Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Building a Blog Tour

If word-of-mouth is the best advertising, than word-by-blog has got to be the second best.

If you've written a book and want to share it with the world, the last thing you want to do is publish it and then tell everyone you have a great book for sale. After observing and studying book launches over the last two years, I've discovered that one of the best ways to get people talking about your book (with the exception of a 100K marketing budget) is to have a Blog/Review tour

If you aren't familiar with the term, a blog tour is much like a book tour, except as the author, you travel from blog to blog, guest blogging, interviewing and/or giving something away - like a free copy of your book, or if you really want to up the ante, give away Amazon gift certificates, a free Kindle, etc. In most cases, book bloggers focus on writing reviews, so guest blogging and getting reviewed sort of go hand-in-hand.

To have a successful blog tour, you'll want to "appear" on blogs that talk about books - books that are in your genre. How do you do that, you ask? The answer is, with a lot of hard work. I scheduled my blog and contacted all the hosts on my own. If you don't have the 40+ hours it takes to do that, I'd suggest contacting a blog tour marketing specialist. There are dozens of online businesses that can do that for you at a cost ranging from $99 and up depending on the number of stops you make. But if you want to go the cheap route, you can do it yourself.

As your own publicist, you can do this at zero cost with a little know how. 

The first thing to do is... look at your calender and plan in advance when you're "touring" in relation to your release date. Once you've blocked out your calender, you'll have to write a "Review/Guest blog pitch". Here's a link to a copy of my pitch. It worked great, I think, and covered all the bases (Sample Pitch). The next step is to google "book, review, blog, your genre" and see what pops up. After you've hit a few blogs, check out the blogs they follow and you're sure to find a bunch more. Once you've found a list of potential hosts for your tour, you'll have to read their submission/review requirements to be sure that you and the blog are compatible. If so, then you can send an email requesting a review and/or guest spot on their blog!

Important notes:
  • The sooner you plan, the better chance you have of getting your book read, reviewed, and a guest-post scheduled. Plus, many of the reviewers require a print copy, so if you are going all digital, you will limit the number of reviewers you'll attract. 
  • Although I'm printing with Lightning-Source, I used Createspace to generate my ARC (advanced review copy - or proof), while applying for my publisher account, and sent one to every reviewer who requested a print copy. I also made sure my PDF was formatted (same PDF for the printer) and in tip-top shape, and professionally edited for those who accepted my ebook version. 
  • I spent a little money on the proof copies and postage, but if a reviewer/blogger has 500-2500 followers, I'd say it could be worth every penny.
  • Be sure to attach a PDF and cover jpg. with every review/guest blog request so the reviewer can scroll through the book and cover and get excited about your work.
  • Keep track of every contact name, blog url, and dates scheduled on a seperate sheet of paper or document, because it can get very confusing if you lose track of who's accepted and whose rejected your request.
  • Finally, remember that publishers take their time publishing for a reason. There is a lot to do to prepare for a book launch. If you get in a hurry and throw your work out there without getting early reviews and bloggers helping you pitch your work, you will have an uphill battle spreading the word. Why? Because word-of-mouth is the best advertising! And bloggers were born out of the need to share messages, and if all goes well, they'll be talking about your book. BOOM!
As you can see, I've posted the REUNION Blog Tour schedule below. <----Click on the link to see all the cool topics I'll be blogging about! Then click on the links below and visit these cool sites or even contact them to get your book reviewed. And be sure to follow my blog tour, because each stop will have a unique post about REUNION, publishing, or my writing techniques.

Date            Blog                                                Topic
1 - Candace's Book Blog  - "The Story behind the Story." (REUNION available to eReaders.)
2 - The Cajun Book Lady  - "Meet the Survivors."
3 - Julia Madeleine's Blog - "Why write fiction about a school shooting?"
4 - Bewitched Book Worms - "Why ghosts make great antagonists."
5 - Indie Paranormal Book Reviews - "Creating back story: David Ray's dark past."
6 - The Creative Penn - "Got Story? - Get Edited."
7 - Pinnacle Writing - "Author Interview."
8 - Jemima Valentino's Blog - "From story to Book...Making it happen."
9 - Swamp Dwellers, Dark Fiction Book reviews - "The Dark in Fiction."
10 - Jennifer Wylie's Blog - "Author Interview."
11 - Kait Nolan - "Supernatural, Love, and Fear."
12 - The Writing Bomb - "Character Interview with Lana Jones & Noah Berkley."
13 - Reading Without Restraint - "Twenty years after the shooting."
14 - OPEN
15 - Preternatural Primer - "Building Suspense one Ghost at a Time."
16 - 100 Stars or Less - "Author interview"
17 - OPEN
18 - Lost For Words - "Interviewing Tanner Khan: The Lost Survivor."
19 - I Am a Reader Not a Writer - "Author interview."
20 - The Writing Bomb - "Remembering Columbine: April, 20, 1999."
21 - OPEN
22 - Reena's Blog - "Making a story go from scratch."
23 - OPEN
24 - You Wanna Know What I Think? - "The Motivation Behind Reunion."
25 - OPEN
26 - My Reading Room - "Author Interview"
27 - My Neurotic Book Affair - "Character Interview with Nick Tooley: The cRaZy One."
28 - Courtney Conant's Blog -  "Questions about REUNION."
29 - The Writing Bomb - "Character Interview With Kate Schmidt Tooley: ."
30 - Paranormal Haven - "I'll have a Love, Ghosts and Fear Martini."

1 - The Writing Bomb - "Character Interview with Maria Vasquez: The Lonely One" (REUNION Available in Print!)
2 - My Eclectic Bookshelf - "My life as a Guest Blogger!"
3 - Fang-tastic Books - "Why I write Supernatural Thrillers."
4 - Bookhound's Den - "Proofing REUNION, what the Bookhound discovered."
5 - Patricia's Vampire Notes - "The story of Earl: My real ghost experience."
6 - AOBibliosphere - "Getting the story into Print and the Passion behind it."
7 - Book Noise - "How to Make a Book Read Loudly!"
8 - TzhaBella's Book Shelf - "Thoughts on Bringing Life into Paper."
9 - Rex Robot Reviews - "Thoughts on Plotting: How to pull it all together."
10 - JoJo's Book Corner - "Would the Correct Genre Please Stand!"
11 - Paul Joseph Writes - "Why Bullies Suck!"
12 - OPEN
13 - OPEN: Last day of The REUNION Blog Tour!
14 - The Writing Bomb - Tour Wrap Up...Packing for Vacation.
15 - Announce Winners of Kindle Giveaway!


  1. This is great advice for all of us aspiring writers, Jeff! I knew I'd have to use the Power Of The Blogs once I finish my own book (fingers crossed), but hadn't really thought about it in any detail... but now you've done all the hard work for me ;-)

    I'm subscribed to your blog, but THIS page I'll be bookmarking for (hopefully not too distant) future use...


  2. Nice post! Blog tours are fun, especially if you get a blogger that truly promotes and loves your book. I've really enjoyed putting together tours and copy editing for great new writers. There is support out there for self-pub people. It just takes time finding the right fit and where to look. Your advice and the time you've put in will hopefully help those who need guidance on next steps. :)

  3. Thanks for the encouragement, Julie.

  4. hi Jeff! wow! you really are busy with your tour. i wish you success and that you reap a bountiful harvest with the way you plant your seeds.
    thanks for the opportunity to have you at my blog soon. c",)

  5. Hi AO! Yes I have been pretty busy and will remain so until we take our trip to NYC! And I really appreciate your encouragement and support, not only through twitter, here, but facebook too. Thanks a bunch.

  6. Very informative! Thanks a lot! Much success to you with the blog tour and the release!


  7. Well done! You really know how to plan a blog tour.

  8. Thank you for the advice, Jeff! I agree that the best thing to do before publishing your work is to hold a tour online to get people aware of it. Approaching a publisher should take place afterwards.

    Good luck on your next novel! :)

  9. very impressive! thanks for this post! this is the true meaning of being an Indie! *applauds* I will definitely refer back to this blog when my own book is ready to print!

  10. Thanks RL and WB. As an indie author YOU will work harder for sure. But there is a double edged sword. You can fail miserably or break the indie sound barrier. An example of that is...well...that'll have to be my next post.


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