Thursday, July 12, 2012

MARGIE CHURCH: USING BLOG TOURS TO PROMOTE YOUR BOOK

Margie Church's The 18th Floor is one of Sizzler Editions bestselling books. She has recently released, Razor, with co-author K. B. Cutter. Both involve romance and bondage. Margie has a reputation for knowing more than anyone else around Sizzler Editions about how authors can promote books on the internet. Below she describes how authors can put together a "blog tour" to promote their books.

I'm sure you've heard big time authors talk about their book tours. When I got my first few contracts, many people asked if me I was going on a book tour. I laughed and said, "Yeah, as soon as I fill my trunk with the books and my tank with gas."

They looked surprised and maybe even a little disappointed, like they'd just been told the Tooth Fairy isn't real. What? You didn't know? Sorries!
What's evolved for today's authors and ebook publishers is the blog tour. Similar to book tours, but not as glamorous, they can be very effective. Some of us think that blog tours are going to automatically propel our book into the mega-sales stratosphere. It can happen, but I'd set my sights lower if I were you. Like ground level. For me, the primary objective of a blog tour is to meet readers. They don't always buy the second they see your book, but you plant the seeds of interest. Be friendly and engaging, and good things can happen. So, having said that, how can you organize a good blog tour?

1. Know your reader. Decide what kinds of people are most likely to want your book.

2. Remembering #1, don't blog where your readers aren't. There's an inclination to be fan-bloggy when you get started on book promotions. I'm convicted on that score. I used to blog anywhere I could. But choose your book tour locations carefully. If you write regencies, don't stop at a blog that focuses mostly on sci-fi. If a pal invites you in a situation like this, schedule a visit at another time. If someone you don't know offers to host you, ask for their blog link. Vet the site. If it's a fit, fine. If not, politely explain why you're passing. These blog tours are time consuming. You're looking for the biggest payoff possible.

3. Be original. Work on these posts. Provide something fresh at each stop. Dig deep to find different aspects of your book to highlight. Readers like to know the back story on the book development, key themes, character traits, favorite scenes, challenges, etc. Give them something worth reading! You'll be surprised how often readers will follow an entire tour once they get to know you. Make it worth their time.

4. Don't over-commit. Not too long ago, I wrote a book in a completely new genre. I had no idea how to find these readers, so I cast my net wide. It's crazy how many authors will offer to host you if you ask. I ended up with 40 stops in about six weeks. Some days I was on more than one blog. I swear some of my posts were on the merits of good line spacing and smart quotes versus curly quotes. I was totally out of original ideas. O.M.G. Here's my point. If you're sick of it the tour, think of your poor readers. They're going to tune you out. I think a few well crafted blogs at fewer, well-chosen stops are worth more than a glut of so-so material splashed everywhere.


5. Promote the tour. You can't leave it up to the hosts to do your promoting. Some authors create a blog tour banner. That's cool and does some work for you if you hyperlink the art to the tour list. Shout it out in your newsletter. Have the dates and locations handy on your blog and website. Promote each location the day of and include the next stop as a teaser. Ask other friends and authors to help you get the word out. Use a Facebook event invitation, too.


6. Be present and engaged. Another good reason not to over-commit is you need to be around, chatting it up, trying to engage visitors. Ask readers questions; have some fun.

7. Put your contact and buy links on every post. A link to your back list can land ancillary sales, information sharing, and recommendations to other readers.


8. Choose prizes carefully. I always look at prizes in terms of ROI. If I give away a Kindle, how many books will I need to sell to recoup that cost? Is it reasonable to think I'll sell enough books to do so? You will get a lot of traffic from people trying to win that great prize, but are they going to buy books, too? Think about that carefully. I'd rather give a copy of one of my books to a reader and hope they like it well enough to hunt for more afterward.


9. Thank your hosts. Ask for stats so you have some idea how well you did. Extend the offer to host them at your blog.


10. Don't be disappointed if you don't get tons of traffic. Like sales, you can't predict what will compel readers to come and to comment. You might make other kinds of connections that are valuable, too. Do your best and have some patience.


You might never have tried one of these tours or you might be an old hand. Wherever you stand on the subject, I hope you'll ask questions and add your experiences so we all can learn from each other. -Margie Church


13 comments:

  1. Thanks for having me, Jean Marie. I appreciate the nice things you wrote in the introduction....and all you peeps crying over the Tooth Fairy? The Easter Bunny is a fraud too. :-)

    I hope readers here will share their successes and failures. This business is always changing and what works for one may not work for another. Please give your insights!

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  2. The Tooth Fairy is not a fraud.
    The jury's still out on that bunny thing though.
    I keep telling my wife she has to wear the costume for my research.

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    1. Kentner! I don't know how Virginia puts up with you. You are one, lucky guy. So judging from your comment - or lack thereof, you're not a blog tour fan?

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    2. Great information thank you Margie!

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  3. Oh, Margie. Now, you know I enjoy blogs. How else could I stalk you?
    I have two blog tours of my own coming up. In fact, one starts the 16th.If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have dipped my toe into the tour waters.

    On another note, I was thinking about organizing a blog hop toward the end of September.Love to have you.

    I'm just saying the Tooth Fairy is real. The little bastard keeps taking my teeth.

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    1. Well, at least you aren't trying to hold my head under water. I might be breathing again in September. If you tell me what you're hoping to accomplish in this hop, I might show up...with my Easter Bunny carrying a hatchet. Let me know.

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  4. VERY helpful post, Margie! I know what you mean about working yourself into "Blog Burn-out". And on the subject of the Tooth Fairy...apparently, the rates have gone up since my kidlets were little. My granddaughter scores about $5 per tooth where as her mama did good to get 50 cents. ;-)

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    1. That one for Nopeming Shores nearly did me in, Maeve! Thanks for reading. I hated the tooth fairy. Never remembered and never had advance warning!

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  5. Sage advice, Margie.

    Thanks for sharing this valuable information.

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    1. Don't be a suck up, KB. I know you're dreading these blog tours with me. Admit it. I'll still love ya. :-)

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  6. Thanks foor the tips Margie. As a New Author, it can get overwhelming trying to figure out this whole Promo stuff. I love the fact that there are people/Authors like you who will freely give advice to us Publishing virgins.....well okay so I'm almost a semi-virgin. (still need to get F***ed a little more!) In a good way of course!

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  7. LOL, Emma! I'm glad I could offer some information you can use. You know, one of the biggest things I used to fear was doing things wrong. You already know this business is rife with negativity and everyone is a critic. BUT you'll also discover your own groove. It may not work for everyone but it works for you and at the end of the day, that's all that's important. I get blasted from many authors because I always acknowledge reviews - good or bad. But it works for me. I spend a lot of time on social media because I sell books that way. I feel like a politician out here some days, but that's my gig. I'm not afraid to give advice. You don't have to take it! I've also learned that keeping secrets is unproductive. Just because I tell you to enter a submission doesn't mean you'll get a contract. If you publish a book, that doesn't mean I'll lose sales. Your work has to stand on its own, as does mine. The more the merrier. Oh, and practice safe sex - get a subscription to CMOS. ;-)

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