Happy Leap Day and Monday!
As you know, my first blog tour begins tomorrow with my first tour stop at Quanie Talks Writing. And in planning my own tour, here are a few things I’ve learned along the way. But first let’s get into why you should do a blog tour as opposed to a book tour.
They’re both great ways to find and grow an audience. But at a book tour you’re doing just that in person. You can touch, see, hear, and smell your audience and vice versa. Yet doing a book tour requires travel and hotel expenses (if you’re doing tours in one or more states). Don’t forget lugging around your books too.
If you have the budget to do a book tour in and outside your community, then go ahead. But if you’re like me and don’t have the necessary funds, then a blog tour is right up your alley.
So here are some steps I’ve learned from being a tour host myself. From preparing my own tour, research and asking advice from others. And definitely not in order:
- Set a tour date. It can be a week or two weeks. It can be longer if you wish it. But set your tour date at least 6-8 weeks away. My tour is from March to April because as a poetess I want to take advantage of Women’s History Month in March. And National Poetry Month in April. And I’ve been planning my blog tour since December/January.
- Get the word out. Use your social media accounts to let your followers know you’re doing a tour.
- Call to action. This is part 2 of getting the word out. Ask across social media for bloggers who’d like to take part as tour hosts. You can use hashtags like #bookblogger and #bloggerswanted.
- Don’t be afraid to ask. Do you have blogger friends who you’ve guest blogged or did a tour stop on your blog? Then ask if they’d like to take part.
- Book bloggers are your friends. Book bloggers are book lovers to the core. And would love to receive a book for review. Reach out to them. Follow their guidelines about their reviewing process and reading preference. And hope for the best. Don’t worry about getting a negative review. After all bad publicity is better than no publicity.
- Search for bloggers on Google. And or book blogger directory sites like BookBloggerList.com. Refer to 5)
- Create a Thunderclap. You alone spreading the word about your book is like a drop in a bucket. But if you have a large following on social media, use thunderclap and mass-share your message for a huge splash. You can learn more about Thunderclap and register here.
- Do a giveaway. People generally love the chance to win something. Get an account on Rafflecopter, create your giveaway and set your incentives to win. eg Tweet about the giveaway, sign up to a newsletter, like your FB page, follow you on Twitter, etc. You can give away gift cards, book memorabilia like bookmarks, magnets, mugs, etc. Or free copies of your book. You can also do an Amazon giveaway. Learn more about it here. See 9)
- Optimize Goodreads. If you have a Goodreads author page, then do a Goodreads giveaway. Why? Refer to 8). Goodreads is a social networking site for book lovers. So offer readers free autographed copies of your book for example. And don’t forget to read and follow Goodreads’ giveaway terms and conditions.
- Offer discounts. People also generally like to buy something at reduced prices. If you’re on Smashwords, you can generate a coupon with an expiry date to offer readers to use at checkout. Unfortunately, you’ll have to manually reduced the price of your book on Amazon. And remember to revert it back to its original price. Yet, there’s a way set up an Amazon discount through your eCreate store. But there is no expiry date. So you’ll have to manually remove the discount code at a later date. Here’s how.
Alright, now that you’ve gotten all the pre-planning out of the way the next step is to set everything up. Here’s how:
- Create a Google docs sign up form. This makes it easier for bloggers to choose what they’d like to do. Plus the data is automatically saved in a responses sheet for you to review. See 3) for more.
- Notify your blog tour hosts. Send notifications and reminders to your tour hosts of their tour dates. And about what they’ll be doing, whether it’s a review, cover reveal, guest post, interview, etc.
- Track your tour. Create a spreadsheet to track what you and your tour hosts are doing as part of your book promotion. My own spreadsheet has four separate tab lists. It lets me know how many blogs I’m doing guest blogs on (14), cover reveals (3), interviews (1) and reviews (2) so far. Even created an event calendar. So I can track how many blogs I’ll be stopping by and on which days. I’ve planned it so the tour dates are spread out enough between each other. It makes it easier to visit everyone, reply to comments and comment back on other blogs.
- Organize and send your materials. Make sure you have all your materials, banners, book images and guest posts. And send them to your tour hosts for them to use as they like. Don’t forget to send your giveaway embed code or links. FYI the Rafflecopter embed code doesn’t work well for WordPress sites so also send the Rafflecopter URL. Email everything about three days to a week or more before their scheduled tour date. If they’re reviewing your book, mail the book or email the pdf/epub/mobi 3-4 weeks before their scheduled tour date.
- Engage, engage, engage. Visit your host blogs’, reply to comments and don’t just try to sell your book. Yes, it’s a book promotion. But the most important part of the blog tour is forming connections. So have fun and engage, engage, engage.
The blog tour is finally over. Now what? Well, here’s what you can do:
- Write a post about your experience. You can talk about your boost in sales or audience. Share which was your favorite part of the tour. Or thank your tour hosts. See 2).
- Notify your winners on your blog and or other social media. Don’t forget to give a special thanks to all the people who Tweeted about the giveaway. And or shared it on FB and commented to your posts.
- Contact your winner(s) via email. Let them know what they won and thank them again for participating. Confirm where to send their prize(s). And mail or email it to them 2-4 weeks after the end of the tour date.
Whew, that’s a lot and I haven’t even touched on other things you can do. For example, listing your giveaway on giveaway directories. Promoting the tour and giveaway on Facebook or Twitter through your header images. Or by promoting it with a Facebook or Twitter ad. But as you can see, running your own blog tour requires planning ahead. From the beginning to the end.
There are no set rules to run a blog tour which leaves it open to do something a little different. Some authors do one day cover reveals to follow up with a book release blitz a month later. So it’s really up to you how you want to organize your blog tour.
Is there anything else I’ve left out? Ever taken part in a book tour? Did you plan your own tour? Or used a blog tour site like Sage’s Blog Tours and purchased a tour package? Have you done a book tour at an actual venue? How did it go?
Here’s a few links about virtual tours as well as a look into brick and mortar book tours:
PS I’m still looking for at least 6 tour hosts for the Can You Catch My Flow? blog tour for April.
If you’re not busy doing the A to Z Challenge. Or the National Poetry Month 30 poems in 30 days Challenge. And would like to take part, click the banner below to the sign up form. Looking forward to hearing from you! 😀
And don’t forget to visit my blog and stop by the other blogs during the tour. Just visit the blog tour schedule link.
PSS And as promised, here’s the cover reveal for Can You Catch My Flow?, now available in paperback. In celebration, I went and made a special cover reveal video reviewing the changes the poetry chapbook went through to get here today. Enjoy!
Did you know that it was once titled “Flow: A Journey of the Style, Personality and Belief of One and Many”? Quite a mouthful, huh?
And don’t forget to visit my first tour stop on Quanie Talks Writing!
- Received another rejection from The Lives You Touch Journal, Mother Always Writes and Duende magazine.
- Still waiting for a reply on my submissions to Avatar Review, Gemini Magazine and the Women National Book Association.
- Edited and had my “Doves, Pigeons and Ravens” short critiqued on Scribophile. I’m revising it again so it won’t be ready for the Jan/Feb Glimmer Train Emerging Writers Short Contest. But will have it ready for the next one and to other short story contests as well.
- After staring at a blank page for long periods of time, I’ve gotten back into my contemporary romance manuscript “Dreaming of You.” Oh boy, does Sharon makes a mess of things. And like Murphy’s law, anything that’s bound to go wrong, will go wrong. And will get worse.
- Had a dream last week that inspired a new story idea that I’ve outlined starring racer Seneca Naylor (MC). Still working on the the title of the story and male lead character. Yet watching the Fast Furious movies aren’t enough to learn more about cars. So if anyone has an interest and is knowledgeable in engineering, mechanics, Nascar and F1 racing, will you let me pick your brain?
- March Madness begins tomorrow. As does my blog tour and will spend my time drafting poems like crazy to complete Triplicity.
- Any other drafts I’ll be working on is currently undecided. But I’ll just work on whichever story the wind blows me to. More than likely, I will resume revising Nadia the Fire Witch and uploading it on Wattpad. “The Soul Traveler” and “Dreaming of You” will marinate until I come back to it with fresh eyes in the summer.