You’ve heard it. If you haven’t, you will soon. Platform, platform, platform. If you want to write books, great. If you want those books to actually get in the hands of readers, people need to know who you are. Publishing independently? You need a platform to sell books. If you work with a traditional publisher, you still need a platform to sell books…and you may need it to get that contract in the first place. Since I started out as a blogger, it wasn’t a shock to think my platform should include blogging. Blogging for non-fiction authors seems like a no-brainer. But what about fiction authors? What does a successful fiction author blog about? I asked for recommendations on great fiction author blogs, picked through a few of my favorites, and found 7 types of blog posts from authors that are doing well.
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Here are some great post ideas for your fiction author blog.
Rule #1, before we get started, is to remember why we write. We write to serve. Yes, fiction serves too! Keep that at the heart. Why? The purpose of your fiction author platform is to help the people you want to serve find you, so you can serve them. So have this in mind: who is my ideal reader? What is her felt need? (She may need what I have, but she may not know it! What does she know she needs?) How can I meet a need she knows she has, so that we can get connected and I can serve her even more? That is what your author blog is all about. Below are some practical ways to do that.
#1 Book Reviews & Spotlights
This was my first introduction to a fiction author’s blog. It was Chautona Havig. Don’t ask me why, in years of blogging and decades of devouring fiction, it took me that long to check out a fiction author’s blog. It just did. I was a member of the Avid Readers of Christian Fiction Group on Facebook (still am), and had one of those “we should be friends” moments commenting back and forth on a post with Chautona Havig. (By the way, now we’re real-life friends). Decided to check out her blog and…whoa. I was hooked. But the first thing I read from Chautona had nothing to do with her own books. It was a book review. Or several.
Book reviews are a fantastic blog topic for fiction authors for at least three really great reasons. First, if you are writing book reviews in your genre, you’ll be attracting the same types of readers that would be interested in your books. You’re delivering real value – helping them find books – to readers who want to find books like yours.
Second, you are promoting other authors. When you share your reviews on social media, make sure to tag the author. Bonus: you build a relationship, and a lot of times, that author will turn around and share your blog because your blog promotes his or her book. Oh, and by the way? Writers are readers, too, so in connecting with writers, you’re still connecting with potential readers. Third, if you are a member of Amazon Associates or other book retailer affiliate programs, these are a great way to get some affiliate sales.
Example Book Review Blog Posts by Favorite Authors:
- Book Journeys – The Matrimonial Advertisement by Mimi Matthews (Review by Pepper Basham)
- I love how she highlights “all the boxes” this book checks for her.
- Just the Write Escape: What is the Truth about this Book? (Review by Chautona Havig)
- Chautona is really great about delivering the things that bother her…without being mean about it. As readers, we need to know that stuff. When I’m writing a book review and trying to figure out how to be nice-yet-honest about something that bugs me, I go read a Chautona post.
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A spotlight highlights a book (especially a new release, but not always). It might include a review, or a guest post by the author, but it definitely includes the basics about the book. I haven’t really done these myself, but I love the way that Toni Shiloh does these with her TBT Book Spotlights. While most spotlights I’ve seen are for new releases, Toni’s are throwbacks – books that have been out for a little while. In this example, she spotlights a book just in time for the second one to be released.
By the way, if you decide you want to go the book-review-and-spotlight direction with your fiction author blog, here’s how to write a helpful book review. Once you have a few reviews under your belt, you might want to sign up with a blog tour group like Celebrate Lit. You’ll receive ARCs of the books you choose to review, so you don’t have to come up with the books or the ideas to keep fresh content on your blog. Just don’t make my mistake and sign up for more reviews than you can handle! I recommend using a content calendar like CoSchedule to map out your posts so you don’t have too many due back-to-back.
#2 Write Short Stories or Flash Fiction
Your fiction author blog is a great place to share short stories or flash fiction. First, it can be tough to find places to publish these short-form stories. While you don’t get paid directly from your blog (except through streams of income like affiliate marketing), publishing these stories on your blog gets them out into the world and attracts readers that like your style of writing. My only issue with short stories and flash fiction is that as a reader, I’m so disappointed when I get caught up and then it’s over! But I can testify to the effectiveness. I’ve been in the same Facebook groups as Toni Shiloh for more than a year, but hadn’t read any of her fiction until someone recommended her author blog for this post. I read Love at His Time, one of her flash fiction pieces, and immediately went and found something of hers on Kindle Unlimited to check out next. Like, right now. Guess we know what I’ll be reading tonight!
#3 Write a Serial Novel
If short-form just isn’t your thing, try writing a serial novel on your fiction author blog instead. Just like #2 above, you’re exposing readers to your writing style, so you’ll be attracting the same kinds of readers that would enjoy your other books. (By the way, this works for an email list opt-in too. My first serial novel was The Vintage Wren, which comes via email.)
Did you know that serial novels were around before blogging and the internet? Charles Dickens wrote serials! Here’s more about why you should write serialized novels. Yael says, “Serialization once worked very well for connecting authors with readers, and there’s reason to think it’ll work again.”
#4 Write About a Related Topic
Earlier this year, author and podcaster Joanna Penn/JF Penn launched a second website and podcast called “Books and Travel.” Why? It’s content marketing for her fiction, of course! It was easy to come up with content marketing for her nonfiction: just write blog posts related to the same topics! But for fiction? Joanna chose a topic that she has in common with her readers. Many people who enjoy books and travel will enjoy her books. She shares about her own travel experiences, some of which are book research. Reading about her recent trip to Lisbon made me want to hop on a plane…and made me want to read her fiction, too.
Alana Terry (fiction author – one of my faves!) and Jaime Hampton (nonfiction author) have a blog and podcast called Praying Christian Women. Neither of their books are specifically about prayer, but their prayer blog and podcast allow them to build relationships with readers and listeners who share their values and might enjoy their books. It is a powerful ministry that serves their readers (the best kind of blog!), and the more you serve readers, the more readers will want more of what you write. The more they read, the more you serve them…you get what I’m saying? But like I mentioned before, if no one knows you exist, they can’t be blessed by your books!
#5 Write about your Writing Life
Even when I hadn’t thought about writing a book in years, I loved learning more about how my favorite books came to be! Your writing life shouldn’t be the only thing on your fiction author blog, but readers feel like they are a part of your life when they read about your latest book research or celebrate your cover reveal. It’s okay to share the awkward stuff, too – like how you felt the first time you got feedback from a real editor – it makes you human and relatable.
Extra bonus: when you share about your writing life: goals, ups and downs, and more – you serve other writers, and remember, writers are readers! As a blogger making the transition to books (both fiction and nonfiction), I love hearing about the experiences of other writers. It makes us feel like we’re part of the community.
#6 Share about your Real Life
Like #5, this one helps readers feel like they know you. At least something about your real life is a great component of any great fiction author blog. Share about that trip back home, the loss of a loved one, or even about your experiences with anxiety or depression. Share highs and lows – both can be a blessing to readers.
If sharing the junk from your life is a little too close to home, share from your past. A little bit of distance and time takes away the sting, and you never know who needs to hear your story. Maybe it’s someone you’ve never met.
#7 Share about your Books
We want to sell books. That’s a necessary step to changing the world with our writing. So why is this one the last on the list of ideas for fiction author blogs?
If your fiction author blog is just about your books, it feels like an advertisement. And, no one is going to follow it, because they don’t know you yet.
If your fiction author blog is about all these other great books, or about your life (or both), and then every so often you share about one of your books, it isn’t an advertisement. It’s a celebration! And your readers have already built trust and relationship because you’ve been delivering great content all along. Now your own books are just more of that great content your readers have learned to expect.
So yes! Share about your contract signing, your new releases, your books on sale, your cover reveals. Just make sure your fiction author blog isn’t all about you. 😉
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