Posted by: gary1799 | January 1, 2013

Building an Author Platform

Why fiction authors need to blog
A guest post by Gary Howell

BloggingIt’s my personal opinion that the greatest struggle aspiring fiction authors face is not writing a great novel; it’s getting people to buy their great novel.

The craft of fiction writing can be learned by anyone willing, and humble enough, to fail. In other words, join a critique group, start writing, submit your writing to the group and let them tell you what you’re doing wrong. Then repeat the process until your writing becomes polished.

But to convince someone who’s never heard of you to lay out their hard-earned money for something you wrote is a giant undertaking. Especially when you consider the fact that today, book sellers like Amazon’s Kindle Store are knee-deep in self-published ebooks written by individuals who know little to nothing about the craft of fiction writing.

Individuals shopping for fiction have learned to be skeptical, reading reviews carefully before making a purchase and avoiding altogether books that don’t yet have reviews. So how do we, as fiction authors, gain the trust and recognition of readers?

One method that can be very effective is by blogging. This should come as very exciting news to those of you who enjoy writing, because blogging is writing.

So, now for the big question every blogger asks: “What should I blog about?”

The first thing to figure out is what you’re passionate about. Blogging quickly becomes a burdensome task when you have to write about subjects you have little interest in. Start by making a list of everything that interests you. Don’t be afraid to write down every interest, as this list is a brainstorming exercise.

Once you have a list of interests, look carefully at it. Try to find those interests that might in some way be shared by those who enjoy reading fiction.

Chris Brogan, a famous blogger, said, if you had a website about jet-skis, there’s only so much you could write about these personal water craft before the topic would be exhausted. But, if you think about the people who own jet-skis, they probably live on or near the water and they obviously have extra money. If you write to their interests and lifestyles, you’ll never run out of things to write about.

The same holds true for the blogging fiction author. Think about the people who enjoy reading the genre of fiction that you write. Who are they, what are their interests and what would they enjoy reading while surfing the internet?

How many of their interests are also your interests? Write about those interests.

Once you build an audience that shares your interests, finds your blog articles interesting, regularly visits your site and enjoys reading fiction, you’ll need only to announce that you’ve finished your latest novel, and a percentage of them will purchase your book.

Not only that, but if you build relationships through blogging, you’ll be able to ask those that buy your book to leave a review of it on Amazon. As the number of positive reviews increase, so will your book’s presence on Amazon, which increases the odds that other people, who’ve not yet heard of you, will be willing to give your book a try.

(Gary Howell is an aspiring author of local, historical Christian fiction. His stories are often set in the historical area of what is today, Brevard County, Florida.)

(Photo credit: flickr creative commons, Live Blogging at Woolfcamp by Sue Richards)

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