Monday, January 16, 2012

Setting Up a Blog Tour


This is Part I - I will post Part II next Monday.

A lot goes into setting up a blog tour. I’ve done six tours now, on blogs as well as other social platforms, and hosted many, many authors. For those of you about to embark on a blog tour (or plan to one day soon) below is a list of tips and suggestions.

There are two types of tours - the short burst and the marathon. A concentrated book tour should be ten stops in two weeks maximum. (You will burn out yourself and your followers otherwise.) A more relaxed tour consists of a couple days a week spread over a month or so.

Start contacting potential hosts at least two months in advance. Large blog sites tend to fill up quickly.

Select a variety of venues. Don’t just visit the blogs of other writers. Consider your target audience - what sites are they most likely to visit? Mix it up to get the most bang for your buck.

A relationship with the host site is very important. (This is why paid blog tours tend to be a waste of money - you don’t have a relationship with the host.) Follow and comment on the blog long before you ask the site owner to host you.

Look for large sites with lots of traffic and visitors. 500 followers and 20+ unique comments is best. If it doesn’t have a wide following, you won’t get the exposure you need, and interaction is important.

Many sites post guest guidelines - read these carefully before contacting the host. (And hosts, when contacted, please state up front your guidelines and if you require a review copy!)

Contact the host, providing them with your full book information.

Don’t be upset if they say no. Sometimes your book isn’t a good fit for the site or the blogger is already booked.

Be prepared to suggest post topics and send a review copy if requested. Book bloggers will almost always request a review copy and should be contacted many months in advance. (Book bloggers are a special consideration, because even though they may be doing it for fun, it’s still ‘business.’)

Schedule a variety of stops - guest posts, interviews, reviews, giveaways, and possibly podcasts. Don’t offer the same thing at every stop.

You do not have to do a giveaway at every stop. For some hosts, that is their trademark - they always feature a giveaway - and you might steal their thunder. It also takes away the novelty. The Big Six can afford it, but smaller publishers and self-publishers can’t afford to give books at every stop. And while ebooks might be free, don’t devalue the effort you put into your book by giving it out as if it were nothing.

Coordinate with your publisher.

Consider an announcement day for your book or the beginning of your tour if you have many host offers.

If there are issues with the host, graciously withdraw and find another. The success of your tour does not hinge on just one stop.

There is a give and take - you are gaining access to the host’s followers in exchange for bringing your own followers the day of your post. That is the tradeoff. You can also reciprocate by featuring your host on your site either before or after the tour. In general, most of the online community is generous, unselfish, and willing to spread the word about your new book.

Remember, treat your author status as a business. It takes a lot of effort to put together a blog tour. Make yours count by selecting good hosts and smart post topics that will appeal to your target audience. And don’t forget to have fun in the process!

Remember to come back February 23rd for the second part.


45 comments:

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Great tips, Diane! Setting up a blog tour is a lot of work, but the payoff is big, too.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Great post!

I had one individual approach me to do a blog tour, but I didn't know her. She had a made a couple of lame ass comments on my blog one or twice, but it was obvious she wasn't a regular reader. That didn't bother me. It was HOW she asked that was the reason I just deleted her email without comment. She sent an impersonal message (if you could call it a message) about how I could sign up to be as part of her blog tour (like it was an honor). All I had to do was click on the links. That's it. At least she could have taken the time to write a letter, even if was the same letter everyone else received. Her message reminded me of the spam we bloggers always get. :(

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm always happy to host a blogger buddy and I never ask for a review copy because I support my friends by purchasing their books. I do get a lot of requests, often three or four a week, and now limit full features to just regular commentors and blogger buddies. (But I will put in a mention for all the others.)

Stephen Tremp said...

A very timely post as I'm slowly putting together a Tour called the Grand OPENING Tour. Its a relaxed tour as I'm doing one or two stops a week and spreading it out over two weeks.

I did a short burst November 2010. That was a lot of work. It was fun and the right thing to do at that time. But I'm looking forward to a more relaxed tour this time.

Morgan Mandel said...

I'm sure your tips will be very helpful for those considering a blog book tour. I might add that sometimes stops at more intimate blogs are also good. It's very possible those who read the blog have developed a camaraderie lost in the big blog sphere.

Morgan Mandel
http://morgansbooklinks.blogspot.com

Helen Ginger said...

I've never done my own tour, but have hosted authors on their tours. Even from my end of the deal, I can see it's a lot of work and planning for the authors. I think the more organized you are, the easier it will be. Think ahead and send each host not only the post, but links that they can embed and your author pics.

Lynette said...

I love doing book reviews and being part of the blog tours. I know I am not a large blog but do have a loyal following. Thankfully many publishing houses see that as a positive. Gosh...that is how I meet you too! And hasn't it been wonderful viewing each others sites ever since.

Southpaw said...

Great post with solid advice. I have followed a few tour that posted everyday for a month. It was exhausting to keep up and in the end I couldn't.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Stina, that author has a lot to learn about etiquette.

Alex, I only post twice a week, so I have to limit appearances, too.

Stephen, sometimes we need the relaxed tours.

Morgan, if it really hits your target audience, a smaller stop can work.

Helen, I think I'm going to continue with this series, because there are so many aspects to a tour.

Lynette, we did meet through one of my tours!

Southpaw, I can only follow for a week or so.

BodieP said...

Perfect! This is wonderful timing, since I'm hoping to put together a small blog tour for around Mother's Day. I'm going to copy/paste this to my own computer and refer to it.

Clarissa Draper said...

Wow, I never knew so much was involved. I'm going to save this so that I can use this info in my blog tour.

Karen Walker said...

Diane, you rock. These are fabulous tips.
karen

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Great advice. Things can still go wrong. The publisher I recently severed ties with didn't have my book ready for release on the advertised date after I had my blog tour all set up. It was infuriating.

LD Masterson said...

My blog following is still too small to attract guest bloggers but this is good to know for that grand day will I may actually need to go on a blog tour.

Jemi Fraser said...

Excellent tips! I'm bookmarking this one for future reference! :)

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Setting up a blog tour is like setting up a rock concert tour - mind the audience capacity for each stop, the friendliness of the place, and do your homework.

I wish I had read something like this when setting up THE BEAR WITH 2 SHADOWS tour. Luckily, I had great friends who helped me make it a success. Have a great new week and success with all your future blog tours. Roland

Beth Blair said...

Fabulous advice as always! I'm bookmarking this, too.

Arlee Bird said...

I love hosting guests on my blog and helping authors in what way I can on my blog. I can see the effort involved in setting up one of these tours, but if done right it's worth it.

Informative post.


Lee
A cat's memoir?
Wrote By Rote

Talli Roland said...

Great post! I think contacting bloggers early is key. If someone asks me the month before, I'm often already booked up and I have to say no.

Susan Fields said...

Thanks so much for this post! I bookmarked it so I can come back to it if I ever (hopefully!) need it. I've hosted a few authors, and there was one who stuck out in my mind as particularly professional and easy to work with - it really made a favorable impression on me.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Some very useful tips especially as I have just had my book published and hoping to promote it.

Yvonne.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Bodie, please do.

Clarissa, this is just setting it up, too.

Roland, at least now you can use it for future tours.

Talli, some blogs need to be contacted up to 6 months in advance. I know!

Susan, the good ones do.

The Divorced Lady's Companion to Living in Italy said...

Great post. This is exactly what I am working on this week! Thank you, cat

Sharon said...

Thanks for the informative post. Some day I'm going to have to do one of these!

Thanks for your visit to my blog and for your helpful suggestion for the next book to read. I'm a bit behind the times since I'm just now reading Covey's book, don't you think?

Jan Morrison said...

Thanks - this seems a very well-considered post. I look forward to following these tips! I don't host writers because my blog isn't busy enough to do them justice but I hope to be both a hoster and a guest.

DL Hammons said...

This post has been BOOKMARKED!!! Thank you! :)

The Golden Eagle said...

I've never tried setting up a blog tour and don't think I will in the near future, but I'll have to bookmark this post!

Anne said...

Great post Diane! I'm just in the midst of a blog tour for my first book and everything you say is right on. I did a marathon blitz the week of Dec. 12 (usually 2 'appearances' a day...whew). Now as the tour continues at a more leisurely pace, I'm just following up with those who were interested but the timing wasn't quite right. During that first week about half asked me to do a guest post (mostly because of the time of year - they were so busy it was actually a relief for them not to have to worry about a post for that week)! So, another piece of advice is to be prepared to do a lot of writing (which shouldn't be too difficult since that's what we do, right?). Stina, you're absolutely right about the personal touch. Each and every contact you make and guest post you write should be personalized to the particular blogger you're contacting.
I'm thoroughly enjoying it and most definitely reciprocate with cross-promotion on my social media and also do book reviews too (haven't hosted any guest blogs yet but would love to).

Diane, LOVE, LOVE Spunk on a Stick! Thanks for all your great advice.

Anne
P.S. Roland, I always wanted to be a rock star :)

Caledonia Lass said...

Wow, this is a good list. Alex sent me over to look at these tips as I have a book coming out in May. I'm going to bookmark this and come back again.
I'm also a new follower! :D

Lynn said...

Another very informative post written excellently! Like others, I will be coming back to this post. I look forward to your next non-fiction book!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Italy, you're welcome.

Sharon, I'm sure there's a few good one I've missed, too.

Anne, I'm happy it resonated with you. Yes, there's a ton of writing involved. Think I will continue with part II of this next Monday.

Caledonia, glad it helped you.

Gail M Baugniet said...

If book sales measure the success of a blog tour, my first tour was not highly successful. I did meet some wonderful people, a great plus. I also learned valuable lessons. One you mentioned in your informative list was to begin planning months in advance. Who knew? As I said, I learned. That has always been my way though, to learn by doing!
Thank you for compiling this list so I can use it for my next tour.

DEZMOND said...

and another important thing - you should check back to the sites and blogs you've been hosted by to politely answer the comments their readers have left on the post about your book. Many writers don't do it, and there's no excuse, it's impolite.

Tamara Narayan said...

Great information. I'm trying to expand the blogs that I follow and develop those relationships early. Plus I want to start reviewing blogger's books in addition to the well-know authors I talk about.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Gail, sometimes exposure takes time.

Dezmond, I plan to include that in part two. Interaction is vital.

Bob Sanchez said...

Thanks for the great tips, Diane!

Bon said...

Hey, I was wondering if I could feature you in my blog? I've been asked to award Best Blog Award to three people. Please let me know if you're interested. Thanks!

Jennifer Shirk said...

Great tips!!! Thank you!

Lou Belcher said...

Nice list of tips on book tours. I'm putting a bookmark here for later.

Thanks,

Lou

Trisha said...

I'm soon to be a participant in someone's blog tour for the first time, and it's exciting!!

I think it would be really intimidating to organise one for my own books. But hopefully someday it'll happen :)

Karen Lange said...

Excellent tips, thanks Diane! I will be bookmarking this post.

Happy Monday!

J.L. Campbell said...

Lots of useful information and even more work involved. Clearly, taking this on as a writer will take up a huge chunk of time and effort.

Susan Roebuck said...

This has come at just the right moment. I must start thinking about a tour since my new novel comes out in April. Thank you - you've made it so much easier since I was a bit lost.

Jeremy Bates said...

great post! just what i was looking for!

Tyrean Martinson said...

great advice!