Stage 1 – Planning
Plan your tour length and frequency – five days, ten days, a month; everyday, every other day or three a week for a month. The length is up to you, but decide timings before you even fix your first tour stop. I took INCEPTIO on tour for ten days and stopped off every day. This was long enough to make an impact, but short enough not to bore people into the ground.
Stage 2 – Preparation
Select your stops. If you’re a social media animal and visit and comment regularly on blogs in your genre and/or book bloggers, you’ll have a fair idea of which ones you want to visit. If not, start visiting now and don’t forget to comment on the existing posts. Check which blogs are alive and vibrant with lots of good comments. Alternatively, you could hire a blog tour organiser to research appropriate blogs and set up the stops, but you will still need to write posts and provide answers – it’s your tour!
Approach the hosts and be prepared to wait. The most popular blogs have many requests for spots and spaces are taken quickly. You may have to re-jig your whole tour if you want a special/important/popular blog. Being polite and professional goes without saying!
Ask what the blogger would like – you’re the guest, they are doing you a favour. On the other hand, you are providing original content. 😉 Be ready to answer questions in an interview, write a guest post on a theme or about your background, your writing day, publishing journey or your view on a writing topic. They may also ask for a first chapter as a preview or sneak peek. Have your book blurb and bio ready, plus a good author photo and cover image in .jpg format.
Most importantly, answer the damned questions! If your host asks questions, give them the information they want, not the prepared stuff you want to throw at them. However, it’s acceptable to weave in a little bit of info angled towards your own book as long as it’s relevant and not too spammy.
Send off your post/answers, bio, blurb, etc. in good time, ahead of the deadline the blogger has given you. It shows you have a serious and professional attitude. And (speaking from experience) do make sure you *have* attached everything to your email.
Step 3 – Performance
Post on your own blog/Facebook/via your newsletter that you will be going on tour. Include/embed the hyperlinks of the hosts’ websites in your own post. If you have a tour logo, make sure you include that. Here’s my advance post for my April 2013 tour that was organised by my publisher, SilverWood Books after INCEPTIO was published.
On the day your post is on the host’s page, check back regularly to answer any comments from readers.Tweet about the post 3-4 times spread throughout the day and less frequently for a day or two afterwards. More than that and it looks spammy.
If the host has posted a review of your book, then you’ve hit gold. You can use it on your own website, blog, tweet about it, include it on your marketing promotion, but you should always quote the host and their site.
Step 4 – After the tour
Well, after each day, actually… Thank each host publicly on their blog and also tweet and Facebook your thanks about being there. Being nice is a simple investment that can reap great rewards. And it’s free.
Apart from having some fun, think about what you got out of the tour. You may have discovered some new book blogs, you could have found new fans, but you will certainly have brought your book to more readers’ notice. Whether that converts to more sales is another question…