Blog Tours: Take Your Book on The Cyber Road

March 26, 2009 at 9:16 am | Posted in Blogging, Promotion | 3 Comments
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blogtour In-person book tours are a great opportunity to meet readers, but even multi-store/multi-state tours have a limited reach. A blog tour has the potential to introduce your book to readers across the globe.

What is a blog tour?

A blog tour is a series of guest “appearances” on blogs that relate to your book’s topic and/or have an audience of readers who would be interested in your book. Bloggers agree to host a virtual event to promote your book, and it provides new and interesting content for their readers. It’s a win/win partnership.

Your guest appearance can include an original article or commentary you provide, an interview conducted by your hostess, a book review, or any other promotion agreed upon by you and the blogger.

Benefits of going on a book blog tour:

  • increased visibility for your book
  • connect with readers
  • develop your online presence
  • drive traffic to your blog and/or website
  • possibility for book sales

That’s 5 great reasons why you should get started now!

How do I plan my road trip?

Locate blogs that focus on the topic of your nonfiction book, or the theme and scope of your fiction book, as well as, blogs whose readers are your target audience. Begin by searching any of the hundreds of blog directories like TechnoratiBlog Catalog, and Blogher. Take note of high-traffic blogs and blogs with high reader interaction (a lot of comments).

If you haven’t already done so, download the Alexa Toolbar for your Firefox browser. It’s a useful tool to evaluate the traffic of the blogs and websites you visit. Check the ranking of the blogs on which you would like to appear; if their ranking is in the 20 millions (or listed as “no rank”), making that tour stop might not be the best use of your marketing time. [*Note: The lower the number, the more traffic the site receives. For example, The New York Times website is #99 in the world.] But, do keep in mind that any blog where your article, interview, or review appears will be archived indefinitely and available to anyone who searches the internet for your name or book title. It means more hits show up on Google and other search engines. That’s how you develop your internet presence.

Is there anything I need to pack?

Yes! The two most important things you need to have before embarking on a blog tour is 1) A book. 2) A blog or website. That may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many writers take off on the trip before their bags are in the car. Don’t begin your blog tour until your book is available for purchase in stores and/or online. If readers become excited about your book, they want a way to buy it immediately. If it’s not available, you risk the chance of them forgetting about it—and that means you lose the opportunity for book sales.

Don’t begin your blog tour until you have a blog or website set up. If readers are interested in you and/or your book, they want a way to find out more. Without the ability to click through to a blog or website, you lose the opportunity to develop your following. Personally, I recommend a blog over a static website—it raises your visibility with the search engines, and it allows your new-found followers to interact with you. Don’t start your tour and miss out on selling books and developing your audience by forgetting the necessities—your book and your blog.

How do I prepare for each blog stop?

Ask the blogger what topic she would like you to write about or whether she would like to ask you some interview questions. Ask for the word-count range she prefers. Read her previous posts and familiarize yourself with the type of content she provides—whether it’s informative or entertaining. Read comments from her readers to get a feel for her audience.

What do I include in my guest post luggage?

Craft your guest post or interview to highlight your topic knowledge, your personality, and promote your book.

Provide the blog hostess with

  • a brief bio
  • your book cover and headshot images (low-res/web-optimized jpg files)
  • the links to your blog and/or website, and to your book’s listing on Amazon
  • a well-written post or thoughtful answers to her interview questions
  • a signed/personalized copy of your book for the blog hostess (optional, but recommended)
  • an offer to provide a signed copy for a free drawing for her readers (optional)

Should I check in with the visitor’s bureau?

On the day your guest post goes live, leave a comment inviting the blog visitors to ask questions and comment on your post, and tell them you’ll monitor the blog and respond. Be sure to checkmark the box to be notified when new comments are posted. It will help you keep track of the blog visitors who want to connect with you. Think of your blog tour like a neighborhood party. Readers will be stopping by for conversation. Fostering the back-and-forth exchange will help you develop your following by allowing readers to get to know you.

What should be on my tour itinerary?

Online Magazines

If you can get a high-profile online magazine to do an interview with you, you have the opportunity to reach more readers than you would with an individual blog. But, like with the personal blogs, you need to provide some value/interest for the magazine’s readers.

Interview on Betty Confidential
Women’s general interest ezine

http://www.bettyconfidential.com/ar/ld/a/Enter_to_Win_a_Copy_of_The_Break_Up_Diet.html

Interview on WOW! Women on Writing
Writing-related ezine
http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/18-FE3-AnnetteFix.html

Writing Blogs

Writing blogs are a perfect choice for your blog tour, especially if your book is a how-to aimed at writers, or if you provide services for writers such as editing, ghostwriting, workshops, etc. Writer bloggers enjoy having informative guest posts about the craft, and interviewing other authors about their writing process.

Article: Who Really Cares About Your Story, Anyway? How to Write a Memoir with Universal Appeal
http://hellorhighwaterwriter.blogspot.com/2009/02/specia-guest-post-with-annette-fix.html

Article: Discover the History Within Your Memoir
http://www.urbanmusewriter.com/2009/02/guest-post-discover-history-within-your.html

Article: D.I.Y. Publishing—Is It an Option for You?
http://virtualwordsmith.blogspot.com/2009/02/guest-post-annette-fix-author-of-break.html

Article: The Author Promotion Circus is in Town—Start Juggling Now!
http://reading-writing.blogspot.com/2009/02/welcome-guest-blogger-annette-fix.html

Interview: Capturing Your Voice and Emotion in Memoir
http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/2009/02/annette-fix-author-of-break-up-diet.html

Interview: About Memoir Writing
http://alltheblogsapage.blogspot.com/2009/01/memoir-writing-annette-fix-author-of.html

Interview: Step-by-Step Through the Writing Process
http://sybilbaker.blogspot.com/2009/02/blog-tour-annette-fix-on-writing.html

Interview: What it Takes to Keep Writing Despite Your Busy Life
http://daybydaywriter.wordpress.com/2009/02/24/author-interview-annette-fix/

Reader and Topic Interest Blogs

Reader blogs are the best place to connect to your target audience. Readers love hosting authors, helping promote their books, asking questions about the writing process, and having authors write about themes or topics in their books. Choose blogs that have readers who fit your demographic, would resonate with your story, and be most likely to purchase your book.

Commentary: Homeschool Mom Steps Outsitde the Box and Dances on Top
http://ablondeandherblog.blogspot.com/2009/02/homeschool-mom-steps-outside-boxand.html

Commentary: February 14th – St. Romantic Expectations Day

http://thedailyblonde.com/2009/02/welcome-guest-blogger-annette-fix-author-of-the-break-up-diet-a-memoir/

Commentary: Seeking Prince Charming, White Horse, and Sunset
http://www.momecentric.com/2009/02/24/seeking-charming-prince-white-horse-and-sunset/#comment-6049

Interview: Putting Your Life onto the Page
http://www.clevergirlgoesblog.com/2009/02/break-up-diet.html

Interview: Opening Up in Print
http://stephaniesbooks.blogspot.com/2009/02/interview-with-annette-fix-author-of.html

Review Blogs

Review blogs are a great way to have coverage of your book done by readers who have a web presence. It gives your search results some variety when reviews come up alongside your articles and interviews.

Review by Reading Writing & Stuff that Makes Me Crazy
http://reading-writing.blogspot.com/2009/02/review-break-up-diet.html

Review by Confessions of a Book-a-holic
http://stephaniesbooks.blogspot.com/2009/02/not-so-ideal-way-to-lose-weight.html

Don’t forget your map!

Taking your book on a blog tour is one of the most cost-effective and time-saving marketing techniques you can use to promote your book, develop your online presence, and connect with readers all at once!

For a wonderful step-by-step resource to help you plan your blog tour, check out: http://quickest.blogbooktourguide.ever.com and you can join the Yahoo listserv bookblogtours for more help getting started.

Enjoy the journey!

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41 Blog Success Tips You Can Learn Today

July 8, 2008 at 6:41 am | Posted in Blogging | Leave a comment
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Blog days.

They are great opportunities to put your voice and your thoughts out into cyberspace. Some writers are so excited to connect to their readers that they blog daily and sometimes more than once a day.

For others of us who haven’t yet hit our blog stride, blogging seems more like a pesky morning chore with one looming question, “What the heck am I going to write about?”

If I ever figure out the answer to that question, you’ll be the first to know.

While I continue trying to work that out, I’m always on the lookout for tips to help make blogging easier and more effective–which is good for you because I love sharing when I find good information and inspiration.

Today, the tips come from Susan Gilbert, AME’s Search Engine Marketing Expert and the Web 2.0 company owner of http://www.JoomlaJump.com, who provides Social Networking websites and services.

Susan offers up some great ideas to boost your blogging success…

41 Blog Success Tips You Can Learn Today

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1. Read – The more you read the better writer you will be. Being a blog reader helps you understand the mind of the blog reader. What they want, how they like information to be presented, what turns you off. Read good blogs and note your thoughts.

2. Take one step – Chunk it down. Don’t be overwhelmed, take one step at a time and keep going.

3. Be interesting – Readers want to find fresh, valuable, entertaining, remarkable information. Make an effort to deliver more than just facts. Make it about them, not you.

4. Get your point across – Style, grammar, spelling all count for nothing if your audience doesn’t get your meaning. Make sure you are understood.

5. Deliver the goods – Being valuable is more important than following any rules.

6. Be consistent – You are only as good as your last post.

7. Prioritize quality over quantity – Fewer kick-ass articles are better than many so-so posts.

8. Develop expertise – You might not be an expert now but you can be. Dive into your subject and become the go-to person.

9. Hold on to passion – Keep the fires burning, don’t let your subject turn into a chore.

10. Communicate fascination – If you love your subject then let your readers know, share your enthusiasm, make it contagious.

11. Write better – All of us can improve our writing but it takes effort and motivation.

12. Grow your experience – Do new things, broaden your horizons, stretch yourself.

13. Share your experience – When you learn something new, tell your readers about it.

14. Explore and experiment – Keep trying new things, never stagnate.

15. Be unique – If you are the same as everyone else, why would anyone visit your blog?

16. Look good – Appearances count, both in terms of your blog design and your posts. Make your content zing!

17. Make a great first impression – Do new visitors know what your blog is about in under 10 seconds? Can they navigate easily? Where is your best content?

18. Build momentum – Keep pushing every day, do not be content, it takes less effort to keep going than to stop and start over.

19. Optimize – Keep tweaking, continuously improve.

20. Write with focus – Don’t squander your readers’ attention, give them what they came for.

21. Build your reputation – Know what you stand for and deliver it consistently.

22. Go for keywords – Find out what your readers are looking for and write about it.

23. Write compelling headlines – Get attention, promise a benefit, provoke interest.

24. Offer full feeds – Attention is more important than page views.

25. Interview – Supplement your knowledge by interviewing experts.

26. Break news – Be first to a story, let everyone know and see the links flood in.

27. Run contests – Contests are fun and build awareness.

28. Research, survey and poll – Research results are newsworthy and differentiate.

29. Toot your horn – Celebrate successes, send out press releases.

30. Monitor your stats – Stats tell you the health of your blog. Where is traffic coming from? Can you do more of what works? Is your blog growing or sliding? There are many free services.

31. Comment and answer comments – Nurture your audience, make them know they are valued. Comment on other blogs.

32. Link generously – If you want links then you have to first give them.

33. Join forums – Break out of your bubble, meet people where they are.

34. Give stuff away – You get what you give. Free downloads get rewarded with links and traffic.

35. Make friends – One of the pleasures of blogging and also a route to success.

36. Guest blog – Write brilliant content for other bloggers and see your brand grow.

37. Ask questions – Curiosity is a virtue.

38. Twitter – Constantly communicate and get to know people. Anything too short for a blog post can be delivered in 140 characters.

39. Stumble – Train yourself to discover, recognize and share brilliant content. What you can identify you can imagine, what you can imagine you can create.

40. Rebel – Break the rules, go against the flow, zig when others tell you to zag, do your own thing your own way.

41. Enjoy – Keep doing what you do until it stops being fun. When it is no longer fun, bring the fun back and your energy will be infectious.

Reprinted from “The Book Marketing Expert newsletter,” a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques. http://www.amarketingexpert.com

BTW, can I just say how much I absolutely adore Penny Sansevieri? I highly recommend you sign up for her Red Hot Internet Marketing Newsletter. I’ve gotten so many awesome tips from her. Now, all I need are more hours in a day to do everything!

In the meantime, while I’m trying to squeeze that 25th hour out of a 24-hour day, please share your blog link and/or links to some of your favorite blogs in the comments section. I’d love to check them out!

Start a Stampede to Your Blog

July 2, 2008 at 7:27 am | Posted in Blogging | Leave a comment
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I’ll be the first one to admit that I didn’t have the faintest idea how to really use my blog effectively to promote my book. I knew my key mistake were: not blogging as often as I should and not having a theme or a solid idea of what direction I wanted to go with it.

Initially, I had the idea of posting my quirky personal commentary and additional fun insights into the various scenes in my book on the exact days that they appear in the diary entry structure throughout my memoir. And that’s what I did in some of the early posts, which you can see here: http://thebreak-updiet.blogspot.com/

I’ve since realized I need more than that. I need not only entries that tie-in to the content of my book, but also posts that focus on topics of interest to my readers: tips on how to get over a break-up, online dating, communication in relationships, etc. I’ve also heard that if you tie your blog to celebrity news or hot topics in the media, that will also bring you new traffic from Google searches.

But here’s the thing, I’m also a bit of a technotard when it comes to figuring out how to promote my blog and get my voice heard in such a noisy online world. So, in my search to find resources to solve some of these deficiencies of mine, I’ve started to collect useful tips about blogging. And, instead of keeping all this great info to myself, I thought I’d share a very helpful article I discovered.

TAG, YOU’RE IT!
by Penny Sansevieri

One of the biggest questions I get from authors is: “I have a blog but how do I get people to it?” Well first off, you want to keep blogging, but there are other things you can do too, and we’ll discuss two of the most powerful ones here.

If you’ve spent any kind of time online, you’ve probably heard the terms: tag or social bookmarking. But what *exactly* do these terms mean?

If you think of the term “tagging” like you would a name tag at a party or networking event it will start to make much more sense. Generally, when you post a blog, it’s recommended that you “tag” it with various terms appropriate to the message of the blog. The Wikipedia definition of “tag” is: A tag is a keyword which acts like a subject or category. This keyword is used to organize web pages, subjects, and objects on the Internet.

When you think of it this way, what you’re really doing is organizing each of your blog posts so that folks can find and search them. By tagging each of them with specific keywords, you’ll come up faster when someone searches those keywords than if you left your blog blank. Make sense? Ok, then let’s get started learning how to tag. (I promise, it’s very easy.)

When creating tags, there are two types that you can create. You can imbed your blog with tags using services like Technorati (more on that in a minute) or you can go to social networking sites and tag your blog as well. Honestly, I recommend a combination of both.

Social bookmarking is a way of “bookmarking” favorite sites (i.e. yours) so you can easily share them (via tags) with the Internet community and especially folks who are searching on your search term. I’ll explain how to get your site bookmarked but, for now, take a look at sites like www.digg.com and del.icio.us.com – these are the top two social bookmarking sites you’ll want to use. There are others but we’ll discuss these in a minute.

Ok, here we go!

Simple steps to tagging:

1) Create a blog post: just write your blog, don’t worry about doing anything different.

2) Identify some keywords you’ll want to use: just pick some keywords, as many as you want. Don’t worry about getting too scientific with this, just be thorough.

3) Create your tags: head on over to http://www.egmstrategy.com/ice/tag-generator.cfm and generate tags (this will be choice #1). Once you input the keywords make sure the default button is checked at Technorati. Then go to the bottom and click “generate code” – this code will get posted right into your blog. It’s that easy! (tip: always post this code at the end of your blog) When you’re done you’ll see code in your blog like this: http://www.redhotinternetpublicity.com/blog/?p=45

4) Social bookmarking: simply put, you want to tag each of your blog posts in one or all of the following social networking sites. The one slightly time- consuming piece is that you’ll need to set up accounts for each of these but once you do, it will take you a minute or so per post to add a social bookmarking tag to each of them. Here are some of the most popular social bookmarking sites you’ll want to use: digg.com, Del.icio.us, myweb.yahoo.com (this is still in beta but I recommend using it anyway), blinklist.com, spurl.net, reddit.com, furl.net, and stumbleupon.com

5) Nuts and bolts: each of these sites has a different set of criteria for bookmarking your blog post. If you’re blogging every day this might seem pretty tedious. If it’s too much work to tag and bookmark each of your posts, handpick a few each week and focus on those. The idea is that you want to get these keywords out in cyberspace so folks can find you.

Ready for a final tip? If you want to impress customers with your endless list of resources why not share your Del.icio.us page with your readers/customers? Del.icio.us gives each registered member their own page with all of their bookmarks. Ideally you’ll want to include other resources besides your own blog but a link to this page could be a fantastic way to gain additional exposure not just for your blog, but to your wealth of resources as well. (here’s my page: http://del.icio.us/bookmkr)

Reprinted from “The Book Marketing Expert newsletter,” a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques. http://www.amarketingexpert.com

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Now, all I need to do is carve out time to implement Penny’s great tips! Give it a try yourself and let me know how it goes!

Guest Blogging Etiquette

June 23, 2008 at 9:22 am | Posted in Blogging | 2 Comments
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Writing in Someone Else’s Space
Guest blogging can be a great way to get your name out to a new audience. It allows you to promote your product or service, and helps build your platform as an expert in your field. Hosting a guest blogger can add variety and interest to your blog, provide new information to your readers, and give you a break from having to create your own content for a day. Overall, it’s a win-win situation.

When you receive an invitation to appear as a guest blogger, there are a few things you need to do to make it a good experience for you, your hostess, and her readers.

Ask Your Hostess
Just like the etiquette for attending a dinner party, find out if there is anything you can bring for the table. Does your hostess want you to write about a topic of her choice? Is she planning to send you a list of interview questions to answer? Is she giving you free rein to write whatever you want?

Research the Space
Read at least one month of previous blog entries. See what your hostess talks about. Is her tone humorous or serious? Does the blog focus on providing entertainment or information?

Who are her readers? Read the comments sections of the most recent posts to get a feel for what motivates her readers and gets them engaged in responding.

What about the use of language? Is it academic, casual, or trendy slang? How long are the posts? Does she include resource links, pictures, or video?

Taking the time to assess her writing space will help you turn out a post that suits her needs and promotes you well.

Content Content Content
This is where you put your fingers to the keyboard. Of course, what you write about will depend on the arrangement you make with your hostess. If you are answering interview questions, keep your answers brief and interesting. If you are promoting your expertise, provide some solid take-away information for her readers. If you have carte blanche, try to find a way to incorporate your promotion with that of your hostess. Using an anecdote to relate your story to hers in some way will help you stay close to the theme of your hostess’ blog.

Dos and Don’ts for a Guest Blogger

  • DO let your personality shine through in your blog post.
  • DO check and recheck for typos and grammar errors in your post prior to sending it to your hostess.
  • DO monitor her blog during your guest day and respond to any comment posts.
  • DON’T get into a flame war with any of her readers.
  • DO promote your guest blog day on your blog and to your list.
  • DON’T forget to thank your hostess for the opportunity.
  • DO reciprocate and invite your hostess to guest blog on your site.

Most of all, have fun with it!

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