How blogging can help you sell more books – & how to maintain a successful blog!

So… ever started a blog for your book and then just… left it to die? Gosh, join the club!

 

People ask all the time how to stick to a consistent blogging schedule – and whether it’s even worth it.

I’ve felt the same way, and this is not the first blog I’ve started (!). Now I’m in quite a consistent groove and I find it easy to post at least three times a week – in fact I’m always having ideas for posts on a walk or at the grocery store.

 

One of the things I found useful was to look for “blogging heroes” to inspire me and learn from, and I often encourage the authors I work with to do the same. Because we consider ourselves “writers”, we think that blogging is going to be second nature to us. But truth be told, blogging is an entirely different skill, and to become good at it takes time and practice. I’m definitely still learning the ropes!

 

GretchenRubin!

Gretchen signed ma book!

One of the blogs that I read super regularly – in fact it’s the only blog that I subscribe to on my Kindle – is Gretchen Rubin’s the Happiness Project.

Gretchen blogs almost every single day, always with super content, and her blog has a huge, loyal following.

She’s a fantastic example of a great, active blogger. Her blog is a large part of her books’ success (#1 New York Times Bestseller!).

 

I was lucky enough to see Gretchen speak about her new book, Happier at Home (follow up to The Happiness Project) last night at Third Place Books, Seattle. One of the audience members asked her how she manages her impressive blogging schedule, and I wanted to share her answers with you. If you’re looking for a blogger to inspire you, Gretchen’s your lady. (You can learn a lot about improving your happiness during your blogging research as well!)

 

1. She writes about a topic that is so huge – happiness – that she feels as though she’s only began to scratch the surface. No risk of running out of content.

 

2. She writes about stuff that she’s already interested in and applies it to her blog. If she’s reading Samuel Johnson’s work in her “free” time, then she’ll blog about it. If she’s becoming interested in candles and smells in her home, then she’ll find a way to connect it to happiness somehow and write about it. If you’re blogging about a topic that you don’t already love or have an interest in – stop now! Blogging shouldn’t feel like a chore, because if it does then reading your posts will feel like a chore.

 

3. “Write Everyday”. Gretchen talked about how for her, this was easier than writing 3 times a week, or not writing everyday. I have read the same thing about exercising – we magnify that one trip to the gym in our minds and let ourselves off the hook. Before we know it an entire month has passed since we worked out – or wrote a blogpost.
 

Here are my own observations about why Gretchen’s blog is so successful:

 

– It’s interactive and encourages conversation. The best blogs aren’t simply a one-way preach, they’re an invitation for the reader to comment and get involved. Gretchen encourages this by ending each post with a comment such as What did you think? Post your own _________. How about you? If you have a ___________, mention it now! She also  responds to several of the comments. This surely makes writing a blog all the more worthwhile in the first place, and encourages her to keep writing each day.

 

– It makes use of multimedia. Gretchen posts a video every week answering a reader’s question. I have to admit I don’t watch these very often as I can’t see them on my Kindle! They certainly add a different element to the blog though – and give people a break from reading and a chance to feel like they know Gretchen on a deeper level.

 

– Gretchen makes use of series.As well as the weekly videos, Gretchen interviews authors and experts (asking the same questions each time which makes life a lot easier!) and she posts a writer/ philosopher picture and quote, along with a simple question such as “do you agree?”. These posts are easy to put together, but also make great content in between her longer articles. I personally love the mix of short and long posts that make up her blog.
 

Happier At Home

How can we be happier at home? Rubin sets out to make home a place of greater simplicity, comfort, and love.

Want to see if Gretchen is speaking in your city? Find her event schedule here.  

What do you think? Is having blogging heroes useful for you? Whose blog inspires you?



Laura Pepper Wu is the co-founder of 30 Day Books: a book studio. She has worked with a variety of authors to successfully promote their books, including many Amazon best-sellers. Laura is the author of wedding non-fiction guides and book marketing guides 77 Ways to Find New Readers for Your Self-Published Book and Fire Up Amazon!

Laura also runs Ladies Who Critique, a critique-partner finding site. When she's not working at the studio, you can find her walking her dog, "yoga-ing" or at a coffee shop in Seattle.

 

  • Sylvia Gravrock

    Laura, thank you for these thoughts. I particularly like the idea of making writing/blogging an integral part of one’s daily life. It makes a lot of sense to have it be a habit, rather than something to be “built up to” for accomplishment. It helps to turn the act of writing into something important, rather than some sought-after dream state. This was a much-appreciated boost! :-)

  • laurapepwu

    I agree, Sylvia. I found that once I got used to blogging everyday (even though I don’t always end up publishing the post), it just gets easier and easier. Like anything I suppose! Exercise, waking up early etc :)

  • AnnabelSmith

    Great post Laura. Your blog is a new discovery for me and I find your content really fresh. I also love Gretchen Rubin’s blog. I have been wanting to blog more regularly but without it eating too much into my writing time. Lately I have come across 2 ways to do that. The first is that I’m taking part in a meme called top ten Tuesday hosted by the broke and the bookish. That’s connected me with a whole community of massive book lovers – which is exactly the audience I want to engage with. The second is still at a fledgling stage so I won’t tell you about it yet. When it’s up and running I might even pitch you a guest post about it! Thanks again for the great post.

  • laurapepwu

    Annabel, I LOVE your tip about the Top Ten Tuesday meme. What a fab idea. And yes, please do fill me in on #2 some time. Look forward to it!

  • katina vaselopulos

    Great book! great post!
    I appreciate both as I am an advocate of personal growth, which brings happiness through small moments and by connecting to self and others, nature and God.