Make a Self-Published Author Blog

Should You Have a Blog as a Self-Published Author?

Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank

Everywhere you look, it seems everyone has a blog nowadays. From daily lifestyle updates to focused niched content, a lot of people have their own slice of the Internet. So, why should you consider setting up a blog as a self-published author?

Actually, there are plenty of solid reasons why you should seriously think about setting one up. Today, I’ll go over some of the more realistic and justifiable purposes of having your own “base of operations.”

If you can keep it properly maintained and active, the blog could be one of your most powerful tools as an author.

Need help writing your book? Knowing how to structure your manuscript can go a long way to providing a better exeperience for your readers. Take a look at the Reedsy Masterclass for How to Write a Novel. It was perhaps the most influential three months I’ve spent for crafting my books.

Why a Self-Published Author Should Have a Blog

No, having a blog doesn’t mean you’re going to instantly turn into an influencer. Well, unless that’s one of your goals.

Having your own branded website has vast potential to market yourself as an author as well as generate a residual income. In fact, a lot of people make a pretty good living off of their blogs alone.

One thing to keep in mind is that the list below centers around self-hosted blogs. This is when you pay a web hosting company like GreenGeeks and set up your website.

From an author’s perspective though, why should you build one?

Marketing Your Name in Search Results

Search Recognition

Whether you’re using a nom de plume or your real name, getting it into search helps recognition. Because that’s how you’re going to sell more books and build an audience.

Having a blog with your name specifically as the URL makes it far more recognizable, especially when you start tying it with being an author.

When a curious reader types your name in Google, you want it to appear first. And one of the best ways to do that is to set up an active blog and establish yourself as that writer.

Sharing Updates Automatically on Social Media

One of the great things about using WordPress to run your blog is that it’s easy to share your blog posts instantly to social media. If you set up Jetpack’s Publicize feature, you can update your accounts on Twitter and Facebook as soon as you hit the publish button.

An active social media presence is vastly important if you want to keep your followers and readers interested. Sending out updates in this fashion helps keep the accounts fresh with new content.

Of course, you also want to make sure you’re delivering what those followers want from your social presence. No one wants to follow an account that is nothing but shared blog links.

Creating an “Official” Fan Page

It’s never too early to start establishing a fan page. If anything, people who are eager to read your books will often subscribe to push notifications or email alerts.

As a self-published author, the blog can keep readers informed of when your books are released, news and updates, and help create a community. It’s this community that will drive sales, word-of-mouth, and popularity of your name.

Besides, owning the domain of your name now keeps it under your control instead of a “fan” whom you don’t know later on.

Drumming Up Hype of Your Next Book

Ready to start writing your next book? Make sure your readers know there’s something new on the horizon by drumming up some hype. This can be done in a number of ways from a blog.

For example, I like using the Author WIP Progress Bar. It shows visitors what I’m currently working on and how far along the book is in terms of writing. Plus, I can provide an estimated release date.

In any case, getting your fans excited for your next release will help drive sales from day one. This worked exceptionally well for me once A Freelancer’s Tale was out…though, most of the hype came from my YouTube channel.

Setting Up an Online Store to Sell Your Book

Sure, you can use platforms like Kindle Direct Publishing to sell your book. However, there’s nothing wrong with selling your book directly from your blog in addition to other sites.

Well, unless you sign up with KDP Select, in which case, you’re prohibited from selling the book anywhere else.

With WordPress, you have a lot of ways to set up an online store for eBooks. One of the most common is using WooCommerce.

The point is that selling books from your own store means you don’t have to share “royalties” with anyone. From eBooks to printed versions, it’s not all that difficult to set up your own book store.

Monetizing Outside of Your Book Sales

Selling books from your blog is perhaps your primary goal as a self-published author. However, there are a lot of ways you can make money from your website.

AdSense is perhaps one of the most popular because it doesn’t take much to add it to your blog. But a lot of creators will also do affiliate sales of products they use.

For instance, perhaps you used Grammarly to help write your next novel. You can do a review about using the software complete with an affiliate link so you make money from visitors who buy the product from your website.

In reality, there are plenty of ways a writer can make money from a blog. And the more traffic you can accumulate, the more you’ll make.

Contact Form for Inquiries and Interactions

Perhaps one of the most important elements of any blog is the contact form. This can let people get in touch with you for a myriad of purposes while looking professional.

Case in point, I get messages about sponsored posts and links quite often from this website. In truth, I’ve made more money from sponsorships than book sales and AdSense combined.

Anyway, having a contact form is a way for anyone to get in touch with you without handing over your email address.

Need help writing your book? Knowing how to structure your manuscript can go a long way to providing a better exeperience for your readers. Take a look at the Reedsy Masterclass for How to Write a Novel. It was perhaps the most influential three months I’ve spent for crafting my books.

How Much Does it Cost to Build an Author Blog?

If you learn and perform most of the maintenance and work yourself, it doesn’t cost much to set up a blog. In fact, I demonstrated how you can set up a website for less than $140 for a three-year period.

Of course, there may be a few things you’ll want to add in order to grow and engage a much larger audience. There are a lot of great premium tools available for WordPress that range anywhere from $40 to $150 per year.

It all really depends on what you need and how far you’re willing to take your website.

In reality, though, I spend about $250 every three years for my five blogs. AdSense alone generates about five times what I pay for hosting every year. That’s not including the income from affiliate sales or sponsorships.

This means that it doesn’t take long for a blog to pay for itself and then some. At least as long as you keep it active and can engage your audience.

What Should a Self-Published Author Blog About?

So, how does setting up a blog sound to you? Worried about what kind of blog content to create as a self-published author? It’s actually not as difficult as you might think.

A few ideas authors can blog about include:

  • News and Updates
    What do you have coming up next? How is that novel coming along? Your fans would appreciate some updates. For instance, I show a progress bar of my WIP for current projects.
  • Character Teasers and Excerpts
    You could always write about characters, places, potential plot points, or even short excerpts as teasers for your book. Share some insights as to how you create characters and places.
  • Reviews
    Reviews work exceptionally well on any blog. Whether you’re doing one about an affiliated product or just want to share your experience with another author’s book, let your readers know your opinion.
  • Tips and Advice
    A lot of your readers might be interested to learn what you do. Why not offer some tips or advice about writing, what kind of routines you find best, or tricks you use for inspiration or motivation?
  • Personal Stories/Behind-the-Scenes
    An effective way to engage your audience is by delivering personal experiences or other behind-the-scenes content. It makes your fans feel like they are a part of your life. It all comes down to building that “community” I was talking about earlier.

Perhaps two very important elements you may want to avoid are politics and religion. It’s exceptionally easy to offend people on either of these topics in today’s world.

If you’re a fairly new author, talking about either one could alienate some of your potential readers quite quickly. Establish yourself before diving into something too controversial.

Having a Blog as a Self-Published Author Can Open Doors

In reality, every author should have a blog and not just those who are self-published. Having a website can potentially lead to opportunities you never thought of before.

I remember setting up the contact form on this website. I never thought I would get as many sponsorship inquiries as I do today. So, it’s worth the time to set up a good blog and contact form.

In any case, the blog can be your base of operations where fans can get the latest scoop on what you’re creating. Give them a site to bookmark and create a strong following.

A lot of them will most likely buy your book as soon as it’s available.

Michael Brockbank
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