Tag: bloggers

Two questions to ask before you start a blog

In this highly digital world, authors are often pressured to have an online presence. One question new writers frequently ask is: do I need to start a blog?

Our answer: it depends.

Ask yourself these two questions before you start yours.

Two questions to ask before you start a blog

1. What is the purpose of my blog?

A blog can be about anything you want it to be. It can be full of random musings about your life, your family, and your cats. You may decide to write about your writing projects or make it a technical(ish) blog, like this one. It could be about books you’ve read, short fiction, or just pictures. The Internet is full of blogs, so what will make people want to read yours?

Tips:

 

  • If you’re planning to keep it mainly for friends and family, posts about your cat or dog or random musings about your life may be enough.
  • For fiction writers, snippets of your book, some short fiction and flash fiction, or updates on your writing projects may be the calling card you need to engage new and existing readership.
  • If you’re writing a non-fiction book, posting about your expertise could help increase your credibility and visibility. People who read your blog and find your posts useful may very well go on to buy your book!

You need to know why you want a blog before you start one. Otherwise, it will just be a lot of work for no reason. As a writer, your blog is a place that can help you promote your work but if your blog is only filled with “buy my book” posts, what’s the point?

Ultimately, your blog should be about whatever you want your readers to know about you.

 

 

2. How often am I able post?

Blogging is a very time-consuming task. As you can see from the (in)consistency of this blog, it’s a lot of work! (We’re trying to do better, promise!) Writing a post can take anywhere from 5 minutes to four hours, depending on what you decide to write about. Obviously, if you’re just posting cat pictures, that should take about 5 minutes… except that you need to take the perfect picture of your cat, and then you get distracted by cat memes and oh look at the time! You’ve been writing that one cat picture post for two hours.

You don’t need to blog every day. To help you decide how often you should post, estimate:

  • how much time you normally take to write a post, and
  • how much time you can spare to write posts.

You can then set a posting schedule that works for you, whether it’s once a day, once a week, once a month, or anything in between. Consistency is key, even if we’re not the best examples of that. Regular posts help readers know when to check your blog for your latest updates.

 

So should I blog or what?

If you’ve got answers for both questions, you should have a good feel of whether starting a blog is right for you. Don’t worry if it isn’t. Not everyone likes blogging and it’s best to not have one if you’re just going to hate doing it and then end up abandoning it anyway.

If you need help getting started, the upcoming Blogging from A to Z Challenge in April is a brilliant way to get organised. Whilst the schedule is gruelling at first, it’s a great way to fill your new blog with content and then ease down into a schedule that works for you once you’ve gotten into the habit of blogging. It also comes with an inbuilt community of supportive bloggers with whom you can network and find great support!

Organising an online book launch

In recent months, we’ve personally been getting several queries about book blog tours and online book launches. After typing up email summaries several times, we’ve decided to just compile all those emails into one post about organising an online book launch!

organising online book launches

There are several ways to do an online book tour, but most of them have to do with bloggers. Bloggers are your friends, if you still know anyone who blogs (you’ll probably find some on KLBAC).

Organising an online book tour/launch is as easy as asking all your family, friends, and random strangers on the internet to host you during launch week (or any random dates you think up). It’s also as difficult as planning launch materials, coordinating dates with the bloggers, or maybe hosting a live Facebook event. There’s a lot of coordinating and networking to do, so it may be best to leave it in the hands of the professionals!

If you’re considering an online book launch, here are several standard posts to consider.

The Cover Reveal

The cover reveal is like a pre-release drip, where you share the cover of the upcoming book plus basic details. This post works best if there are existing fans who are excited about the series, and if there is an ability to pre-order the book. At the bare minimum, post materials should include:

  1. the shiny new book cover (duh!),
  2. the book blurb/description,
  3. pre-order links (you gotta channel that excitement somewhere), and
  4. pre-order sales or promotional announcements (e.g. discounted price for pre-orders, exclusive goodies, additional bonus material, previews, etc)

The Launch Post

Usually posted on the day the book goes on sale, this is a general announcement to say hey the book is now out! Post materials usually include the following:

  1. the book cover,
  2. the book blurb/description,
  3. buy links,
  4. launch promo/sales announcements, if any (e.g if the launch price is only valid for a period before it goes up, discounts on earlier books, etc),
  5. author bio,
  6. author picture,
  7. tour graphics/banner, if any (mainly because pictures make it easier to share & garner interest), and
  8. an excerpt or preview (not too long, preferably an exciting hook from the book).

A Review Post

Reviews would usually be posted on or about the launch week/month. If they’re posted before the launch, resharing these posts will help you build more organic buzz as this is what others are saying about the book instead of you just announcing BUY MY BOOK. Reviews have the most impact 2 weeks before (if you take pre-orders) and 6 weeks after the actual release date (crunch time for a new release).

Review posts are slightly trickier because you need to send a review copy (digital or otherwise) to the reviewer hopefully one to two months before the launch so that they have the time to read and write the review. It’s also tricky because there’s always the chance that the reviewer might not like the book! If you can, politely request the reviewer to also post their reviews to Amazon & Goodreads when your book is available.

Post materials should include:

  1. a review copy to be sent to the reviewer/blogger 1 – 2 months before launch (they shouldn’t be sharing this with anyone else), and
  2. Everything from the launch post (the blogger can then decide what they want to add to the post)

Guest Posts

A guest post is usually an opportunity for you to talk about your writing and/or your book. Some bloggers have a theme for their blog, others keep it open to the authors. If a blogger offers/agrees to host you, check with them if they have a specific topic in mind and if they have word count limits. Post materials would generally include:

  1. A guest post of about 500 – 800 words, and
  2. Everything from the launch post (the blogger can then decide what they want to add to the post)

Author/Character Interviews

This is just a bit of fun to get to know the author better. You can predraft a generic interview with FAQ-type things, but most bloggers would have their own questions to ask the author. Just make sure you have everything from the launch post on hand (especially your book cover and buy links)!

Facebook Live Events

Got a Facebook Page? Schedule a launch event where you invite all the fans on your page, and your newsletter, and random Facebook strangers to listen to you ramble about your book! Some launches use the live facebook video (which can be a scary thing) whilst others use frequent posts concentrated around a few hours on the web. This is a great way to interact with fans (and friends), give out some freebies, or con them into buying your book.

 

Book launches and blog tours can be exciting things… or they can be super dead. It really depends on who’s on your team and who’s excited enough to share your books (and about you) on social media! It’s also really cheap to organise if you’ve already organised your materials, can work out some graphics on Canva, and can work out a simple spreadsheet to coordinate who’s posting what when. Make sure you also share their posts on YOUR social media!