Now more than ever authors are wearing two hats; writing and marketing. It’s not enough anymore to write the great American novel and send it off to the publisher for them to put the word out about it, we have to do it ourselves. At first this can seem daunting. If you’d like to know more about marketing on social media for authors you can check out my previous blog post HERE. But the bread and butter of an author’s marketing is their blog. This is a great opportunity for an author to not only show off their writing skills but to also relate to an audience in a new way. I’ll tell you a little about my process in setting up my author blog and hopefully it helps you to set up your own someday!
Attach Blog to Author Website
A lot of websites are set up with blogs already. There are some to choose from. I was most familiar with WordPress and so I used that site to build my website and blog on my own. It’s a very simple and user friendly site that has 24/7 assistance if you have questions on how to do something. They are extremely helpful every time I have to contact them. I have yet to find a problem they couldn’t fix for me. I do pay for the premium business site. In doing this I have access to premium templates, I can advertise on my site, and more. To have a specialized domain it costs me $18 a year. This is important because it gives your site professionalism as opposed to having wordpress.com attached to the end of your domain. On top of that I pay $96/yr for the premium account. I promise you if you put the work and effort into your site that it pays for itself.
Theme of your Blog
Once you have your blog all set up through your site it’s time to choose the theme of your blog. For me, I always knew I wanted to give back to the authorship community. The theme of my blog is helping other authors. I write articles on marketing, writing, reading, and more. The main point that makes a blog successful is that you are giving your audience something they deem valuable information. A lot of independent authors are constantly searching for marketing tips, writing tips, and advice on how to create a successful authorship business. That is what I am building my blog around. If you choose to take your blog in another direction your theme could be to connect with the readership community instead. You could write book reviews, do author interviews, write about common themes, and more. It’s important to keep an eye on what’s important to your audience and try to tell weigh in on it in your own unique style.
Your blog is a representation of your brand so you want to make sure the style is consistent with your newsletters, your website, you social media. It should all have a cohesive look. You can achieve this by using the same colors, the same author photo, and the same tag lines. For mine, I have made turquoise the theme color and I use it for all my banners and menus. I use the same photo for my website and blog as I do for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and more so that no matter what platform anyone goes to they know it’s me, the same Alex Apostol who is an author.
We’re all busy! And blogs take time and effort. It’s a good idea to have a group of ideas for blog articles from the get go and write them out ahead of time. WordPress lets you schedule blog posts in advance and it even automatically posts to your blog, Facebook, Twitter, and more! The more automated you can make things the better. I am still working at streamlining my blog. I have decided I will write an original article to help authors that posts every Monday and I will have a new Author Spotlight where I feature a new author every Thursday. What I would like to do if I can ever find the time is to write all my blog articles and Author Spotlights for the month and have them scheduled so the rest of the month I can just focus on writing. I think if I buckled down and spent a few days writing these I could make it happen and so could you!
Do you have any other tips for authors on how to build their blog? We’d love to hear about it in the comments! Happy Writing and Happy Reading!