One of the hardest things for self-published authors to accept in today's online environment is the amount of promotion they are required to do to build a loyal following of fans. Unfortunately, with the publishing market competing against the sales of some of the book industry's most prominent authors, this phenomenon is not exactly going away anytime soon.
And neither is the fear and doubt that goes along with stepping out of one's comfort zone.
An author's best promotional tool these days is blogging. Publishers won't toot your horn for your books, so you have to toot it yourself and especially, if you are self-publishing. Blogging your memoir is a time-tested strategy for creating a following so when you do end up publishing your memoir, you'll have buyers.
Back to blogging basics.
Blogging is severely underrated. More and more blogs are turning into vast sales pitches with little or no content to draw from. Understandably, writers would much rather put in their hours writing rather than blogging.
So, what does this means for a memoirist who is not only competing against a hurd of of other memoirists and who also want a hunk of the "online real estate."
There are big huge benefits of blogging. But before you can reap the rewards of drawing in a community of "hard-to-catch-online-readers," bloggers who are also memoirists need to realize the following:
The Keys to Blogging Your Memoir
Let's take a look at the obvious. I'm always surprised when the last blog entry from a memoirist is like...from 2012? Are you kidding me? This tells me two things: one, the author isn't up to date on his work and two, the author hasn't done his "blogging research" to keep up with his fans.
Here's an incredibly powerful reminder:
Blogging not only has huge monetary benefits, but a billion plus reader target readership across all industries and niches. Even if your target readership compromises only 1/15,000 of that 1 billion reader mark, your blog still has the power to impact a target group of readers. And that's huge.
But you say it's scary to blog. It's like stepping outside of your comfort zone.
I agree. It's totally scary to step out of your comfort zone just to blog about your life story. But think about this: There's a whole tribe of people who need and want to read your message. The problem is you just don't know where they are hiding. That's why you need to help seek them out. Blog with user-friendly keywords. Blog about relevant and equally relevant, blog about the lessons embedded in your story.
Blog because you need and want to speak your truth.
And this brings me to problem number two:
Blog about your themes and lessons
The memoirists out there who are blogging their memoirs are not only looking to build a following, but to create an ideal target community of readers. At the end of the day, there is at least one group of lurkers (I can guarantee!) who feel disheartened about any of life's pressing issues: money, health, happiness, peace, relationships. You get it.
Think about this online very real scenario.
There's a lurker. Let's call her Sarah. She's been eyeing your blog because she feels there's something she's noticed in the text of your blog that hints to finding deeply satisfying relationships. You may have a blog about this with a couple of nifty solutions. Maybe you even told your story effectively which drove traffic to your blog. She's now hooked on the content.
A great strategy would be to augment her short attention span with the news of your powerful memoir, which, by the way, has to do with seeking powerful relationships.
Then, all of a sudden, she finds out you're writing a book. A memoir. She secretly yelps a cry of joy. Oh wow, she thinks. But all she can find are web pages and pages of your book of a character that have nothing to do with relationship building.
Herein lies problem #1: The lack of congruence.
As a thoughtful and avid reader, she's asking herself an even bigger question: Can I find a deeply satisfying relationship? Is there something wrong with me since I haven't been able to find my tribe?
After a few more seconds, she gives up and clicks off. At least she gave you a chance. But what she really wanted was to find how how she could benefit from your book. I know this because when I check out memoirs -in-progress, I'm looking to find out how the writer's story can really "speak" to me.
How to blog the themes and lessons
A more "cost-effective" way to market your memoir without posting endless chapters which may very possibly bore your online reader who has a limited attention span, would be to post lessons or themes. What are some of the lessons your memoir "teaches?"
Take a short snippet of your memoir (careful, if you want to self-publish, you shouldn't be posting large installments anyhow since technically blogs are publishable material)
Here's an example of what I mean. You'll notice in this short snippet that I aim to engage my reader with the heart-to-heart issues. I am doing two things in this way: telling my story and blogging about the main themes my story represents.
Stepping out of your comfort zone to blog about your memoir is indeed scary. Are you willing to do anything to live in your truth. Remember, it takes courage to be the "real" you because only you know your "emotional miles" of how far you've traveled. blog to give voice to that story. Blog to discover your "online voice." Blog to be yourself.