You’ve decided to write your book, post by post, on your blog. Blogging your book is the straightforward part. However, most authors find the challenging part is the ongoing marketing efforts necessary to get their work in front of readers. And, as a blogger, you need to market each one of your posts.
Of course, you’re in the enviable position of having your own piece of online real estate. If you’re not using a free blogging host but rather a paid one, your blog is under your control—including what ads, if any, you show your readers.
It’s never too early to start marketing. So, when you begin your blog-a-book adventure, start a parallel book marketing one. It’s not as hard as you think, and ideal activities are those that leverage your existing online presence—your blog.
1. Set up a Mailing List
If you haven’t already established a mailing list, make it a priority. Your email list is one of your most valuable assets. It creates a direct relationship with your audience.
Many email services offer a free service as long as you don’t exceed their subscriber thresholds. Some services seem to provide an unlimited subscriber limit, but read the small print to ensure they’re a viable option.
For example, Omnisend offers an unlimited subscriber limit and 2,000 daily email sends. Still, their free plan doesn’t offer any email automation. Also, SendinBlue doesn’t have a subscriber limit, but their daily email send limit is 300.
Your best option is to select one of these two well-known options:
- MailChimp—2,000 free subscriber limit, 10,000 monthly sends
- MailerLite—1,000 free subscriber limit, 12,000 monthly sends
Take a tour of both and see which one fits your needs. It’s also a good idea to look at the cost of the paid plans. Eventually, you will reach their subscriber limits. Before that happens, you want to know what the monthly fee to maintain your list will be when that happens.
Even though it’s a straightforward process to import your mailing list into a new email provider, you would have to start from scratch to set up your automation. This isn’t too arduous if you have a simple list. However, if you’re maintaining multiple lists within your account to reach different audience segments, this can be very time-consuming. That’s why it’s best to choose wisely at this initial stage and plan for a long-term solution.
2. Build an ARC Network
Once you’ve published your blogged book, marketing becomes a priority. One of the principal ways to gain momentum is to amass book reviews as soon as possible.
Suppose readers are trying to decide between multiple books within your niche. In that case, a book with more reviews could sway their purchasing decision. In addition, some of the promotional websites, like BookBub, have a minimum review threshold you need to reach before they accept your book into one of their promotions. So that’s another reason to amass reviews as quickly as possible.
You’re probably not even thinking about promotion tactics this early in the game; you’re too busy blogging your book. But reviews are one of those building blocks that need some long-term planning. Far better to think about getting them now than to get to a point when you’re ready to promote your book using a service and discover you’re not eligible.
To get multiple reviews as quickly as possible, offer advance reading copies (ARC) to people within your niche. This is an effective and often-used book marketing strategy. Keep in mind that it is against Amazon guidelines to pay for reviews, but they allow you to offer a free copy of your book in return for a review.
Of course, you can’t send out copies of your book before it’s written and ready to publish. However, that doesn’t mean it’s too early to build a list of potential advanced readers. Blogging your book is the best way to broadcast your intent to publish a book and get readers’ attention, but it’s not the only way.
3. Make your Book Visible on your Blog
Even before your book is available for pre-order or sale, make sure your intent to write it is evident on your blog.
Visible on your Home Page
If you’re using a static home page, anyone visiting your site needs to see you’re writing a book. So include a summary on this page that leads to a more in-depth post on the topic or to your book’s dedicated landing page.
The alternative to a static home page is to use a blog view as your home page. This view displays your latest blog posts, and, by default, it will show your blog posts in date order with the most recent article at the top. Depending on your blog theme, you can change settings to adjust this view. For example, Magazine themes have the option to cluster your articles by categories or tags. If you use such a theme, you might gather all the posts related to your book in one category.
Visible on your Side Bar
No matter how you arrange your blog posts on your landing page, choosing a blog theme that allows you to display a sidebar is advisable. Whether blog visitors are on your site’s home page or an individual blog post doesn’t matter. They need to see an element of consistency across your site. This provides them with an easy way to access key information. One of these essential bits of content should be an announcement about your book and a link to sign up for your mailing list.
Visible on your Site Footer
You have the option of adding static information at the bottom of your website. Use some of this real estate to mention your book with a hyperlink to a landing page. This way, it doesn’t matter whether readers scroll down a site page or a blog post; they’ll see information about your book at the end of each page.
Visible on Specific Blog Articles
Using bottom-of-post images and text to promote your blogged book is another excellent way to entice readers to sign up to your mailing list. It also helps capture the attention of those interested in receiving an advance reading copy. This visibility is a good start, but there are other places on your website to showcase your book.
If your blog covers multiple inter-related topics, look at your list of most popular posts and add a bottom-of-post image and text to these posts. These are the ones that funnel the most traffic to your site, so it makes sense to leverage that activity and ensure these visitors know about your upcoming book.
Visible on Your Navigation Bar
Your primary navigation bar at the top of the page is an ideal place to add a link to your book’s landing page, but this navigation should be clutter-free. For example, rather than adding a long book title, keep it simple by calling the navigation link My Book. It’s immediately evident what this link is, and it won’t take up much space.
By leveraging your home page and blog posts, the sidebar, top and bottom of your website, you’ve made it easy for site visitors to notice your book.
A mailing list, an ARC list to garner reviews, and thoughtful site visibility are the primary book marketing tactics every book blogger can engage in. This trio provides a solid foundation for your ongoing marketing and book promotion activities. Even if you decide you don’t have time to make additional efforts, you can rest comfortably knowing your book marketing basics are covered.
Have you taken these three steps toward marketing your blogged book? Share your feedback in a comment below, and please share this article with your blogging network.
About the Author
Jay Artale abandoned her corporate career to become a digital nomad and full-time writer. She’s an avid blogger and a nonfiction author helping travel writers and travel bloggers achieve their self-publishing goals. Join her at Birds of a Feather Press where she shares tips, advice, and inspiration to writers with an independent spirit.