Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy
Last week I wrote about my experiences on my recent blog tour, and today I have some tips and things I'd do differently next time. And yes, there will be a next time. I do think it was a valuable experience, and I'm glad to have done it. But I also think there are ways to improve my next blog tour.
Start Preparing Early
I can't stress this enough. I gave myself just over a month lead time, and by the end of the tour I was still scrambling to keep up. Replying to comments and checking back on blogs takes more time than you'd expect (especially if the blog doesn't have a subscribe or e-mail me replies button), and having all your posts done before the tour starts will save you a lot of stress later.
Choose Your Tour Length Carefully
I chose 30 days, since a month-long tour felt about right. But I think by the end of the tour folks were starting to get sick of me being everywhere. Website traffic dropped off as the month progressed, indicating to me that I'd reached about as many as I was going to reach after a few weeks. But I also did up to four posts a day for the whole month, which could have had an effect. Take some time to think about how long you want to be on tour.
Decide How Many Posts Per Day You Can Handle
I did between one and four each day, and some days it was hard to keep up with all of them, especially if there were a lot of comments on each. Determine how much free time you have to check back with the blogs so you know how many you can handle each day.
Respond to Comments
Reaching out and making connections is an important aspect of a tour, on or offline. So reply to comments, check back, talk to people who have stopped by to talk to you. This seems like a no-brainer, but when I first started blogging, I had no idea this was something you did. No one ever taught me "blogger etiquette" and I missed opportunities to connect with some great folks.
Vary Your Tour Stops
This tour, I stopped at mostly writing sites, so I most likely reached a lot of the same readers. If I'd spread my stops out among a more varied type of blogs, then I'd have reached different readers, and multiple posts per day would have been more effective. Next time, I'll aim for several stops per day, but different segments of my target audience. Readers, parents, teachers, librarians, booksellers, etc. Maybe even think about unusual areas to reach potential readers.
Don't Forget About Sales
On this tour I tried hard to avoid being too "in you face" sales focused, but I think I went too far in the other direction. Folks responded well to posts in which I used the book in my writing examples.I was able to promote the book without being pushy. The goal of a book tour is to get the book out there, so being a bit more proactive regarding sales would have likely been more effective. I think a sales-focused intro for every post would have been a good idea, (I put mine at the end, and it was more informational than sales), plus making sure every post tied into the book in some way. It may take some more work to do that and still maintain good content, but I think it'll be worth it.
Don't Forget About Your Own Blog
Folks have varying opinions here, but I think I'd like to do something on my own blog each day before sending folks on the tour. I get a lot of referral links from other sites, and that dropped a lot while I was touring. So I cut out a large section of readers I normally reached. I don't think it needs to be a large post, but something that can still satisfy those who link to me.
Don't Forget About Your Other Networking Sites
There was only so much I could keep up with, so some things I normally do got set aside for a while. Facebook, posting on writer's forums, etc. But those are all areas that can help your blog tour and get the word out there about your book. And if the goal of the tour is to promote that book, your other networking sites are additional ways to do that. (Another reason to get posts done before the tour starts, so you can maintain your marketing strategy throughout the tour)