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Blog Mania –
Can It Help You?
"Musings" - May 2008
by Margot Finke
Blogs are the latest craze. Everyone has one – or that’s the way it seems. However, are they worth the time and effort it takes to keep them amusing, on target, and up to date? And more importantly, do they help you sell more children’s books?
Will Your Blog Help You Sell More Books?
I cannot make promises about a jump in your online book sales. Much depends on your blog’s style, and whether it hooks viewers – or not.
Think of a blog as your online business card, your tease, your lure. Public trust is something that must be earned. Stick around long enough, offering good “stuff” in a classy format, and consumer trust blooms. They might not buy from your website, but when they see your book in a store, or on Amazon, they will remember your blog and your website, and how interesting they were. Because of their long-term cyber-relationship with you, it will be your book they buy, instead of someone else’s.
For many, buying from the Internet is a scary thing. Use PayPal – no way!! However, a trusted blog can lead even to “Nervous Nellies” buying direct from your website. Yea! It all comes down to being seen as a name to be trusted.
Your blog has done its job if it gives you and your children’s books name recognition. When regular readers of your blog see your name on a book cover, or somewhere else, they recognize it immediately. This gives your book or product a huge advantage. The trust factor kicks in, and makes the book you wrote (or illustrated) their choice.
What Makes a Really First-rate Blog?
* Catchy headlines.
* Fun, controversial, or topical content.
* Focus on your main goal.
* Frequent new content.
* Widgets relevant to what you want to promote – like a Widget for your latest book.
* Download Widgets that let readers subscribe to every new page you put out.
* Slide shows of your book’s cover art and illustrations.
* Podcasts of your product.
* Your bio. and picture.
* Easy upload for pictures, slide shows, sound, HTML, space for links, assorted widgets, and an easy way for readers to add comments.
* And it should be free, with the rules and instructions simple and easy to understand.
How Can You Make Your Blog Work for You?
* Sign up for RSS feeds like Feedburner.
* After you burn your blog at Feedburner, sign up for a variety of Blogreaders. That way your Blog has maximum coverage. Study the options all these places offer, and click on those you feel appropriate.
* The idea is to put your name + the titles of your books out there before as many potential buyers as possible. Think of it as a way to make yourself into a
Quality Brand Name, instantly associated with high-quality Books for Children.
* Study the blogs you see every day, and learn from those that offer cool, red-hot content.
* Avoid clutter that blurs your main focus.
* Add Podcasts promoting your book, or Qlippit slides of your illustrations, with you reading a sample chapter. Slides of your illustrations too.
* Join the likes of JacketFlap, AuthorsDen, and FaceBook. Feature links to your blog and your website. Joining these places offers valuable networking opportunities with other writers, and also gives your name and books added face time. Some of them will also show your blog.
* Make sure every article and piece of fun you write has a definite relationship to your bottom line, which is your books.
* Help and promote other writers, as well as display links to great blogs and websites. This is a good thing to do, and the favor is often returned – a win-win for both.
* Make your blog into a platform that shows the world your unique style, plus the quality of your writing and your books. It should also link interested readers to the page on your website that showcases your books.
Name recognition is what it’s all about, mates. We can’t all be household names like Madonna or Britney or Miley, so we blog to put our name out there . A cool blog has tentacles that reach a good deal further than a few extra online sales. It establishes you and your books as quality names people trust – safe to buy for their kids.
Some links to the wild world of RSS feeds and blog readers:
First, what is RSS? - RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication" -- it's a format for distributing and gathering content from sources across the Web, including newspapers, magazines, and blogs.
- GOOGLE BlogReader
- GOOGLED RSS Feeds – Research these and choose the right ones for you.
These are oh-so-cool small pictures that hide html code with a message about anything you want to promote – your book perhaps? The message pops up when your pointer wafts over the Widget. Or, it can hide a link to an RSS feed, or a place to sign up for something. Go here to read about cool widgets you can grab, or custom make for yourself:
HAPPY BLOGGING MATES!
Margot Finke's biography and index to Musings.
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