Blog Tours from A-Z - Features & Format

Saturday, April 6, 2013

There are tons of ideas floating around on the internet that can help to make your blog tour special and with so many tours being hosted, it’s easy to see how others are doing it. If you are creative, brainstorming will yield the seeds of good ideas. If you’re like me, you’ll have to turn things over in your mind for a few days before anything sticks. Let’s talk about a sampling of things you can do in this area.

Decide on a theme for your tour. In touring the book Distraction, I centred most of my posts around friendship. This went well with the theme of my book, which is a story about the lives of three close female friends and how they work through their individual challenges. Think about the central themes in your book and see what ideas you can come up with that will add a unique flair to your tour.

Devise a manageable format. Since I had sixteen (16) stops scheduled every other day, I knew I couldn’t manage anything complicated like having people hop through the blogs and connect sentences into paragraphs, etc. I did a giveaway of a notebook and a matching pen (the notebook’s cover was a replica of the novel). I also did an Amazon gift card and copies of the book. This made sense for me as I was working alone.

Create special features. While wracking my brain about what I could do differently, I came up with the idea of writing a prequel to Distraction. Most people do it the other way around, but we all have our quirks, right?

It was easy to write A Baker’s Dozen: Thirteen Steps to Distraction and throw it in because I knew the characters from writing Distraction. I used their back story to craft a lead up to their current story. I gave away that book to everybody who cared to have it. I’m not suggesting you go to the trouble of doing anything like that, but for me, that novella did triple-time duty. It allowed people to see that I had a clue about writing, introduced Distraction and it was a way of thanking people for their time. The sky is the limit, do what works for you.

Mix and match according to your taste. The most common formats are blurb+cover+bio, author and character interviews, author posts or reviews. Most tours feature some kind of giveaway. I made a choice not to include my book blurb in order to avoid lengthy posts. A few hosts did include it, which is standard practise.

You can do a combination of the activities listed above, as well as something radical to make your tour stand out.

Use timesaving tools. I’ve found Rafflecopter to be a godsend. Gone are the days when I had to count up all the entries through comments or import a Google spreadsheet into Excel and copy/paste to duplicate those who had tweeted promotional messages for extra entries. If you plan to do any kind of giveaway, get Rafflecopter. It’s free and even chooses the winners at the click of a button and all you have to do is send an email to notify your winners.

For sign ups, apart from using personalized emails, you can use Linky tools. This is the easiest way to have people sign on to help you promote your book, if you have a wide, supportive network. Among the most popular apps. are Linky Tools (not free beyond the trial period), InLinkz and Simply Linked. You can also use these tools if you’re doing a writing challenge as part of your promotional activity.

If you’re using a blog tour organizer, he/she might also have innovative ideas that can be included. Your BTO will guide you based on the services they provide and the package you opt to buy.

Can you think anything special that grabbed your attention during a blog tour you’ve hosted or participated in?

In a Nutshell

Decide on a theme for your tour.
Devise a manageable format.
Create special features.
Mix and match according to your taste.
Use time-saving tools.


  1. I've never had a theme. Other than short posts!
    I do use Linky Tools. Not as crazy about the Rafflecopter though. It seems to take up a lot of space and slows the loading of the page.
    This is a good series. I know Diane Wolfe ran a good one on blog tours last year as well. Everyone needs reminders and fresh ideas!

  2. A Baker’s Dozen: Thirteen Steps to Distraction was a great way to give readers a back story to your novel. Theme or no theme you do an excellent job with your blog tours J.L.

  3. Nicely done, J.L. I loved your idea of a prequel.

  4. It's definitely a good idea to have some kind of theme, even if it's just that you write short entries :D

    Taking notes for my future blog tour. Have a great weekend!

  5. True, Alex. Always helpful to be reminded.

    Thanks for coming by, Jo.

    Sheena, thanks for your kind words. It was fun and easy writing ABD. Having slogged through Distraction so many time to edit, I came to know each woman intimately.

    Thanks, Lee. It's still helping things along. People who've read it, do go on to buy Distraction.

    Samantha, a theme makes thing easier.

    A wonderful weekend to all!

  6. More wonderful ideas. Loving this theme - it's great.
    See you tomorrow,

  7. Thanks for the links. I try to use as many blog tools as possible to make my life easier.

  8. This is great stuff. I'm relatively new to online promotion, so I appreciate the tips!

    Happy A to Z!

    1. Glad to be of help, lillian. Thanks for dropping in.

  9. Thanks for the links. I use some, Rafflecopter is my favorite.
    A to Z buddy
    Peanut Butter and Whine

    1. Connie, thanks for coming by. Rafflecopter is my convenience tool of choice too.

  10. All great advice, Joy. I can only add about keeping the posts on smallish side as you don't want readers to skim through but actually read.

    1. Good point, Nas. Thanks. You do want people to absorb what the writer has to say.

  11. An informative and enjoyable post. Nicely done and quite engaging. Thank you for sharing.

  12. Gosh, Joy... you are really clued up about these things...

    Writer In Transit

  13. Thanks. We learn so much from each other by being on the 'net and starting out on new adventures.


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