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Named to "Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites," this #SharingwithWriters blog is a way to connect with my readers and fellow writers, a way to give the teaching genes that populate my DNA free rein. Please join the conversation using the very tiny "comment" link. For those interested in editing and grammar, go to http://thefrugaleditor.blogspot.com.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Writing First Draft? Then It's Also Time to Promote!

Thanks to well-known author Nina Amir for this rarely seen topic on early promotion! I'm recommending it to my author/clients. (-:

Promote Yourself and Your Book While Writing Your First Draft
By Nina Amir

Most writers struggle to figure out how to juggle promoting themselves and their upcoming books while getting their manuscripts written at the same time. They know they need an author’s platform no matter how they publish—indie or traditional—if they want their books to succeed. Yet, the amount of time necessary to build that fan base seems to preclude actually getting that first draft finished. Then, of course, there’s the expense of promotion to factor in, which, in and of itself, makes the majority of aspiring writers drop at lest one ball if not all.

Today, one promotional activity provides the solution to this problem: blogging. Don’t worry that you will spend all your time blogging and not writing your book. Instead, use your blog as a way to write your book while promoting yourself and your work at the same time. That’s right. Blog your book.

A Blog Serves All Your Needs Promotional Needs

First, let’s look at why a blog serves all your needs and lets you keep all those balls in the air. A blog allows you to do what you do best—write—while also providing the best promotional tool available to a writer today. Every time you publish a blog post, you provide new content for the search engines’ automated mechanisms, called spiders or bots, to catalog. The more keywords and keyword phrases you produce on any one topic, the higher up in the search engine results pages your blog (or website) rises. This means when someone searches for a particular keyword relevant to your blog, your website or blog will come up near the top of that first Google or Yahoo search engine results page.

Best of all, today, not only blog readers may find your blog via the search engines. Book readers will find your blog and your eventual book via their searches. Also, the media find experts using the search engines; they do not like to be approached with press releases any longer but prefer to find their sources on line. If you are discoverable, they will find you.  Additionally, agents and publishers find new authors on the Internet via their successful blogs.

Blogs are Inexpensive Promotional Tools

Second, blogs are inexpensive. You can get a free blog from Wordpress.com or Blogger.com. However, I suggest you pay the minor hosting fees from Hostgator.com GoDaddy.com (or any other hosting company) and purchase a domain name and URL (like www.howtoblogabook.com) from like GoDaddy.com (or some other site), and then use a self-hosted blog from Wordpress.org instead. WordPress is the most often used blog platform by professional bloggers. If your blog becomes very successful (ie. you garner lots of readers.), you’ll wish you had gone to the small expense to have the extra features provided by a self-hosted blog.

You Can Write Your Book on Your Blog

Third, you can blog your book. You can actually make each one of your blog posts one tiny installment of your book. This is easier and more effective for nonfiction writers, whose content is filled with keywords and keyword phrases and easily can be broken down into post-sized bits. However, fiction writers can do this, too, if they plan out their content well. Memoirists, who fall into the nonfiction category but who write like novelists, also can blog their books if they are creative with their content plans.

Here’s how you blog a book:

  1. Create a content plan. Do a big “brain dump” of every topic you might include in your book. Then create a table of contents, or even an outline.
  2. Create content you will not publish on your blog. This is particularly pertinent for nonfiction writers. Look at your content plan and decide what pieces you might hold back for use in your printed book or ebook. Having some new content available only in the book (not on the blog) provides an incentive to loyal blog readers to purchase the book. Fiction readers will want to reread your book in an easier format than on your blog; and your revised copy will be better and possibly include new material.
  3. Break your content into blog-post sized pieces—250-500 word chunks. Create subheadings (blog titles) for each small bit of content you will write. For nonfiction, this is fairly simple. For fiction, it can seem more difficult; think in terms of scenes and give each one a title.
  4. Create a blogging schedule. Maybe you will write two days a week—the very minimum amount—or seven days a week. Maybe you will write Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Decide and commit to the schedule.
  5. Write one blog post on each day of your blogging schedule. It shouldn’t take you too long, 45 minutes tops. Remember, they are short. Compose these in a word processing program in sequence so you create a manuscript in the process. (You can write more posts per day, or, if necessary, write more posts once a week and use the scheduling option on your blog program to have them publish throughout the week.)
  6. Publish your posts. Copy and paste your blog post into your blogging program and publish it using the same schedule mentioned in steps #4-5.
  7. Publicize your posts. Share your blog post via your social networking sites, like Twitter and Facebook.

Viola! By blogging your book—especially a nonfiction book—you will successfully promote yourself and your new book. You will drive your blog up in the search engine results pages, thus making you and your new book much more discoverable by readers, agents, publishers, and the media. And you will have done this while writing that first draft. Now all you need to do is polish it up by editing and revising it and get that query letter and proposal written. Or, ahead and self-publish.

About the Author

Nina Amir, Inspiration-to-Creation Coach, inspires people to combine their purpose and passion so they Achieve More Inspired Results. She motivates both writers and non-writers to create publishable and published products, careers as authors and to achieve their goals and fulfill their purpose. 
The author of How to Blog a Book, Write, Publish and Promote Your Work One Post at a Time (Writer’s Digest Books), Nina has also self-published 10 short books, including the How to Evaluate Your Book for Success and 10 Days and 10 Ways to Your Best Self. A sought after editor, proposal consultant, book and author coach, and blog-to-book coach, Nina’s clients’ books have sold upwards of 230,000 copies and landed deals with top publishers. The founder of Write Nonfiction in November, she writes four blogs, including Write Nonfiction NOW!, How to Blog a Book and As the Spirit Moves Me, and appears weekly on the Dresser After Dark radio show.

Follower her on:

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second ediction of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use the little Green widget to let them know about this blog:


  1. Anonymous7:03 AM

    Great post. I have most of your pointers down, although I have to admit, I am not as regular at posting as I should be. I have a question, though. I'm writing a creative nonfiction memoir and the subject matter is a bit delicate. I am still in the midst of a legal fight and consequently have not mentioned my book or any of the details surrounding our case. Don't think it's wise or in good form. So, how do I get around that and still post about the subject matter without jeopardizing our situation?

    1. Carolyn offered some really great advice already. I'd definitely get a lawyer's advice on what material I could post. In the meantime, you could also make a list of the themes, issues, subjects, places, etc., in your creative nonfiction project and begin blogging about those. Tie them into any current news stories as well.

      This really isn't blogging a book as much as blogging to promote the book, but you'll be creating a readership for your topic and some great SEO around your keywords. Then when you have the go ahead from your lawyer to actually bog your book--or all of your book, you can do so and you'll already have a readership interested in the topic. You may already have worked your way up the search engine results pages as well.

      You also could post vignettes you will use in the book that are unrelated to the most volatile parts of the book--the ones pertaining to conflict areas.

      I hope that helps.

    2. That does help and actually that is what I do now on my blog, write vignettes, personal thoughts, and short news reports, but I am going to add a weekly blog post on corruption. I think this is a wonderful addition and there is certainly plenty of material both in Costa Rica and around the world. Thanks for your great responses and I love the book, Nina. WANT in Kindle form.

    3. It was available in Kindle, but someone must have complained that something was technically wrong with that version. It's being looked at by Writer's Digest and hopefully will become available again this week. Thanks so much!

  2. I wish I could help a lot with that, but it sounds like a case for your lawyer. Here's a plan of attack, though. You've sort of done that here--but you haven't used your name or Website. Set one up for the THEME of your memoir and start using that. Then talk about it as you have here. That will set up an air of mystery about it. But run a sample of the site/blog or whatever else you're doing by your lawyer to get input on the legal remifacations of certain kinds of statements. The ones he or she passes on, you can pursue judiciously without getting a check on every sentence.

    I would think you could still get by with something a plan sort of like this: Coming! A memoir of family secrets no one wants told.

    You might also consider publishing under a pseudonym, which I almost never suggest (see my posts on this blog by searching on "pseudonym" for more information--or see the index of my Frugal Book Promoter (www.budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo) to find entries in it on the same subject).

    Hope this helps.

    Oh, bytheway, I fictionalized my memoir for some of the same reasons. It is rooted in truth, but better as fiction. It is now only available as a used book, but you might want to see how that worked for $1. used. (-: It is at www.budurl.com/ThisIsThePlace. You might enjoy it in this coming political campaign.

  3. Great post and easy to follow steps! I would though be careful if you intend to publish traditionally. Publishers may not be interested if a lot of the book's content is already free and public.

    But, for self-publishers it's a great way to hook readers. Pay special attention to #2 on the list above - if you give it all away, why would anyone buy?

    1. There are some publishers who are turned off by previously published material, it's true, Karen. However, more publishers like the fact that the material has gained an avid and loyal following. Step #2 handles the question of "Why would anyone buy if you give it all away?" You don't give it all away. You keep some for the printed or digital versions. I had a long conversation at the BEA blogging event with some Wiley editors; they LOVE blogged content. F & W Media loves blogged content. Many other publishers do as well--I could name more (and you can find them in my book). Just look at how many blog-to-book deals have been made in the last 10 years. You can always come up with a content plan that keeps enough content off the blog to make a publisher happy, if that concerns you, but this is a superb way for indie publishers to devlop a plan for successful publishing, for sure.

  4. Karen, regarding your last question. I sure do get your point. Having said that, I've always thought the argument that a book doesn't contain anything that can't be gotten free on the Web a fallatious one. There is, after all, probably NO information that isn't on the Internet. Still there are other reasons to buy a book. I think CREDIBLITY is a big one, especially when there is much on the Web that isn't credible. Another is convenience--having one reference that brings valuable information to one source.

    Of course, fiction and poetry are another matter. And I think maybe even then, many want the author's work in one place. Maybe signed.

    1. Great points, Carolyn. Also, blogs are hard to read as books; the last post is always first. Fans will want to have the book in hand rather than just read the book on line. They also like the "souvenir" of their favorite blog or blogged book or blogged book author. Plus, they will want the extra material and the "revised" edition that will be produced by editing what appeared on the blog.

      Darren Rowse of www.problogger.com (who has a book by the same name) had readers of his blog asking for him to make his 30-day series, 30 Days to a Better Blog, into an ebook. He didn't think it would sell because it was on his blog for free. It's his bestselling product.

  5. Wow, thanks for the Rowse example, Nina. It adds teeth to a theory to have a good success story like that. (-:


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