DIY Blog Book Tour

microrobotasciiA blog book tour is usually hosted by a book author, one blogger or a tour service and consists of several bloggers making scheduled posts on their blogs, networking with social media, in order to promote the book for the author.

Tours are held for a new book release but could be used as promotion for a book already available. Blog book tours use word of mouth and buzz. Book authors will see their keywords bring stronger results as they are used in various blogs on the tour with the link to the author and his or her book.

As the host for the tour you will work with the author and make arrangements for bloggers to become involved. If you are doing it yourself you are both host and book author, you’re going to be busy!

Before you Contact any Bloggers:

Check your own site and links for the book. Make sure everything is in working order. Check the link where your book is available to be purchased, make sure you can access everything right down to making a purchase. If you don’t have a site, set one up along with social media accounts which can be used to promote the book tour, the book itself and keep in contact with everyone involved in the book tour. You also want to promote the book tour itself, let everyone know your plans for the event, post the tour schedule of posts and link to each blogger participating. This is your time to shine with networking while you have something to tell people about.

Give yourself time to do the work for the book tour. Set a reasonable time limit that gives you working time and yet isn’t so far into the future that the bloggers forget or lose interest in the project. Give yourself time for planning, shipping books out to be reviewed and read by the bloggers too. There is a lot of planning and organizing, it is reasonable to expect you will need a month or more.

Choosing Bloggers:

Pick bloggers who are in your niche. If you are writing fiction you will need to look at a lot of book review blogs, but see if you can get something a bit outside the box. How about a related topic to your genre? If you are a non-fiction writer you should have a lot of blogs to choose from but, be picky. Look at the content already published in the blog, what does it say about the blogger, their style and the level of content versus advertising. Does this blogger care about their image, their reputation as a source of information in the niche and how will their blog reflect on your own image and reputation? Find bloggers with ethics to match your own standard/ style.

Don’t restrict yourself to just looking at blogs in order to find bloggers to join the tour. Use Twitter, Facebook and other social media to find bloggers and as a method of contacting them. Don’t rely strictly on email as a way to communicate, not everyone reads every email and yours might be one which gets lumped in by their email spam catcher.

When you have found a blogger who works well with you, keep track of them. Keep in touch and ask them to be part of your next blog tour or give you an author interview on their blog in between tours. You could also write guest posts for them in their niche topic, with your link in the author profile to be used with the guest post.

Have a look at anyone who has a podcast which is relevant to your book. Be creative and use the new media.

Contacting Bloggers:

When contacting the bloggers make sure you give them all the information about the book (name, author, a blurb about the book and links to find it online) as well as your own contact information and everything they need to know to plan their own involvement in the book tour. Use the blogger’s name and blog title in any email or tweet you send them. Keep a list handy so you don’t get a name wrong or send a “Dear Sir” to anyone.

Set out Rules for your Bloggers to Follow:

How long should posts be? How many (and which) links must be included in the post? What about keywords? Do you want book reviews to be favourable or do they have leeway to write what they really think and feel? (If you want this you really should just get friends to do reviews for you or offer to pay for the posts). What types of media can the bloggers use: video, photographs, plain text? Do you want each blogger to make a post to Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and other social media to announce the book tour before and when the post goes live? What happens if they miss their date on the posting schedule?  Write out expectations so everything is clear up front.

Your Own To-Do List:

As you get bloggers interested and involved in the book tour write up a blurb about each of them, introduce them to each other and your readers. Be friendly and complimentary. Take some time to read their blog, the about page on their blog too. Put some time into it and talk about why you chose them to be part of the book tour, what you value about them and the blog they have built.

Send out your business card and a thank you note with the review copy of your book.

Be creative with your interviews and guest posts. You are setting the standard for the others to follow by the effort you make yourself. Come up with something that individually suits the blog the content is appearing on. This will also make it easier to be unique each time, even if you write a dozen posts for the same book. Of course, don’t forget to sell your book. Come up with something that sells your book to the readers of each blog, find something you have in common with the blogger or a recent post they made in the niche they write about.

Make a point of going to each blog in the tour, reading their posts and leaving relevant comments before the tour begins even. Establish contact, keep in contact and keep them from losing track of the event and their place in it.

Another option for content is an excerpt from your book or a fictional interview with a character in a fiction genre book. If a blogger really runs dry on something to post see if they can draw, cartoon or sketch something to run as a post. You can offer a free copy of the book to be given away to one of the readers of a tour blog. Pick the winner by the person who left the best comment, or some other criteria in tune with the book itself if possible.

Need Something Simpler?

If running a book tour yourself seems like taking on too much give yourself a smaller scale book tour. Go to blogs, forums and networks which have discussions about your book topic and participate. Link to yourself whenever possible, you can even use a direct link to a blog post which promotes your book. Generate your own buzz by talking about yourself and your book. Don’t go overboard. Keep your comments and posts relevant to the ongoing discussion. Even if you don’t mention your book you still get to add your link to the comments and posts you make. If you seem intelligent people will be interested enough to find out who you are and what you are working on.

There are a lot of sites which focus on reviewing books. Contact them, send your information and links, ask to have your book reviewed. Give them a blurb about the book along with your pitch.

Extra Resources:

Blog Book Tours – Some posts about blog book tours. They also host Yahoo Groups for blog tour discussions and a blog tour class/ workshop.

Pump Your Book – Extra information on this blog for bloggers, book tour hosts and writers.

Let’s Talk Virtual Book Tours – Authors talk about book tours they have done and results they have gotten.

Book Market – Links to online promotion and book tour resources.

Grow Your Own Writing Business – A post about virtual book tours in co-ordination with  others or on your own.

The Dabbling Mum – A post about hosting your own blog tour event.

The Boss of You – An example of how to write an introduction to each of the bloggers participating in the blog book tour. A little compliment and friendliness goes a long way.

KidzBookBuzz – An example of the information set up and made easy to use for bloggers in the book tour.

Blog Tour Services Looking for People to Host Tours:

Pump Up Your Book

TLC Book Tours

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