THE BLOG TOUR
This is usually organised by a publisher or marketing publicist - or yourself if you are an Indie writer - to promote a new or recently published book. The idea is to emulate a book tour round various book stores doing signings, talks etc – only in this case you are doing it virtually (i.e. on the Internet) via various book review blogs.
The idea is to reach a new and different audience, readers who would otherwise know of you or your book/s.
The idea is to reach a new and different audience, readers who would otherwise know of you or your book/s.
Many bloggers - although not all - may request a copy of your book to be reviewed. Assuming they like your book and are willing to review it, you will then be invited to submit either a biography about yourself, an article of some sort relating to you or the book, or answer some set questions – or all of these things. Not all bloggers require the book to read (especially if you are a known, established author) they may just want a guest post from you.
You’ll be asked to send some images, probably of yourself and your book cover and anything else that might be of interest or relevent, plus any links you want used (i.e. your website and where the book can be purchased from - UK AND US!).
Send images as separate jpeg attachments, unless otherwise instructed!
I have now completed several tours – they are good fun, but hard work.
There is no point in undertaking a tour if you are not prepared to write articles of interest, answer questions, give feedback by responding to comments – and if you are not prepared to supply copies of your book to be reviewed – although many reviewers now prefer e-copies.
You don’t need your own blog for a blog tour – but it would be useful to at least have an up-to-date website.
What to do
- Plan well in advance, at least a month, preferably two
- Research suitable Blogs – i.e. if your novel is historical fiction look for the blogs/bloggers who review historical fiction
- Check that they take part in blog tours
- Contact the bloggers: be professional: make sure you get the blogger’s name right, saying ‘hi Sue’ when the blogger in question is called Alice is not going to go down well, neither will you impress if you don’t bother looking for a name at all. 'Dear Blogger' does not sound as friendly as 'Dear Anne'. Also, make sure there are no typo bloopers - 'Deer Blogar' will get your initial e-mail instantly deleted
- Word your query something like: ‘My new book Ripples in The Sand, is due to be published in October, I am planning on doing a blog tour in November, I wonder if you would be interested in reviewing my book and/or taking part in the tour?’
- Your choice whether you also offer a Giveaway Prize. This is usually run by the blogger along the lines of anyone can enter the competition to win a copy of your book by leaving a comment beneath the post. The blogger picks a name at random – and YOU supply the prize at your expense (unless the blogger already has a copy of your book, in which case he or she may offer that as a prize.) State whether you want the competition to run for your own country only (i.e US or UK) or worldwide. You can send a prize as a gift via Amazon as it saves postage. Personally, though, I don't do giveaways or competitions
- Plan a schedule of Tour Stop Dates – best to have one a day if you can
- Keep track of what blog is hosting your stop on which day
- Keep track of which blogger wants what: are they sending you questions to answer, have they got a theme they want you to write about, or is it going to be a straight review? (Most bloggers want a contribution of an article of some sort)
- Keep track of the blogger’s e-mail address
- Keep track of what you’ve sent, where and when
- Be prepared to advertise your tour – but be aware that some Facebook groups don’t want a constant barrage of “My Book Tour” – some are OK with daily posts though
- Have a list of your tour stops on your own blog (click here for an example)
- Make sure you visit each blog on the day your entry appears and leave a thank you comment
- Follow up any further comments left by other visitors – this can be time-consuming but the whole point of a tour is for the author to interact with potential readers
- Don’t get annoyed with anyone who adds a poor (or even rude) comment. I have had “this doesn’t sound like my sort of book. I don’t like battles”. The initial reaction is “so why bother leaving a comment?” but swallow it down and respond with something like “It would be a boring world if we all liked the same sort of thing – thank you so much for leaving a comment though.” You’ll be surprised at how many others visitors will be impressed by a courteous response to such comments
- Remember to thank your host again at the end of the tour
- Authors who do not react to guest posts etc on my blog never get asked back again!
THE BLOG HOP
You will need your own blog for this – and your book (or promotion) must be related to the chosen topic
The idea of a Blog Hop is to attract interest to a variety of authors by participants posting an article relating to the selected theme on their own blog for the duration of the “hop” (usually a few days) and listing links to the other authors taking part in the hope that visitors will ‘hop’ from one blog to another, thus attracting attention to blog sites, individual authors - and maybe buying a few books!
Some authors like to offer a giveaway prize (pick a winner from any of the comments left on the blog post) but this is up to the individual author to run and organise etc.A Word of Advice:
- The Hop will have a specific theme: i.e. Wonders of Rome Blog Hop or Nautical Blog Hop and a specific date of duration. It’s no good taking part if your book or promotion is nothing to do with the subject (i.e an article about the Emperors of Rome would not be suitable for a nautical blog hop – but Roman boats would)
- You post an article of interest on your own blog and ensure it stays there for the duration of the Hop
- Massive excerpts from your book are usually frowned upon. An article of interest about the theme of the hop is preferable to something that is mainly about your book, because visitors prefer to discover something of interest rather than just reading about you and your book. i.e. on a recent Summer Banquet blog hop I wrote an article about food at sea for sailors in connection with my Sea Witch Voyages (link here to article)
- Include a giveaway contest if you wish - up to you to run, organise and supply the prize though. If running a giveaway remember to include if the competition is open worldwide, or UK/US only
- Include any links to where your book can be purchased and your website URL etc
- You must also include a list of links to all other participants in the blog hop. Usually the organiser will keep track of who is taking part in the Hop and have an updated list of links on the main blog Page – these links might change on the opening day of the hop, so be prepared to update at short notice. This is because …
- It is best to have the URL link to the actual post, not your home page, i.e. this link takes you to the home page on my Let Us Talk Of Many Things Blog – but this link takes you direct to the actual blog hop post. Using a direct link will mean that anyone browsing in the future will go to the article not to what you currently have at the top of your home page. (Most visitors won’t bother scrolling down – especially through several month’s-worth of articles!)
- If there is a unique image logo provided, make sure you use it to advertise the blog hop and that there is a copy of it on your blog
- As with a Blog Tour ensure you answer all comments that have been left promptly and politely
- Visit your co-participants’ blogs and leave a comment.
- Promote the other participants’ articles – after all, why should they promote you if you don’t promote them?
- A Blog Hop is all about mutual participation. If you don’t join in with enthusiasm you’ll not be asked to do another one – and other authors won’t bother promoting you
If organising or just joining in a blog hop ensure people you invite / tag / approach know exactly what is required of them. Not everyone understands the 'etiquette' of Blogging (or Tweeting or Facebooking etc!) Most participants are eager to learn, so be patient and explain as clearly as you can what will be required.
Unfortunately, there are some stressed people who get a bit crabby if their participation doesn't go how they expected - this is usually caused because of confusion or misunderstanding what is required. More often than not the confusion arises because the person writing the article does not realise where it is to be posted: i.e. on their own blog (as with a blog hop) or on your blog (as with a Guest Post) time differences cause confusion too - the HOST blog dictates the time something is posted. Make things clear.
And if YOU are the one getting confused :
- ASK for clarification
- DON'T moan at the host who invited you to join in if ...
- you don't get many visitors - especially if YOU haven't bothered to do much marketing about the event.
- you're not happy with the outcome
- both are probably YOUR fault, not the organising host!
A Few Additional Tips (provided by Inge H Borg)
a) During the organisation stage do not combine too many responses to fellow 'hoppers' in a long string of e-mails, especially when giving info and attachments as they are then hard to find
b) Label your Subject Matter succinctly in these e-mails
c) Give everyone your blog link plus the shortened version to Tweet
d) Give your Twitter Handle (so the others don’t have to go searching for it) and the host can then distribute the list
e) Follow your colleagues on Twitter and FB if you have them
f) DO tweet at least the Host’s link frequently since visitors then can click to your blog – make sure your links open up to a separate page
If things go wrong - does it REALLY matter? What have you lost? A little bit of time spent on writing the article - shrug and post the article on your own page as your own article.
Remember that the majority of bloggers do this voluntarily in our own time - yes with the intention of promoting our own work, but also to assist your profile and bring more readers / visitors to YOUR blog.
Moaning, especially in a rude manner will result in only one thing. you looking bad and not being invited back to do anything else.... and remember
The writing world is a very big grapevine. Word spreads quicker than you might think regarding people who are rude or abusive.
So be polite - even when things go awry.
Reputations in the Social Media World are hard to gain but easy to lose!
~ ~ ~I occasionally invite interesting people to be guests on this blog - usually they are authors, often with a new book coming out fairly soon.
I send a standard "what to do" guideline for these - but I am amazed at just how many hopeful participants (usually new authors) fail to grasp what I want - I wonder if they even read the 'instructions'!
This is what I send:
You are more than welcome to send an article for me to use on my Tuesday Talk slot on my blog: www.ofhistoryandkings.blogspot.com
I am happy to accept anything you want to write, but preferably an article about something interesting rather than, if you are an author, just a “this is my new book” aspect (although of course that can be included!) (approx 1,000 words, give or take, no set max.min.)
Send a couple of images as a separate jpeg or gif file please, including one of yourself and any book covers or promotional marketing. And any links that you want me to use.
Basically, I’m delighted to do these sort of things as long as I don’t have to go searching for anything!
Unless there is a specific date booked (i.e for a set tour) I usually assign a Tuesday date when the article is received. I do this because I’ve been let down too often and had to scrabble round at the last minute to find an alternative. So send something when you’re ready and I will book you in.
I always put notice of articles posted on Twitter, FB, Google Blog & Pinterest so would appreciate your Twitter @ and FB URL if you have them.
Please note, though, I don’t send out reminders that I haven’t received anything (although I always acknowledge receipt)
Bottom line : you want the free Internet publicity, it is up to you to send it.
So I get annoyed if :
- images are included in the article (I can't use them like that, I specifically asked for separate jpeg or gif.)
- there are no links. What is the point of promoting your book if there's nowhere for keen readers to buy it?
- Ditto no website or blog - don't you want your potential readers to be interested in you and your books?
- I usually send a draft preview for any corrections to be made. I'm happy to do this, even though it takes up my valuable time. I am not, then, particularly happy if I get a request for an edit, then another edit, then another edit over several days.
Fortunately for these people I'm a nice person ....
So if you are asked to be a guest and specific 'instructions' are sent READ THEM.