Monday, January 11, 2010

Blog Tours: Do They Work?

When I began marketing my book, one of the first things I read about was having a blog. I confess it has been the last on my list of marketing musts, simply because I didn’t understand blogging, couldn’t understand how it would help me as an author, and hey, it looked so complicated. Then in October 2009 I read a rave review about a blog tour organized by Women on Writing. I contacted them and was given a comprehensive outline of how the tour works, what was expected of me, and what results I could expect from the tour itself. It all sounded good so I dived in. I was impressed by the professional and caring attitude of my blog tour organizers, who gave me step-by-step instructions as well as a blog guide to terms and jargon (especially for newbies like me).


Was it a success? Resounding! Yes, in my opinion blog tours do work for authors and here’s why:

Massive exposure to an audience you possibly would never have found on your own. Each blog stop has its own followers. There are also people who enjoy following the complete tour, so new blogs get new readers, and you, the guest, get a whole lot of attention.

You are invited to write posts about yourself, your work, your book, and your writing techniques that give more interesting angles to you as an author. I felt challenged in a positive sense because many of my blog hosts asked me for posts relating to kids’ literacy, making reading more interesting for kids, how to get kids back into books, how to write for kids. It was great!

Within a short space of time those blog posts start appearing on other people’s blog pages, pop up in Google Alerts, and there is a general spread of awareness as more and more people either follow the blog tour post by post, or simply pass on the information they have found through their own feeds. This can also be through emails, Twitter, Facebook and other social sites. When people enjoy something, they comment on it.

Book giveaways are a wonderful way of getting people to comment and participate in the tour. Your blog tour hosts usually arrange this; you have to get the books to the hosts first.

• If people enjoy reading about you they may ask the blog tour organizers to add you to their blog as a guest post. I gained a few more stops on my tour once people began reading my posts.

What you can do to maximize your success:

Send a personal email to all your blog hosts in advance thanking them for the opportunity to appear on their blog, and confirming date, time, their blog address, topic of the post, and when they can expect the information. Make sure they receive your post well in advance.

Have a look at each blog on your tour and get a feel for the tone of it. Is it intellectual, chatty, quirky, fun, formal, etc? Tailor your post to reflect the tone of the blog.

If you are sending giveaway or review copies of your book, make sure this is done well in advance and confirm with your blog tour organizers that the hosts have received their copies.

Make sure you visit each blog stop for a few days afterwards to reply to comments. Your blog tour organizers will usually get the ball rolling by commenting first. Make it easy for yourself by setting an email request for when comments are made on the various posts. This will help you stay in touch.

Blogging is a very personal way to develop new readers, fans, and friends, and to meet people interested in your work. Contact Women on Writing for more details.
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