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Blogging to Build an Author Platform — 27 Comments

  1. I was blessed, yes, I did use that word, to have had the opportunity to visit with you Dave for well over an hour by phone. I opted to drop down here to add a comment for ONE, to see if I just happen to be the MILLIONTH viewer, TWO, to say Thank You So Much for the visit, the advice, the information and for guiding me to this site, and THREE because I am a very slow reader and could have actually fallen asleep while reading, not because of boredom, but just because reading does that to me, I am getting better though… I see things happening with regards to a webpage and blog in short order and I hope after things are in place, that I will get a return visit from you.
    and maybe even the next time I add a comment, you will see my webpage below….HOW COOL IS THAT!!!
    Thanks again and happy Blogging….


  2. We should all be on our knees thanking Dave for his generous (and practical!) advice. Since I’m a tech newbie (does anyone even use this term any more?) with the usual limited budget of a writer, I’ve had to learn about blogging and such matters through on-line sources but Dave’s are by far the most understandable. I didn’t know, until reading comments here, that there’s a difference between WP dot org and com.

  3. The statement that rang loud bells for me was this ‘Be real­is­tic about whether your book is worth marketing—even if it’s worth read­ing. Don’t con­fuse the two’

    When a book has probably a very.niche, not to say almost hidden readership, how does one reach them? My blog has been running for perhaps seven months, and although I have encountered very generous and warm friends they are few and there are limits about what one can ask or expect. It does not make for even hosting others when one cannot offer much of a crowd to warrant the effort of a guest post…I have had offers from generous new supporters but feel I have little to offer reciprocally except to read, comment and review where I can…so not so much a ‘platform’ but a plank!

    • Are you on Twitter? When I first set up my blog, which is a review blog for debut authors, I tweeted about it. I got inundated with requests. What niche are you in? What’s your book about? Fiction or non-fiction? It is hard to sell (or to help someone sell something) without knowing about the product. Your blog doesn’t have to be all about you book. For instance, if you wrote a book about gardening, you could blog about tips for gardening, do’s and dont’s ..etc. With this exsample you could tweet: New Blog on Gardening! Come and see some great tips. you@gardeningtips4u. Once inside the blog, you can advertise your book. Drive them to the blog first.

      • Yes I’m on Twitter. I get crickets and tumbleweeds from it. Nothing. My three novels and my self-publishing book are well-detailed on my site. I get tons of traffic but twitter accounts for or a tiny sliver of it. Regardless, my goal is not to drive people to a blog where I can “sell them books.” I’m very soft-sell (or you wouldn’t be here on my site asking what my books are about). I don’t care much about the few dollars I make from selling a book; selling books on a small scale is like opening up a lemonade stand on a corner. This blog is a platform for something big and cool and innovative that I will reveal soon.

        • Oooh! That sounds intriguing Dave!

          As a newcomer to PoD with only the dubious experience of public sector publishing and design behind me, I’m finding this blog a veritable treasure-house of information and inspiration on how to get on the wagon so best wishes towards wherever you’re going with this 🙂

        • Sorry Dave, I should have been more explicit in my reply. I was responding to the above comment by @philipparces. He says that he has trouble with traffic to his blog due to a specialized niche. I was wondering what his niche is that is so specialized and suggested trying to drum up interest for his blog. I know what works for some doesn’t work for others, but it did work for me to be on Twitter. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

  4. I love your generosity and common-sense posting. This is like being at a free author’s university. I wish we had more time in a day to really study and apply all the pointers and advice. I’m an avid follower of both Joel and Dan Poynter. Another name to add is Joanna Penn.
    I’m trying to decided whether to build my own website with blogability, using w.press.org rather than the .com. There are so many choices. Being the DIY kid that I am, it’s taking forever. If you know what I authored you’ll see I’ve exposed my age, and realize I’ll probably run out of time!
    I already have a domain name…

  5. Joel, in “Newslettering is fun”, newslettering is a new gerund. In “I’m newslettering”, newslettering is used as a present participle, and thus would be a new verb. Dave, it’s people like me who made your “How many spaces after a period?” so popular. I argued the apparently losing point that not all periods are at the end of a sentence, so a period plus two spaces more clearly ends a sentence.

    Thanks for this information about blogging. It is most helpful. I’m hoping that someday we’ll be adept at cutting through hype to real substance and will be inclined to want to read people who are famous for the latter, regardless of their genre. Blogging may provide what we need to cut through the ever-growing mountains of print and help us really know whether who we decide to read has something of value to say.

    • I thought you made a good case about spaces, too (could have said you made a good space case).

      A lot of the hype you mention is generated by corporate-sponsored media. Bloggers have an opportunity to present “street level” views. They aren’t necessarily unbiased but at least they’re biased by different forces. Savvy information consumers will sample far from across the spectrum and read between the lines.

  6. Thank you for the great post. I have been blogging for a little over a year now. My blog is dedicated to aspiring and beginning authors. I am working on my own debut novel. It has been strictly a review blog until recently. I have re-blogged some great information that novices need to know, or would be interested to know. I want to beef it up because I realized that my problem was inconsistency. I need more of a schedule. When I re-blogged this information, it was the best response I have gotten. I am struggling a little about what content to include to engage blog readers, who are mainly new writers understandably, but I’d also like to find readers that are interested in checking in for the books that I review and recommend (or not). It seems like not too many leave comments. My WIP is a paranormal/historical mystery. A dual murder mystery from the protagonist’s past 20 years previously and one from the Old West, in 1871. The paranormal part is a ghost. Would it be better to post about ghost, or the history of mystery, etc. I have been researching this book for about a year and a half now and I’m the type that has to write copious notes. Writing it down has always helped me to remember it better. I don’t was to be boring either. Any suggestions? If you have a moment and would like to look at my blog, I would appreciate any comments or suggestions. Thanks so much!

    • I don’t know what abilities WP.com give you to track your traffic. There’s a plugin for self-hosted WordPress (available at wordpress.ORG) called JetPack that lets you know how many people are hitting what posts on a given day. Track your traffic and you’ll know exactly what your reading base is looking for. Use the Yoast SEO plugin to get maximum reach with search engines. Hang out on LinkedIn forums and see what topics come up over and over. With some time and attention, you can take the pulse of your reader group and deliver the content they want to read. Without careful tracking, you’re firing blind. Keep doing what you’re doing but analyze where it’s going. The answers will come to you.

      • WP.com is far more community-based than I’d realized. But Jetpack includes many of the familiar tools, including, as you say, the traffic stats. I use it on nearly all the sites I manage these days.

  7. As a hopeful author, I have been blogging on a Blogspot.com site for nearly 6 years, about small town school & village board meetings. I became a citizen Journalist three years ago for my local newspaper, as well as an Areavoice blog writer for the local county newspaper site. I have been using the WordPress format for three years with the county paper, as that is their well used program. I have written one book (unpublished) on NASCAR 2012, and I am currently working on my second such book NASCAR 2013 “A Season to Remember.” A few years ago, I started and completed another book on how small town politic’s can control and manipulate a families life. The small town politic’s effected the family all the way up to the county legal system, and for a handful of years dominated the family. The ability to withstand and survive this type of event is what my book is about. I am just beginning to search for the right people and places to show my ability. Reading this article, has provided me some support to the process that I have taken to this point, and I thank the writer for providing such a detailed way of advice. Thank You, and I look forward to future articles.

  8. Great post. Lots of good advice for those of us wanting to build our author platform while we write our novels.

  9. I’m right at the beginning of blogging and just want to say a big thank you for a highly useful and pertinent guide to the whole process.

    I’ve left a comment on LinkedIn too – totally get the observation that you don’t want to alienate your prime feeder channels, as I moderate on several forums myself and it’s really galling to offer the arena and get a big echoey space in return for your trouble.

    • I see why so many moderators get jaded. Many moderators don’t have time to check every link that gets posted in their groups to find out whether it’s spam or a legitimate sharing of information. Even then, some of the discussion (like this one) moves to the blog and away from the group—which is why I’m glad you left a comment on LinkedIn, too. I’m always happy to see discussion here but if people link to my blog and then discuss the articles on LinkedIn, the blogging benefits all parties.

  10. Nicely done–doesn’t sugar coat the work required. Especially liked the bit about don’t sign up for lots of sites that’s all writers unless writers are your target audience. You are right, writers tend to be more focused on their own books, and besides, they mostly don’t have any money :).

    • I see too many writers announcing their new books on writers’ forums. And all too often it happens in the middle of someone else’s post about grammar or ISBN numbers. Fail!

  11. I didn’t give this post 5 stars ’cause I like you, Dave, I gave it 5 stars ’cause it’s 5-star content.

    This is 2 months’ worth of author coaching in a single read.

    Your experience and generosity ooze from every line. I’m newslettering this. (That’s a new verb. Is that a gerund, or the other one?)