Friday, February 8, 2013

Workshop #8: Blog Tours - Pick Blogs to PULL Your Readers

So, you finished your book and sold it - hooray!  With your release date in hand, you decide to do a blog tour as part of your marketing activities.  Still smiling with the afterglow of a sale, you pause and think, "How in the heck do I do a blog tour?"

In keeping with this month's theme of PULL marketing, today's workshop will focus on tips for designing a blog tour.

Tip #1: Know your readers.  Who are your readers?  Are they kite surfers, swimmers, and other water sports fanatics?  Do they quilt and / or knit?  Are they businessmen with an interest in international travel and thrilling adventures?  How old are they?  Where do they live?  Why would they buy your book?  Remember, you are trying to SELL your books by PULLing readers to your content.  Understand your target audience (readers) and then seek them out in their natural habit - which brings us to....

Tip #2: Seek out blogs that cater to your readers.  The common misconception about blog tours is that you have to hit as many blogs as you can in a relatively short period of time.  This notion is only partially true.  Yes, you want to connect with a variety of bloggers, BUT the blogs you choose should be blogs that attract YOUR readers.  It really is a quality over quantity decision.  One of our dear friends found herself posting on an erotica focused blog and she doesn't write erotica - in fact, she writes 'closed door', sweet romances - almost the exact opposite of erotica!  Yes, erotica readers read MORE than just erotica...but when you have precious little time, focusing your efforts by getting the most 'bang for your buck' <pun intended> is the best use of your time. :D

Tip #3: Spread the love. You don't have to hit 20 blogs in one week, marketing is a marathon - not a sprint, sprinkle your blog posts out over time - some before, some on the release day, and plenty after release.  In short: 1) Tell them (your readers) your book is coming, 2) Tell them your book is HERE (with buy links), 3) Remind them your book is released.

Tip #4: Manage your time well - don't overextend yourself. Question: How many blogs constitute a blog tour?  Answer: What does your schedule permit?  Consider designing a blog tour that spans six months or an entire year.  It can be done, if you hit one or two blogs a month.  Have prepared posts written ahead of time to balance your blog tour demands with the time you spend writing your NEXT book.

Tip #5: Use your network. Talk with your writing friends to see which blogs they've toured.  What were their results?  Which bloggers are easy to work with?  Were they clear as to the content they wanted?  Were they able to tell you when your content would post?  Take heed of your network's advice, especially if they write similar books.

Tip #6: Visit the blogs, prior to dedicating your time and energy. Review how they present authors with introductions, pictures of them and their books, links to their website. Pull Marketing is the package and presentation of your book, while your persona engages your readers.  Is your persona and voice compatible with the blogger's voice and content?  Bloggers have an audience to attract and maintain, too.  Do you really want to be the author who submitted bawdy humor to a conservative, Christian blogger?

Tip #7: Pay it forward - Thank each blogger, touch base with them at conferences, send them chocolates, reTweet their posts, etc.  If you are nice and professional they will continue to promote you even after your blog tour is done - and you may be able to come back when your next book comes out.  Remember you are working with people who are passionate enough to blog.  People promote the people they like.  Nurture this relationship, as you would nurture any customer relationship.  In the end they are readers who buy books, too, and they have a ton of sway with their readers (who are also your potential readers).

If you are a pre-published author, start scoping out blogs for your future blog tour, now!  Follow them.  Load up your Google Reader with a variety of blogs - not just book blogs.  Chat with the bloggers at conferences, buy them a drink. 

Start building your blogger network, today.


  1. The first tip is the hardest: "know your readers." I think this is particularly difficult for those of us who write cross-genre and so are not easily classified as to where the book fits. This is also the reason NY generally doesn't pick up the book.

    With two out of my four published books, I knew who my readers were: SF and Suspense. With my Sweetwater Canyon series I wasn't as sure who my readers were. The series is Women's Fiction because each book is about the woman's journey to finding her true self and loving it. However, it also has a romance at the center of it, which means it doesn't appeal to some segment of the women's fiction market who only wants it about the woman's journey. It is contemporary romance by all the tropes and the romance is central to the outcome, however...the books also deal with bigger issues like rape recovery, partner abuse, cancer recovery which turn off a lot of romance readers.

    So, I took a chance and marketed to both women's fiction and romance readers. I've been lucky in that the books have received good reviews. And I am slowly finding an audience. However, I'm not sure I can yet articulate exactly who this reader is except that he/she is willing to stretch their genre expectations to encompass something else.

  2. Great information! I'm learning to do #3.

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