How to sell more books with a blog

With a blog you will soon learn how to sell more books and how to get your book noticed on Amazon. Attach a blog to self-published author websites, and you will see how to sell books and how to increase book sales on Amazon. Even boosting book sales in the first year.

It was hard to believe. It was 2013 and the end of my Blog’s first year, and a year since I published my first blog post. At that time I didn’t know the main purpose of a blog or that blogs can boost book sales. And it didn’t matter because I didn’t have any books to sell.

On that day the first post had received no likes and no comments. I rewrote parts of it, but it didn’t work, so I deleted it – never to see the light of day again.

Was it really that bad? Yes, it was and for a number of reasons. But the main reason was – I was blathering on about things I wanted to blather on about. And no-one was interested.

I didn’t understand the main purpose of a blog, or whether fiction writers should blog or not, as my sister article explains.

So what is the main purpose of a blog?

Blogs are focussed on different things but in order to attract visitors they should all have one thing in common.

The main purpose of your blog is to help people answer a query. Doing this will connect your blog to the relevant audience and offer them your books. So, Blogs are a great way to sell more books.

To be successful you must

  • reach your target audience
  • see what they are searching for and
  • help them find the answers. 

If you get it right, Google will rank your posts and send visitors to your website. 

The rest is up to you.

Now you have their attention, you can show them your books and lead them to your sales page.

A Blog can help you learn how to sell books

Little did I know when I started blogging, how addictive it could become. Nor how demanding fuelling the addiction could be. Starting a new hobby or a new career, at any age is exhilarating. It wasn’t until much later that I discovered a blog can help you learn how to sell books.

But most people over 60 plan their retirement and use all their energy and time working out how to do nothing.

img_2633-1024x683 How to sell more books with a blog
A balmy evening at Kata Beach Resort Hotel – Phuket

It seems I’ve been blogging forever

When weblogs came into being in 1994, it was a way for people to write about their experiences. And it wasn’t long before people realised they could communicate information via the internet, which opened up a world of commercial opportunity.

Twenty years later, I approached blogging, just as the first bloggers had done, purely as a fun thing to do. I understood nothing about it other than how to assemble a WordPress.com website and publish posts. I was a novice novice who had taken a first step into an industry I didn’t know existed. 

Carrying on with little purpose I was soon bored and almost gave up, stopped posting and began writing novels.

I was serious about novel writing and when I needed an author platform I turned to my derelict blog for inspiration. There were 300 random posts lying around doing nothing.

So, I created a new self-published author website and attached the blog, then began the process of re-modelling it so it would drive traffic to my author website. It has been a long and arduous process I wish I understood when I set out on my author journey. But, as they say, hindsight is a wonderful thing. And it is never on time.

A wasted asset I should be using to sell more books.

I should have been driving traffic to the blog and funnelling it to an Author Website to sell my books. So I blitzed the blog, changed the structure and theme and cleared out 200 posts.

It seemed like I had been blogging forever, but I was now moving forward. I had learned a lot and the painful early years were not wasted.

In the early days, I wrote columns every month for The Displaced Nation and Expat Focus. It got me out of my box and was good fun. Both of them aired my stuff and attracted some visitors to my blog. Guest posting is something I would recommend new writers consider as a way to learn.

I’m no big hitter by any stretch of the imagination – just happy that my pages have been visited thousands of times and hundreds of people have followed me.

Now I needed to do more and make use of the time invested.

Blogs can get your book noticed on Amazon and boost Book Sales

If you start out blogging before writing books, like I did, you made a good decision, even if it was by accident. So, you have my permission to congratulate yourself on doing something right.

We all need a slice of luck.

Blogs can get your book noticed on Amazon and boost book sales in the first year, but you must allow 6 to 9 months before you see the best results.

Good blogs attract visitors, and visitors can be funnelled to your Author Platform where you can offer them your books.

Some authors don’t believe in using a blog. But they are a great way to boost book sales.

Here’s a simple guide to get you started

  • Let’s say the theme of Your Blog is Travel – and the posts are about your experiences in different countries or states.
  • A good rule of thumb is to write 30 posts minimum as quickly as possible. Then slow down a bit but keep adding more posts. Your best content that is relevant to searches, will be found by Google and shown on page 1 if it ranks.
  • Your first post is about Carnival in Trinidad. Research the topic on Google to see what questions people are asking about your topic.
  • Check the competition – who is on page 1 and what have they written in answer to the questions.
  • When you think you can write a better or good enough article, write a compelling title, add 5 to 10 subheadings based on your experience, and write 150 to 200 words under each one.
Tip – Don’t sacrifice quality for quantity. I talk about producing quality content consistently in this post. 

NB. I’ll be writing more extensively on this soon.

How Photography can boost Book Sales too

Words of warning

  • Photography is not critical to blogging, but understanding and using it can add considerable value to your finished products.
  • Like blogging, photography is addictive too, but it is not for the faint-hearted if you want professional results.
  • You’ll need to invest time in study and practice.

How I started

In 2014 I sailed into unchartered waters. I joined the world of DSLR cameras, HDR photography and all the paraphernalia that goes with it.

It happened because of a desire to add my own pictures to my posts. And it took me into the absorbing world of photography and back to my artistic roots of yesteryear.

That’s not to say I had never taken photographs or was a complete numbskull in that regard. But I had practically no knowledge of the art, so if some of my shots were ok, I was more lucky than skilful.

I was naïve enough to think that it may not be too difficult, so I waded in. Soon I was up to my neck and close to drowning in a sea of techno-speak. Frantically Googling and on a diet of blockbuster YouTube tutorials, I took a two-month sabbatical. A follically challenged Robinson Crusoe, I cocooned myself away on tropical Thailand’s Koh Phuket. It was well worth it and I was rewarded for my efforts.

There were a few times when I thought I might be a brain free creation, but nevertheless, I ploughed on. Self-taught in my hermetic world it gradually came together. By the time I returned to base in Chiang Mai I had a pretty good understanding of Adobe Lightroom.

I was sure I could use it to improve my blog. And I was already working with two other software packages, Photomatix Pro and GIMP, so I was soon up and running.

The more you know the more you understand how much you don’t know.  

The circle never closes.

How to sell more books by using Photography strategically

If you are a creative person and you view photography as art rather than snapshots, your own photographs will add authenticity to your posts.

img_2633-1024x683 How to sell more books with a blog
A beautiful dawn in Phangna Province, Thailand.

So, photography will improve your posts and indirectly increase book sales.

img_2633-1024x683 How to sell more books with a blog

Learning post processing, such as Lightroom and GIMP, as well as camera skills, will give you a good grounding and the ability to produce your own book professional covers.

Some genres, like Historical and Science Fiction may prove too challenging, but Literary Fiction, Thrillers and the sub-genres are easier. The cost saving is considerable. Hiring a professional at $400 a cover for the best mounts up quickly if you plan on writing a series or more. 

After one year of study and practice, I had the makings of a decent photographer. And I had added a skill that would enable me to improve my blog posts and produce professional book covers.

These are the tools you need

You may consider using your mobile device for your images, despite the dangers I uncovered,  and these days you can get good results. But there are limitations, particularly if you intend to make your own book covers.

This is what I did, before mobile devices were so efficient. And it has been well worth the effort.

Camera

After many mistakes and trial and error disappointments, I figured out how to handle my Canon T3i 600D camera (Check out the new model EOS Rebel T5i on Amazon. It looks really cool).

Unless you go into studio work with models you won’t need overly expensive gear. The Canon EOS Rebel T5i comes with a wide-angle lens and is a perfect workhorse. (I am still using my T3i). It is a great camera for landscapes and street photography.

img_2633-1024x683 How to sell more books with a blogCloud Storage and Processing software

You’ll need somewhere to store and process the images you capture. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is a powerful and amazing tool. Check out the latest at Amazon

 img_2633-1024x683 How to sell more books with a blogRestoring old photos

Restoring old photos can also be useful if your travel experiences go back to the pre-digital age. If so, this post of mine may give you some ideas. 

16 Comments

  1. Thanks Madeleine. That’s very kind. I’ll be launching my new author website shortly and then 2 book series. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a short cut yet. I have a feeling there isn’t one. keep well. James

  2. beautiful photos James….keep up the good work…..photography is so fun….another art form,,,like painting , but without having to clean your brushes!!……

  3. Thanks Jackie. We are not so far apart on the age of our lives either. You are cool man as they say in the modern lingo!!!

  4. Times does fly by and I have enjoyed watching you grow with your art. I admire artist because it takes courage to put your self open to others. We are not that far apart on the age of our blogs here on word press. I am looking forward to the years ahead of us. jackie

  5. Howdy! This article couldn’t be written any
    better! Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate!

    He continually kept preaching about this. I’ll forward this information to him.
    Pretty sure he’s going to have a good read. Thank you
    for sharing!

  6. I would agree Pat. For me my blog is an extension of my personality – who I am so to speak. It took me a while to find my feet, experiment and feel comfortable in the environment. One of the secrets is to make sure you don’t get ‘blogged’ down so it starts to become a chore rather than a joy. I have managed to get to the point where I have a planned, programmwed schedule 12 months ahead. I only realised recently that there is a post scheduler which I badly needed particularly because my photo blog Jamoroki-art takes up a lot of time. It’s a bit of a slog doing the scheduling but once you have a system up and running it really frees you up to be more creative. Tell Sandy she is most welcome to reblog any of my photos from either jamoroki or jamoroki-art. I operate under Creative Commons licences. I have returned the compliment and put you on my follow list. Keep well. James

  7. Great post on blogging, James! My wife, Sandy, is my website guru and wonders if she could reblog some of your South African pictures? She lived in Johannesburg 1967-1970 and has always been in love with the country. I think first you have to actually learn how to “become” the blog, and then the blog takes on it’s own life. My problem was first I had to define what the heck a blog was…and it is still evolving! 🙂

  8. Thank you Eric. I am trying to add to my posts more and more with better photography so the compliment is really appreciated. Nearly every village in Thailand has a temple as the focal point and the towns have many. So Thailand is full of temples, large and small. The monasteries are part of the temple complex or grounds where the monks live. I have just taken some new pictures of my village temple which I haven’t processed yet. maybe I should do a post on it later.

Your comments are welcome