By Gillian Felix
- Research your prospects. Before sending out a query to a blogger, be sure to check their review policies. Some may not be accepting reviews or tours at the moment. Bloggers have lives outside of the internet and sometimes they need to catch up. Also make sure their blog is suitable for your book. If they mostly post erotica, it makes no sense if you send them a query for a self help non-fiction book, unless they state that they are open to that in their policy.
- Addressing your query letter. In your query letter I suggest addressing the blogger by name. I usually tailor my letter to the individual blogger. By learning who your prospect is you can find common ground, that blogger may even turn into a reader or friend. I’ve developed friendships with a lot of bloggers based on common interest. I’ve had many instances where a blogger didn’t have time during my tour to read my book, contact me to read it after the tour.
- Be flexible. If you are putting together your own tour you have the option of tailoring the dates of your tour. That is a HUGE advantage over doing it through a tour company. Sometimes a blogger may be booked and cannot do it on your dates, in that case, give them to option of scheduling it at a later date. I’d rather have a blog post months after my tour have ended, than not at all (think about the benefits of that for a moment) ;-)
- Give smaller blogs a chance. The thing that I have found with large blogs is that they host multiple tours a day. They have a bigger audience BUT your post will get lost in the shuffle. With smaller blogs you have a better chance of being the top post for a longer time. To me smaller blogs are niche marketing opportunities.
- Time and work. Understand that hosting your own tour takes a lot of time and is a lot of work. If you don’t have the time to plan your blog tour, I suggest hiring a tour company. If you have the time, begin planning your tour at least a month in advance (I’ve already started planning my tour for my third book).
- Be organized. I use Excel to create a spreadsheet of all the bloggers who participate in my tour. The first time you do a tour it is the hardest and takes the most time because of all the research. It gets much easier as you do more tours; I’ve used some of the same bloggers from my blitzes for the tour. Some bloggers have asked to be included in my next tour. To me that’s equivalent to a 5 star review!
- Make it easy for bloggers. Make it as easy as possible for bloggers to sign up for your tour. I’ve started using Google forms and embedding it into my email to potential bloggers. Google wonderfully compiles the signups in a handy dandy spreadsheet which can be incorporated into Excel. This saves so much time!
- Be prepared. Prepare all your materials before hand, (hence point 5). Some of the materials that you will need are guest posts, jpgs, a banner, biography and anything else you want to include. If you are doing a review tour, have your manuscript converted into 3 formats: .pdf, .mobi, .epub.
- Links. Do not forget to include all your links; purchase, newsletters, blog etc. I also hosts tours on my site, and you will not believe how many authors send me their post info without the all important PURCHASE link. It takes time to track down their book on Amazon (I’d rather be doing something else). It’s the same for bloggers.
- Drop box. Utilize drop box. It is free, easy to use and saves you the time of having to upload the same information over and over to different bloggers.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .