Friday, April 6, 2012

Blog Tours

Now that physical book tours are becoming rarer and more expensive, some of my friends have toured virtually, visiting many blogs in a month in a "blog tour." Usually, these blog tours have involved a combination of guest posts, prize give-aways, profiles of the author, and/or interviews with the author.

I hope to self-publish a novel soon—some of you have been hearing that for months; all I can answer is that life keeps getting in the way—and I have wondered whether I should take the time and effort to do a blog tour. So I have been looking on the Internet for tips.

Here are ten important things I learned; I'll give links afterwards so that you can go to the original blog post or article and learn more about how to run a successful blog tour.
  1. Don't give away copies of your new book. Some people won't buy it right away if they think they may win it in a blog contest. (I know I've entered contests at blogs and then not bought a book I wanted because I forgot about it.)
  2. Your previous books or gift certificates to bookstores are good prizes to offer instead of your new book.
  3. Send your guest post or interview directly, not via your publicist, if you have one, or your publisher. Include a picture of your cover and yourself.
  4. Some bloggers don't automatically provide a link or links to places to buy your new book, so be sure to ask your host or hostess to.
  5. Always check the comments at the blogs that host you and take the time to respond to all people who comment. Do so repeatedly on the first day.
  6. Some blogs schedule months in advance, so arrange your blog tour well ahead of when you want your tour posts to run.
  7. Start writing your scheduled posts well in advance. That way, you still make progress on current progress and you have a cushion in case you have an emergency.
  8. Don't schedule a blog stop for every day of your touring month. People on your lists and on Facebook will get tired of and maybe even annoyed by your constant announcements of blog stops.
  9. Each stop on your tour should provide unique information, not the same stuff recycled over and over.  If the thought of writing unique posts for each stop seems daunting, consider providing other types of material at some sites, such as excerpts from your new book, good-quality photographs you took related to your book, or your book trailer. Also, you can ask your host or hostess whether they would like to review your book instead.
  10. Choose professional-looking blogs to visit on your tour (to showcase your book to its best advantage), and make sure your own blog looks great before it starts receiving visitors from your tour.
Here are the links I promised:
Do you have any tips to add, either from the perspective of having hosted a blog tour or having taken your book on tour? Please share!

Thanks for stopping by. I'll be blogging again at Novel Spaces on Saturday, April 21. Hope to see you again then.

—Shauna Roberts


Charles Gramlich said...

Great advice. I've been considering a blog tour but so far haven't done it. I should probably bookmark this as a guide.

William Doonan said...

This is a very comprehensive checklist, Shauna. I'm just starting a blog tour for my new archaeological mystery, American Caliphate, and the only thing I can add is that blog tours are a lot of work. I suppose the other thing to remember is to say something different each time.

William Doonan

Shauna Roberts said...

WILLIAM, have you done a blog tour before? Doing one now, do you think they're worthwhile? Have you seen a jump in sales yet?

CHARLES, you're productive enough that it may be worthwhile for you. I'm a slow enough writer that I may not do one just because of the time involved.

Liane Spicer said...

Great tips, Shauna. I've hosted several times but never did one as it seems such a lot of work. Don't know if I could maintain that momentum for a month. But I haven't ruled it out.

Shauna Roberts said...

LIANNE, if I do have a blog tour, I think I will try to have everything done ahead of time so all I have to do is respond to comments. That still could be a lot of work, though, if the tour visits popular blogs.