Posted by Rowena
When my King Rolen’s Kin trilogy came out I wanted to do the right thing and give it the best chance possible, which meant letting people know that it existed. A wise person once said an author’s greatest enemy is obscurity.
Living in Australia where the trilogy has had limited release meant there wasn’t much point doing personal appearances here, other than Supanova. Having a large family and renovating meant I couldn’t afford a trip to the US and the UK so that left me with the virtual blog tour. (Which was not an option back in 1999 -2003 when my first trilogy came out).
I discovered some good things about a blog tour.
1. You don’t have to get your hair done or wear nice clothes.
2. You can prepare the individual posts ahead of time.
3. It’s the appearance that keeps on appearing. (Meaning the post stays up and when someone googles your book or your name the post comes up. I’m still getting hits on my blog and web site from posts I did back in July of 2010).
4. And I reached out to and met a lot of readers.
Since there was no such thing as a blog tour when my last trilogy came out, I just made it up as I went along.
Researching possible blogs to approach
I googled review blogs in my genre and then copied the list of other blogs on the side panel. Then I went through all of those blogs one by one to make sure they really were the sort of blogs that would be interested in a fantasy trilogy. Then I searched for the review submission guidelines and contact email. Sometimes the contact email was surprisingly hard to find. I found that of those I approached about 80% responded favourably and when they said No, it was because they prefered SF to fantasy, or they were overwhelmed with books to review.
Keeping track of who you approach
I made up a grid of the blog name and address, the contact name and email, and the date that I approached, with a blank column for whether it was yes or no. I also prepared a standard approach email so I didn’t have to rewrite the same thing over and over, although I varied this depending on the blog.
Keeping track of appearances
Next I made up another grid, again with the blog name and address, email and contact name, the date the post was due, and whether I’d done it and sent it. Plus I had a column for exactly what they wanted. Some people just wanted the book to review, some wanted to interview me with a give-away, and some wanted me to do a blog post (any topic) with a give-away. You need to decide if you are going to do give-aways that are limted to a geographic area. Since I’m in Australia and the books were released in the UK and the US, there was no point limiting it to Australia. I ended up sending books to the US, the UK, Sweden, Romania and Japan. It was expensive, but a lot cheaper than going there in person.
When the post does appear, make sure to visit the site for the next week or so to respond to people’s comments. Having experienced what it was like when my last trilogy came out, I found it a real buzz to hear from readers.
Keep all this on file
I now have a list of blog reviewing sites I can approach when The Outcast Chronicles comes out.
Do you have a ‘Promo’ file full of ideas for the day when you have a book coming out and you need to reach out to readers to let them it’s available?
Roughly how many stops are you looking to make on the tour? How much time are you allowing yourself?
I’m not too worried. I have about 25 blogs on my list from last time and I’ll approach a few more because some will have closed. Will see what happens.
Wow, no one seems to be interested in blog tours. Or is everyone madly doing middle of the week duties?
Sorry, Rowena, I just finally got to the computer. Long day.
Do you think blogs would be as receptive for someone getting their first book out, as they were to you? (Not that I’m there *quite* yet, but I can dream …)
If we don’t dream, we don’t get anywhere.
I apporached them with the trilogy, so that looked good, but a published book is a published book. You can ask. The worst they can say is no. And, as writers, we’re used to that. LOL
It’s hard to comment when you’re not in that space. I saw your post on the Hachette development program over at ROR though so I’m polishing my knobs and dusting my dials.
I guess I’m used to the romance writers. They set up a blog page and start gathering a following before they get published, so that they have a platform to promote their books as soon as they get published.
Those romance writers are real go-getters!
Good luck with the Hachette MS Development Scheme!