Today we’re really lucky to have the lovely Pauline Wiles talking about Blog Tours. When Pauline’s first novel was published at the end of April, I noticed she’d decided to embark on a blog tour and asked her to share with us what she’d learnt. (Nosey as ever!) Pauline will be around for the next couple of days to answer questions so feel free to use the comments to discuss blog tours – including information about your own experiences. Right, over to you, Pauline …
Not many indie authors have the stamina or resources to arrange a physical book tour, but an online or blog-based tour is a viable option for every writer. Having recently finished my first blog tour for Saving Saffron Sweeting, here are my top tips:
- Ask yourself what you want to get out of a blog tour. Great reasons to tour include forming new relationships, boosting awareness for your book, gaining a few extra reviews and generating inbound links to your website. However, if you’re expecting an immediate bump in book sales, you might be disappointed.
- Decide whether you’ll plan the tour yourself or use the services of a tour coordinator. The main benefit of having someone else do the leg-work is the time you’ll save: planning a tour takes extensive communications to find bloggers, arrange dates and finalise content. Tour coordinators also have ongoing relationships with bloggers and it’s less likely someone will let you down and not post on the agreed date. Finally, during the tour, a good coordinator will be another voice promoting you on social media and commenting at each stop. I paid $109 (about £70) through CLP Blog Tours (http://www.clpblogtours.com/) and in terms of the time my coordinator spent, I’m more than satisfied I got value for money.
- If you want your tour hosts to review your novel, you’ll need to start planning two to three months before your intended tour date. Don’t feel obliged to offer paperbacks to each host – most will happily work with an ebook. Remember you’ll need to provide content, too (see tip 6).
- If you’re using a tour coordinator, discuss upfront any criteria the blogs should meet. Clearly, they should have readers who are interested in your genre, but you may also want to discuss a threshold for visits or some other indication of the traffic each blog receives. I was a little surprised by a couple of the blogs in my tour, but I had no meaningful yardstick for specifying what I thought was “enough” traffic.
- Don’t make the tour too long. My blog tour had 11 stops and I feel this was too many. Unless you have a huge and eager readership already, a tour lasting a week is a reasonable duration.
- Resist having too much content at any single blog stop on your tour. The typical things you’ll see on tours are a review, excerpt, author interview and guest post. I’d suggest you don’t want more than two of these at any one place. One of my tour stops had all four and it was definitely too much.
- Make room in your tour budget for a small giveaway; it helps vary your social media messages and will definitely attract more interest in your tour. I offered gourmet cookies to fit the foodie threads running through my book, but next time would revert to that old stand-by of an Amazon gift card. If you do include a giveaway, be sure to list it on popular giveaway sites. You will, of course, get people who visit solely for the prize, but with enough eyeballs on your tour page, you’re bound to reach a few extra people who will become readers. Sites where I typically list my giveaways include:
- Once the tour is underway, visit each tour stop early in the day. Thank the host and then check in at intervals to answer any questions and respond to comments.
- Share each stop, review snippets or other teasers through your social media accounts. You’ll probably want to do a blog post too, announcing your tour & giveaway and linking to the blogs which are hosting you.
- After the tour, take time to thank each host individually. If they gave you a positive review, this would be a good moment to ask nicely if they could also post it on Amazon and Goodreads. Out of courtesy, I think it’s a good idea to make a few more visits to their blog and continue to share their messages through re-tweets or Facebook. An unexpected bonus of my tour was the new friends I made along the way.
Would I do another blog tour? I’m not sure. It was fun to be featured in a variety of places in quick succession, and it reinforced my belief in the supportive nature of the book blogging community. However, so many authors now seem to be ‘on tour’ that I think the novelty for readers is perhaps wearing off. And attributing sales to the tour, rather than other promotional sources, is almost impossible.
- Saving Saffron Sweeting reached the quarter finals in the Romance category of this year’s Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award www.amazon.com/abna
- For more information a full media kit is available here:
- Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17411115-saving-saffron-sweeting
Download Saving Saffron Sweeting!
British by birth, Pauline Wiles moved to California eight years ago and, apart from a yearning for afternoon tea and historic homes, has never looked back. Her work has been published by House of Fifty, Open Exchange and Alfie Dog Fiction. Saving Saffron Sweeting is her first novel.
- S is for Saving Saffron Sweeting (joannegphillips.wordpress.com)