This is post #13 in the series: CHOOSING A NICHE
It is also post #3 in the mini-series: Niche Ideas for Author Blogs
In this post we are going to consider some possible niche topics for your author blog. When you are choosing your niche topic, you need to consider yourself as an author, your book(s), and your readers. Therefore we will first list some considerations relating to these three aspects.
Then, as a bonus, and to help you decide exactly what niche topic you want to use, we will also add some specific ideas for the posts within your blog. Your niche topic and your posts of course need to work together, so when considering your niche, you should also think about the kinds of posts you want to write, and whether they fit into your niche idea.
You as an author:
- Ask yourself what words and topics you want people to associate with you. Also consider what image(s) you want to use consistently across all your social networks (and in your books) that people will instantly recognize as you.
- Share your passions in a personal style that reflects you and makes your readers want to know more about you and about your writing
- Go beyond just marketing your book(s). Express your values and ideals. Share your vision, and how it is connected to your writing. Let people actually see you doing things that they can engage with and that improves their life and/or makes the world a better place.
- Add information about yourself as an author. Use photos, videos, and examples of your work. Your blog can become an entertaining and useful “resume” which markets you. And every new entry keeps it up to date, far more easily than a standard resume you mail out, or even than a more static website.
- Include some journal-style personal entries about your life that your readers would find interesting.
- Let your blog reflect your personality. Are you known for your sense of humor? Make sure your blog reflects that , or whatever especially makes you unique and interesting.
- What makes your book unique? What makes it stand out from other books in its genre? Consider using this “uniqueness factor” as your blog niche, or at least feature it within your chosen niche.
- You can use your book as the core of your niche. Provide excerpts from the book, and then think of all kinds of topics that are referenced in your book, and write about those.
- You might even post selections from the draft copy of your upcoming book, and invite your readers to critique it. They will feel personal ownership because they’ve been involved in the book’s development, and so they’ll be looking forward to getting it when it reaches the shelves.
- Consider posting snippets from your work-in-progress (or already-published book); or alternatively write some short stories in the same genre; or provide background information that relates to your writing (for example, an historical fiction writer could provide interesting historical background, pictures, primary source material, and so on that will make the book’s story come more alive for readers).
- Publicize your future book projects. Your blog should be able to promote all your books – or at least all your books in a particular genre or series.
- Sell your books and services. You can put a “shopping cart” on your site and sell through PayPal.
- Remember that if one of your main purposes for blogging is to get people reading your book(s). No matter how interesting your blog is, if the writing in your book is mediocre, word will get around and all the work you’ve put into your blog will be wasted.
- Consider what your ideal reader is like. What will that reader be interested in? What needs and wants will that reader have? How can you meet those requirements? How does that match up with the book(s) and/or other writing you want to promote?
- If you are not sure about exactly what your readers would like from your blog, consider starting your blog based on your book(s), and ask people to give you feedback that will help you meet their needs and interests, both in the blog, and in your upcoming works.
- If you are already published, contact any readers you know of, and ask them for feedback as well. Talk to readers at bookstore signings and other marketing you already do. Tell them you’d like to start a blog; ask for their ideas; and if possible get their email addresses so you can contact them when the blog is up, and even sign them up for an email newsletter from your blog. Possibly tuck a little questionnaire in your books before selling them, and ask readers to fill it in and snail mail it to you; or to email their answers. You might offer a discount on your next book (ordered from your blog) in return for their help.
Ideas for your posts:
- News and developments related to your books and to your niche topic.
- Graphics (pictures, videos, graphs, etc) that illustrate and illuminate your genre, and the theme and/or storyline of your book(s).
- Speaking engagements and other off-line activities you are involved in, related to your writing.
- Warning: some authors find writing about their work(s) in progress saps their creativity. If that is the case for you, avoid talking too much about your upcoming works, and instead write about personal matters, such as your lifestyle and your passions, interests, and values that your readers would find interesting.
- Build interest with contests (for example, a title contest) or polls, etc.
- Provide useful up-to-date information about the publishing process, writing tips, book reviews, resources for authors, and so forth. Many readers dream that they will someday write a novel, or a book of poetry or short stories, or a work of non-fiction. Help them in their quest by providing useful information; demonstrate through your own blog; and they’ll appreciate you, and very likely buy your book and/or other products.
- Make your blog a great source of information on the genre or topic you write in.
- Study other author blogs. What do you like? What don’t you like? Which blogs attract a large readership? Why? What are other author bloggers doing that you could try – along with adding your own creative twist?
- Within your chosen niche, establish perhaps 4 to 8 categories that have special appeal to your target audience. Also include special features that most other blogs do not include, but would really suit your audience. (This “blog for total beginners” that you are reading includes, for example, topics of special interest for authors and for seniors, and especially helpful “beginner” topics like the glossary; and simple, detailed “how-to” information for total beginners who don’t have any blogging background).
- Choose a domain name that represents your book or your book topic.
- Choose colors for your blog that go well with the pictures of your book cover that you will post.
- Include testimonials about your book. Post pictures of the people writing the testimonials so your readers will relate to them as real people.
- If your book is excellent, but your blog is sloppy, people will assume from your blog that you are not a worthwhile author. Make sure all your writing, wherever you do it, is excellent.
- Also avoid “hyping” on your blog. People are sick and tired of hype and recognize it immediately. They’ll leave your site, and they won’t read your books.
- Use RSS feeds and email newsletters, as well as Facebook pages and other social media to help build your readership. Provide special free products that only your newsletter subscribers can get. Make your readers feel special and valued.
Question of the day: Have you decided on a niche for your author blog? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Tip of the day: Remember that your blog is just one aspect of marketing your books. As your blog assists in your other marketing methods, so use other marketing methods to assist in growing your blog. Tell your readers about it whenever you get the chance, put a link and description in the next printing of your book, add your blog address to your author bio wherever you post it, comment on other blogs (using your blog address as part of your commenter identification), put links to interesting posts in your Facebook and twitter posts, and so on.
Put it into action: Have you decided on your author blog niche? Great! Then get busy and get your blog started. Check out our post on resources on the mechanics of how to set up your blog. And be sure to list your blog address in the comments below so we can check it out too.