Published Authors Need a Blog – Carey Green Shares Why and How
How can a blog help a published author?
That’s a good question.
You may already have a book published and you’re reading this thinking, “How can I find the time to blog and write books?” Or you may have dreams about writing a book one day and you’re not sure how to fit a blog into your future plans… Why blog? Isn’t being on Amazon enough?
I get these types of email questions a lot from people who are starting a blog to promote their book or want a blog to facilitate their writing career, so I decided to investigate.
To find some answers, I contacted Carey Green. He’s a published author, blogger, and someone who understands how the two work together.
Carey has written several nonfiction books available on Amazon, and this year ventured into the fiction realm with his first novel Dragon Slayer: Beginnings. His novel is doing well and has 23 reviews so far–all positive!
Carey and I met on Google Plus, and I’ve been impressed with his online entrepreneurial accomplishments and leadership skills. Be sure to circle him on G+ because he has a lot to offer there on leadership, podcasting, entrepreneurship, marriage and family counseling, the christian faith, and more.
[pullquote align=”left”]About Carey Green:
I’m married since 1989, have 5 kids, two grand-boys, and live in the mountains of Colorado. I am a marriage and family coach, write, blog, produce podcasts for business folks, create internet products, and serve in my local church here and there. I’m a retired pastor, follower of Jesus and promoter of radical faith for generations. Connect with me at [email protected]
Here’s what Carey had to say about the benefits a blog brings to authors…
Q: Why should a published author have their own blog?
Carey: There have been a lot of things written about this, from varying perspectives. But you asked me so I’m going to tell you mine. I believe that every author’s desire is to connect with fans. Well, maybe not every author. There are those who write just to write and don’t care if anyone ever reads it or likes it or cares that it exists. Those folks don’t need a blog. They are happy as they are.
But for those who write to be read, who write to influence and help others, fans are vital. Fans are the ones who buy and sell our books (through word of mouth). Fans are the ones who support us and encourage us and keep us going. Fans are the ones who spread our influence, maybe even a long time after we are dead and gone. For example, Charles Dickens fans started a “fan club” in 1905, 35 years after his death that still exists and supports the spread of his works today.
A blog is today’s version of that, and it’s so simple to start one and keep it going, you’d be a bit loopy not to do it. A blog is one of the perfect tools for connecting with and supporting your fans so that they can connect with and support you. By building a blog you’re establishing a place where the impact you’re hoping to have on the world can begin to leak out through your fans.
Q: What are some ways you use blogging to help your writing career?
Carey: This relates very closely to the previous question. I’m a fairly new author on the scene. I’ve not had lots of experience in marketing my work and I haven’t made a big splash in the market. But even though writing is not my only career (yet), I work at it like it is, both in the actual act of writing and in my marketing/promotional efforts. In that sense, I blog as part of the marketing arm of what I do. I blog to keep my books and my writing process “top of mind” with my fans.
Authors need to understand things from the standpoint of their readers. From their perspective there is a lull between the release of my books even though I’m slaving away to get the next one written. During that lull I want to keep them connected to the process, connected to me. By what I’m up to, what progress is being made on the next book, what I’m thinking about the characters, the craft of writing, and the way it impacts me and my life, I’m keeping a sense of anticipation and eagerness alive in those who are interested. It’s “buzz building” about my next book even before the book is ready to be published. To me, it makes sense and I’d be stupid or crazy not to do it.
Another great avenue blogging provides is the opportunity to find what I call “beta readers.”
These are folks who volunteer to read your book before publication, for two reasons:
1) They agree to help you tweak and refine it.
2) They agree to become your ambassadors to help you promote the book when the time comes. This along has helped me hone my writing and get the word out about my books much more effectively than I could have done on my own. It’s one of the great things about self-publishing (which is the model I’ve had to follow). You can rally the troops who love what you’re doing to pull in others who might have an interest in what you’re doing. It follows the biblical principle to “let another man praise you, not your own lips” (Proverbs 27:2).
Those folks will be the ones to leave great reviews for your book. They’ll be the ones to excitedly tell their family and friends about your work. They’ll be the ones to push you to the front of the crowd in a variety of ways. Blogging allows that to happen in a very unique way.
Q: What if I’m a fiction writer who hates writing anything business related or stuff that’s self-promotional? Do I really need to be blogging?
Carey: It’s up to you, but I highly, HIGHLY recommend it. Don’t think of it as business, think of it as sharing your own story (you do tell stories, don’t you?). Whether you know it or not, your fans are interested in the person behind the story that they love so much. They want to know something about the mind that created the characters and storyline. That’s you. Blogging is a great way for you to tell your story.
And I don’t see that as self-promotional. I see it as an opportunity to connect with real people, as a real person. I work hard to see my fans that way, instead of looking at them as potential consumers who might buy my next novel or non-fiction book. I love chatting with people.
People and the lives they live are what we write about. I see the interaction my blog provides as another way to gain insight into life and the struggle of living it, through the eyes of others. It’s a way I can get outside my own head. That only serves to make my characters more diverse, more interesting, and more appealing to a wider array of readers. That makes me a better writer. There are tons of things to learn from people and about people through the connections I make through my blog – whether they ever buy one of my books or not.
Q: How do you find the time to write for your blog AND write books?
Carey: This question is gold because it’s asking about a time-management tension that really exists. I’m probably going to be a lot more “nuts and bolts” on this than you’re wanting, but here goes.
I’ve got an administrative bent to my personality, so I simply schedule my blogging into my weekly workflow. I use a task management system called “Nozbe” that allows me to set up a task on a particular day of the week, and then make it recurring. So for example, every Thursday morning when I open up the program, there in my to-do list is “write Dragon Slayer blog.” Every morning I have a handful of those kinds of “administrative” tasks to do based on how I’ve set them up in advance. So I block out the first two or three hours of every day to get them done.
But it’s not a perfect system. Some days I get started late because of family needs or an appointment I had to make for the early part of the day. Other days I’m sick or other tasks have crowded into my day that takes a higher priority. So I have to make a call in the moment regarding what will get done and what won’t. Sometimes it’s the blogging that has to go. But I try to keep track of how often I’ve skipped the blogging so that I don’t miss it the next time. Regularity is important when it comes to blogging because you don’t want your fans to forget about you or your work during the lull time.
Q: Do you have any blogging tips for published authors?
Carey: Published or unpublished, my advice is simple. Do it. Be yourself. Write about your books, your characters, your story, publishing, the writing process, how you come up with your ideas, what you’re learning – everything that has to do with the role of being a writer. Be as transparent as you can be without compromising your family’s safety and peace of mind.
Q: What are some things an author should NOT do when it comes to blogging?
Carey: Don’t approach blogging as an opportunity to say, “Buy my book. Please, buy my book. Pretty, pretty please, buy my book.” That type of promotion simply doesn’t work very well nowadays, and it’s not at all concerned about the person on the other end of the conversation. In fact, it’s not a conversation at all. It’s pushy and self-centered. Please, don’t do it.
Simply put yourself and your work out there for people to take an interest in if they desire. Be patient with it. If your work is good and worth being noticed, it will be noticed in time. That doesn’t mean you can’t put your offers or book specials out there for people to know about. You can; you just have to do it in a way that expresses appreciation to your readers for all they’ve done (whatever it is).
Q: What’s the name of your blog and where can I find it?
Carey: I blog in a variety of places for different business endeavors I’m involved in. But the main two places I blog are on my Christian Home and Family website and on my novel website. I’d love to interact with anyone about what I’ve said here, or about anything else. I’m an open book. 🙂