Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Blog Tours

by Darke Conteur

There is a pile of new authors coming out of the woodwork on a daily basism, all clawing and scratching to get your attention. Some of their self-promotion is good, and some, well, let's just say it isn't and leave it at that. Granted, what works for one person doesn't always work for another, and if you don't feel comfortable doing something others say worked for them, then fine! That's them, not you.

I can think of one good idea to promote oneself—a blog tour.

When I first started talking about it, I had a lot of people ask me what it was. Seems it's a new thing, but I'm seeing more and more authors doing it. Think of it as a virtual book tour, and I think they're great. Here are a few things I learned as I was planning mine.

1. What kind of tour do you want to do?
There are a number of ways you can go about this: author interviews, character interviews, post about what your book is about, or the genre, or a mixture of all three. I'm doing a character interview tour, but because Ebook Endeavours is about marketing, Lindsay asked me to do a post along that line. Be prepared for sudden changes in the lineup. Not everyone may want an in-depth analysis of your genre.

2. How many 'stops' should you make?
I've seen some authors talk about doing thirty to fifty posts on one tour. That's a lot! Might I suggest a number a little more manageable, say ten to twenty? Especially if this is your first tour. My only concern with doing high-number tours is that after a while you may run out of things to talk about. It's always good to have a fresh post for each blog. It entices the reader to keep an eye out for your next post, and in the end, isn't that what the tour is about? Gathering interest in our work?

3. Who should I ask?
This is completely up to you. Right now, there aren't that many people other than authors/writers who would host a blog tour. This is still a new marketing tool, but I'm sure as it gains more in popularity, more options will become available.

4. Offer to return the favour.
Karma, my friends, is a good thing. With each blog tour stop you make, you're exposing your work to new and potential followers, but this isn't just a one-way street. Offering to host blog tours will bring in more potential followers, and if they like what they see, they may stick around.

5. Keep up with comments.
If you're hosting a blog tour, might I suggest that you inform the guest blogger of any comments on their post. This will allow the guest blogger to reply in a timely fashion.

Alas, my time has come to an end. Have you done a blog tour? How did you like it? Did it work for you? I'm always looking for ways to improve and if you have a suggestion, we'd love to hear it!


Ruth Cardello said...

I'm really interested in this topic. I haven't done a blog tour, just guest blog posts. I've seen them. I like the idea of them, but they seem like a lot of work.

Has anyone done one and had a bump in sales?

Sophie Perinot said...

There are a number of blog-tour organizers out there, some with expertise and connections in particular genres. I am using "Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours." They came highly recommended by several established authors and I am a fan of the owner's (Amy's) book blog. I suppose I could have organized a tour myself, but I am trying to spend as much time as possible writing my next book.

Christopher Hudson said...

Hmmm ... a virtual book tour ... and I wouldn't have to put on hard shoes and leave the house?

Jemi Fraser said...

I've hosted a few people doing their virtual blog tours. I don't know the answer to Ruth's sales question though. In the more successful tours I've seen, the author has made each stop unique and tailored a little to each blog's audience. I think they're fun. :)

Connie Arnold said...

I've done a couple of blog tours. They are a lot of work to set up and get your posts ready for the ones you do, but it really is fun to visit different blogs and "meet" new people. It brings good awareness of you and your book, but it's hard to judge how effective blog tours are for sales. It seems like too many stops make people lose interest and it gets harder to be creative and come up with something new.