Tuesday, February 2, 2010

blog tour tips, and today's appearances

Today I'm making two appearances at once -- magic!!

The first is Shelly Burns' blog Write for a Reader as part of her "Because of a Book" series. There I talk about three authors whose books influenced me as a writer. They are, by no means, the only three! The second is Misadventures With Andi (love her name!), who interviewed me and reviewed Ordinary World.

Thank you so much for hosting me, Shelly and Andi!

This month I'm really not going to do much posting here other than directing you to tour locations and schedules. Why? Because there's no need! I've already written something -- you just have to go somewhere else to read it! Yay blog tour!

For those of you who've never heard of it, a blog tour is a great way to promote your book without having to leave your home. This is not an issue of laziness but of cost. I organized my first tour back in June to promote Faking It for summer reading season. Thanks to my generous friends who hosted me, I was able to get the word out -- all the better when word of mouth leads to sales!

This time around, I enlisted the help of Jodi, organizer extraordinare, who hooked me up with bloggers, reviewers, and lots of topics to blog about.

If you're thinking about putting together a blog tour, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Know the readership and interests of the host blog. If it's a blog about writers and writing, then write about the evolution of a character or how to overcome writer's blog. If it's a blog about travel, then feature some of the locations in your novel. Back in June, when I appeared on my friend Mitt's blog, I appealed to her love of cooking by featuring "The foods of Faking It" -- it went over great (and made me hungry)! Try to find blogs that match your book/novel subject. You'll likely appeal to more readers that way.

In the case of this tour, many host bloggers gave me a specific topic to write about. This was actually very helpful to me to know the topic in advance. It also gave me a chance to check out the blog site and see the kinds of posts other guest bloggers have done. Very important to one's rhetorical situation!

Some authors do one blog post and send it to every blog. That is certainly one method, but in my opinion it's not a very effective one. Just as you wouldn't send out a generic cover letter or query letter, why be so informal with a generic blog post?

Focus more on planting seeds and less on selling. When I worked in retail as a sales associate, my first goal was not to make the sale but to meet the customer's needs. Often times that involved sending them to another store, offering advice, or just leaving them alone. I wanted my customers to trust me, trust my judgment. If they didn't buy from me today, they would come back another day, or they would tell their friends.

If you are a published author, traditionally or independently, then you are also a bookseller. More and more authors are taking responsibility for their own marketing and promotion because they have to. Plant seeds and you'll get your readers thinking about it, then asking about it, then buying it, then talking about it.

Give away free copies. I'm offering either print or electronic copies of Ordinary World (and even a couple of Faking It) on this tour. For indie authors, budgets could be really tight, but if you can pull it off, then do so. It draws more readers to the sight and elicits more comments (usually the winner is selected randomly from those who left comments).

Stay in touch. Check in to the host blog on the day your post is featured. Answer questions that readers ask, respond to comments, and be sure to post a comment of "thank you". Personal involvement makes all the difference to a reader.

Prepare. Write your posts at least two weeks before its scheduled post-date, and be sure to send any links to your books, blog or website, bios, photos, cover art, etc.

And, as always, Have fun!

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