Thursday, May 17, 2007

Blogging to market your book: don't

On Jesus Creed, Scot McKnight has a great post on Blogs: A Word for Authors, with a strong prohibition: "If you have written a book, don’t create a blog to market your book". I have been asked the question by authors too, "I'm thinking of starting up a blog to get some feedback on my book", etc., and invariably the person asking the question is not a consumer of blogs, something that is unlikely to lead to successful blogging. If you solo-blog, i.e. don't interact with any other blogs, you simply won't get much attention anyway, unless, I suppose, you are a huge name. An N.T. Wright blog or a Bart Ehrman blog would, I'm sure, get some attention.

One qualifier, though, to Scot's remarks. It is quite possible for someone to begin a blog in connection with a publication, and then to move on from there. And that is one of the keys of successful blogging, to let your blog evolve. I may be wrong, but I think that James Tabor's Jesus Dynasty Blog began as a venue for information and discussion on Tabor's book The Jesus Dynasty, but it has evolved into a blog that discusses a variety of other issues related to Tabor's research, and it's one I always enjoy reading.

4 comments: said...

Is Mark suggesting that some authors resort to unethical methods to advertise their books?

Anonymous said...

Professor McKnight did create a blog for his own book, 'Jesus and his death' ( but clearly thought better of it and posted very little.


Anonymous said...

Geoff, it is not unethical to blog for your books.

Authors can easily be blog writers and many of them do blog for one reason or another.

A lot of web sites are now solely based on a blog engine because it is easier to update and doesn't require any advanced programming.

To dismiss blogging as part of your marketing plan would be a mistake in my point of view. But don't mind me, I'm not much of an academic, just a business and marketing major. ;-)

LisaC said...

I agree that if you think you will market your book just through blogging, it will be hard work. With millions of blogs, people won't read yours unless you have CONTENT they are REALLY interested in and you don't sound like a salesman.

You also have to write--consistently--and not talk about YOUR book all the time but your subject, including other resources, authors, web sites, etc.

If you want to use it to sell more books, it may be better to be a guest blogger elsewhere.

If you are wanting to slowly build a platform, however, and a history of worthwhile information (not what your cat ate for dinner kind of blogs) then it's an easy way to post to a web site.

Lastly, the value in blogging consistently with a variety of your keywords in your posts can't be overlooked. Just blogging 3 or 4 days in a row has helped my blog jump quickly onto the Google Alerts for those keywords - which can be priceless. If your blog shows up each day or so with worthwhile information to people who REALLY care enough on that topic to have a Google Alert, I can't imagine a better way of building your reputation and status as an expert on that topic.

Lisa Copen
Editor, HopeKeepers Magazine

Founder of National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week

I'm also in the process of working on a book series on book marketing. As an author/writer/editor/publisher/nonprofit diretor/reviewer/retailer I've had the blessing of learning a lot about book selling from many angles.