Should I Start a Blog? What Self Publishers Must Know
“Should I start a blog?” The question every single self publisher on the internet is wondering.
A blog acts like a sort of a “test run” for potential customers of your books. One can usually assume that if they enjoy the content you post on the blog, then they’ll likely enjoy any book that you put to market.
Before I dig deeper into that, one tangent.
Of course, it’s easy to say that if your audience enjoys your blog work, it makes sense to make a book out of it. However, you’ve gotta be really careful about just copy and pasting your blog posts and formatting them into a book, then sticking a price tag on it. It’s one thing to do it if you market it as a “Best of PSP” book or something of the sort. Or you disclaim it in one way or another. But it’s really bad to publish a book and then have your audience be surprised when half the content is stuff they’ve already read. Big no-no.
Now, Should You?
First off, you must remember that a blog is a labor of love. If you have visions of a seven-figure payday dancing around in your head, forget it. That’s not likely to happen as a blogger. Blogging is often a thankless job. You get emails from people wanting to waste all your time and not pay you a cent.
Imagine that you worked a retail sales job at Best Buy. Selling headphones, computers, tablets, phones—whatever, you name it. Now imagine that you only sold anything to one out of every 1,000 people you talked to.
That’s not totally realistic in the blogging world, because if you’re smart you’re targeting the right keywords and actively searching for people in a buying mood. The problem is that most generic blogs don’t do this (think self-help, travel, fitness, etc.). Most of those sites just don’t cut it because it’s one person spewing their thoughts to the world, with no knowledge of how to get people to find it.
It’s not that the advice itself is bad, but their approach is.
Why does PSP exist then? Mostly because I have a successful blog and wanted something semi-anonymous to jot notes on. If I can help some people make money in the tough world of self publishing, great.
TLDR; Don’t start a blog if your desire is to get rich. Do it because you love to write and want to use it as a platform for your self published works. Don’t jam annoying and ugly pop-ups in people’s faces trying to convince them of stuff.
“Should I Start A Blog?”
Now, if you are a self publisher, there are many reasons you should. Here’s a few.
#1: Writing Practice
Writing is a habit that can be practiced and improved upon, much like a stick and ball sport. NFL players didn’t get to the NFL by playing once a week, did they?
If you’re only writing once a week, or worse, then you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Writing is rhythm. Do it consistently, you hit a nice groove where new thoughts flow to you easily. Do it inconsistently and you hit that pesky writer’s blog. A blog is a great way to get your random thoughts out there consistently. If you build an audience that gives you views and comments it will motivate you even more.
Whereas a book has to be perfect on launch, a blog doesn’t. People look for you to be human. Writing daily and publishing your work, even if it’s not 100%, has the benefit of keeping your rhythm going. For this reason alone self publishers should answer YES to the question of should I start a blog?
#2: It Teaches Sales
Books don’t sell themselves, in most cases. You have to shout for the attention, and then back it up. A blog is a great way to test different promotional outlets, and learn the world of online business. It’s not the same as selling in person, and do you really want your book launch to be the crash test dummy?
I didn’t think so.
A blog allows you to see what works and what doesn’t, rather than learning the hard way. I tell you this from experience—from learning the hard way more times than I would care to admit.
Similar to #2, but think about it. If you write a post, and nobody reads it and comments on it—do you really want to make that post a topic of a book?
Of course, this requires you have enough of a blog audience to actually give this a fair assessment.
Yes, you should start a blog if you have hopes of being a successful self publishing author. It’s important to not take it too seriously, keep expectations in check, and write consistently. Blogs that are updated once a month are being sent to the slaughterhouse. The internet moves too fast in 2017 to afford that (unless you’re already big and established).
Got questions about blogging? Drop ’em below.
PS: “Should I start a blog?” Stop waiting, just do.