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.
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
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