The Blog Tour: Time Consuming and Rewarding (Part 1)
I recently completed my first blog tour and it was a wonderful success! I suggest that in promoting a script or a book, almost everybody should take part in one of these tours. If you are short on cash and long on time management skills, it is a perfect way to bring the attention of your book to a larger audience that never would have heard of you otherwise.
I originally decided that a tour was for me after seeing the tour of author Scott Nicholson. This North Carolina author of horror and ghost stories didn’t go from blog to blog pimping his books alone. He was less of a salesman and more of a storyteller (as you’d expect a successful author to be, regardless). I wanted to take his lead and talk about myself as an author as opposed to simply plugging my book and asking people to buy it. A blog tour isn’t just about selling books, it’s about building a brand. If people think you’re a cool guy, you are much more likely to sell books than if you come off like a salesman.
The best way to begin a blog tour is by figuring out how many days you want to shoot for (I end up with a 33-day tour) and to start e-mailing relevant blogs. I started by sending e-mails to some of the blogs that Scott utilized for his tour. From the links on those blogs, I was able to find more than enough blogs that were willing to host me to fill up the tour. This is a step that can take a long time. I e-mailed around 150 blogs to find 34 that were willing to host me.
One of the best ways to entice a blog to host you is to have your tour be the part of some large giveaway. Everybody who entered into my tour received a free copy of my book, The Writing Sampler, and was entered into a drawing for 100 personalized writing prompts. I also gave the readers an incentive to buy my book, stating that if any of my books reached the top 500 on Amazon, I would add a $50 gift card to the grand prize drawing. These 100 personalized prompts are taking a while to write, but I received so many fantastic comments about how cool the giveaway was, it was definitely worth it.
The next step was to schedule the posts. Some of the blogs only had a few days during the month of May available. Others were more wide open and I was able to use them to fill in the cracks left open. While I used a Word document to keep things organized, a spreadsheet program like Excel would probably be effective for keeping everything in check. Bloggers will have to reschedule from time to time, so it’s best to get in there as early as possible (e-mail them at least a month ahead of time) and to keep in mind who your most flexible bloggers will be in case you need to move things around.
A blog on your blog tour will expect to have original blog posts that have not been posted anywhere else. That is why you will be creating all-new content for each day of your tour. Each of my posts were around 500 words in length, followed by a biography about myself (filled with Amazon links to my books) and information about the tour. While some of the blogs were appreciative that I sent them my post in HTML format, it confused other bloggers. You may want to check with individual bloggers to see how they would like you to submit the post.
As I wrap up the first part of this post, the most important thing to keep in mind is that there is never a good time to sit down and e-mail a bunch of people. Just fit in this boring and tedious task whenever you possibly can get motivated to do so. Once you get it out of the way, you will be one step closer to higher sales and greater visibility.
Tomorrow, I will discuss how to generate topic ideas, how to keep track of giveaway submissions, and other tips and tricks that can ensure your tour will improve the sales of your books.
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Written by Bryan Cohen
Bryan Cohen is the author of more than 30 books, many of which focus on creative writing and blasting through that pesky writer's block. His books have sold more than 20,000 copies. You can find him on Google+ and Facebook.
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