I’m of the opinion that every little bit helps. No matter how great your book publicist, or how enthusiastic your agent, there is no one in the world who cares more about your book than you do. So it’s your job to make sure that you reach everyone you can, however you can.
I can’t speak to the world of fiction writers. I’ve don’t know from writing novels. But I do know that when it comes to writing non-fiction, social media is your friend. And, for me, it all started with blogging.
Deb Molly made great points yesterday about why novelists don’t need to blog. And I’m not going to say here that memoirists or non-fiction writers absolutely must, because that’s not necessarily the case. If you hate blogging and overcommit, you’ll burn out. If you are only blogging because you are supposed to, your readers will sense that. But from my experience, if you’re dedicated to blogging, enjoy it and can manage it in a way that works for you, it will pay off.
A few reasons why non-fiction writers might want to blog:
– Blogging builds a following. If you are writing about a specific topic—searching for new friends, stuff white people like, happiness—readers with similar interests could come in droves. If you have a compelling personal story—you’re a suddenly single dad raising a daughter, you are the mom to a maybe-gay son—people will want to support and cheer you along. If these people read your blog every day, there is a good chance they will also support your book. Or at least, you will have that ever-elusive “platform” that publishers are always going on about.
– Blogging can help establish you as an “expert.” If you write a great fashion blog and prove your knowledge online, you might suddenly be called upon as a style expert. Journalists are always looking for sources to weigh in on stories, and having a presence online about a specific subject makes you easy to find. Once you are quoted in one story, another writer may come a-knockin’. And suddenly you are the go-to fashionista. Again, platform.
– Blogging provides instant feedback. If you write a cooking blog for the 20-something set, it’s helpful to hear back from your fans. What do they want to cook? What recipes confuse them? How do they entertain? Who do they feed? You can get all this info pretty immediately with comments.
– Bloggers help out other bloggers. It’s a really friendly community, this Internet weblog group. I’m always struck how helpful bloggers are with links, supportive tweets, guest posts, all of it. You never know who you might meet, and making connections in your field will prove invaluable. Connections beget connections, and it’s a small world out there. That blogger pal you just met might have the agent who will one day become your agent. You just never know.
– It’s fun! Or it can be. If you set reasonable goals for yourself, and don’t let it stress you out. Remember that you do this because you love to write. And get to writing.
So…. did I make my case? Anyone running over to WordPress right now?