Blogging Doesn’t Sell Books

I know this isn’t news to most of you. Cause you’re a blogger. And a writer/author, whatever you want to call yourself. And your book isn’t selling as well as you’d hoped. And the thing about this is that it is not only self-published authors who face this problem. You always see posts about author platforms on social media to help sell books or even get a publishing deal, but let’s take a step back.

Author platforms are great. But are authors selling more books because they follow 50k people on Twitter and have 45k followers? I think not. Are authors selling more books because they have 25k followers on their blog? Perhaps. But how many authors have that kind of following on WordPress or Blogger? I know A LOT of bloggers. If I’m just looking at book/writer blogs that I know of, I’m only thinking of a handful who even have a larger following than I do. And I’m just barely over 2,000.

Of course, a blog and Twitter aren’t the only social media sites out there for authors to use. Facebook is still used by a number of my favorite authors. And then of course YouTube. But just about every social media site is difficult to find an audience, especially for authors. I’m certain that my blog could grow exponentially faster if I wanted to write about news or pop culture or music or movies, but I don’t. I write about books. I write about writing.

Blogs seem like the obvious choice for authors to start their platforms, but selling books is difficult for everyone who doesn’t have a household name. Which is like 99 percent of us.

PS: If you’re going to point out one or two or ten bloggers you know who are selling a lot of books, then that’s nice. Except for the fact that there are literally thousands of others out there who aren’t. Cause blogs just don’t sell books like one might expect.

I have the perfect question for this post. If I were to release a book today, how many of you would seriously consider buying it? I’ll even do my first ever poll to make it easier.

13 thoughts on “Blogging Doesn’t Sell Books

  1. I agree and disagree to a point. I think blogs are mostly for forming relationships with other writers and sharing ideas, best practices, etc.

    Now, as a fantasy reader, I have bought a dozen or more books that I saw on my blog reader because A) they were fantasy and B) the covers were pretty or C) I knew the author/followed them and assumed I would like their book. Was I happy with all of these purchases . . . not always, but I was influenced to buy/at least check out the product page because I saw that it was there. I don’t seek out books on amazon often–that is, until I’m already on the page. So if I see an interesting book on Twitter or WordPress I’ll follow the link. Then I keep shopping. This is just me though. Is anyone else like that?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Okay. Let’s suppose you do nothing at all,which is actually what most writers do, by the way. Suppose you never do a blog or never go on Facebook and never venture to Twitter and your name is Joe Piddle. Who knows Joe Piddle? Who knows Joe Piddle wrote a book, So no one knows so how in the world, even it they did want to buy Joe’s book, are they going to find it? Easy you say. All they have to do is go on Amazon and, blah, blah, blah. Suppose they published at Nook Press… but that would be too easy. I think the biggest question is Why? What gives a reader any incentive to buy Joe’s book when there are hundreds of thousands of books available? When I say hundreds of thousands here I’m being very conservative–the number is actually in the millions. The number is so huge that even if a reader wanted to read them all it would take a hundred life times to do it.

    The second question is if you have 25k rollowers on Twitter, are the all readers? Do you know who they are? Are they writers who are also hawking their book? Who are they. Then there’s the fact that you are so busy doing other things you really don’t have time to be on Twitter. The same applies to Facebook. Who are those thousands of friends you have there? Are they friends or are they just numbers?

    Before you can market any product effectively (a book is product) you have to know your audience. Do you know your audience? Do you know where to find them? Can you market to them directly? If your sales are low, then you’re not doing what you should be doing–whatever it is. Your books won’t fly off the shelf unless someone knows where the shelf is.

    Liked by 5 people

    • I really like where you went with this. It’s absolutely true that authors need to know their audience intimately and what their potential readers love, enjoy, fear, aspire to… To sell books through your blog you need to understand content marketing.

      In any case, doing something is better than doing nothing, but having a strategy is even better.


  3. I’ve always viewed my blog as an indirect way to market. I don’t count on it to generate sales and exposure, but I do count on it to generate relevant content to be shared through other social media channels. I can’t say that it’s generated any sales at all, but I still enjoy the act of sharing my writing.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I have found some new authors from their blogs. But I typically read their blogs for over a year before buying any of their books. So I wouldn’t rule out blogging as a tool for selling, even if that’s not the overall goal. I still swear by old fashioned word of mouth. Find a few people who read and liked your work, and have them pimp you out to their friends. My husband talks to his coworkers about my work and a few of them bought copies; one even asked me to speak at her church. You never know who might know someone who knows someone, which can lead to other interested readers. Never rule anything out.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I follow many writers on WP and such, but watching their blog posts doesn’t necessarily make me want to rush out and buy their books. I read your first book and enjoyed it, so chances are good I’ll read your next one. But reading peoples’ posts don’t inspire me to get up and go grab the closest copy. When I feel like getting their book, I will.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes, writing blog posts probably doesn’t lead directly to sales, but it does help build relationships with other writers and some readers. I must admit I followed the conventional wisdom that ‘authors must blog’ to boost sales, but over the years my motivation has changed. I blog because I enjoy it. It’s more exercise for the writing muscle and I enjoy the challenge to keep coming up with posts and I also enjoy the interactions with my blog readers, as opposed to my book readers. I agree with the comments made by Beth and phantomwriter143 here and Mike’s made me smile – sounds like a plan!

    Thanks John for this insightful post.


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