February 8, 2010

Going On A Blog Tour

Guest Post by Chynna Laird

One assumption that many new authors make is that their publisher or agent will take care of most of the marketing of their book. The truth is that although authors may get the occasional lead from their publisher or agent, most of the onus of getting the word out about a book is on the author.

Now unless you are Stephen King, whose books are pretty much sold as soon as they come out, book marketing can be a tremendous amount of work. And it can also be expensive. But in this day and age we have many phenomenal ways to reach out to readers and buyers through the Internet. One of them is a Book Blog Tour.

I wound up my second blog tour with WOW-womenonwriting just a few weeks ago and I can honestly say that not only did it help to increase my sales but I also got leads to other marketing resources!

A blog tour is basically the same idea as a traditional book tour when you go into bookstores to sign or read but the tour is done on blogs. The blog host either asks that the author does a guest post, participates in a Q&A or simply does a book review and, often, the author also gives away a copy of the book to a lucky follower with the best comment or question.

Benefits to a blog tour include:
• Convenience (GREAT for Writer Moms who don’t have a lot of freedom to travel);
• Reaches audiences authors may miss on traditional book tours;
• Fairly inexpensive, especially if the author arranges it herself;
• Posts are kept indefinitely on the Internet. That means the author and his book can be ‘Googled’ or pulled up in an Internet search for quite some time!

Interested in arranging one? You could do it in one of two ways: (1) you could hire someone to set it all up for you, like I did with WOW; or (2) you do it on your own. Because I had so much going on, I hired WOW to set everything up for me. They took care of the advertising, found blogs for me to guest on and set up dates. Hiring someone can run anywhere from $150 - $350, depending on what they’ll cover, including how many blogs they can get you on and the amount of traffic they get.

If you choose to do it on your own, you’ll need to bear the following things in mind:
• Advertising. You need to get your tour out there so you’ll (hopefully!) have a loyal following along your tour, in addition to the blog hosts’ followers. And remember: you need to advertise as you go too. If you have Twitter, Facebook or MySpace accounts, announce your stop each day.
• Good blogs. Okay here you need to find blogs that not only represent your book’s theme but that also have a good following. But don’t restrict yourself just to your book’s theme. My book, for example, is about raising a child with Sensory Processing Disorder so many of the blogs I’ve visited focused on SPD, Autism and Asperger’s. But I also did spots on blogs about writing, being a Writing Mama, writing memoirs and other areas. It can be a lot of work finding places on your own but be sure to cover all the bases. And blogs with a lot of followers will generate more sales but, again, don’t dismiss ones with low numbers. They can lead to great things too. Have a good mix!
• Have a set time frame and don’t overdo it! Most blog tours run for about a month. That’s perfect. Don’t book yourself for too many because you need to check into each place to answer questions or respond to comments. One blog per day over the set time frame is great.
• Respond to comments/questions. As mentioned above, one of the biggest parts of the tour is interacting with commentors. Your book may rock but you need to create a good relationship with your readers. It’s actually tons of fun! I loved that part of the whole thing.
• Keep books on hand. Not only will you need to have books to give to blog hosts to review, but they may want to have a giveaway for your book too. In my case, my publisher offered to handle any giveaway books and review copies to those in the U.S., since I live in Canada (It was much cheaper and faster all around!) and I handled the other ones. Be sure to have copies on hand but also see if your publisher would be willing to handle some of the author copies or prize-winners for you.

We all know that it takes work to get ourselves and our work out there. But the Book Blog Tour offers an author an amazing way to get worldwide recognition just by making a few blog stops. And blog hosts get their blog more traffic and recognition too so everyone is a winner!

CHYNNA TAMARA LAIRD – is a psychology student, freelance writer and author living in Edmonton, Alberta with her partner, Steve, and their three daughters [Jaimie (seven), Jordhan (five), and baby Sophie (nineteen months)] and baby boy, Xander (three). Her passion is helping children and families living with Sensory Processing Disorder and other special needs.

You’ll find her work in many online and in-print parenting, inspirational, Christian and writing publications in Canada, United States, Australia, and Britain. In addition, she’s authored a children’s book, a memoir (now available!) and a reference book about the Sensory Diet coming January 2011.

Please visit Chynna’s website at www.lilywolfwords.ca, as well as her blog at www.lilywolfwords.blogspot.com, to get a feel for her work and what inspires her.

1 comment:

  1. what a great idea! how would it work with an anthology? (just published 2 poems in Grandmothers' Necklace) Maybe ask various contributors to post on my blog as host or on theirs? all money going to Stephen Lewis Foundation so don't know if publisher would supply give-away copies. thanks for the post.