Unlike many debut authors who eagerly anticipate the release of their first novel, I feel my release date is racing toward me. There are so many things I need to do, so many decisions to make. Whether published by a small press or a giant New York publishing house, most authors are expected to do their own promotion.
First decision: Do I put my energy into a book signing tour? I dreaded the prospect of the time and travel required, assuming I could find venues for my signings. Then I heard about blog tours. Writers and bloggers generously shared their experiences and requirements, which I’ve boiled down into Blog Tour 101.
What is a blog tour? The modern equivalent of the book signing tour. The author arranges appearances on blogs frequented by readers likely to be interested in his or her work.
How does it work? Depending on the blog host, the author may a) post a guest blog, b) be interviewed, c) submit a book for a review to be posted on the blog, c) run a contest to give away a book, d) provide book information such as a blurb, excerpt, and links to purchase the book which are posted by the host, or any combination of the above.
The purpose? Creating buzz. Without going overboard on the “buy my book” pitch, the author has the opportunity to gain visibility with readership. Bloggers influence readers’ purchases, some dramatically so. With fewer physical bookstores and more online ordering of books, blogs can serve as your indirect sales outlet.
How does an author set up a blog tour? Bloggers are eager to post new content. As a writer, you should already be aware of popular blogs in your genre. If not, start doing your research. Bloggers may post invitations for authors to appear on their blogs on writers’ loops. You can also check the blog for instructions for submitting posts or requesting reviews.
The risks? If you send your book to a reviewer, and the person doesn’t like your book, now that information will be posted for their readership. Or you could spend lots of time preparing blog posts for a blogger with minimal traffic. Another risk is if you get caught up in the chatty nature of blogs, and forget to treat this as a business opportunity. Be real, be fun, but be professional.
The Blog Tour sounds like a good option for a person with a full time job and a limited promotional budget. I’ll post more developments on this journey in the coming weeks.
Have you ever purchased a book due to a bloggers recommendation? For any authors who have done a blog tour, what are the benefits and pitfalls?
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