Authors love being featured on other people’s blogs, whether it’s having their latest book reviewed by a book blogger, being interviewed about their writing life or contributing an article on a subject dear to their heart. The pièce de résistance must therefore be having your very own blog book tour.
A blog tour is like a traditional book tour, except all the stops are virtual. Instead of going from book shop to book shop, the author goes from blog to blog. The purpose is to expose the author to as wide an audience as possible without having all the expense and trouble of travelling around the country. You can read more about blog tours here: http://www.bookmasters.com/blog/blog-book-tour/
I’ve managed to have my books featured on several individual book review blogs, but had no idea how go about organising a blog tour for myself. Having signed a contract with a small independent publisher, there was no money to pay for a publicist to organise a tour for me and I didn’t know many bloggers personally who I could recruit.
In any case, as an unknown author I found it excruciatingly difficult to ask bloggers for their help, particularly as they knew what a blog tour involved and I didn’t. I was worried I’d look stupid and unprofessional. Having also had my fair share of rejections through the submissions process, I wasn’t keen to expose my tender heart to more refusals.
Then I had a light bulb moment. I would ask another author if I could organise a blog tour for them, making it clear I had no experience in this area but would be willing to give it a go if they were. I knew I had to find the right kind of author – one whose work I admired, who was also a new author and who had passions and expertise outside of their book which would be interesting for bloggers to explore.
The main advantage of organising a blog tour for another author is that it’s much easier to ask for help on behalf of someone else. It’s also easier for a blogger to say, ‘no,’ to a third party, and it doesn’t hurt when they do! When they say, ‘yes’, however, you know they really want to be involved.
Having come to the end of the tour, I can wholeheartedly recommend the benefits. It was exciting to be able to enjoy someone else’s positive reviews and success for a change. I logged onto social media every day during the tour with a sense of expectation, reading that day’s blog and enjoying seeing it Retweeted and shared into wider networks than my own.
The benefits for the author were: several great book reviews, a small increase in book sales, greater credibility as a writer and the possibility that her name and the name of her book will be more easily picked up by search engines in the future.
As well as increasing the profile of the author, I’ve also gained more Twitter and Facebook followers, and have met some wonderful people online who I might not have bumped into otherwise. I have more of a sense of the community of writers and bloggers working in my genre and I’ve seen first-hand how bloggers are able to find new angles on the same story, presenting their thoughts in the most succinct and imaginative ways. Hopefully the lessons I’ve learned will improve my own blogging.
Perhaps most importantly I’ve realised how rewarding it is to work collaboratively. The writer’s life is a lonely one. It was all too easy for me to become obsessed with my own reviews and sales figures and begin to lose perspective. There are many ways to gain a sense of personal achievement and helping to promote another author is one of them. With the internet swarming with publicists charging extraordinary sums to organise blog tours, it’s time writers took matters into their own hands.
So authors, instead of desperately searching for book review bloggers to feature your book, why not organise a blog tour for another author you know. Take a moment away from your own marketing and give yourself the opportunity to enjoy someone else’s success. There will be benefits for you both – and you never know one day someone might be willing to organise a tour for you.
And if organising a blog tour seems too much work, why not occasionally feature another author on your blog? Amazon does not allow review swaps on its site, but there’s nothing to stop you teaming up with another author to blog about each other’s books.
Here a step by step guide of how I set up the blog tour.
- Find an author who has several different angles to their writing, not just their book. Are they involved in a particular field or have a particular expertise? Have they an interesting life story? Can they talk about writing related issues? Some of the blogs on the tour can be book reviews, an author interview or an article produced by the author on a topic close to their heart, but the material for each blog needs to be unique in some way. Bloggers do not want to duplicate material from other blogs.
- Recruit a group of willing bloggers (this is the hard part!). I advertised for bloggers in relevant Facebook groups, and contacted other authors I knew who blogged. It took several weeks before I had enough blog spots to cover ten days.
- Set up a secret Facebook page and add in all the bloggers and the author. Encourage them to follow each other on Facebook and Twitter.
- Send out a review e-book to each bloggers so they can read it if they want to.
- Ask the bloggers what kind of a blog they want to have on their site and encourage them to coordinate direct with the author over interview questions/blog content.
- Agree dates for the tour with everyone and produce a schedule, ideally with a blog being published every day for a set period of time. Encourage the bloggers to advertise the schedule in advance.
- Select a relevant hashtag for the tour so that all Tweets can be easily found in one place and retweeted
- Once the tour is up and running, check that blogs are being posted each day and chase up any that are late. Share the blog posts on Twitter and Facebook, including in the secret Facebook group so the other bloggers can find them easily. Share and retweet other people’s posts and tweets.
- At the end of the tour, thank and congratulate everyone involved.
If you have experience of organising blog tours, I’d love to hear how you do it. I know I still have much to learn.