Have you ever wondered why so many authors turn to blogging? They already have published works. Think of George R.R. Martin, who still maintains his LiveJournal blog… it’s conveniently named Not A Blog.
Why would George R.R. Martin waste time on blogging? The readers are eagerly waiting for each new book he publishes. He doesn’t need much marketing, since he’s already established himself as a great writer.
Turns out, there are many reasons for writers to blog. Perhaps most importantly, the blog connects them with their readers in a direct, immediate way that really resonates.
Oh, you’re still not a published author? Even better! You can catch the moment and start blogging before you start writing a novel. That’s what I did, and it turned out to be an awesome strategy that improved my skills for writing fiction.
Benefits of Blogging before Writing a Novel
When I started working on my blog, many of my friends had the impression that I was wasting my time. “What about that book you were talking about?” I was getting that question a lot.
Let me tell you something: this was not procrastination. I felt that I was still not ready to write that book, and I needed to do something in order to prepare.
That’s what blogging was all about: preparing.
To justify this course of action to myself (and to everyone else who came to me with that question), I created a list of reasons why blogging was good for me and everyone else planning to write a novel.
1. Self-Publishing Is Not as Easy as It Seems
Plenty of authors with zero experience have entered the world of self-publishing only to have a frustrating and disappointing experience. I’ve seen many of them trying to sell their first books via Amazon and other platforms. I’ve watched their heavy promotion on blogs and social media sites.
Only a few succeed.
Whoever told you that it’s easy to write a book, get it out there, and get people to read it had no idea how the publishing world works. You need a name for yourself—you can’t just put a book out there and expect it to flourish among the tens of thousands of other books on the market.
When you turn your name into a brand, it will serve as a marketing tool. That’s what your blog is for. By writing there regularly, you’ll get to build a base of devoted followers. You’ll interest those people in reading not only the content you write on your blog, but the book as well.
2. A Successful Blog Makes Book Promotion Easy
Think about these two situations:
- You’re launching a book, and then you’re trying to promote it through starting a blog. No one knows about an author who goes by your name. No one knows about your book. No one knows about your blog.
- You already have thousands of subscribers to your blog and you decide to launch a book. From here, you can get into pre-launch promotional activities. You can get your audience excited with quotes and excerpts. They already know your name and they are excited to see what the book is all about.
Do you see the difference? Obviously, the newbie author who already has a successful blog has a huge advantage.
3. The Blog Gives You Income
Whether you opt for self-publishing or you decide to hire publishing help, one thing is certain: you’ll need money.
A blog can make you that money!
If you make it successful, you can generate income by selling products. For example, you can write book reviews and include affiliate links to Amazon in them. You can also turn useful tutorials into additional ebooks, which your followers will want to buy.
You can also sell advertising space on your blog. If it’s popular enough, brands and authors will want to promote their products through it.
When you become an influencer, you can connect with brands from your industry. If, for example, your blog is focused on literature, publishers may ask you to promote new editions to your readers. You’ll get paid for that service.
Yes—it takes some time and a lot of effort before your blog can start providing a decent income. However, if you stay consistent and persistent, you’ll definitely find ways to make it work.
4. Blogging Teaches You to Deal with Criticism
Among all the benefits I gained through blogging, one was particularly important: I learned how to handle criticism.
No matter how great your writing is, people will always find something negative about it. And that’s okay. You can learn from those comments.
The blog gives you a safe space to experiment with different styles and see how your audience reacts to them. You can publish short stories and measure the level of engagement you get.
You can ask your followers what they think about the most popular books from your target genre. Their criticism regarding those books will help you write something better.
5. You Get Practice!
Blogging is not a distraction from writing. It forces you to write more! It keeps your practice regular and alive. It makes you a better writer!
6. The Blog Helps You Build a Personal Brand
Each and every successful writer needs a personal brand. That’s how the audience recognizes them for their unique voice, personality, and work.
Your blog helps you build a personal brand before you publish your first book. It showcases your personality and your values to your target audience. You’ll promote that personal brand all over social media, but the blog will be the foundation. That’s where you’ll present the content.
When you have an authoritative personal brand, it will be much easier to start selling your book. People will recognize your name. They will already feel familiar with your work. They won’t be taking a risk by buying your book—they’ll be extending their relationship with you.
A Guide for Future Writers: How to Blog Properly
It’s clear: you have nothing to lose if you start a blog before you start working on your big novel. In fact, you have an incredible amount to gain!
However, you should know that there’s a right way to blog, and there’s a wrong way to blog. You want to do this the right way.
1. Produce Content on a Regular Basis
Let’s check out George R.R. Martin’s blog again. You’ll notice he blogs multiple times per week, and most of the posts are relatively long. If he can find time for regular blogging, so can you.
If you want to make a blog a success, then you need a big audience. You can’t attract a huge audience with a single post. Even if you do, you won’t develop a personal brand with that single post. You want people to know your name. You want them to recognize your work. That’s why you need to blog as frequently as possible.
There’s no rigid rule regarding frequency. You can blog once or twice per week if you’re productive enough. You can publish a post once every two weeks. Anything below that frequency won’t work, at least not at the beginning.
If you find it hard to keep up with your blogging schedule, you can check out essay writing service reviews and find a professional writer to contribute to your blog. When you make the site popular enough, you can start attracting guest bloggers to help round out relevant content.
2. Give Your Everything
You’re not blogging because you intend to sell a book to the people who follow you. Yes, there’s some marketing involved in the process. However, you’re mostly blogging because you love writing and it would be a shame not to let those words out in the world.
When you blog, give your everything!
Treat this like a storytelling project. When you pour your entire heart and soul into a post, the result will be a reward on its own. Be yourself. Lay it all out. Give your best and see what the audience thinks of it. If it’s not good enough for them, you’ll make your best better. You’ll keep improving yourself as a writer until you become good enough to write an entire book.
3. Don’t Blog Your Book
You have to make a distinction between blog writing and book writing. They’re not the same thing.
Sure, some of the most famous writers in history, such as Alexandre Dumas, Gustave Flaubert, and Fyodor Dostoevsky, published their masterpieces in the form of periodical literature or serials. They presented their novels in newspapers, chapter by chapter. That worked for them. It doesn’t work with blogging.
Blog posts should be suitable for online reading. The online audience is looking for brief paragraphs, subtitles, visuals, and other elements that make reading on screen easy. They also want to get into a discussion after reading a post.
Publish blog posts, not chapters of your book.
4. Focus on Your Audience
What’s the major reason for blogging? Connecting with your target audience. That’s it!
First, you have to identify the audience who would read the book you plan to write. Then, you need to discover what types of blogs they like. Finally, you’ll create a blog they would love to read. Identifying your target reader is a crucial step for creating a successful blog.
Write for them! Invite them to comment. Let then ask questions and give them answers. Trigger discussions and let them participate in the selection of topics. Make it about them, and you’ll have greater chances for blogging success.
Over to You!
The best thing about blogging is that it’s easy to start. Think about your target readers and pick a niche that resonates with them. Then create a publishing schedule and start writing! You’ll love it!
Have you started a blog to amplify your writing efforts? Share a link in the comments!
For more on blogging, read on!
- How to Turn a Blog into a Book
- How To Create a WordPress Blog and Website in 30 Minutes Even If You Have 0 Tech Skills
- Does Your Author Site Need HTTPS? What You Need to Know about Basic Website Security
Julie Petersen is a writer and an editor. In the future, she is thinking about writing a novel. Her personal blog, AskPetersen.com, helps people to improve their writing skills and fall in love with the magic of letters.