You’ve gotten a letter from Publisher X accepting your novel and a contract. Your contract appears on the up-and-up and you’re in balloon heaven. The euphoria helps you through the edits, but the honeymoon ends when you go about the business of marketing the book.
Traveling poses a problem because you have a day job, kids, etc, and few people can afford the thousands needed for a publicist. What’s more, some folks sell best online, while others do better with face-to-face sales. When Steel Rose came out in February, 2013, I opted for Goddess Fish’s blog tour, which enabled me to promote my book without traveling. Instead of going to physical places, I hopped from blog to blog during the 12 weeks of the tour. Each stop meant an interview or guest post. In this way, the blog’s followers got to know me as a person. The demands of Pennsylvania’s winters and a day job made online promotion particularly attractive.
For choice of companies, three come to mind: Goddess Fish, Reading Addictions, and Bewitching Book Tours. They’re all good; I vetted them through Absolute Write Water Cooler and other authors. Some companies specialize in certain genres, so that is something to consider when you embark on a tour. Study the upcoming tours and see what genres are being promoted. Also consider the kind of publicity you had in mind and how much money you can afford to spend. Do you want to do a “cover reveal” or are you going for a month of posts, interviews, and reviews? The cost could run anywhere from $25 to several hundred dollars.
Two caveats come to mind. First, the tour company can’t guarantee positive reviews. If the host doesn’t like your book, he or she might forego the review and instead post an excerpt, cover page, and author biography. Second caveat: Blog tours are booked weeks in advance, so the tour company will set deadlines for your posts. According to Author Jonathan Maberry, blowing a deadline is the worst thing an author can do. His advice applies to the blog tour, too. Otherwise, you lose credibility with the tour host and their readers. If you agree to deliver work on a given date, and you’re sick, at least give the person advance warning. Life happens and everyone understands that. When I did the blog tour for Goddess Fish, I sent in my guest posts way in advance so the respective host could get them in time.
On the day of your promotion, thank the host for posting your book. A comment such as “Thanks for having me today” will work. You’ll want to offer a giveaway – not an actual copy of your book, but perhaps a gift card or copy of another book you published. Since most people love coffee, I’ll offer a Starbucks gift card. The tour company keeps track of addresses and will readily supply this information once you’ve picked your winner.
Must you go through a company for blog touring? Not necessarily. I’ve done a couple of mini-tours on my own, including giveaways. I’ve recently started doing Reading Addiction’s Single Day Mini Promo Blitz for the Night to Dawn books. Although the blog tour and mini promos didn’t increase sales right off, I made new friends on Facebook and Twitter, and that’s a great thing. What’s more, I had fun writing the blogs. A balloon tale puts a smile on most people’s faces.
Have you ever considered a blog tour? I’d love to hear about your experiences.