Continuing with my Blog Tours from A-Z Theme, we’ll talk about Do’s and Don’ts
Lists might not be every man’s cup of tea, but they help keep us accountable. A record of jobs still to be done will help you resist the urge to give in to panic when you realize you haven’t done something critical to the smooth running of the tour.
I updated an Excel sheet as I got confirmation from each host that they would be able to have me on their blogs. I also included a column for the theme of the article for each blog.
This form can be sorted any way you want—by date, topic, special features or host. I also backed this up by putting a date/blog listing in my sidebar, so at a glance regular visitors to my blog would know where I was on what day. See below.
Aug. 15 – Peaches Ledwidge (USA)
Aug. 17 – Hart Johnson (USA)
Aug. 20 – Arlee Bird (USA)
Aug. 22 – Clarissa Draper (Mexico)
Aug. 24 – Bev Diehl (USA)
Aug. 27 – Delaney Diamond (USA)
Aug. 28 - Susan Oloier (USA)
Aug. 31 - Michael Offutt (USA)
Sept. 3 – Kiru Taye (England)
Sept. 5 – Nick Wilford (Scotland)
Sept.10 – A-Z Challenge Blog (USA)
Sept. 14 – Wendy Ewurum (South Africa)
Sept. 17 – Return to home base (Jamaica)
Raise a buzz any way you can. Create a Facebook event, announce it on your blog and on the networks where you think it will make an impact. Every little bit helps.
Do compile all information (book cover, blurb, bio (with links), excerpt, picture, etc.) and send at one time if you can, to avoid driving both you and your hosts nuts. Tour badges might not be ready until the nth hour and book links might not go live when they should. If you explain what’s happening, your hosts will understand and make allowances for you sending the information when it’s complete. I had some challenges with the release of Christine’s Odyssey and the bloggers who helped on release day understood and were patient. I eventually sent complete information to them, which was much simpler than sending it through in dribs and drabs.
Try to ensure that all links to posts and giveaways are live. If you click through and don’t land on the page you’re looking for, chances are something else will grab your attention and you’ll move on. The same thing will happen with a potential visitor. To avoid this, check all links to be sure they lead to where they should or that Rafflecopters go live on the correct date.
The tour is underway and you start to worry whether anybody will come by your opening post to comment. Not to worry, they will. Do ensure that you check in every so often to respond to comments. Again, life intervenes and you may be away from your computer for a while. If this will be the case, indicate to your host so she’ll be aware and can let visitors know what’s happening, if necessary. You can also do this if you have a chance to drop by before the visitors. It’s bad form for the author not to show up at all.
Do get your buddies in gear to post, tweet and whatever else you prefer. There are programmes that can take the hard work out of tweeting, such as Auto Tweeter, Hootsuite and Tweetdeck. Basically, you make a list of tweets, varying the content, of course and schedule them as you like. Triberr is good for this in terms of getting your posts out. Notify your tribe mates about time sensitive posts so they will try and have them up on time.
Do take time to thank the people who host you. It’s okay to do this in the comment or in an email if that suits you better. Personal notes always go over well.
Moving on to the Don’ts
It’s tempting to cram in as many stops as possible; however, in the planning stages it suits you to decide how much time you plan to devote to the tour and how you will spend it. It makes little send to schedule a stop everyday for two weeks if it’s going to be impossible to keep up with visits and commenting. Remember, stress can kill. ;) Don’t schedule more stops than you can manage.
I like the personal touch and visited as many persons with blogs as I could, who left comments on my tour. I was on a different blog every other day, which gave me time to check on comments at the last stop and handle those on the current blog.
It’s possible that a host can either forget they confirmed you, or missed your email with the post for their specific day. If this is the case, unless the person is a close person friend, who knows you can turn rabid when things go wrong, give a gentle nudge. It should be sufficient. If nothing happens, say thanks for your time and move on. Don’t harass the blogger to get your post up. If you’re working through a tour organizer, find out what happened and work with any adjustments that crop up.
That said, remember Murphy’s Law (whatever can go wrong, will) and prepare to be flexible. The world won’t end if a post doesn’t go live on time or if dates have to be shifted.
Try to engage visitors to the places you’ll be visiting, but don’t send out the same information (Tweet/Fb post) time after time. People will get bored after seeing the same message a few times. Use your imagination to vary the message.
If you can prevent it, don’t use the same article/format (eg. blurb, photo, bio) for the duration of the tour. This one is obvious, but it lends variety if you change the format or posts a little bit. For my Distraction tour, I wrote articles that were specific to the theme of the tour (Friendship is Forever) or the blog I was visiting.
That said, remember we live in a fast world and time is limited. Don’t write a humdinger of a post (like this one). If you do, you’ll lose visitors fast. Nobody is going to stick around for half a day reading your article. Some people do excerpts and that’s fine, but since I have the attention span of a gnat, I’m not one of those people who’s going to stick around to read, unless the snippet is riveting.
Don’t expect the same level of interest on each blog. Neither you nor your tour organizer have control over this, so relax, enjoy the ride and the people you meet. Also, don’t expect a huge uptick in sales during the tour. Product awareness will build as the tour unfolds. I saw a bump in sales toward the end of my tour and just after it ended. My best guess was that people waited to see whether they would win a copy of the book before putting down money to purchase.
In the event that you’ve planned the tour yourself and have asked your blogging buddies for support, remember they are doing you a kindness. If they aren’t in love with your book and say so in their reviews, don’t get uptight (remember that favour!) and fire off a not-so-nice email or comment on their blog. Remember taste in reading is subjective. Be polite, say thanks for their time and effort and get over your angst. There will be other readers who will ‘get’ and love your baby and besides, you never know when you’ll need another favour.
Do prepare a checklist of things you need to do.
Do work out a tour schedule on a spreadsheet that has all details at a glance.
Do announce the tour in as many venues as possible.
Do compile all information and send at one time, if possible.
Do ensure that links are live come tour kick-off.
Do check in and respond to comments.
Do mobilize your social network and use corresponding Apps.
Do thank your tour hosts for hosting.
Don’t overbook and wear yourself out.
Don’t harass a host or tour organizer about putting up a post.
Don’t be inflexible.
Don’t tweet the same message ad nauseam.
Don’t use the same post everywhere, if you can avoid it.
Don’t write a humdinger of a post (like this one)
Don’t harbour unrealistic expectations.
Don’t forget your blogging buddies are doing you a favour.
This list isn’t exhaustive despite the length of this post. Can you think of any other do’s and don’ts not covered here? Do share. Tomorrow we’ll talk about engagement. It won’t be anywhere close to this length. Promise.