Guess what I did for most of last week. Go ahead, take one wild and crazy guess.
That’s right, I worked on my upcoming blog tour for The Gathering. And now I’m writing an article about it. Talk about the blind leading the blind. But I’ll do my best to give you some helpful hints on the process. If you don’t plan to ever become an author you can just sit back and giggle at all the work that went into mine.
For those who are unfamiliar with blog tours, you basically convince as many bloggers as you can to mention you on their blog. This is usually a month long process that centers around the release of an author’s book. Fortunately, I’m not doing this alone, Cedar Fort has helped me.
The first step in creating a blog tour is to block out the dates. As you can see from the banner below, mine runs from January 2nd to January 31st. Since the release date for The Gathering is the 14th this gives me roughly two weeks of blogging before it comes out and another two weeks once it’s on the shelves.
Next, you’ll want a visual reminder of the blog tour. This is a task that Cedar Fort took care of that would have been difficult to do on my own. See the lovely banner below? You could do a blog tour without a banner, or a button, but it wouldn’t be as effective. A graphic announcement of the tour will catch the eye of anyone visiting a blog that’s participating in the tour and they tend to stay up on the active page for most of the month. Some bloggers may even add it to their sidebar for the duration of the tour.
Then you need to find bloggers who are willing to participate. Once again, Cedar Fort helped me out in this area. They provided me a list of blogs that I could contact about the possibility of getting involved. It still took me about ten hours to go through that list and check to see of the blog was active, dealt with novels in my genre, and had open spots in their schedule. I also made the rounds with my own personal contacts, writers that I’ve met at conferences and on the internet.
If you don’t happen to have a handy list to work from then start with your blogging friends. See which blogs they have linked to on their blogs and then go there and check out the links they have too. Keep this up until you find enough blogs to promote your novel during the upcoming tour. That probably means about sixty since at least half of them will not be interested.
Now all you need is content. What exactly is it that the bloggers will be doing? They could be reading the book and writing a review. They could be interviewing you as an author. They could be doing something as simple as mentioning that your book is for sale and posting the back cover blurb for it.
One of the things I’ve learned during the marketing process is to make it as easy as possible for them to participate. I offered to send over an author interview that I wrote myself and they could use that as a starting point or post it as is. These are busy people and they are going to be much more willing to help you if you reduce the amount of time and effort they will have to give in order to do that. I’ll be doing a guest post for one of the blogs in my tour. In that situation, they give me a topic to discuss and I write an article that they will post on their blog. Minimal effort on their part and I get the chance to reach a new group of people.
Whatever your fellow bloggers agree to do, they will need the proper tools. In addition to a banner, those tools will likely include links to your blog, a link to the Amazon.com page for your book, any content that you pre-generated, an image of your cover, and in my case a link to the blog tour page on my publisher’s website. I’m sure I left out several others, but this should give you an idea of what I mean.
Finally, make sure to thank everyone once the tour is over. These people expended time and effort to help you sell your book. Do the same to show them how much you appreciate it. Not only is that the civilized thing to do, but it paves the way for a good working relationship with them in the future. It might even help you make some new friends.