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Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Wendy S. Marcus: Planning A Blog Tour

As part of my promotion for my debut Harlequin Medical Romance, WHEN ONE NIGHT ISN’T ENOUGH, presently available at Amazon UK, and Mills and Boon UK, and Mills and Boon Aus., and coming to the U.S. in July 2011, I have embarked on a twenty-five stop blog tour from May through July. And I’m continuing to add stops into August.

Before getting started, I contacted some author friends to find out their experiences with blog tours. Below I will share some of their advice to me as well as advice I’ve come up with from my personal experiences.

1) Research blogs before you contact the blog owner and request to guest blog. How much traffic does the blog get? Are certain days busier than others? Some blogs run daily topics. Figure out which are the most popular and try to schedule for that day. If you write contemporary don’t target blogs focused on paranormal. Where is the blog based? If your book is only available in the U.S. you may want to avoid blogs from other countries – unless U.S. readers frequent the blog. You can figure this out my clicking on the links of people who comment to see where they’re from.

2) Depending on the size of your blog tour and the time you have available consider getting help. Since my book has international release dates I got in touch with my friend, fellow writer Nas Dean http://nas-dean.blogspot.com/ who agreed to help me set up some stops at sites I was not familiar with.

3) Stay organized. Create a blog tour folder to keep track of e-mails and contact information for each planned blog visit. You will need this information when it’s time to send in your article/interview or if you have questions.

4) Create a mail folder or Word folder to save interview questions as they come in. Sometimes blog hostesses will send out the questions with your confirmation, sometimes they will send them closer to the date of your visit, and sometimes you will need to ask for them. It’s best to have all the questions saved in one folder so you don’t have to go looking for them when you’re ready to complete the interview.

5) Create a Word folder for your completed interviews/articles. (Can be combined with the folder above.) This makes it easier when it’s time to send out your completed posts.

6) Use a calendar to track all your scheduled stops so you remember to show up and interact with blog visitors. Several authors I’ve spoken with told me of instances where they sent in a blog post in advance then completely forgot to visit the blog on the day it was up for comment.

7) Post a list of each stop on your blog tour, along with the link, on your website.

8) Print out the above list and identify what you need to do for each visit ie. an interview, an article, specific topics the hostess wants covered, word counts – if indicated, and due dates. Some hostesses like posts well in advance. For others, the week before is fine.

9) If you are scheduled to write an article, I suggest visiting your scheduled blog stop beforehand to read through some recent posts to get a feel for the topics discussed ie. educational vs. entertaining, the audience ie. readers vs. writers, and the tone ie. serious vs. funny.

10) On the day of each blog stop announce where your blogging on any loops you follow that allow promo as well as on your Facebook page and Twitter.

11) If you’ll be giving away a copy of your book at each stop, create a system for tracking the winners to include: The winner’s name. Notifying the blog hostess of the winner. Obtaining the winner’s mailing address. Mailing out the book. If you’re only willing to mail books within a certain area, make sure this is stated in your post.

12) Create a folder with a short bio, the jpegs of your promo picture and book cover(s) and all the links you will be adding to your post ie. links to your Facebook page, Twitter profile, Goodreads page, website and or blog, and all the places your book is available for purchase. Believe me, this is a real timesaver.

13) This may be last but it is the most important piece of advice I can give you. Do not over-extend yourself. When planning your blog tour be sure to take into account things like deadlines for your next book, school vacations – if you have children, and other personal responsibilities. In order to do a good job, each post/interview will take you at least 1-2 hours to complete. Remember, you want to be entertaining. You want people to like you and buy your book. You do not want your post to come off rushed. And on post day you want to have time to respond to each comment. Depending on the size of the blog, the number of comments, and the conversations you get going, this can be quite time consuming.

To give you a personal example of how important #13 is let me share this: I started my blog tour on May 9th. I have 25 stops through July 25th. The deadline for my next book is August 1st. So, during the three months of my 25 stop blog tour, in which I must write/complete 25 articles/interviews, I must also write my next book, complete my author adjustments for my prior book, attend my daughter’s eighth grade graduation – and plan/prepare for the subsequent party, host my daughter’s slumber party for her birthday, accompany my son on random college visits, enjoy the company of my oldest daughter who will be home from college for two weeks, attend weekly soccer games so I don’t appear to be a disinterested mother, nag my children to study for their final exams, get my youngest daughter packed up and transported to sleep away camp, and attend RWA national in NYC for 6 days.

Please file all that under DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU!

So what do you think? If you’re a writer who has already done on a blog tour do you have anything to add? If you’re planning a blog tour, do you have any questions? I’ll do my best to help. And hopefully Nas will stop by and comment as well.

One lucky commenter will win a copy of the 2in1 UK edition of my debut Harlequin Medical Romance, WHEN ONE NIGHT ISN’T ENOUGH – the winner to be plucked from my trusty margarine bowl of names by my beautiful daughter.

Visit my website: http://WendySMarcus.com
Visit me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Wendy-S-Marcus-Author-Page/184507031577429
Visit me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/WendySMarcus
Visit me on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4823224.Wendy_S_Marcus

45 comments:

marybelle said...

As a reader I LOVE blog tours or book tours too for that matter. The authors and books you find along the way in a blog tour makes it like Christmas. My reading list basically implodes with choice.

scarlet wilson said...

Awww! Well done Wendy! You make the rest of us sounds like slackers! Hope you get lots of comments today!

host said...

As a reader I think blog tours are great. Through book tours I found about many new authors and great books.
Good luck with your tour!

Nas Dean said...

Hi Wendy,

You did awesome job, planning a 25 Stop Blog Tour! And you're still half-way through only. Kudos to you. And we learnt something new at each stop. Everywhere it was a fresh post.

And the giveaways are fantastic. Thanks for that, as readers following you all over are being rewarded with a 2in 1 Harlequin Medical, your debut release, WHEN ONE NIGHT ISN'T ENOUGH! Sigh, what a sexy title!

And thanks for the mention, but you did it yourslf, my friend!

Wish you mega success!

Serena said...

Hi Wendy,
You have some great advice here! And Nas's organization of your blog tour has been wonderful I htink it's amazing how you can come up with a new topic at each blog too. And lucky me won your book which arrived today! YAY! Thanks so much! Will post pics to my Facebook page soon.
Hugs

Laurie G said...

I'm in awe of your organizational skill!

Good luck with your blog tour. I hope you connect with a lot of new readers like me.

Many years ago, before children I was an RN. I'd love to read your 2/1 Harlequin Medical line release. I too like the title When One Night Isn't Enough.

Has your son chosen a college to attend?

Jennifer Shirk said...

GREAT advice, Wendy!
Thanks for the tip and looking forward to your new book. :-)

Wendy S Marcus said...

Hi Marybelle!
I love blog tours, too. It's so nice to connect with authors I wouldn't have met otherwise and to be exposed to books I may have otherwise overlooked.

Thanks for visitng me on MY blog tour!!!

Wendy S Marcus said...

Hi Scarlet!
We all have busy schedules. I'm waiting impatiently for your Harlequin Medical Romance debut!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wendy S Marcus said...

Hi Host!
Thank you! Blog tours are a lot of work. But I've met so many wonderful people, I'm enjoying every minute of it.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wendy S Marcus said...

Hi Nas!
You've been such a big help to me! Don't sell yourself short. And my book is on its way to you. The one I mailed to South Africa arrived safely so fingers crossed yours will arrive in one piece, soon.

Thanks for everything!

Wendy S Marcus said...

Hi Serena!
(One of the new and wonderful people I have met on my blog tour!) I'm so happy you received my book. I hope you enjoy it! And yes, coming up with a different topic for each blog is not easy!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wendy S Marcus said...

Hi Laurie G!
My book will be available in the U.S. in July on Amazon and eharlequin.com. It'd be great if you'd check it out!

I'm a nurse also but you don't have to have medical knowledge to enjoy medical romance!

My son is looking into a doctorate in physical therapy with an emphasis in sports training. He's got his eye on a few private colleges. He's going to check out a SUNY (NY state school) this Saturday. Fingers crossed!!!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wendy S Marcus said...

Hi Jennifer!
I'm glad you found my tips helpful.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sarah Morgan said...

Can't wait to read your debut Wendy. When One Night isn't Enough is a great title.
Hope to bump into you in NYC!
Sarah
x

Elizabeth said...

Such valuable advice, Wendy. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your wisdom, especially when you've got so much else going on in your life.

Christina Hollis said...

These tips are invaluable, Wendy. Thanks - and all the best for the rest of your tour!

Jo's Daughter said...

Wow, I had no idea how much time goes into a blog tour...
I personally LOVE 'm! They are great, but then I get to sit and read 'm at my leisure as I'm not a writer.
Getting to know your fav authors so much better & have them respond to your comments is really cool! Best of luck to you.

Joan Swan said...

Awesome, awesome info and advice! And well timed as I get my butt in gear to start scheduling my blog tours for my release FEVER in March.

I'm challenged in many of these areas (particularly #13) and your heads up is greatly appreciated!

Thanks for the post!

Wendy S Marcus said...

Hi Sarah!
I have your Rita finalist loaded on my Kindle! I think Sheila may be planning a get together for the Medical Romance authors who will be at national. I'm looking forward to meeting you, too!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wendy S Marcus said...

Hey Liz!
Lots of writers/authors have helped me along the way. If I can help someone else, I'm happy to do it. I'm glad you found the info. helpful.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wendy S Marcus said...

Hi Christina!
Invaluable makes my day!!! I'm so glad you found my tips helpful!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wendy S Marcus said...

Hi Jo's Daughter!
I've always liked blog tours, too. Before embarking on one, I never had any idea how much went into them. But it is a great opportunity for readers/writers/authors to interact. (Like we're doing right now!!!) And I love to chat so I'm having a lot of fun!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wendy S Marcus said...

Hi Joan!
Congrats on your upcoming release. March will be here before you know it. And lots of blogs fill up their guest spots way in advance, so don't wait too long to start scheduling! Also, the more time you have to do your posts, the better.

Good luck, and thanks for stopping by!

Ju Dimello said...

Wonderful advice Wendy!!! I have of course, contacted authors for doing at guest blog at my place (hint, hint!!), but well, I guess we have to be published to do a blog tour :) I'm still in the writing / subbing stage..hoping for publication!

And I'm always looking for tips to tackle social media, since I'm still a newbie with it ;)

I'm awed by the amount of effort you are putting into this!! Kudos and congrats on the book!!!

Wendy S Marcus said...

Hi Ju!
(Another new friend I've met on my blog tour!) I guess there really is no reason to do a blog tour prior to getting published. Frankly, it's a lot of work so you should have a good reason for doing one.

I love social media! I just recently got the hang of Twitter, and now I love it!

I'd be happy to visit your blog once things slow down a bit. Get in touch with me through the contact page on my website and we can set up a date for late August or September.

Thanks for stopping by!

Laney4 said...

Holy catfish, Wendy!
Do you ever get around!!! I can't keep up with you!
Congrats on the new release; I am looking forward to reading your book(s). One can never read too many medical romances (and they are difficult to find in Canada)!
I am not a writer, so I can't answer your question properly. I can, however, tell you that I am enjoying YOUR blog tour immensely! Good luck keeping up the pace! And get some sleep, will ya!

Tara Stearns said...

Hi Wendy - Sounds like you did your homework! So much information - now I know who to go to for advice when it's my turn :-)

Good luck with you blog tour. I can't wait to read When One Night Isn't Enough.

Wendy S Marcus said...

Hi Laney4!
Holy Catfish! I like that. You may see it in a book someday! I'm so happy you're enjoying my blog tour! I'm hoping when my book goes up on Amazon U.S. it will also go up on Amazon Canada. Visit my blog for more info. And keep visiting me at my blog tour stops. You may win one! (If not, between you and me, for a loyal medical authors group blog follower such as yourself - if you can't find it come July, I will mail you a copy. On the contact page of my website you can find my e-mail address. E-mail me.)

Thanks for stopping by!

Wendy S Marcus said...

Hi Tara!
If your writing is anything like your blog posts, I have every confidence it will be your turn soon! And I'm here when you need me!

Thanks for stopping by! I'm looking forward to meeting up at national...unless you're going to HVRWA Sat. I'm really going to try to make it.

Kaelee said...

I love blog tours but right now I'm just trying to stay awake after working in the garden all day. I didn't realize how much effort you would be putting into running a tour. It a great promotional tool as I often read posts but don't always have time to comment. Here's hoping your book will sell like hotcakes.

Nas Dean said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nas Dean said...

Hi Wendy,

Thanks for saying that. I'm glad to be of help to you!

I also found this;

http://www.millsandboon.com.au/product.asp?productid=4371&dest=%2Fcategory%2Easp%3Fbookcategoryid%3D27%26page%3D1

It's the Aust/NZ link to WHEN ONE NIGHT ISN'T ENOUGH.

And the cover is so sexy in this one, too!

And boy, do you have back-to-back blog stops, the next one already started where you're sharing your Call Story!

http://pinkheartsociety.blogspot.com/2011/06/wendy-s-marcus-call.html#comments

Wendy S Marcus said...

Hi Kaylee!
This time of year can be exhausting! I still haven't planted my flower beds. (Hangs head in shame.)

I'm so happy you're following my blog tour and enjoying my posts.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wendy S Marcus said...

Hi Nas!
Thanks for sharing the links. And yes, I just saw Serena's FB picture of my book cover! (Serena won a book at one of my blog stops! And I'm happy to report she says she's enjoying it!)

I'm going to pick a winner from this blog stop in a few minutes!

Wendy S Marcus said...

And the winner of a copy of my 2in1 UK release (plucked from my trusy margarine bowl by my beautiful daughter on her way out the door for the bus) is HOST!

Congratulations!

visit my website: http://WendySMarcus.com and on the contact page you'll find my e-mail address. Send me your mailing address and I'll send you your book!

Wendy S Marcus said...

Trusy sounds like hussy. Sorry about that. It should read...trusty margarine bowl.

Shoshanna Evers said...

Fabulous article, Wendy! You are a busy woman!

carlyphillips said...

Great article, Wendy! Thanks :)

Wendy S Marcus said...

Hi Shoshanna!
Thanks for stopping by!

Wendy S Marcus said...

Hi Carly!
Thanks for stopping by and for tweeting this link! Much appreciated.

sheandeen said...

I'm in awe of your blogging.

Stay sane. ;-)

Pat Cochran said...

WOW! I'm still trying to catch my breath
and I'm only reading about the Tour.
Good Luck with the blogging!

Wendy S Marcus said...

Hi Nancy and Pat!
Thanks for stopping by!

Jessica Lacy said...

@ Wendy S Marcus

I agree with Blog.

Regards
Jessica