As a newbie author I asked this very same question. I am not in the minority. I didn’t even know what a blog was to be honest with you. On my personal/book blog I have mentioned that I thought that a blog was a Dr. Seuss character or a monster. I have learned that many people don’t know what blogs are either.
Once I figured out what a blog was, why do I need one?
Everyone: publishers, authors, reviewers, etc all say I need a blog. Why? It’s a good question that has a lot of answers!
To sum it up in one sentence: It is a part of your author platform; it is THE or one of your landing pads all other roads will lead to.
After a while in the marketing stage you will find that a blog is a MUST HAVE and not optional. Not in this day and age.
Here’s another thought of mine: I have a website, so why do I need a blog? Another good question, right?
A blog can be used as a book website, some just use a website, and some use both a blog and a website. I use both. In my opinion having both appears to be more professional. A website is more static and a blog is more dynamic. A website is more professional and a blog is more casual. I spend more time on my blog (or both of them) than I do on my website. I plan on upgrading my book website later on down the road. The website and the blog can be linked together as a two way street. My book website has a built in ordering system and excerpts which I have hyperlinked to the book blog along with my other ordering links for Amazon and B&N on a page. I even included a hyperlink for people to request kindlegraphs (a topic for later). I have all my social media links on my ‘About’ page so people can locate me with a click of a button if they are looking for me on–let’s say–Goodreads. My website just as my Facebook Fanpage and Twitter. My new website will probably be updated with these links.
Here are some other reasons why blogs are required for your platform:
- Events Blogs are required for you to participate in blog tours, interviews, blog hops, giveaways, etc, etc. This is THE place for this to take place. Your website isn’t going to cut it for these. You may lead people from the blog TO the website with a link, but they will visit the blog first. Interviewers will come by your blog and check out what you have written when you’re not looking. They may snag one of your posts for the interview if they like one of them. This has happened to me on a few occasions–it’s a good thing. Interviews can be displayed on a separate page for visitors to check out. All of these guys will ask you for your blog and website links. It looks good if you have BOTH! You WILL need both for a book launch!
- Extras This can be about a book or about you. You can’t post this stuff on a website. This is a personal way for readers to get to know you and view samples of your writing. Also you can give people sneak peeks of your upcoming book while it’s in the works to peak interest. Do character interviews, write about a character–the list goes on! You can even write about where the idea of a book came from, what led to its creation, how you got into writing, etc. For my book blog I talk about my other hobbies and about where I live since it is interesting to my readers and because it plays a part of how my fantasy saga came into being. Beekeeping is the hot one. Since I began my writing career early I write about that. You can write things on your blog that are personal–but not too personal–without coming across as being sales-y.
- “The Other Stuff” This stuff can be the other things rattling around in your head that you want to write about that you think is worth sharing that won’t find its way into a book (or could it later?). Since blogs have categories to organize your posts, you can put short stories, poems, essays, etc in addition to your other book related stuff. If you want to post reviews of other people’s books you have reviewed you can! Adding tags to the posts help then right readers find that particular post. Your blog provides you with more versatility. Your website is just a place for your books on display and or ordering. You don’t have as much personal info available to your readers–just your bio. That’s great for intros, but we are in a day an age where authors and readers are getting into a more interpersonal relationship.
- The Social Media Highway Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, etc can lead to your website AND blog. But guess what? These platforms have plugins to share posts from your blog in real time. Your website is just “there”. More people will probably come by your blog rather than your website. It’s great to have both and also cross link to your website from your blog(s). Make it a two-way street. People can share your blog posts easier than they can your website. Blogs have buttons on them so people can share with a click of a button. On Goodreads, for example, is a reader hot spot and they have instant access to your blog from the site if you connect to it. There are more plugs for blogs than to websites, but you do put your website in your profile. A blog is another form of social media. It’s where you can have much more to say.
Setting up a blog seemed really scary and hard at first, but it really isn’t. If you use WordPress or Blogger, you can start blogging in minutes. Set-up is step by step. It really is learn as you go. Have fun at it!