- Creating a Plan for More Effective Author Blogging by author blogging expert Nina Amir
- Working with Your Local Library to Create Exposure for You and Your Book by Sandy Poirier-Diaz, president of Smith Publicity
Creating a Plan for More Effective Author Blogging
by Nina Amir, author blogging expert
As a writer, you may worry that if you begin blogging you will run out of material. You may think you have little to say to help promote your work. If you blog your book, of course, the manuscript provides the content for your blog posts—at least until you finish the book. Once you finish blogging your book, though, you might find yourself staring at a blank computer screen wondering what else to write to keep the blog going. In all these cases, creating a blog content plan helps you save time, consistently have topics to blog about, and blog effectively in a focused manner.
The basic principle behind creating a blog content plan involves planning blog posts on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis. Create a content plan based on the topic of your forthcoming book, existing books or on a general topic that helps you brand yourself as an author. All the posts should support the books or your brand in some way. If you have a business as well, you can also consider writing posts that help support your business, but you want to always blog in a focused manner in accordance with a plan.
If you want to blog a book, initially you can use your blogged book as the central subject of your blog and your manuscript as the content you plan to blog. Thus, your content plan will be based upon your table of contents and the content in each chapter, which you break down into posts sized bits. (Click on this link to learn how to create a blog content plan based on your blogged book.)
How to Create a Blog Content Plan
It’s not difficult to create a blog content plan. Pick a topic to explore each month, quarter, or year that in some way serves your brand, business or book. Then brainstorm related topics. Schedule these topics based upon how often you write and publish posts. Then write about the topics you’ve selected each week in your posts.
If you take the time to consider each post you write, you can expand it into another post fairly easily. Try doing a mind map, or just brainstorming, about ideas related to the themes, topics and issues in your book. The ideas you come up with can become blog posts. Now schedule them in your content plan. You can use a simple calendar for this. (The picture at the beginning of this blog post shows you how you can start with an idea for the time-period and branch out to many different topics, sub-topics and blog posts.)
You can even come up with a series of posts on one topic—maybe a whole month on one particular subject. If you do so, you will blog a short book! You could sell this or give it away as an enticement for people to sign up for your mailing list.
Why a Content Plan Makes You a Better Blogger and Your Blog a Better Blog
Plan on a regular basis—once a year, quarterly or monthly—and you’ll find yourself with a continuous flow of blog post ideas. You’ll also find your blogging improves and you attract more readers. Here’s why:
- It is easier and faster to write your posts. You’ll always know exactly what you are going to write on a specific day. No more staring at a blank screen. You look at the schedule and write the scheduled post.
- You stay focused on your topic. No meandering around from topic to topic. You either remain on a direct path from start to finish of your manuscript or you write about subjects that are relevant to your brand, your book or your readers because you thought out your topics beforehand.
- You produce lots of keywords that make you and your blog more discoverable. Because you’ve planned out your content, your blog and your writing are always “on purpose.” This improves your SEO and makes your writing more relevant to those who do find your blog or your links.
- You produce better content. By simply planning ahead you produce better content. You don’t write on the fly, scramble to find something to say, or write a “bad post” because you don’t have something to say one day. Your plan keeps you on topic with great content day in and day out. This attracts more readers to your blog over time and, again, makes it easier for you to produce quality content and a quality blog.
Nina Amir, Inspiration to Creation Coach, inspires people to combine their purpose and passion so they Achieve More Inspired Results. She motivates both writers and non-writers to create publishable and published products, careers as authors and to achieve their goals and fulfill their potential. Nina is the author of the bestselling How to Blog a Book, Write, Publish and Promote Your Work One Post at a Time (Writer’s Digest Books) and 10 self-published books. Her next book, The Author Training Manual, (Writer’s Digest Books) is scheduled for release in 2014. She writes 4 blogs and is the founder of Write Nonfiction in November, also known as National Nonfiction Writing Month.
Receive her FREE 5-Day Published Author Training Series by visiting www.copywrightcommunications.com. For more information on Nina, go to www.ninaamir.com.
Working with Your Local Library to Create Exposure for You and Your Book
By Sandy Poirier-Diaz, president of Smith Publicity
Many authors already have a relationship with the staff at their local libraries. Here are some tips to help you work with your local libraries to create a network of connections and potential readers for your book or ebook.
Libraries and librarians are excellent resources to help promote your book. Once on board, librarians also hand-sell books, just like bookstores do. Libraries host book groups, do author events, may feature a review of your book on their book blog or book feature on their website. Some libraries post a list of what the librarians were reading each month, which is often a key resource for patrons looking for new book recommendations.
1. Getting Your Book into Your Local Library. Here are some steps to get you started:
a. Call or email your library to let them know you want to donate your book (offer two copies).
b. The contact person varies from library to library as there are not standard titles. Ask for the person in charge of acquisitions, circulation or the head of the department where your book would be shelved (Children’s for example).
c. Books they may not accept: textbooks, fill-in-the-blank books, or books not traditionally bound such as comb and spiral style binding.
d. A book will typically remain on a shelf as long as the library has available space and if the book remains in good condition. Smaller libraries tend to weed through books not checked out for 18 months, while larger libraries have more leeway.
2. Book Clubs/Events.
Libraries often hold events and readings, especially when books have local connections (author, setting, historical characters or events, etc.). Offer yourself for a reading, in-person book group discussion, or presentation/Q&A depending on the topic of your book. Be creative—for a cookbook, do a demonstration or host a small class. For a travel book, offer a seminar on common questions when traveling abroad with small children or the over 65 crowd. For a romance novel, introduce locals to the most romantic spots in your area, how to make an oasis of a romantic evening, etc. Have fun—work with your library to see what has worked in the past.
3. Book Sales.
Some libraries even work with local independent bookstores to sell books at library events.
4. Library Contacts.
If you know the librarians, perhaps offer them a gift of a signed copy with the hopes they will read it. Studies show most checked out books are ones read and recommended by the librarians.
- Do NOT place your book in the donation bin or it will likely end up on their sale table.
- Offer two copies for each library.
- If your local library is connected to other libraries (some by city or county), ask if the book will be available throughout the library’s entire distribution network.
- If your library event goes well in your immediate local library, branch out to others near by. Word of mouth often starts locally.
- Once your book is ready for people to check out, tell your friends to go and put the book on hold. People searching the library for books to read often view the hold list. Seeing a popular book attracts others to add your book to their list.
- For library book clubs, perhaps offer free or discounted books to two or three members to start people talking about your book.
- If relevant, label your book children’s vs. young adult—this is a HUGE distinction.
- Check on your book to see its condition and offer to replace it if it’s looking happily read.
- See which libraries have your book on this website: WorldCat.org. WorldCat connects you to the collections and services of more than 10,000 libraries worldwide
- In general, libraries select books for their collection based on reviews from a few specific places. Here are links to their submission guidelines: Library Journal, Booklist, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews. School Library Journal (reviews just children’s books). Some libraries also receive RT Book Review (romance) and Locus Magazine (science fiction and fantasy).
- For eBooks, most libraries license their books through OverDrive, the leading full-service digital distributor of eBooks, audiobooks, music and video worldwide. They deliver secure management, DRM protection, and download fulfillment services for publishers, libraries, schools, and retailers–serving millions of end users globally. EBooks, especially in the romance field, are booming at libraries!