Your Blog is the Heartbeat of Your Author Platform

Harry the Heart by Kev Howlett

Once upon a time, we didn’t have social media or a website to get our message out into the world. Now there are so many ways that we can connect with our readers. But many wonder why we bother with an author platform if it doesn’t result in direct sales?

The idea of an author platform is simply this: to connect with your reader. The more content you put out there, the more you will provide value and be seen as a thought leader by your followers. This takes time and needs to be part of your regular activity online. It means that, over time, you build a fan base. Each time you bring out a new book, this fan base is ready and waiting to engage with it.

A blog is more than just updating your fan base about what’s happening with your brand (you are your brand by the way, your book is your product). This is where you show them that you are devoted to what you do and what you write. The more your reader sees you actively engaging with an audience, and that you have views about what you’re passionate about, they will take more notice.

Your blog can feature your thoughts and ideas around the topics that you are passionate about and that can be linked to what you’re writing. Being consistent with this activity shows that you are a professional and on a mission to share your expertise, not just some hack writer out to make a million bucks. And I promise you, many people out there are writing what they think are best sellers without actually putting in the hours it takes to make the writing the best it can be.

Your website should be the heart of your platform because that is the only place you have total control over. Unlike social media that changes the rules every week, your website is actually real estate that you can use in your own way.

From a branding perspective, you should be looking to your website to showcase you and your book. By consistently updating your website (blogging), you improve the search engine rankings because of new content. Search engine optimization (SEO) changes the algorithms often, so any way you can keep up with that, the better because websites that are regularly updated with new content see a boost to their rankings.

So keep this in mind even if you think that you only have three people reading your blog. You are creating content and keeping your website fresh. It keeps you ‘on the job’ of writing and helps people find you in Google. It doesn’t have to be an onerous undertaking. You can write a 500-word blog in under an hour and can blog every other week. Tell people about your blog, share it on social media. It all helps build your following.

Blaise the book chick

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The Beauty of Silence

Reflection by Blaise van Hecke

I just spent a week in Bali to reunite with family members from Tokyo and Australia and to meet my youngest nephew. Without realising it, we booked this week during the Nyepi holiday. While a little inconvenient to have this during our one week of family time, it was in fact a wonderful experience.

Nyepi is the Balinese Day of Silence or their New Year. At around lunchtime the day before, the Balinese people are itching to finish work and get home to start their holiday. The night is full of colour, noise and ceremony to send the demons out to sea. You can feel the party atmosphere everywhere you turn.

To make sure that the demons don’t find their way back, Bali is as silent and dark as possible the next day. So Bali shuts down. This is quite a feat when you know how much of a vibrant, bustling place it is from day to day. So from six on Nyepi morning, until the following morning at six the idea is that you have a day of silence and reflection. This includes no electronics, no cooking, no lights. The airport is closed. The TV stations are closed.

When we woke on Nyepi, the front of our resort was blocked from the street with a tarpaulin so that no one could see out or in. It was very tempting to peek through a gap to see the street empty of cars and people, or to see if it was some kind of joke on the tourists.

As tourists, there were some allowances. The kitchen did make us food to a limited menu. So we didn’t need to starve. The staff were playful and couldn’t wait until dark so that we didn’t ask for anything else. I heard whispers that they were going to swim in the pool.

Did I spend the day in silence? Not totally because I had other family staying at the same place. But I did spend some time reading by the pool and many hours in my room writing. It was nice to be with my own thoughts. It’s always interesting that the writing becomes much easier when you have that space to think. I managed to tackle parts of my current project that had been slow moving.

It’s not possible to be in total silence. When I go to the bush, there is a surprising amount of noise from the river, birds, wind in the trees. Even during Nyepi you could hear dogs barking on the streets. But it is possible to create space around us by removing ourselves from the constant chatter of the world by getting off our phones, turning off the TV and finding a place to simply think. It’s very important for our creativity.

Blaise the book chick

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