What sort of blog post should an author make?John Locke in his book How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months! suggested that the best method an author could use to use blogging to promote a book was not to write about the book itself but to produce a blog post designed to go viral and which contains subtle links which encourage the reader to find out about your book. Although John is currently in 'author disgrace' over the paid for reviews issue, he's spot on with his blogging technique.
John Locke's famous blog post
My attempt at a John Locke style postI had a go at writing a John Locke type blog post myself. Here's what I came up with:
Bio-terrorism and the cure for the common cold
How to catch a coldEveryone knows how easy it is to catch a cold but there are some things about the process that aren't common knowledge. Let's try an experiment. While you read this don't touch your eyes!
So now you have the cold virus on your finger. Not a big problem, it's unlikely to get through the skin on your finger. Of course you could infect yourself with a cold by now eating something.
Touched or want to touch your eyes yet?
As you've probably found out by now, we touch our eyes all the time and as soon as you do, that virus finds a warm, moist very thin membrane and promptly infects you. Ever noticed how a cold can make your eyes sore?
Deliberately spreading contagionNow imagine a terrorist intent on using biological warfare. A good way to spread contagion would be to spread their substance on anything which people frequently touch. Lift buttons, push plates on doors, door handles, shopping cart handles, magazines in a shop, newspapers and books in a library. Money! Forget the idea of sending letters. There are a huge number of ways of spreading any virus using things we touch.
Why there's no cure or vaccineNow imagine a genetic researcher who has made a fantastic discovery. He/she has come up with a genetic fix which will forever stop people from catching the common cold.
Would you buy it assuming it's 100% safe and costs little? Of course you would!
So if this had been produced do you think you would get the opportunity? Frankly you would have as much chance as a celluloid cat being chased by an asbestos dog through the fires of Hell!
"Why?" I hear you ask. "If it was safe why wouldn't it be available?"
The answer is simple. The people who would be marketing this are the very people who make a fortune every year by selling cold remedies. Are they ever going to willingly give up those billions of dollars of regular income?
That's why there are really no serious research projects into curing or preventing the common cold. None of the so called remedies actually cure a cold. If you buy them you might, if you are lucky, get some slight relief from the symptoms ...and you can get that effect with a simple home remedy. Here's the recipe:
A home remedyIn a tall glass:
- add 2 fingers depth whiskey (cheap stuff)
- add 2 fingers depth honey
- add 2 fingers depth lemon juice
- Fill the glass with hot water, stir well and drink.
- Go to bed with a good book and relax or sleep it off.
Now I know what some of you are going to say. "I don't like whiskey," but believe me - this tastes nothing like it. It tastes good, relieves a sore throat, relieves congestion and after three of them you won't care about the cold!
OK - free advice over; now let's consider something else.
What bio-terrorism has to do with a cure
|Get it at Amazon http://smarturl.it/avi|
The researcher knows the people of the world want the cure though. Does that researcher have the right to deny them it? Should they risk the wrath of the drug companies to make it available?
I think you'll find that the researcher would adopt the bio-terrorist tactics to release his/her product.
Sooner or later some well meaning person will do this!
So how did my post do?Well I followed the John Locke formula and wrote a post which replaced the common to all factor of 'Mum' with 'Cold' - something we've all gone through the misery of. Like John I made a subtle reference to being an author and didn't over emphasise 'the book'. I used a buzzword 'Bio-terrorism' instead of 'Joe Paterno' which played on media fear factor rather than hero worship. I even got some well known authors, including John Locke, adding comments - which I responded to. You can see the original post and comments here. My post didn't go viral however. John Locke's Joe Paterno post had 100s of comments and mine had 10. Where I failed was in promoting the blog.
- I failed to seek out people posting about having a cold or bio-terrorism
- I failed to use Twitter effectively. At the time John made his post he had 1000s of Twitter followers whereas I was new to Twitter, had only 200 followers and didn't know about hashtags or searching Twitter.
- I didn't know about Triberr either and wasted the opportunity to have it promoted there.
- My blog was hosted at blogspot rather than at my own domain and in the original post I didn't have links to my site.
In two areas my blog post was better than John's though.
- I included a graphic. People like pictures - they are attention grabbers. Use relevant pictures!
- I used lots of sub-headings. Subheadings allow the reader to quickly skim an article to see if it's what they are really interested in without having to read the whole thing.
What you as an author should do
- Write about a blog subject which you know well and which you feel others should know about.
- Don't write 'Buy my book' blog posts. Reading those is as popular as sitting down to watch just the adverts on TV.
- Include subtle references to your author craft and books. Give the reader the opportunity to find out more if they wish.
- Use pictures and break your blog down with subheadings.
- Unless you have a massive blog following already, you are probably wasting your time if you don't have a good understanding of how to use Twitter and Triberr to promote your posts.
- Seek out those who have blogged, discussed and tweeted about similar subjects and make them aware of the link to your post. Don't be afraid of posting to other authors. Authors are usually prolific readers - I read 64 books last year just on my Kindle.
- Your aim is for the post to go viral!
- Try and finish your blog post with a question. One which your readers will feel inclined to answer in the comments. Of course I didn't do that in my post. What do you think a good question to end on would have been?