Tags: blog tour, book tour, guest blogging, how to develop an online presence, how to do a virtual book tour, how to market your book online, how to promote your book online, how to set up a blog tour
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 Technorati, Blog 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?
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 WOW! Women on Writing
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
Article: Discover the History Within Your Memoir
Article: D.I.Y. Publishing—Is It an Option for You?
Article: The Author Promotion Circus is in Town—Start Juggling Now!
Interview: Capturing Your Voice and Emotion in Memoir
Interview: About Memoir Writing
Interview: Step-by-Step Through the Writing Process
Interview: What it Takes to Keep Writing Despite Your Busy Life
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
Commentary: Seeking Prince Charming, White Horse, and Sunset
Interview: Putting Your Life onto the Page
Interview: Opening Up in Print
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
Review by Confessions of a Book-a-holic
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!