Whether you love writing your blog posts or only do them when your guilty conscience prods you, it's hard to deny the effect a good author's blog has on book sales. Getting readers invested in your life and words outside of books is one of the best ways to guarantee future sales. Fans of your author blog are a built-in book audience, but they're often a fickle sort. Stick to the unwritten rules and they'll keep coming back month after month. Breaks the rules, and they'll be dropping out in droves, in search of someone else to read. The ways of self-sabotage are many, and can seem like tiny details when you commit them. For example:
Too Many Blogs
Your readers want to follow you, not flip from page to page to find out interesting details. Like to try different coffee blends while shopping for shoes in exotic locations used as backgrounds for your books? That's three audiences, and you'll never do justice to all of them. Pick one and run with it, and skip posting about anything else.
Not Enough Links
Got an author website? A page on Author Central to sell your Kindle books? Odds are you've got one or both, but if you don't link to them in your blog, curious readers will never be able to take advantage of easy one-click shopping impulses. Always make it easy for them to buy.
Skipping the Bio
You might think it doesn't matter if you've got kids in college, you live on the side of a mountain, or your childhood best friend grew up to be a famous comedian, but these are the details your true fans delight in. Let them see you as a person, not just a disembodied voice that kicks out a new book once in a while.
Yes, your blog is a subtle way to earn fans, not a blatant marketing attempt, but you've still got to let them know how to find your books. You don't have to plaster big neon ads all over your blog, but you do need to add a small link so readers can look at your book catalog.
Not Allowing Comments
Comments on a blog are your readers' way to hold a conversation with you and with other fans. The more they can talk about your work, the more emotionally invested they'll feel. They're participating, not simply being told things. This is crucial for keeping readers coming back.
It doesn't matter if you blog twice a week or once a month. What does matter is for you to set down a schedule and stick to it, no matter what. In fact, write some blog posts ahead of time and get them ready to post, just in case life gets in the way of you writing the next regular column.
No Social Media Links
The power of social media surpasses almost all other marketing venues, so of course you're using at least one spot to promote your books. You don't have to spend hours a day adding tweets and posts, but add a link to your blog that leads to your Facebook page, Twitter page, or whatever social media spots you regularly participate in.
Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!