In this digital age, you don't have to leave your desk in order to go on a book tour. Book blog tours will give you as much exposure and reader engagement, and they're much easier to set up.
What's a Blog Tour?
Instead of traveling from bookshop to bookshop across the world, let your book make the virtual circuit by contacting book blogs and requesting them to feature your book in a guest post written by you. Each blog you harness is a tour stop.
For maximum impact, have these posts scheduled within a given timeframe of 7-14 days. The more good blogs involved, the better. An ideal time for your tour would be the release of your new book.
How to Set Up and Master Book Blog Tours
- Start out well in advance of your intended tour.
- Research potential tour stops. You'll want to pick blogs that best fit your target audience, or you'll be wasting your energies on uninterested readers. Look for blogs in your genre that have experience with tours and that seem friendly to authors. Make a list of your potential stops. You'll use this list to keep track of your tour.
- Find out who is the person in charge of content for every blog on your list. (Note: especially with large blogs, that person may not be the blog owner.) Add their name and email address to your list.
- Find out if the blog has special instructions for authors about book tours, or about contacting them for guest posts. If there are special instructions, copy them to your list.
- Draft an email template to send all contacts on your list. The template should greet the contact person, introduce you as an author, and say something positive about the blog. Then it should bring up the fact that you're planning a blog tour, and that you'd be honored to have said blog as a stop. Include the target dates of the tour. Remember, the content of the tour stop comes from you, so don't forget to promise them unique, top-quality content that will engage their readers. To conclude, thank them for their time and invite them to get in touch with you.
- Personalize the email template for each blog that has no specific instructions, email it to their contact person, and log the date you sent out the email in your list. For blogs that do have specific instructions, follow those instructions carefully. It will maximize your chances of getting featured.
- When you get a positive response, thank the blog manager kindly, find out your deadline for submitting the guest post, and log that date in your list.
- When you get a negative response, either write back with a quick thank-you or just ignore the rejection. It's their right to choose which authors to feature. Don't take it personally, and never write back with an angry or disrespectful retort.
- Most importantly, follow the blog manager's lead, answer all questions politely, and provide all materials requested of you.
Content, Content, Content
- Soon enough, your list will contain deadlines for all scheduled guest posts. Get to work on your content!
- Brainstorm topics for your various blog stops. See the "Ideas" section below for hints on what you can write.
- Write each guest post with the utmost care and dedication. The quality of your writing will reflect on your abilities as an author, and the blog readers will certainly catch half-hearted work and avoid it.
- In every post, include a link to the specific book page on your website (if you have one) or on a prominent book supplier website (like Amazon, B&N, and so on).
- Respect the various blogs involved by meeting your deadlines and delivering your guest posts on time.
During the Tour
- Always drop by every tour stop on the scheduled day. Make sure your post is presented well and that it is error-free. Test the link to your book page.
- If post comments are open to the public, make a comment as soon as possible where you thank the blog for featuring you, and invite readers to check out the book or chat with you in the comments.
- Check back every several hours and answer as many comments as you can. Remember, put on your professional face. Always answer with something positive, even if you run into a negative comment.
- Keep visiting every tour stop and answering comments for 2-3 days after your guest post goes live. The more you engage your readers, the warmer leads they'll make when they come to check out your book.
After the Tour
- Don't forget to thank all the involved blogs and hint at possible future events. Now that you've established a positive connection, you'll want to keep it warm for your next book!
Book Blog Tour Content Ideas
Here are some ideas for the various guest posts you might need:
- How you came up with the idea for your book
- The hardest and easiest aspects of writing your book
- Your favorite scene and why you love it
- Your least favorite scene and why you don't like it
- Fun character/setting facts that never made it onto the page
- A mock interview with a character about the events of the book
- Deleted scenes from your book
- Bonus scenes and missing scenes
- A prequel/sequel scene for the book
- Description of your writing process and your drive to write
- Why your book should be made into a movie, and your choice of actors
- What other related projects you're working on
And Most of All...
Blog touring is all about making a connection with new readers. On the one hand, be pleasant, respectful, and charming. On the other, let your personality and quirks shine through your writing. You're not talking to the masses. You're addressing each and every reader at eye level and making them feel appreciated.
Make a good impression, and they'll hop on your fan wagon and stay with you for the ride.