The power of blogs…

The potential of blogs for the book author who is struggling to grow a readership is simply staggering. So far in the news, it’s been more a case of bloggers being catapulted into the role of book author, but the reverse shows equal promise of becoming the next big thing for self publishing authors. Book marketing and publicity is all about access; an interesting, well run, and frequently updated blog can achieve an audience of immense proportions for your material, and for little or no financial investment.

Blogging can be thought of as a continuous conversation of sorts, a conversation that propagates throughout the Internet by word of mouth in the form of links or emails between interested readers. What separates it from the static web pages we’re used to seeing, is an informal, more intimate exchange of dialog that creates a sense of community – only this community isn’t simply one website, but an amalgamation of several linked together as lists of links to other blogs. These lists are called blogrolls, and are the life-blood of the successful blog. But you can actually think of them as recommendations.

Link by cherished link, some bloggers have developed readerships numbering in the millions – becoming celebrities of sorts within the blogosphere, and even transcending the Internet into mainstream media. But the more obscure niches are finding an audience as well – which is the real power of blogs, and a source of optimism for the modern day author-entrepreneur.

It’s now possible for a successful title to never see the light of day in a brick-and-mortar bookstore.

Combined with print-on-demand and/or eBook technology, it’s now possible to write, edit, design, print, market, and distribute a book entirely electronically – completely on a do-it-yourself basis. Any of the technical steps you don’t care to tackle can be outsourced to the burgeoning number of freelance professionals online. Your book can readily incorporate the production values normally associated with name-brand publishers, and rival in quality most of what can be found on the shelves at your local Barnes & Noble.

If you consider the evolving online buying habits of consumers, your book needn’t ever see the light of day in a brick-and-mortar bookstore to be successful. Chris Anderson wrote in his article The Long Tail:

“The average Barnes & Noble carries 130,000 titles. Yet more than half of Amazon’s book sales come from outside its top 130,000 titles. Consider the implication: If the Amazon statistics are any guide, the market for books that are not even sold in the average bookstore is larger than the market for those that are.”