorrows, the hopes, the triumphs – are familiar to nearly all of us in some degree or other.

“Isn’t that one of the joys of reading? That empathising with other human beings? A vicarious living of someone else’s life? . . .”

If you don’t put the needs of your readers first, then the impression that visitors to your blog or website will carry away with them is that you’re out for number one. If you are churning out meaningless content, misinformation, or exclusively “me-oriented” material, you will turn people away. And if you don’t aim for a relationship with your visitors by being real, you’ll lose those you have.

Search engines may take visitors to an individual’s blog – your blog - but to my mind that gives them a better chance of getting to know you, the person behind the brand, than either Twitter or Facebook ever will.

So what’s the secret in how to blog to sell when writing and publishing a book? As I said in my last article, Writing And Publishing: Online Marketing, first, second, third and last, you need to put the needs of visitors to your blog at the top of the agenda. And to do this, you need to maintain a position of integrity.

Don’t forget to let me know what your take is on social media versus search.

Your Comments:

20th October 2009
at 11:59am

Thank you for this thoughtful blog about selling your book
online. As an author, I just discover the significance of social
media. It is indeed a great way to sell books, but it's also a
great way to touch the lives of other people. I find that
establishing a relationship with my readers has been quite
rewarding. Your points are well taken in this article.

Mel Menzies
21st October 2009
at 5:39pm

You're quite right in highlighting the importance of
establishing a relationship with your readers - and the fact that
doing so is so rewarding. I wish you well with your book selling.
And thank you for taking the time to comment.

13th March 2012
at 7:34pm
So agree about integrity.

I think SOMETIMES a book is a little like a hamburger: the human needs for understanding ourselves and others, the need for entertainment/diversion, and for information, can all be not only satisfied but actually hunted for in a book. Entering a bookshop, people can be looking for the satisfaction of a need ... (However I do also know what you mean ...)

It follows that the blurb MAY sell the book, along with the person discovering, on flipping through, that they like the style and feel the book will indeed satisfy their need.

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