Before Blastoff Blog T0ur Basics - A-Z Challenge

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

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.


  1. I've done two solid weeks twice now, but my next one will spread it out further.
    I start booking my sites as far out as six months. Some of them fill quickly, and I know how fast the slots on my own blog fill!

  2. These are great tips. I never even considered hiring a blog tour company though they contact me all the time.

  3. that's some great info!

    Happy A to Z

  4. This post is crammed with great info...
    Thanks Joy. I've learned a LOT over the past 2 days!

  5. Wonderful advice, Joy. Tours are A LOT of work. I think you do an amazing job with yours. And...I love your badges!!!

  6. Thanks for the advice.
    I'm not even close to being at that stage but it's great to know the info is there when I need :)

  7. You are sharing such great insights-- I hope anyone planning a tour now or in the future, will take advantage of your posts.

  8. Joy, that's a 'to-be-bookmarked' post for anyone planning a blog tour!

    Damyanti @Daily(w)rite
    Co-host, A to Z Challenge 2013

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z

  9. You're so right. It's the planning that counts!

  10. Thanks for coming by, guys. Glad this is helpful too. I'm running behind thanks to some editing I put off and finally sent to the mag. publisher this morning, but Iwill get to you today! Enjoy the challenge.

  11. I made the mistake of not planning enough in advance when my book came out, I know now to start much earlier! It's amazing how quickly time moves and things fill up.
    Agree with Damyanti that I'm bookmarking this!

  12. I just set up my second blog tour for my second book and went with a PR gal who handled all the contact with bloggers, date set up, and was the intermediary between the bloggers and I. It is a lot of work to even provide the guest postings, interviews, etc. from the Author's end so I can imagine being very organized when doing the tour prep is even more crucial. Great tips here for those who want to set up their own. Looking forward to tomorrow's post to see your advice on hiring.

    Randomness and Lunacy

  13. Good tips, planning is essential. Doing a tour is hard work.

  14. A host of great tips! Nowhere near that point but I can see myself coming back here when I am.

  15. It certainly is a lot more work than you anticipate. We consistently wrote our posts a week or more in advance, because you're right, I sat in front of my computer more than once wondering what in the heck I was going to write. I'm not quite as prolific or creative as Angela is, so it takes me longer :)

  16. Thanks for sharing your stories. I did the same thing as Julie and I still don't plan far enough in advance. Writing is a sole-proprietorship business, so it takes serious discipline and planning to start moving on things early. Gwen's comment made me smile, since I can relate to those panic-filled moments.

    I looked at a couple of tours and actually thought about paying my way next time, but I take ages to research anything, so I'm still up in the air on that one.

  17. Oh my, Joy. Thank you for sharing all you've learned. This is all wonderful information.

  18. Awesome tips and though it sounds like a lot of work (and I'm sure it is),it also sounds totally worth the effort!

  19. Great advice, Joy. I hope I'll be able to use this someday, because that would mean I'd have a book ready for release! (:

  20. Wow, a lot of work but it's all worth it in the end, I'm sure.

  21. No worries, Bish. So many have shared with me.
    Elise, I know you'll get there!
    Yes, it's a bit of work, but if we're gonna look at writing as a business, it's well worth the effort.
    Thanks guys!

  22. Thanks for visiting my blog today! Not at a book writing point- yet! But found this to be thought provoking for down the road. Thanks for all of your work in sharing the knowledge that you have gleaned!

  23. Wow, you have a really good-looking site. I liked the post, and I write newsletter and always use the "In A Nutshell" idea to summarize at the end, too.
    Thanks for visiting my blog. :-)

  24. It's definitely a nice gesture to give a copy of your book to the blog host, and if you're traditionally published, you can often get your publisher to do this for you.

  25. I believe in doing things in advance. I remember keeping a few host bloggers waiting until almost the last minute. Now I try to write things immediately.

  26. Hi Joy, great post, which I will refer back to when I do one later this year. I believe this is the book submission link you mentioned, this is what I use and it makes it streamlined. Cheers Julie Grasso

    1. Jambo, thanks ever so much for putting in the link. That's the one I was looking for. I'm very grateful. Warm Jamaican Hugs to you. :)

  27. Planning in advance is soo super important!

  28. The more I'm getting to know about it all...the more brainstorming I indulge into.
    Thanks a ton for sharing this :)

    P.S. I'm running a day behind in reading your posts!

  29. I don't have a book anywhere near publication but already I'm a bit freaked at the idea of a blog tour for "it" :)


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