Thursday, June 20, 2013

How to Set up a Blog Tour: Part 1 - Site Collection

This is a new beast for me. I expect I may run into a few snares. That said, in the past week I've been collecting the most important thing I need for my marketing blitz this summer - blog sites.

I started off with a database, but that didn't really work out too well for me. Honestly, if technology isn't intuitive at this point, I doubt I'll bother using it (Incidentally, if you know some database software that is intuitive and would work for a luddite like me, PLEASE SHARE! Don't keep that to yourself! Independent authors are COUNTING ON YOU!).

So I moved on to my stand-by - the spreadsheet. I know, it's the building block for a database but without that extra know-how (and the time that would be required to acquire it) the database business is dead to me.

Already I have quite a collection of blog possibilities for 2 of the non-fiction books, however researching the sites for the buying-local book tour made me realize how much more I need to do with that manuscript. I'm not sure how much I will be able to finish before summer's end, and I'm also wondering how national (or international) I should be with a blog tour that is concerned with buying locally.

I'm realizing now the irony in me, a person who has lived in so many places, without roots in any, producing a guide to local economies. Weird.

In any case, these I felt pretty confident in collecting. While most non-fiction sites are unfamiliar with blog tours, I feel pretty confident in my ability to education potential hosts on their purpose and the benefits of hosting. However, when it comes to my fiction books, I'm a little wary. Will enough bloggers be interested in hosting my tour? There are so many novels and so many people pleading for face time I wonder at my ability to be attractive as a guest post and/or regular post for fantasy, YA, and science-fiction bloggers.

The worry is imagined. It doesn't matter. What will be, will be. While I'm collecting blog sites, I'll work on different guest posts in order to have them ready to go in advance (along with any media kit items that may be necessary). Once I have a healthy list of prospects, I will begin contacting them for the tours. If they say no, I'll move on. If they say yes, I'll put them down on my list and ask what type of post they'd like to have (book review, interview, or a guest post). Then, at least a week before the post is due, I'll send all necessary materials (unless they request things beforehand).

And Bob's your uncle.

I'll be honest, I'm REALLY excited about touring for JEREMIAH. I've been polishing up the book (less than a quarter left) and then I can finish the cover art and add a few touches to the manuscript for Smashwords. Once that's done, the book will go up. I'm thinking I'll do that when it is finished regardless of when the blog tour happens. I think if I am too attached to dates I'll get more stressed out. I'd rather have a book out and jamming on Goodreads (another marketing effort I'll talk about at another time) than just sitting on my harddrive waiting for a blog tour to happen.

I say this because I'm going to ask people to do a blog tour in about a month - I mean, in a month's time I'd like the tour to start. That may be too soon. I don't know. I might be crazy, but the whole summer challenge has been a whirlwind of crazy...and frankly, I'd rather whip it clear into Oz.

What has been your experience in setting up or hosting blog tours? What were your stumbling blocks in soliciting hosts or in hosting? Do share!

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