Book blog tours are some of my favorite things to do, for two reasons: They have lots of moving parts, and they take a great deal of organizational prowess. I like complicated, complex things. Just ask my husband.
The thing of it is, though, running your own book tour, while complicated and complex, is also incredibly manageable and pretty damn easy–as long as you’re willing to start early, take your time, and create a spreadsheet.
- You have to start planning early. Like, months early. Like, at least two months early. If you start with less than two months, you’re going to run into issues: issues of blogger availability, blogger responsiveness, and time to put everything together. And your tour will suffer for it.
- It will take you time to plan and run a blog tour. Probably between 30-40 hours from the beginning of the planning to the end of the tour. Potentially more, depending on the number of blogs participating.
Alrighty, then. So, here’s what you’re gonna need as you plan your blog tour:
- The dates your blog tour will run.
- A list of blogs you will contact.
- Copies of your book.
- Preformatted posts (i.e., author interview, promotional post, guest post) that you can provide bloggers.
- A spreadsheet to keep track of contacts, responses, dates, and posts.
- A way to entice readers to follow along.
Here’s the breakdown:
This is any amount of time, really, but a month is a good length. I wouldn’t go any longer than a month–after that point, you both start to annoy your social media audience (who will be a little done with hearing you talk about where your book is next) and the tour starts to feel repetitive and used up. Neither of which you want. You want to aim for at least one blog per day of your tour (at least Monday through Friday).
You can also do something much shorter and concentrated, like my week-long Badass Book Blitz, where you have 3-5 blogs posting each day for a full week. That results in a media woosh that works nicely to really pump up book visibility.
List of blogs
There are a number of different places you can find blogs that would be willing to host you:
- Online blog lists, such as the Book Blogger List, the Book Blogger Directory, or the IndieView Reviewer List.
- Blogroll lists on other book blogs (they often lists other blogs that read/review/posts in the same genres).
- Blogs that have hosted tours that you’ve followed or participated in before (you can often find lists of hosting blogs on the author’s website).
As a general rule of thumb, you should contact at least three times the number of blogs you want to have host. So, for example, if you’re hosting a (30-day) month-long blog tour and are hoping for at least one blogger to post a day, you should contact 90 blogs. Seem excessive? It’s not. In fact, a 1/3 response rate is probably optimistic. Chances are good that you won’t hear back from many of the blogs you contact, and at least a few of the ones you do hear back from will pass.
When you contact blogs, try to tailor the email to their specific blog as much as possible: Use the blogger’s name, make sure to check their reviewing guidelines, give them a summary of your book, link to the book’s Amazon profile, and let them know when the tour is taking place (and what kinds of posts you have in lieu of a review).
Most importantly, BE NICE. These people are doing you a favor, and they’re doing it for free. BE NICE. BE POLITE. Did I mention being nice? Yeah. Be NICE.
Copies of your book
Decide ahead of time if you’ll be providing paper copies of your book (BE ADVISED: getting and mailing paper copies can get VERY expensive VERY fast). If you will not, make sure you state that only e-copies will be available. And make sure you have .mobi, .epub, and .pdf versions of your book available. Different reviewers will require different file types. DO NOT make reviewers buy your book. Again, remember: THEY ARE DOING YOU A FAVOR. The least you can do is provide them with a free copy of your book.
Not everyone will review your book, but that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t be willing to participate in the tour by posting a pre-formatted post. A pre-formatted post is one that you have written yourself, formatted for blog posting, and can provide to bloggers for quick and easy posting. A few types of pre-formatted posts:
- Author interview (self-explanatory)
- Guest post (typically on one of the themes in the book)
- Promotional post (which would include a blurb of the book, an author bio, snippets of reviews, and a picture of the cover)
- Character interviews (where the author interviews one or more characters in the book)
You need to keep track of things. Otherwise, everything will go to hell in handbasket in a great big hurry. So keep a spreadsheet. Excel is your friend. Keep track of the following:
- Blog name
- Blog URL
- Contact name
- Contact email
- Date contacted
- Date response received
- Whether they will review/post or not
- What they will post (review or pre-formatted post–and if a pre-formatted post, which one they will post)
- Date they will post
- Any special notes
Seem like a lot? It is. But, TRUST–you will need it. You will thank me for it later.
So, how do you get people to pay attention? The same way you ALWAYS get people to pay attention–you give ’em stuff. Amazon gift cards, free books, Kindles, swag–if you want your blog tour to have readers and reach, you need to consider having a giveaway attached to it. The bigger the prizes, the more attention you’ll get. Don’t try to handle entries yourself, either–that’s a surefire way to go insane. No, use Rafflecopter. Easy-peasy. (Don’t know what the hell Rafflecopter is? No worries–I’ll post a Rafflecopter how-to on Friday.)
So, here’s where the logical question comes up: Why would you pay anyone to run a blog tour for you when you can run it yourself? Because, at the end of the day, running a successful blog tour is a lot of work and a lot of pain in the ass. It takes time, patience, organization, attention to detail, and coordination on a large scale. A lot of people just don’t want to deal with the hassle of doing it. So, they have someone else (ME! PICK ME!) do it. But, if you do want to run it yourself, know that you can. And you can have an extremely successful tour, too–just make sure to start early and keep a keen eye on the details.
ENJOY THE MADNESS!