Building a good author’s blog can be difficult. Many authors, who I meet, do not have a clear understanding of what their blogs should be about. Sometimes I see authors’s blogs that are static; they are never updated. Sometimes I just see book information and a bio. Many times authors do not understand the importance of frequent updates or even what information to include. Writing blogs are about writing, not selling books. There is a big distinction between these 2.
Authors sometimes don’t understand that they have a Brand. That Brand is everything they are. An author really shouldn’t try to market their book to writers (unless it is about writing). An author has a great deal of valuable information they can pass on to other writers. This knowledge can gain you 1000s of highly engaged writers as your audience, but if you make your fantasy novel the center of your site, you will have a very hard time building an audience. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a good deal of famous authors. When I’ve seen these authors speak, inevitably someone asks, “Who are your favorite writers?” The answer is always the same, long dead writers. I even remember one famous writer, I think it was Tim O’Brien, bluntly said, I think of other authors of today as my competition, I don’t read them. So authors have a hard time supporting other authors. Think of it this way, do you want a million devoted writers following you with 5% of them buying your book or 1000 fantasy followers with 10% of them buying your book. Market your book to your audience (generally lovers of your genre) and market your skills to writers.
The authors below understand this perfectly. They market their skills to writers to build a following, and they sell their books and services on the side. As an author you should be reading author blogs. Sometimes it’s difficult to find good ones, so I’ve put together this list. Drop by these blogs once a week to see what’s going on. You will get a ton of marketing ideas from these authors. They are experts at it. These blogs are full of ideas on marketing strategies, writing skills, and articles on writing.
I tried to make this easy. I started with 10 blogs, and then I realized that, that’s a lot to follow. Here are the top 5 author sites you should be following. They are fun and entertaining, so this shouldn’t be difficult.
Terribleminds is all the personality of award winning comic book, Star Wars novel, screenplay author Chuck Wendig. When I say personality, I mean Mr. Wendig puts a lot of angst into his weekly rants. He talks on a wide range of topics from entertainment to writing all the while promoting his own books. Wendig’s blog is one of the most popular on the web (for authors), and when you click on his homepage, you are faced with the covers of all his works. Wendig’s blog is the perfect example of an author showing who he is to his audience while still promoting. Even though his books populate the cover, this blog is about much much more than just selling books.
He also has the benefit of being funny, interesting, and a great read, I would sign up and read his blog often.
2. Goins Writer
The writings and selections of author Jeff Goins offers a wide range of helpful topics for writers. Goins is an ex-marketing director and it shows. He is highly skilled at creating a narrative and making it helpful for artists and authors. His blog is one of the most popular on the web for a reason, everything he writes is, in fact helpful. He writes articles that help you sell your work. He writes about starving artists and authors, and gives great advice on marketing, a.k.a. making money with your skills and selling your books. It’s simple, the guy knows his subject well, and he gives good advice.
If you are trying to sell your books, market yourself and become a success, I would follow his blog and read his books.
Jane seemed to come out of nowhere a few years ago as her blog gained popularity, but it would be a mistake to think that she was an overnight success. Since 2009 she has been building and honing her blog and her skills. Her blog has an article for just about every question a writer thinks of when publishing, writing or marketing. She has focused many of these articles as starting points. If you are looking to publish your book or self-publish, this blog is a great place to start. She helps writers, and markets herself, her brand, and her work. It’s seamless, and honestly, probably one the most helpful blogs on this list for writers.
Joanna Penn a.k.a. J.F. Penn has written 28 books and sold over 500,000 copies. At the same time she runs a successful blog, podcast, youtube channel and is a professional speaker. When I look at what Joanna has done, as a writer and with her brand, it makes me tired. She is a mover, and her blog, Youtube and podcasts are all high-interests for writers. She writes a blog entry about once a week or has guest authors, and all of these blog posts are highly focused. I usually find myself getting sucked in for an hour and reading.
I highly recommend this blog and Joanna’s brand. It is a very good example of what you can do to make a living as an author.
5. Book Fox
John Fox has been working hard at creating helpful articles for writers. His site is well-designed, well-written and well-received. I highly recommend taking a look at his site. John does a very good job getting engagement from his readers and doing the rounds of conferences. He is a rising voice in the literary writing community. John is unique on this list, in that he appeals to a narrow section of the writing world, generally MFA or literary genre. This doesn’t mean you can’t find value if you are a science fiction writer, it just means he tends to lean toward the literary writer. The information he gives for publishing and finding a publisher is always on point though.
Sum it up
Ok, if you are an author, and you are looking for ideas for your blog, these 5 blogs are a great examples of what you should be doing. If you are a writer just starting out, or if you haven’t published your work yet, these 5 blogs are a perfect place to start.
I know I always make at least one mistake on these things. If you don’t agree or have other blogs you think writers should read, tell me in the comments. I have very thick skin. If you have better suggestions, I know people would like to hear them.