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In many ways, blogging is a natural next step for authors. Historically, big-name writers like Ernest Hemingway and Graham Greene cut their teeth as journalists, writing articles on commission for newspapers to supplement their income from their literature.
In fact, blogging is just journalism for the 21st century, as is evidenced by the number of news outlets that are launching blogs of their own, as well as the number of blogs, like BuzzFeed, which have gone on to become fully-fledged media businesses in their own right.
For authors, then, blogging is nothing new. The trick for most is to figure out exactly how best to express themselves.
Common Author Blog Types
Some authors write on their own websites, and some opt to guest post for others. The Huffington Post, for example, accepts posts from a variety of subject matter experts, and there are plenty of savvy authors who use the platform to establish their reputation and to sell books at the same time.
While it’s a no-brainer for an author to have a website – and to host a blog on it to provide updates to their readers – there are plenty of other options, too. Depending upon their specialism and their target audience, it can even make sense to write articles for LinkedIn, Tumblr or for other social networks.
Some authors even go so far as to run a separate blog site. This can work well for those who work in a certain niche, and running a book blog has benefits for everyone. It does a great job of getting the word out, and book blog admins meet plenty of authors, publishers, publicists and agents while they’re at it.
A Community of BookTubers
In fact, it’s not just the written word that can lure even the most old-school authors from behind their typewriters and into the 21st century. As well as being the world’s foremost portal for cat videos (and the second largest search engine behind Google, which owns it), YouTube is also a hub for a new generation of video bloggers, who use it to share everything from tutorials and how-tos to haul videos and monthly wrap-ups.
YouTube is interesting because it has a sub-community of ‘BookTubers’ – YouTubers who share their love of books through reviews, tags, hauls and even BookTubeAThons, where readers are given a theme and a set of instructions and unleashed to read as much as possible over a short period of time, such as during a week or over a weekend.
Authors get in on the action, too – they share writing updates, review books and just generally make the platform their own. Crime writer Peter James hosts his own show where he interviews other authors, and he posts seasonal updates and competitions to keep his followers entertained. John Green is perhaps equally well-known as one half of VlogBrothers as he is as the author of The Fault in Our Stars. There are no rules and it’s not an exact science, so have fun with it.
Will Blog for Feedback!
One of the most powerful (and underrated!) reasons for authors to run a blog site is for the real-time feedback it provides. Writing and publishing a book takes time, and it’s hard to go back and change a manuscript once it’s already in readers’ hands. Blogging gives authors a great way of picking up feedback along the way, whether by sharing excerpts of a work-in-progress or by teasing potential plot lines during the planning stage.
Some authors even upload their work as they go, posting chapter after chapter as they finish them and asking for comments. A word of warning, though – while this can work well for some authors, others find that it actually puts readers off.
The top bloggers also have one last little trick up their sleeve. The very best are able to make some money from it, either by hosting sponsored posts or by running advertisements, and while it can take a long time to get there, it can also provide a much-needed extra source of income. A welcome bonus for cash-strapped indie authors!
Calling all bloggers, all authors and all bloggers/authors! Do you think that blogging and writing go hand-in-hand? Or do you disagree? Either way, we want to know, so be sure to share your thoughts with a comment!
About the author
This post is written by Dane Cobain and sponsored by Publishing Addict, an organisation that helps authors to establish a brand, connect with their readers and to sell more books. Click here to find out more about Publishing Addict.