What Should I Blog About To Build A Platform And Sell Books And….. 3 Things to Consider

thDear Dan,

So, I feel like the blog is not really working as it goes now. I don’t know if I’m a natural blogger. I like your blogs, they’re funny. Maybe it just doesn’t come as natural to me.

Signed, New Author

Dear New Author: It is your blog; you are 100% behind whatever comes out of it. That can be a lot of pressure, and I understand you may feel a little lacking in credentials or audience. That’s fine. And, if it’s too much or if it doesn’t feel natural, don’t do it.

But

Most writers are funny and a little charming and have a very nice demeanor.

And

80% of Americans want to write a book.

.

So here are a few things to consider.

 

  1. A lot of people will want to read about your journey as a writer, whatever part of that journey you want to share.
Me! Me! Me!
Me! Me! Me!

One of my friends owns a very successful winery near Miami. He explained social media to some of Florida’s other vineyard owners at a meeting. When you do a blog post or tweet, it is being read by people who are stuck in a cubicle who just want to escape to the vineyard for a few minutes and walk among the vines. Sounds nice, right?

Same theory.

You are tweeting at the dozens or hundreds or thousands of people who just want to get out of their cubicle and be a writer for five minutes. Or who want to check in after dinner and see what it would be like if they were writing their book.

You can do that.

What do I write in a blog?
What do I write in a blog?

A good TV show, a good movie, a good book – has ups and downs. It has unknown elements that we need to get through. That is what you would write about. What was up this week, what was down this week, what your struggles are, what your insecurities, are what your doubts are…

Or about how you came up with your characters.

Or how hard it is to remove dialog tags.

Or something about your kids, on occasion.

Nobody wants to read that!

Don’t be so sure. Winery people think others don’t want to read about trimming the vines or hoping for rain. As a writer, you have a very interesting story to tell on a personal level, and if you are a good storyteller, that makes for a very interesting combination to read once a week.

Lots of people want to read that.

A new writer going through the process of putting down a story, getting it critiqued, and getting it published? That’s interesting to those wishing to do it.

What others will find interesting in your blog is you expressing the hopes and fears and insecurities, the highs and lows, the angst of the rewrites, the confusion and frustration over what to leave in and what to leave out, that sort of thing.

You would be relating to the millions of people who want that struggle.

.

  1. Why should I keep blogging? Nobody’s reading it anyway…
sk-well
The abyss is a dark, scary place.

Been there. It’s part of the abyss.

You don’t have to put a blog out every week if you don’t want to. At one point in my journey I went a whole month without putting up a new blog post. About a month later I was thinking of stopping the blog altogether. Nobody was reading it. Instead, I talked to my friend; she suggested a few changes, and my blog’s been kicking ass ever since.

That was my journey.

Many of you are currently experiencing the challenge that somebody goes through when they write a book and start a blog. They write down their story, and then they have to see it through to becoming an actual viable book. The above-referenced 80% would love to know parts of that struggle.

And there are a million doubts that happened during that process, so every writer’s struggle is unique.

Telling people what you’re going through would be very interesting for people who are in the same boat, or who’d like to be.

We're pulling for you!
We’re pulling for you!

It would be very interesting for people to follow along the journey. Your journey. They would all be pulling for you, hundreds of them, maybe more, and when it came time for your book to come out, they’ll be cheering as they see you become successful (which at that point might simply be getting the book published, then starting the next phase of the struggle – sales and marketing).

They would be cheering in the stands to give you a standing ovation because you are doing what they want to do.

Every writer’s struggles are unique, but with challenges we can all relate to.

Then of course, readers of your blog would all be lined up to buy your book. Having a first day sale of hundreds of copies, that’s a nice initial rollout. They might all be ready to sign up for a pre-ordered, a discounted price, whatever; that type of thing can make all the difference in the world. And it starts early on in the process of building a base – a platform. On which you blog.

So what kind of blog would that be?

Anything you want.

curious-woman
It’s so simple and yet so difficult – until you start.

Write about what’s in your heart once a week. Sit down on Saturday night and ask yourself “What was my biggest writing struggle this week?” Maybe it was social media. Maye it was a stubborn plot twist. Maybe it was the raging debate about how to start your book.

Nobody wants to read about that. That’s boring!

To some, it may be boring. To others, it will be fascinating.

This insecurity? Just more proof that you’re a writer. Everybody goes through the stuff.

.

  1. Will blogging help me sell books?
Cos I have all this free time.
Cos I have all this free time.

I would say a blog is not really supposed to sell your books directly. It’s a way for people to get to know you, and that is supposed to be a long-term process towards building a base.

It’s also a very sneaky way to talk about your story and talk about the struggles of being a writer just by talking about what you did this week.

I would read that. Misery loves company!

Now, if you are at a point where you are too busy or overwhelmed or to distracted or whatever, I completely respect that. Some bloggers only post once a month. Some post three times a week. Some post every few months. Many writers don’t blog at all.

You have carte blanche to do whatever you want as far as YOUR blog.

Do what feels right to you.

.

Got a QUESTION? ASK IT! Send it as a comment to any post or hit the Contact Me button and, you know, contact me. I’ll see what I can do. (I have lots of smart friends, too.)

FOLLOW ME! I’m this helpful and funny all the time. Probably. Don’t miss another valuable bauble that falls from my fingertips. You read this far; you may actually need this stuff. SUBSCRIBE/FOLLOW TODAY (click the follow “Follow” button, above) and if you send me your email through the Contact Me button I’ll send you a free copy of my amazingly cute book “The Short Years” plus we’ll probably become friends and start hanging out and stuff.

If you benefit from this blog, share it with your friends!

Your humble host.
Your humble host.

Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi” – yeah, we know. We’re trying to convince him to change that title – check out his other works here http://www.amazon.com/Dan-Alatorre/e/B00EUX7HEU/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1425128559&sr=1-1 and check back often for interesting stuff.

10 thoughts on “What Should I Blog About To Build A Platform And Sell Books And….. 3 Things to Consider

  1. As a new writer I realized the importance of establishing a blog but wondered what I could possibly have to say that anyone would want to read about. The idea of opening up and writing real thoughts instead of fiction was but intimidating. There were a lot of things to consider, and I needed to decide what image I wanted portray and what audience I hoped to connect with.

    As you know, I decided to blog about my writer’s journey. So far, I have to admit, it’s been pretty much fun.

    Sharing the low points and struggles of my journey is a bit difficult, but it helps to get them out of my head where they could fester and do a lot of damage to my creative process–I just imagine I’m writing a personal journal that no one else will read and let my thoughts fall to the page.

    And you’re right, people really seem to connect with that, which surprised me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “it helps to get them out of my head where they could fester and do a lot of damage”

      That’s very true.

      Also,I’m always impressed with the empathy of others when we’re honest about our struggles. They come out of the woodwork to be supportive, which makes you feel a lot better.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post Dan. Lots of truth here. People do connect with real life issues. I think in a way it comes more natural for nonfiction writers to write about personal struggles and what’s going on because we write books in the same nature. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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