Saturday, May 18, 2013

Building the Buzz: Day 18 Blog Tours

No marketing challenge would be complete without talking about blog tours. So let's do this.

Oh, the blog tour. A pain in the rear to organize and quickly becoming one of those must have marketing items that noone is sure about how effective it is. Know what I mean? But a blog tour doesn't have to be a hair-pulling shot in the dark.

Before we go much further, let's take a second to acknowledge that there are a ton of companies out there that will organize your tour for you. Some of them are wonderful, others will promise you the moon for a pretty penny and deliver a smooshed Moonpie. Get the picture? If you decide that going on your own isn't in the cards, do make sure you do your research. Talk to clients and not just the ones they feature on their site. Stick your nose into one of their active tours and see how it's going. Just make sure you go in with both eyes open.

Okay, moving on. When it comes to organizing your own blog tour you need to focus on the two Os: organization and originality. You need to get your act together well in advance of when you want the tour to run. This is not a plan it in a week sort of thing. You should know how many stops you want, when you want them to happen and exactly what you are asking of a host well before you approach anyone.

Make sure you keep a good log of who you've contacted and their response. You'll also want to make sure you have all the pertinent information everyone needs readily available and accessible. These are constants in a tour like a cover photo, blurb, author bio, head shot, purchase links, etc. Not only should these be compressed into a file you send to every host, you should make them available either on your website or via a document sharing site so your hosts never have to search for your information.

When it comes to the actual tour, originality is your friend. The standard tour of only the information listed above with the occasional review comment just doesn't cut it any more. You need to stand out and give your readers a reason to sit up and pay attention. The tour is only limited by your imagination and the amount of work you're willing to put in.

Here are my Top 10 tips for making your tour as unique as your book:
1. Create a scavenger hunt of sorts that encourages your readers to visit every stop on the tour. Make sure the content of each host is different.
2. Instead of the standard blurb, make each stop an interview with a different character from your book.
3. Feature all the locations in your book at each stop.
4. Incorporate your book's theme into the stops. For example, if your main character is a pastry chef. Include an amazing pastry recipe at every stop. Take it a step further and show a picture of you making it.
5. Run a blitz where every stop is on the same day and hits the internet like a literary tidal wave.
6. Share a favorite quote or scene from the book at each stop.
7. Share a different song from your writing playlist on each stop and how it influenced your writing.
8. Team up with a few other authors with release dates close to yours and run a team tour.
9. Tie your stops together with a Q&A reveal or a clever Choose Your Own Adventure like the one recently done by Eliza Tilton.
10. Include an awesome giveaway. Tune back in tomorrow for my best giveaway advice.

Today's task. Start planning your tour now. Brainstorm at least 10 things you can do on your tour that no one else can because of the uniqueness of your book.


  1. CHeck!

    BUT, I do have another tour I plan on doing in July. This is a teaser tour that will be hosted by a tour company.

    Even with that, I'm trying to do something original, like convince my husband to draw more sketches--think I'm pushing my limit though, lol

  2. I know blog tours are important, but for the most part, I hate them. I hate traveling to my fav blog peeps and seeing the same cover/info again and again, forcing me to congratulate the author sixteen times. My biggest peeve are the character interviews -- these are not people! They are figments of someone's imagination! They are made up! Doesn't anyone get it? When actors promote their movie, they don't appear as the characters 'cause that would be dumb.

    My agent's already told me I "have" to have one. There will be no character interviews, no playlists, no interminable scenes (who has time to read those things?)

    I'm already making a list of fun and unusual things like your scavenger hunt idea, which is great! I'll do guest posts on writing technique, on Egypt, on publishing, or "how-I-got-my-agent" and have very short audio recordings of parts of the book (with sound effects). No two stops will be alike (except for buying book info).

    Sorry for ranting, but most blog tours are so bad and amateurish the authors should be ashamed of themselves for putting out bland, repetitive material they'd never put in a book. It's like no one wants to make an effort...

    1. I get what you're saying, but I think a lot of this depends on your audience. I personally like reading character interviews so long as they are interesting. I'm also a fan of seeing playlist. Knowing what to put on your tour is part of understanding who your reader is.

    2. You're absolutely right. I write Horror and Dark Fantasy; it attracts a rather cynical audience (like me! lol). I can see where Romance, Paranormal, or Fantasy readers would be the type to want character interviews and things of a warm&fuzzy nature! I still don't get the playlist thing. I was a professional singer and I know people have very different tastes in music even if they are the same age or like the same books. It's even money that you can alienate someone with your personal music choice than entice them.

  3. I think the character interviews and such are brilliant. I've been wondering why you say the same bio everywhere. The same photo everywhere. I'm always on the lookout for DIFFERENT things about people I love! Good ideas, though.

    Also, why have I not heard of a blog tour? I don't even know what that means. I will have to look it up.

    1. I recommend the same bio, etc. so that there is consistency and people remember you from all the different places they may see you or your book. That said, there's nothing wrong with doing interview that share new and interesting information with your readers.

      Blog tours are a virtual book tour. You, the author, travel around to a new blog every day sharing different bits and information about your book. It's usually targeted around when your book releases to drive exposure and excitement.


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