3 Ways Blogging Can Make Our Writing Lives and Sales Shine

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Next week I’ll head to Monterey for my first ever Left Coast Crime conference – I’m stoked! In addition to enjoying other festivities, I’ll serve on two panels, Chills and Thrills: Psychological and Medical Thrillers and Social Media: Getting the Word out in Today’s Digital Age. For the latter, I’ve been asked to focus on blogging. Three years ago, I never would have imagined that I’d not only be addicted to blogging blogging and loving it, but sharing insight on the platform for others. That’s one beautiful thing about artistic paths, don’t you think? We never know where our paths will lead.

Here are three huge perks I’ve gained from blogging (and you can, too!):

1.  Content and discoverability as an author. Before starting my blog, I had loads of articles online and I was pretty findable. Blogging gave me the ability to increase my discoverability as an author, rather than merely being known or recognized as a health (and now sexuality) writer. Agents, publishers, editors and potential writing clients dig that. 

2. Fun! I was happily surprised to learn that blogging can be so darn enjoyable when we don’t treat it like necessary homework. When we write about topics we’re compelled or jazzed to cover, it resonates with readers and makes our writerly lives sparklier. I truly believe that that positive energy attracts more of the same in our personal and professional lives.

3. Readership and sales. It’s impossible to quantify sales derived from blogging, but I’m sure that it’s helped mine. Numerous of my first reviews on Amazon derived from blog readers, and reviews seem to lend themselves to sales. My sales have consistently spiked during book promotions I’ve run or announced on my blog. And it only makes sense that enthusiasts of our blogs are likely to take interest in our other work.

Here’s a chart I shared at the OWFI conference last year that shows the correlation between promotional events and my Amazon rankings during my first few months post-release. As soon as my book announcement hit my blog, my ranking went to too-low-to-measure to pretty high. The same happened once I posted my 99-cent and freebie promos on my blog. In some cases, I use other techniques to gently promote as well, but my blog has inarguably helped.

Kindle rank self published book

I also shared these stats at OWFI, which I found relevant and intriguing:

  • Social networking sites reach 82 percent of the world’s online population, representing 1.2 billion users around the world. (Comscore, 2011)
  • 61% of U.S. online consumers make purchases based on blog content. (Shareaholic, 2013)
  • 77% of Internet users read blogs. (The West Program, 2011)
  • Companies with blogs generate 67% more leads (READERS) per month on average than non-blogging companies.
  • Once we publish 21 – 54 posts, blog traffic generation increases by up to 30%. (Traffic Generation Cafe, 2012)
  • Once a blog has 300 pages, traffic generation increases by 236%, on average. (Stigma Web Marketing, 2012)

I’m not suggesting that we blast “buy my book” promos on our blogs, by any stretch. On the contrary, I believe that authentically writing and supporting others are the most powerful ways to increase our professional success through blogging. When we’ve built a quality community of blog readers (which trumps quantity of readers big time), they appreciate the occasional, “By the way, my new book is available!”  I want to know when bloggers I adore have books available, don’t you?

Another practice I love: Because I value blog readers so much, I offer them  special extras during promos. When I first gave my book away for free for a few days on Amazon, I sent MP3s of one of my original tunes to anyone who downloaded it and sent me a copy of their download confirmation, for example. And I always aim to make any promotional-type-stuff fun and not advertisey (pardon the not-a-word!), and support other folks rather than just me. It’s tough to go wrong with fun. By having fun, supporting others and remaining authentic, we don’t have to worry about words like “promote” or “platform.” Success becomes a natural derivative of who we are.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! What’s your favorite perk of blogging? How do you feel blogging can (or can’t) enhance sales and overall professional success? Any examples to share? Or blogging questions or challenges you’d like help with?

Leave a comment

28 Comments

  1. Today is my one year blogaversary and I have loved every minute of it! I don’t have a book I am marketing but I have a voice that is being read by wonderful people from all over the world!. New friendships have been the best part.
    My parents now live in Monterey half of the year (the other half in Puerto Rico) and we visited them last October. What a wonderful place it is! Enjoy!

    Reply
    • Congratulations! A full year is a huge accomplishment, and I’m so glad to hear that you enjoy the heck out of blogging. 🙂 Friendships and sharing our voices can’t be beat – I so agree! Thanks for the well wishes. I’m excited! It’ll be my first time to the city.

      Reply
  2. What a great post! Hope your conference is productive. 🙂 Blogging has helped me discover my voice…and, while I am still writing but yet to be a published author, I have found community, encouragement, accountability, and connection through blogging. Hope it continues as I move forward with my work!

    Reply
  3. Obviously for me, it’s meeting wonderful people like you! I relish and value the connections.

    I think there’s a real trick to book promotion. Anyone who hits me over the head with countdowns and the full court blitz while screaming, “BUY MY BOOK!” Turns me off. I think human nature kicks in and in general, people don’t want to be “told” what to do.

    But I think if a blogger has built some real connections, they find their friends will support them and buy a copy. In the end, I believe it has to blow up by word of mouth. Do you agree?

    Reply
  4. I look forward to reading about your experience at the crime conference,
    Blogging for me is also fun and I have met wonderful people around the world. Writing is a solitary activity and blogging makes it less so.

    Reply
  5. Here here, Susie! The friendships and connections we make are priceless!

    I do agree with you. Word of mouth is huge, particularly since people talk about what they enjoy all over social media. And having a strong readership who already loves your voice (as you do!) is hugely helpful.

    Reply
  6. “I was happily surprised to learn that blogging can be so darn enjoyable when we don’t treat it like necessary homework.”

    I’m not yet there, August, but — between you and that awesome Jenny Jo Hansen — I’m going to give ‘blogging for the fun of it’ another whirl. I know it’s where future readers can get to know my voice.

    This is not high school. I do not have assigned topics. I will not be graded by one person. If I write with enthusiasm, readership will hopefully follow. I will be judged by the level of interest (or, fun) generated for those who follow my blog. And, I do NOT have to bring home an “A” on every paper.

    A pox upon this sense that a post isn’t QUITE yet ready for prime time.

    Your voice, your passion, and your open discussions about yourself and Girl Boner power are the reason I hopped to purchase your book as soon as it splashed down in The Amazon. Bonus! Your voice, your personality, and glimpses of the personal hell you walked through made it a page flipper.

    Reply
    • You’re such a sweetheart, Gloria. Thanks for being you!

      Blogging for the fun of it makes a world of difference. The one time my own habits felt homework-y, I realized I was choosing certain topics because I had relevant expertise rather than emotional fireworks for them. Baby steps and listening to your heart are all it takes. And lord knows you’ve got heart!

      Reply
  7. Just yesterday, I was explaining to my writers group all that blogging has brought into my life. They are not yet convinced but they are getting more curious.

    Blogging has been invaluable to my writing, and once I settled in–relaxed and yes, had fun–blogging became integral to my life. And the relationships I have formed with other bloggers–priceless. Thanks so much, August, and let us know how that conference goes. The attendees are indeed fortunate.
    Karen

    Reply
    • You’re a stellar blogger, Karen! Your delight and comfort really show.

      Though blogging’s not for everyone, I imagine many writers don’t grasp the wonders until they give it a solid try. That was certainly the case for me.

      Reply
  8. I have made several friends from my reading their blogs and their reading mine. I haven’t, however, picked up enough readers to do much for books sales. Approaching my 400th blog post, I still have only around 320 blog followers and less than 50 hits most days. You’ve hit a hot-button (no pun intended) subject that draws readers like flies. I keep hoping to stumble across something to draw them, but few results so far. I wouldn’t trade the friends – such as you – I’ve made through blogging, though.

    Reply
    • I’m grateful for friendships, yours included, too! And wow, 400 posts is a huge accomplishment!

      I really believe that quality trumps quality, though it’s definitely exciting when stats soar. Regardless of those hot buttons (love it!), I’ve found that the posts I care most about and have fun with resonate most with readers. Best of luck, my friend!

      Reply
  9. Those are interesting stats, August. And I like the idea of thinking of blogging as a fun activity rather than a writer’s “chore.” I’ve found that when I feel like I have to blog, I can’t think of a single thing to blog about, but when I approach it with an attitude of “what fun things can I talk about today,” it’s so much easier to find content.

    I hope you have fun at the Left Coast conference. A couple of gals from my local writer’s group go every year and they always have a nice time.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    Reply
    • I know what you mean, Patricia! I now give myself the liberating of skipping a post if I’m not enthused about a topic – seems to help!

      That’s nice to hear about LCC. I hope your friends have a blast, too!

      Reply
  10. Great stats. I have met some amazing people since starting my blog almost two years ago. I think I am do for a giveaway of some kind. Thank you for the reminder.

    Reply
    • I’m continually grateful for those connections – including with you. Lovely of you to plan a giveway! It’s at least as fun to celebrate readers as the opposite. 🙂

      Reply
  11. Reblogged this on Be My Guest and commented:
    Things to consider. We need to make blogging fun for ourselves as well as our readers.

    Reply
  12. You are wonderful, August. I have bought because of your blog.
    Scott

    Reply
  13. I blog because it’s fun – I’m under no illusions about improving sales with it. The best part is getting to know such a fabulous range of wonderful people from around the world. Online friends, who I didn’t know before I started blogging, and who I interact with regularly via my blog, theirs, and twitter (I don’t do Facebook…yet). It’s worth far more to get to know a dozen or two people this way, than to have an unlimited number of anonymous blog followers.

    Have a great time at the conference!

    Reply
  14. “By having fun, supporting others and remaining authentic, we don’t have to worry about words like “promote” or “platform.” Success becomes a natural derivative of who we are.” Love that August! Thank you for the great reminders. I just LOVE blogging and very shortly, will be dong more of it 🙂

    Reply
  15. Raani York

     /  March 15, 2014

    I do love blogging… but I do have to admit sometimes I’m a little disappointed, that my blog does not seem to grow, even though it does – a tiny bit… once in a while…
    I get the feeling though, that it increases my “values” as a writer.
    I still, however, am grateful for every new follower and reader – and every single comment.

    Reply
  16. BTW, make sure you go to Mission Ranch in Carmel one night! It’s Clint Eastwood’s piano bar and it’s such a fun experience! People from the audience volunteer to sing along. They also have real singers. 🙂 Clint is often seen there. He wasn’t there when I went but I loved the energy at the place! 🙂

    Reply

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