That’s a pretty strong statement – not taking on a new author unless they are prepared to have a blog, but in 2011 a decent blog has moved from important, to a mandatory requirement. Why? Three main reasons. Consumer behaviour, the market and promotion.
1. Book buying, along with most shopping these days has become an internet search enabled activity. With the speed and accessibility of the web post broadband and mobile devices it only takes a few mouse clicks to check out the author of the book you are considering. I’ve noticed that I do it subconsciously myself over the last few months checking out people’s expertise in many situations - from finding out about someone ahead of a meeting, to validating the credentials of an author. In a similar way to hunting out reviews of consumer goods you are thinking of buying, a blog represents the easy access impression of that person’s writing credentials. People are much more web savvy than before, and according to Google UK adults spend a staggering average of 52 minutes on the internet per day.
2. We face an ever more congested marketplace. There is more choice than ever in almost every possible subject area, with the velocity of new books only likely to increase. Although the greatest influences on sales remain things like reviews, word of mouth etc., the buying public respond to coherent and easy ways to decide whose book to choose. A well written, informative blog can be that differentiator. Especially important in the early life of a title before reviews build up – and simply critical for new or lesser known authors.
3. Marketing. I’ve mentioned social media before [I’m not proclaiming to be an expert in the field just agree its vital], and there is a general consensus that marketing success these days is all about offering the consumer quality content. From our Twitter activity, Facebook posts and other social tools, it’s the offer of an interesting blog article that gets by far the greatest number of click-throughs – and importantly the viral interaction that is the holy grail for the social marketer. On Twitter #newblogpost tweets we send out are re-tweeted [forwarded on by interested readers] more than any other and linking to articles on Facebook can create multiple comments. Articles are a very nice subtle kind of marketing. We linked to Alicia Eaton’s recent article on using NLP to manage fear, and it led to an increase in sales of her NLP bedwetting book – unrelated subjects you may argue, but the article re-enforces her credentials in both NLP and as a child psychologist which is the same underlying buying criteria for her book.
Finally, there has been a lot of talk about the author being the brand and to a certain extent I subscribe to that in our social media dominated world. Not being prepared to have a blog could point to not having enough time to maintain one (worrying) or having an aversion to public interaction (more worrying). I will however draw the distinction between our two divisions NLP/Therapy and Victorian Literature. For practitioners, if they are to survive as businesspeople, they need to be geared towards self promotion. For historians and mystery writers for whom it is not part of their business it is a bit different. For them it is down to how many books they want to sell– authors with good blogs sell more books, it’s as simple as that. Take Keiran McMullen - a brand new first time author with a brilliant blog - lots of interaction through Facebook and a big source of sales, especially in his native USA. He includes relevant things to his writing, reviews of other Holmes books and details of his events and signings.
So for the reasons above there will be no more new authors without blogs for MX – or are we being too harsh?
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