Authors should blog
What is blogging and what is not
Many want it, but only a few stick it out in the long term: Running a blog has many advantages and is a lot of fun, but it also takes up a lot of writing time. You can find out now whether you need one for your job.
First of all I have to apologize: I always say “the blog” and also refuse to say “the blog”, although etymologically it has to be more like “that”, because “blog” is the shortened version of “web log” ", And" Log "comes from" Logbook "and that is probably neuter. So the blog.
But I don't like "the blog", that's why I say "the". So. If we had cleared that up. Then you can start with the actual article.
Blogging is actually an online diary in the original sense, i.e. a website on which someone writes texts (or pictures / videos) several times a month or year on topics that affect them. This is how it was thought in the nineties and the beginning of the millennium, until today the whole field of bloggers has developed further and has become more professional. I would therefore make the following subdivision:
Private blogs (diaries)
Here private individuals write about their personal experiences. For example, Aunt Erna can read about her niece's trip to New Zealand on her blog and that she had an upset stomach when she competed in eucalyptus with the koalas.
(Yes, I know there are no koalas in New Zealand. You will now have an asterisk stuck in your exercise book.)
Incidentally, private websites / blogs are the only ones that do not require an imprint! As soon as there is a suspicion that a website could advertise something OR has "journalistic content" (including many book reviews !!), an imprint is mandatory.
And no, it is not enough to write in, “This is a private blog where I only give my opinion”, as I often read with bloggers. As soon as you as a book blogger receive a review copy and review it, it can be interpreted differently.
But that's not our topic now.
Blogs on specific topics - without a commercial background
Most blogs that are not private in nature are dedicated to a specific topic. Writing down the variety of subjects would be an impossible undertaking. There seems to be a blog on every topic you can think of. In every sector. Regardless of whether it is nutrition, sport, writing, furniture, training, history, travel, or ... or ... or.
Blogs on specific topics - with a commercial background
The blogs we are interested in here belong to the commercial category: blogs that somehow want to make money, be it directly or indirectly. Most author blogs are commercial because the goal of the blog is either to generate book sales or to increase its potential readership, who in turn will buy the books.
Of course, there are also authors who claim that they only report on their everyday writing. I think that in most cases this can also be seen commercially, because this way they build a name for themselves over a long period of time, get a “following” and can use their reach to sell their books. There are few authors who blog with heart and soul without ever having the thought of selling one more book - and that's okay too.
Let's go into more detail:
Blogging and Money: How Do They Go Together?
“Can you earn anything with blogging?” - a frequently asked question.
Yes you can. Some even earn very well with it, several thousand euros a month.
But I have to destroy your dream right away: Most bloggers earn little to nothing. It is even the case that 9 out of 10 blogs do not see their first birthday because their operators give up again beforehand. This is mainly due to the nature of the blog: it has to be kept up to date on a regular basis, has new features, you have to put a lot of energy into building reach and you have no guarantee that it will pay off.
Nevertheless, there is at least the possibility of making money, either directly with the texts or indirectly, as I said. I'll break it down briefly:
Paid items:If your blog has a few hundred to a few thousand readers, companies or people will come up to you and pay you money to mention their company in your posts. Sometimes there are also finished items that you should pass off as your own - but I would advise you not to get involved in something like this because it is not exactly very honest. Speaking of honesty: If a contribution is financially supported, it must be labeled with the term “advertisement”.
Sponsoring:Especially popular in the beauty, sports and fashion sectors (but also in many other sectors) are sponsored articles, for which, for example, the presented product is made available to the blogger free of charge. As a rule, however, it only becomes critical here when products worth several hundred or from a thousand euros are given away (so book bloggers can breathe a sigh of relief). We're talking sponsored trips, free laptops, and so on. I won't go into that any further as it is a very detailed topic. If you are interested, you can listen to this podcast.
Affiliate Links: Dear Tom Oberbichler has already written a guest article about it on my blog. When readers of your blog click on affiliate links in your posts, the ominous cookies, to which you agree, that you have just reached the linked page from this page, remember and the blogger receives a commission - usually only when you click You bought something on the linked page, but there are different systems.
Own products:If you have a blog that is well visited and then you put a book out and encourage your blog readers to buy the book, you've made money indirectly from the blog.
Instead of “books” you can also use other products - whatever it is that you are selling.
Sponsorship 2:I would argue that a company sponsored trip would be indirect income, because the money is not made from a single article, but from becoming an influential person as a blogger. If you have a lot of readers (i.e. more than 100,000), then you will be invited to events, get trips for free or be booked for conferences where you are supposed to give a lecture on your topic.
Should you blog as an author?
I passed this question on to Tinka Beere, who published her blogging guide for authors in December, in which the basics are described in a wonderfully entertaining way. Your answer:
Definitely! Regular blogging gives you a certain writing routine, you can find your own voice, you can reach your readers, reveal a little "more" about yourself, you create a platform for yourself to advertise your book, it's fun and design you can develop creatively.
Blogging actually has a lot of advantages, which in my opinion outweigh the disadvantages - provided you have something to say and want to cling to something that is only slowly becoming successful (or maybe never).
- It's great fun
- you can also talk out of turn about topics that interest you
- you establish contact with strangers
- you practice writing
- you find your own voice
- you will learn online marketing over time
- you increase your influence in your industry
- you can promote your books
- you can let off steam creatively (ideal for photos and videos!)
- did I say it's fun?
For example, writing a blog article is much easier for me personally than writing a novel. I don't even know why, because I don't think more or less when blogging than when writing a novel, but a blog article is somehow more "direct", there is a lot more of my own voice and personality in it than in a romance novel of mine. Only my videos are more immediate than my texts.
What should I write about as an author?
I admit that there aren't that many successful author blogs because very few authors have enough material to write about anything other than their books.
But many readers are also interested in the everyday writing of their authors. I also started in 2012 and reported on my first attempts at writing. First and foremost, I wrote for myself to see afterwards what thoughts I had for what, what the release of my debut * looked like and how proud I was when I was able to share my first successes with you.
Remember who you are writing for. If your primary goal is to reach readers, a post about plotting may not be the most interesting thing in the world because readers rarely (want to) deal with it. Instead, they may be interested in how you got into writing, what inspires you, what projects are coming up, what your characters are based on, and so on.
Tip: Concentrate on ONE topic, as specifically as possible. There are too many general blogs out there already.
Tip 2: Authors and book bloggers can be one person. As an author you read a lot of books, so why not review them yourself on your blog?
Another idea from Tinka's Blogging Guide *: A blog novel! This is especially useful for those who have a story lying around in their drawer that they always wanted to revise. In a blogroman you write individual chapters (or chapter sections) that you publish regularly (!) Like a serial novel. Every week - so the theory goes - your readers will come to your blog hungry for tension to finally read the new episode.
Tip: Do it with an already finished novel to avoid logic errors, suspense holes and a plot that is too long.
I use WordPress as the platform. WordPress comes in two versions: wordpress.com and wordpress.org. The first version is for beginners and very easy to understand, the .org address is tricky if you are not familiar with it, because (in most cases) you download the WordPress software and link everything to a server for that you pay monthly (that's not technically correct, but the easiest way to explain it is when I say it that way).
But let's be honest: Actually, that doesn't hold anyone back these days. There is a “How do I now link this to WordPress” video for every server provider on YouTube.
There are also many other providers of blogs, for example blogger.com (supported by Google), the microblogging concept from tumblr, or Jimdo.
Important information about the legal background
As you know, I'm not a lawyer, so I can't give you legal advice here, but I would like to point out that there are some legal things that you should consider when you have a website - this also applies to, of course a blog.
First of all, you need a legally valid imprint. In order not to give your home address, you can use a pseudonym service.
Images may only be used if you have the right to do so. And a blog with no pictures is really lame, so do some research on this topic. There are some sites that offer images for free. My favorite is pexels, but gratisography is also great.
This is how your blog will be successful
I already said that most blogs don't last long. Often it is due to the lack of regularity. There is hardly a successful blog that does not publish articles on a regular basis. It is not necessary to write something every day. Regularly means: at fixed intervals. That can be once a month (but I would consider that as a minimum), or every 14 days on Sundays. I try “every Friday”, but that doesn't always work, as I have to admit.
Tip: Find a fixed day, for example every first Monday of the month, and also enter it as a fixed date in the calendar. The more reliable your blog, the more likely you are to be successful.
The right topic (= helpful posts)
Why is “living from writing” so successful and “annikabuehnemann.de” not? Because I am working on a topic that offers added value. As a reader of the blog, you have questions that I can answer. That makes the blog valuable to you in a way. If you then also find me nice and personable, the chances are high that you will come back.
On my "personal website" I talk ... about myself! What a surprise. And by the way, I don't think it's at all bad that I don't have many readers there, because it's very clear to me:this blog is 85% for you and 15% for me. My Annika website is 85% for me. The page there is actually like a kind of diary that records my life and my career. I am of course happy when a reader gets lost there, but my focus here is on vomschreibenleben.de. That's why there is no regularity on my Annika website.
The better you solve your readers' problems, challenges, and questions, the more valuable your blog is to them, so make sure your articles are bombastic. You can get tips, for example, at Schreibsuchti.de.
Use online marketing measures
Far too broad a topic to cover here. Just as you can promote your e-books and paperbacks, you can also promote your blog, especially if you have a special topic.
Statistically, it takes 1-2 years for your blog to be successful. You should be willing to write posts every week (or every month) for at least 9, better 12 months, spread them on social networks, establish contacts with readers, other bloggers and authors, and so on.
It all depends on your writing time, but in the end it can be very profitable, as you can see from my example. Without this blog, I would not have been able to set up my own business after just under 2 years.
Yes, a blog can definitely be worthwhile and has many advantages. No, it is not a quick move to sell a lot of books. Blogging is much more than a sales machine and I think whoever with the main idea “how can I earn as much as possible with it as quickly as possible?” Is also not in the right profession here. Blogging is above all an exchange of ideas, a problem solver, a thought platform. Here you can say what moves you, even if it has nothing to do with your actual topic.
Small test: "Should I do a blog?"
If you're still unsure, why not do this little test:
- Do you feel like writing on a specific topic?
- Are you willing to invest time in something you enjoy, but no money for now?
- Can you imagine taking about 2 hours a week to blog?
- Do you want to find out how to use WordPress, for example?
- Do you want to improve your writing voice?
- Are you willing to regularly think about how you can increase the reach of your blog?
- Are you willing to deal with methods that you are not yet familiar with? (SEO, keyword analysis, legal background)
If you have answered “Yes” at least 6 times, then set up a blog straight away and download Tinka Beer’s Blogging Guide *.
Do you have a blog Link it in the comments below so we can all enjoy reading it!
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