Yesterday, we talked about making the decision to do a blog tour. Among the things you also have to decide is whether to do it yourself (DIY) or hire a blog tour outfit to get the job done. We’re going to talk about the important areas that need to be covered before blastoff, especially if you’re a do-it-yourselfer like me.
If you're pressed for time, jump to the In a Nutshell section below. The post is encapsulated there.
Start planning earlier than you think you need to. I’d advise at least eight (8) weeks prior to the tour dates. I started a month in advance with Distraction and that wasn’t enough time to prevent me from feeling as if I’d have a meltdown at some point because I was running behind.
Decide on the length of time you want the tour to run and the frequency with which your posts are scheduled. I ran my tour for a month and found that it made sense to space the posts a couple of days apart to give myself time to comment and visit the persons who’d shared their thoughts and expressed good wishes.
Contact possible hosts, preferably people who read/write and have a following in the genre in which your book fits. Your hosts can be people who’ve agreed to cross-promote with you, other writers, as well as book bloggers.
Hosts can also include people with special interests. If your book focuses on parenting as one of its themes, it makes sense to start researching early and linking to sites/individuals that focus on parenting issues. I’ve only learned recently that there are Facebook groups formed around parenting. I imagine there’s a support group for every possible subject somewhere on the net.
Write as many posts in advance as possible. I learned the hard way that it’s best to get all of this done prior to the start of the tour. Believe me, you won’t have time during the tour and might face a situation where you’re sitting in front of a blank screen, petrified that you won’t come up with an idea for a guest post two days away.
With all the stops you have to make, current works-in-progress, editing and the business of life, it’s less stressful to get your posts done before day one of your virtual tour. Also, you avoid the embarrassing situation of hosts emailing you to ask whether there was something they needed to do or whether you had sent the post and they missed it in their email.
Send posts early and make them easy to manage. These guys (Angela & Gwen) prepped their cover reveal and all I had to do was include the post in the html page on my blog. They also provided a Wordpress alternative for those who blog on that platform. All I had to do was cut and paste. Easy-peasy.
Prepare badges and order giveaways. Some of us—myself included—get a kick out of messing around with graphics. It’s time-consuming and I’m not always 100% satisfied with the results, so I try to visualize what I’d like to see on the badge/header, think about it for a few days and then take action.
I did a spiral bound notebook with my book cover (Distraction) and a matching pen, for which an order had to be placed. Although a winner was selected after the tour, it took a load off my mind to have a link with the supplier and give them an idea of what I wanted before the appointed time.
Decide on a giveaway/freebie day early and include in your post for each blog. Assuming your book is done way in advance and uploaded to Amazon and you’re in the Kindle Select Program, you can decide which days you’re going to allow people to download your book for free. Including it in the posts will create awareness ahead of time, which you can back up with tweets and Fb posts.
If you plan to give away your book on Amazon, use all the promotional opportunities available to you. The Kindle Book Review has a mind-boggling array of sites listed here. There’s also a one-stop promo site, where you can submit your book to several other sites for your free Kindle days. I’ve lost the link. Again. I’d appreciate a heads-up in the comments from anyone who has that link as it’s very helpful. Otherwise, I’ll have to go troll the net to find it. Again.
P.S. -Julie Grasso has kindly submitted the link I mentioned above for the Author Marketing Club site. That link is here. Thanks again, Julie.
Gift your hosts with a copy of your book, if it sits well with you to do this. It’s natural to be hesitant to give away copies of our books that have sucked away a lot of blood, sweat, tears and time. However, I like knowing that my hosts can be confident they’re promoting a high-quality book. The easiest way to assure them of this is to provide them with a copy. Whether they read it or not is up to them, but it’s also a small way of saying thanks for their time and effort.
In a Nutshell…
- Plan in advance. Further than you think you should.
- Decide on length of tour and frequency of posts.
- Contact possible hosts, who are a good fit for your novel.
- Write posts in advance. Seriously.
- Send posts early and make them easy to manage.
- Prepare badges and order giveaways.
- Decide on a giveaway/freebie day early and include in your post for each blog.
- Use all promotional opportunities available.
- Gift your hosts with a copy of your book.
Just before the tour.
- Change your blog header (optional, but an immediate indicator that you have something special happening on your blog).
- Continue to update your blog, so visitors will be aware of your promo/marketing efforts and where you will be on what days.
- Contact tour hosts a few days in advance to be sure they remember when to post.
- Ensure book links, Rafflecopter widgets and online freebies are in place and ready to roll out on day one.
Thanks for dropping in. Tomorrow, we’ll talk about Choosing a Blog Tour, if you plan to pay your way.
Don't forget to check out the Pick Your Pack YA Reads Giveaway to win five pairs of books, as well as a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card.