Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tips to ensure a painless blog tour

Tips to ensure a painless blog tour
By Natalie-Nicole Bates

Nearly two years ago, I had no idea what a blog tour was. I had signed two contracts in the space of one week, one for my short story Antique Charming, the other for my contemporary romance, Change of Address. I was caught up in the exuberance at the thought of finally being published. I had a blog designed, and started looking at promotion.

This is when I found out about the relatively new concept of a blog tour. Simply put, a blog tour is an organized selection of blogs that an author will visit and promote her books. The blog tour may be organized by a promotion company, or for the more ambitious author, may be organized by the author herself.
For the sake of this writing, I’m going to concentrate on blog tours arranged by a promotional company.

So, where do you begin?

My advice is to thoroughly research each company who offers blog tours and find out which will offer you the closest to what you are hoping to accomplish. Do internet searches, take advice from the experiences of other authors, and most important—ASK QUESTIONS before you commit to a tour. Does the tour company cater to your specific genre? Do they have bloggers with a wide range of readers or are they more genre-specific? By asking questions up front, you will be much happier in the end.

When do you begin?

Most blog tour companies need as much notice as possible to arrange the best bloggers for your tour. In a perfect world, we would love to have our blog tours begin the same day our book is released, but this is not always realistic. Currently, an 8-12 week lead in time is not unrealistic.

You will need to provide up front your cover art, your links, a blurb, an EDITED excerpt, your bio, and an EDITED pdf of your book if you are requesting reviews.

A word here about edited excerpts. ALWAYS wait until you have your final edits from your editor before submitting excerpts, or you have the publisher’s permission.

Be Realistic

Before you book a tour, be realistic with what you want to accomplish. Like me, you have a life outside of writing. Perhaps you have a partner, children, and quite possibly a job and hobbies. A blog tour is a commitment. 
How long do you want to tour? A short story or short novella requires usually a week –long tour, a novella, two weeks. Tours can last one month, or even longer.

Do you like to write guest posts? Guest posts done right can be time consuming. If you do a month long tour, can you realistically write maybe twenty guest posts that are relatively unique and relevant? Do you like to do interviews? What about reviews? Will you be offering any giveaways?

Be honest with yourself about what you can handle. Be up front with the person arranging your tour. They will help you to tailor your tour to fit your needs.

A quick word here about reviews. Reviewing is a subjective business. We love our writing like our children and it hurts us deeply when we get a bad review. I know it’s been said that you need to develop a thick skin in this business, and it’s true. My attitude is, If you like my work, great. If you don’t, keep walking. There are simply things in this life that we cannot control, and the reviews we receive are among these. My advice is to bite your lower lip and thank the reviewer for their time. NEVER react to bad reviews. It’s not worth your time or reputation. This is just one person’s opinion, and they are entitled to that opinion. If you feel you're being unfairly bashed, contact the tour arranger and let her act on your behalf.

So now, we have our materials, our dates selected, we’ve toughened up emotionally, and are ready to start our tour. 

Now what?

Have fun! This is a joyous occasion in your life! People are talking about YOUR book, and YOU are the star of your blog tour!

Each day of your tour, visit the blog who is hosting you. If you do not see your tour there right away, give it some time before you contact the company who arranged your tour. A lot of bloggers host authors each day and need to give each author their fair share of time. Only contact the tour arranger if you don’t see your information after mid-day.

Be gracious and thank the blogger who is hosting you. This is a MUST. She is taking her time to host you, possibly interview or review you, as a courtesy.

Make a comment at the blog. A lot of readers are a bit skittish when it comes to making comments. Be friendly and approachable, and the readers will react to this. If the readers don’t comment, don’t fret! They are still reading the blog! Check back a few times to see if there are any comments you need to respond to.

Promote! Promote! Promote! Let readers know where you are appearing. Post on Facebook, Twitter, and any place that allows promotion.

At the end of your tour I hope you are feeling satisfied with the results. If you’ve experienced any problems, do share them with the company who arranged your tour. Thank them. It is a long process to arrange a tour and coordinate information as well as a wide range of bloggers.

I wish you the best of luck if you are planning a blog tour. I hope some of my tips will be useful on your road to blog tour success.

Natalie-Nicole on the Web

Twitter @BatesNatalie

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