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Friday, October 8, 2010

Blog Touring - What, Why and How

I apologize for the long time between posts here at Self-Publishing Central. I was out of town for a week. My "day job" has been busy. I've been doing a lot of editing on a new manuscript. AND I've been preparing for my very first Blog Tour.

Although my tour won't start until November, I've already learned a lot about blog touring, and I thought I'd share it here.

You can do it yourself for free.

If you are enterprising . . . and/or short of funds . . . you can set up your own blog tour. Here are some thoughts for your consideration.

The main objective of a blog tour is to promote yourself and your book to an audience that might not otherwise know you exist. To that end, your first job in setting up a tour is to identify blogs with followers who might be part of your target audience.

Be creative. Use Google. Check to see who the blogs have featured recently. Look for another author in your genre and see if they have a blog tour schedule posted. Maybe you can take a similar tour route. Quality of blogs is more important than quantity.

Once you've identified the blogs for your tour, you'll need to provide the bloggers with the information they want, in the form in which they want it. Some bloggers want a guest post. In that case, you write a blog post on a subject agreed between you and the host blogger.

Some bloggers like the Q&A format. They ask the questions and you try to answer them in a way that entertains the blog's audience, as well as promotes you and your book.

Some bloggers are willing to review your book. This is a great opportunity for you to pick up some cred with your audience. Send the blogger your book early so they have plenty of time to read it at their leisure. Make sure to sign the book before sending.

On each day of your blog stops, make sure to check in with that day's blog to respond to comments, answer questions or maybe post a comment of your own.

Hiring a Blog Tour Guide

You can do all of that stuff yourself. But believe me, it's a lot of work. And if you fail to reach the right blogs, a ton of time and effort could be wasted.

I examined the DIY option and decided to fork over the dough and get some help from a professional. I hired Dorothy Thompson at Pump Up Your Book to coordinate my tour. Booking the tour was the single largest expenditure I have incurred in writing, publishing and marketing my books. But I'm already convinced that the $499 I paid Dorothy for a six week tour was money well spent.

In the past two weeks she has identified at least 10 blog sites for the tour. Several blogs are syndicated to large newspapers as well. Since she's experienced, she doesn't have to fumble around to find the right bloggers. Some appearances are guest posts, some are Q&A and some are Book Reviews.

In addition to locating blogs for me, she has organized my author bio and book information, complete with relevant links to books, my website, Twitter, etc., so it is efficiently packed, and always complete, for every blog on the tour. That way I won't forget to mention any of those important links, sites or bio details when I am focusing on the material for each blog.

And Dorothy has already built me a blog tour website. The tour schedule is not up yet, since it isn't complete. But the site is ready and waiting when the tour dates are set. Check out this site. Dorothy did a really nice job!

I am very glad that Pump has been doing all of the above for my tour, because I have found that writing the guest blogs, answering the interview questions and shipping out the books has consumed more time than I would have guessed. Each blog appearance is a new audience. But you can't just say the same thing over and over.

I think of each blog as a brand new opportunity to show the world how well I can write, and why they want to get to know me and my book better. I write my materials as though I were sending them to an agent. I try to make them eloquent, personable, humorous and error-free. This takes longer than you might think.

Remember . . . whatever you put out on the internet is there forever and for all to see. Make it your best work possible.

I'll update you in future posts on how my blog tour is going. But with the help of Pump Up Your Book, I'm anticipating a fun ride.

That's it for today.



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