When I created this site and began blogging my book, I became a guinea pig. I had not seen my idea put into action by anyone else, but I felt sure it would work. I was the test subject. As such, I learned from my mistakes, but you don’t have to do that.
You can learn from my mistakes.
I’m still not perfect…by a long shot! Sometimes I look at my blogs and say to myself, “Sheesh, Nina. You don’t practice what you preach. You need to make some changes and fast!”
In fact, blogging and blogging books is a continuous process. It’s an evolution. Blogging technology changes. More plugins become available constantly. The ways to attract new readers constantly increases . Yet, a few things remain essential.
And a few mistakes get made over and over again by both bloggers and writers who want to produce books on their sites. Some of these mistakes have little to do with writing the books themselves and much more to do with creating a successful blog. Let’s look at what they are.
1. You Fail to Plan Your Book Content in as Much Detail as Possible
If you don’t create a detailed outline or plan out our book post by post—as many posts as you can create in advance—you may find that you:
• Get off track
• Don’t know what to write about
• Produce less content than necessary
• Don’t blog for a long enough time to build a readership (an author platform)
I had a outline when I began blogging How to Blog a Book. It included what I thought were enough blog post topics for each chapter and for the book. In other words, I thought I had done enough planning to write 35,000 or so words on my blog. (I planned to produce another 15,000 or more that would not get published on the blog for a total of about 50,000+.)
I was wrong.
I should have pushed myself to do more planning…to ideate even more posts so I would produce more content and blog for a longer period. A more-detailed plan would have helped me extend my book blogging past five months, which wasn’t enough to develop a large readership.
This mistake meant I had to write a considerable amount of content later—more than I expected—and do more revising or the original manuscript. You can avoid that problem with comprehensive planning—down to the post level.
2. You Fail to Make it Easy for Readers to Subscribe
If you don’t encourage visitors to subscribe to either your blog or your mailing list, you are missing a huge opportunity to build a platform and a business around your blog and book.
Subscribers are your secret sauce. A large list equals a platform. Publishers see it as such. And it’s a platform you own, not one created on some other site, like Facebook or Twitter.
Not only that, a large and engaged subscriber list responds when you tell them your book (or a product) is for sale. That means, they buy! Getting people to act is important after the release of your book, and you begin to promote. Without a list, you have no one to whom you can promote who has specifically asked to hear from you.
I didn’t do a good job of encouraging subscribers to my blog initially. I didn’t have a “call to action,” or some free item that enticed people to submit their names and email addresses and, in the process, join my mailing list. I didn’t encourage readers to subscribe so they would receive blog posts in their email boxes.
That was an opportunity I missed, but you don’t have to do the same. I recommend you use an email marketing provider, like AWeber, for email and post subscriptions, so you control them both.
3. You Don’t Make It Easy for Readers to Share Your Posts
If you don’t provide social sharing tools on your site, readers won’t make the effort to share your posts with their friends and followers on social networks. That means you posts don’t achieve their potential reach, or they get read by fewer people than possible—only the ones you attract.
You share your posts on social networks, but the only people who see them are those who follow you. The magic happens when people outside your circle of friends and followers share your posts with their connections. Then your work gets seen by new readers—and potential subscribers and book buyers.
When a reader shares your work, this is free promotion! Not only that, it allows you to access an audience previously out of your reach.
I have tried all sorts of sharing tools. I continue to try new ones. Use whatever makes it easiest for your audience. Shareaholic is a fairly popular plugin for this purpose. The Jetpack plugin has a good social sharing option as well, and it provides other cool tools as well.
Avoid these three mistakes, and you’ll move forward with your blogged book and your platform building more quickly and easily than you thought possible. You’ll also write a well-thought-out book and produce a successful blog.
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