Monday, November 15, 2010

I Did it My Way: Tips on Doing a Blog Tour

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)


  1. Janice, congratulations on doing something so brave - and so informative! It sounds like you learned a lot. These are really great observations about your experience and I think I (and many others) can learn from them. Brava!

  2. I think you did an awesome job! What I loved about yours, and I know sales are important, was that you didn't seem to care how many followers people had in deciding your route. You seemed open to everyone! You are awesome!

  3. I enjoyed your tour, and am grateful for the thoughtful assessment. I can't believe how much time you had to put into your posts! It certainly shows, but I do hope you had some time for your own writing as well!

  4. I enjoyed the tour as well, but I wasn't able to keep up with looking at all the sites you went to, just not enough time during the day. I can only imagine how much work this must have been for you!!

    On a slightly different note, I know I told you before that one of the bookseller's websites didn't have your book cover. It looks like that was fixed, but then when I added Blue Fire to my Goodreads list last night, it didn't have the cover on there either! It must be tied into one of the booksellers or something. Anyway it might be something to check out. I know I like to go through the Goodreads widget on people's blogs to see what they're reading, so it's kind of a good marketing point. What a hassle for you though!

  5. These are really helpful tips. Since Blog Touring is so new, you're a pioneer and we can all learn from what worked and didn't work for you.

  6. Juliette: Thanks! I know I'm not the only one curious in how this all works so I figured I might as well share :)

    E. Arroyo: You're right, it didn't matter to me how big the blog was. If someone was generous enough to invite me, I was delighted to guest post. The more connections I could make the better.

    Bluestocking: Thanks! I didn't do any writing (besides blog posts) during the tour, but I had just sent Shifter 3 off to my editor and I needed the break. But I'm back to the writing now.

    Angie: Starting in January, I'll actually be re-posting the tour posts on the weekends here so I can get them folded into my blog. (giving credit and links to where they were originally posted, of course) So you'll get a chance to see them all.

    I'm not sure what I can do about Goodreads. I know I uploaded the cover for my own personal site, but I don't know who to contact regarding the main site. I'll have to look into that. I definitely want my covers out there!

    Anne: I hope the posts will turn into a nice little reference guide. Same some writers the headaches of trying to figure it all out on their own.

    EnvironmentalM: Most welcome!

  7. This has been really helpful. I agree that it's hard to keep up with a month long tour. Maybe hard to keep up with your blog too while visiting the other sites. I'll be curious to see what sites you pick next time and which ones will be non author ones.

  8. very interesting. I so appreciate you taking the time to share this with us.
    BTW - my step daughter grabbed Blue Fire off the table the minute and brought it home. She ran off with it, so I'm still waiting to read it!

  9. Natalie: I'm curious ot see what I'll find as well. Hmm...I wonder if I should do a Marketing Mondays column? Talk about way to promote yourself and things I'm trying. Find out what others are doing. I'll have to think about that. Could be fun, but I'm not sure if there's enough for a weekly column.

    TerryLynn: How cool! I hope she likes it and hope you get to read it soon.