Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Blog Tour Basics


Blog Tour Definition: A blog tour is just like an old-fashioned book tour - where an author traveled from city to city signing books at different book stores or events - except you are traveling from blog to blog and never have to leave home or take off your comfy pink bunny slippers.

Two Types of Blog Tours:

There are two basic ways to run a blog tour. You will want to pick the one that you think will best fit your schedule and lifestyle.

The first is to visit a different blog once a day for several days - usually two weeks to two months. (We’ll call this method the “Once a Day Method.”)

The second is to have a lot of blogs post about the book all on the same day. The theory behind this is you will get a lot of interest in your book all on one day, lower your Amazon sales rank and thus attract more buyers. (We’ll call this method the “Single Blast Method.”)

Two Ways to Set up a Blog Tour:

After you have chosen either the Once a Day Method or the Single Blast Method, you will need to choose how you want to execute creating that particular tour.

You can Hire a Company… There are companies that will, for a fee, set up a blog tour for you. They already have blogs that have agreed to blog about the books they offer, and all you have to do is hand over your money, give your information to the company, and they will handle getting that information into the hands of their bloggers. Generally, I do not recommend going this route, but if you are interested in looking at some, I’ve included links to a few options below with one option that is offered for free and highly recommended.
a. Tyora Moody - http://www.tywebbin.com/blog-tours/
b. Christian Fiction Blog Alliance - http://christianfictionblogalliance.blogspot.com/2008/04/exciting-changes-at-cfba.html
c. **Recommended** F.I.R.S.T. - http://firstwildcardtours.blogspot.com/ - Unlike the above two sites that charge a fee, I highly encourage you to join this group and submit your book for their blog tour. They run the whole thing for free as a ministry to Christian fiction authors. You can offer your book to the alliance members via electronic copy.
The other option you have is to set one up on your own… This is what I recommend, especially for those trying to run their promotion on the lowest budget possible. For my first book, I went this route and I had a lot of fun, but let me warn you that it is a lot of work to do this - that's why companies exist to do it for you. Below is an outline of the steps you will need to take to set up your own blog tour.

How to Set Up Your Own Tour:

1. First, about 6 weeks before you want your tour to start, begin to contact bloggers whose blogs you feel fit your target market. (A person who writes historical romance is going to want to visit different blogs than a person who writes Sci-fi.) Tell the bloggers that you are in the process of setting up a blog tour for your new release and ask if they would be willing to host you on a specific day and if so, how they would like to go about doing that.
a. There are 3 different types of posts you could do:
i. An author interview – generally the blogger will send you a list of questions they would like you to answer.
ii. A guest post. You might write about a topic related to your book. Or the blogger might ask you to address a certain topic.
iii. Book Review. You can offer ahead of time to send the blogger one of your books and they can simply do a review of your book on the day of the tour. 
2. Keep a calendar just for your blog tour and when you have emailed someone pencil their name and blog address into the date you have asked to visit their blog. As you hear back from people (I only had one person tell me it wouldn't work for me to visit their blog on the day I asked for) write them into their date in ink and make a notation of what they want you to do on their blog that day. (For example: Katie & Linda -http://www.authorculture.blogspot.com/ - write guest post.)

3. Start writing your posts and answering your interview questions and returning them to the respective bloggers. As you complete your portion of the post check off a little box to let yourself know you have returned everything the blogger asked for. (Often they will ask for an author image, and your book cover image to go along with the post. These are good to include even if they don’t ask for them. Also, don’t forget to include a link to either Amazon or your online sales venue of choice so the blogger can link to your book and buyers have easy access.)

4. About a week before you are to appear on each blog, contact the owners to make sure they have everything they need from you and take care of any last minute details that need to be handled. (This also serves as a gentle reminder to some who may have forgotten about little ol' you.)

5. Then comes the fun part - the tour itself. Make sure to put up 'pointers' to each stop of the tour on as many social networking sights as you can each day. (Shoutlife, Facebook, your own personal blog, Christian Writers (www.christianwriters.com) and Twitter.) Also visit each blog and interact with the commenters, not only on the day of the blog but for a couple days afterward. (I also gave away a free e-copy of my book at each stop. Each "contest" ran for a week and then we announced the winner. So for some weeks of my tour I needed to visit two blogs each day - one to congratulate the winner and one to interact with commenters.)

Preparations to Make Ahead of Time:

1. Write up a generic email that will be the template you use to email bloggers. You can then personalize this email toward each blogger you contact.

2. Create a file on your computer for your blog tour. Keep an image of your cover, your own author image, and your above generic template in the file. As you complete your interviews and articles save them here with the name of the blog or blogger they go to. Example: Interview for NameOfBlog.

3. Up to several months before your tour, you can start creating a list of blogs you would like to visit on your tour. Add this to your blog tour file above.
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