Now you noticed that I didn’t say, “Every author needs a blog.” I have learned that a book blog is a specific form of marketing. In my case, I have five books on five different dog breeds. That means that I now have five different blogs; one for each title. I learned that having a blog for my business was not enough.
Google spiders, the programs that search everything that is posted on the internet and decides where to put it on those lists you see when you type in a topic have a specific way of judging where your blog will go. The most noted of these is that your topic must appear as the first word in your title, in the first sentence of your first paragraph and in the first sentence of your last paragraph. You must also have tags that send the spider to any topic related to your book.
To give you an example, my newest book is called The Crafty Newfoundland Knits. It is a knitting book written for people who love Newfoundland dogs. Believe me that is what is called a micro-market. So, for me to come to the attention of these specific people, I set up a blog for this book titled Newfoundlands – Crafty Dogs Knit. The URL is http://newfoundlandscraftydogsknit.wordpress.com. This means that my topic is not only in the title on the page but in the actual URL. This makes it easy to remember. Use your book title or the topic and your title if the topic isn’t the first word.
I decided to use the Wordpress free blog system to set up these blogs. Since I had five books and therefore five blogs; and since much of what I would be saying in one would be repeated in the others, this system worked well. The reason for this is once you go to your dashboard (the area where you type and put in pictures) of one blog, you have access to all. Now if you want to do a fancy blog, Wordpress does have features that can be added for a monthly fee, but I find that their free package had everything I needed to create the look I wanted.
I first clicked on “design” and chose a backdrop. The one I chose was pretty and had a lovely scene of cliffs and the ocean. However, my book is about knitting and Newfoundland dogs. So while still in “design”, I clicked on “custom image header.” I checked to see the size of the picture in their design. I went into my files and chose a picture that I had from the book and cropped it to be that size and saved it under a new name. Then I went to “browse” on the dashboard and found the correct file, clicked on upload which allowed me to substitute my photo for the one they supplied. Now the website is truly about my book and the topic is obvious.
The next thing I did was go to “Write” and clicked tags. This is where I put all the words that I thought that people would type if they were looking for my topic.
Finally, I wrote the opening page of the blog which will be where I do my posts and I uploaded a copy of the cover to that page. I decided that I would use the “About” page to tell about the book and the series. But I wanted more. I wanted a static page that would show people some of the inside of the book. I went to “Write”, clicked “page” and labeled it “Inside the book.” Here I uploaded photos and the table of contents as well as the cover again and some photos. I place links on each page go to my shopping cart to buy the book. I might have linked to my Amazon page for the book, but I make a larger profit when they buy from me direct so I chose to do that.
Once everything was done, I checked it over and then clicked publish. Much to my delight, by that evening when I typed “knitting, dogs” into Google, my page came up on the first page of the list. Now to keep it active, I need to post often and hopefully get people to respond and link to it. But the hard part was done, for that book. All I had to do was repeat the above four more times for four more books. It is work, but it is also a direct link to sales and this is what the publishing business is all about. Try it.
Peggy Gaffney is the author of The Crafty Dog Knits series published by Kanine Knits
and Do It Yourself: Publishing Nonfiction In Your Spare Time