This post, by Beth Barany, originally appeared on her Writer’s Fun Zone blog.
Many authors wonder how to get more visibility for their books. One way to do this is to run a blog tour. If you discover that you like blogging, and would like to build excitement about a new release or re-release, running a blog tour can help you build visibility to a new audience and make more sales.
What is a blog tour?
Instead of going from bookstore to bookstore and town to town, you go from blog to blog, ideally within a concentrated period. Keep in mind there are no rules. I’ve run tours that involve one stop a week for 12 weeks, and 30 stops within a month, or 10 stops in two weeks. The trick to designing a blog tour is what kinds of time do you want to invest. If you have lots of time, do a 30-day tour. If you don’t have much time or are busy during the week, you can organize a tour of 1 stop per week, like I did last summer when I launched my YA fantasy, Henrietta The Dragon Slayer. You can see the schedule for that tour here: http://www.writersfunzone.com/blog/beth-barany-novelist/blog-tour/
Benefits of a Blog Tour
- Get known to more readers
- Get reviews
- Show off your expertise
- Sell books
Other Important Elements of a Blog Tour
It’s true that like anything you do in marketing your book you need to make decisions about your blog tour. In my experience of running blog tours for novelists, here are the things to decide before you run your tour:
Decide how many days, what days of the week (weekends or not; holidays or not) you want to run the tour. Also, know that it take 6-8 weeks to prepare an extensive tour, though only 1-2 weeks for a short tour.
There are many kinds of bloggers who love, love, love to read and review books, and host writers on their sites. A special breed of bloggers exist and call themselves “book bloggers.” they each have favorite kinds of genre to review, with their own rules about what they will feature or not. In addition to book bloggers, search out experts in your field and subject matter expertise, including bloggers who focus on such topics as writing, freelancing, mommy-entrepreneur sites, independent publishing, etc. Also, it’s important to pick bloggers that have a big reach to your audience. One way to see if the blogger has a big reach is to use www.alexa.com, provider of free, global web metrics.To find book bloggers and other appropriate bloggers, Twitter is a great resource. I’ve compiled many book bloggers in this list here: http://twitter.com/Beth_Barany/book-reviewers.
I think it builds buzz and excitement to offer a grand prize giveaway that relates to your book. For example, my client YA fantasy author Wendy D. Walter is offering a hand-painted gnome and signed copy of her novel as a grand prize for her blog tour that started the beginning of December 2012. Her YA fantasy features gnomes, among other fantastical creatures, and Wendy is an artist. I’ve noticed that when you offer a prize not associated with your book you attract lots of prize hounds. While nice for increasing your numbers on social media and mailing lists, these people are probably not potential fans or readers.To manage your Grand Prize giveaway, use Rafflecopter.com: A cool tool for having people enter into your giveaway and to randomly pick your grand prize. Hats off to those savvy software developers for creating this free tool.I also recommend giving away an ebook or physical book at every blog stop. Ask people to comment or answer a question relevant to the blog topic. This helps weed out those prize hounds who just want anything free, and helps focus on those people who want something free AND are your potential readers and fans.