Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Business of Writing: DIY Blog Tours by @Liza0Connor #ampromoting

Last week on The Maze, 
I featured author KR Thompson's 
7 Steps to an Awesome Facebook Party
I enjoyed it so much (and I hope you did too!) that I have invited my virtual author-friend 
Liza O'Connor to discuss the…

Do it Yourself Blog Tour

My first book got several blog tours: publisher organized, do it myself organized, and professionally organized.

It was my first book and I was certain if it could get attention it would sell like crazy.  That didn’t happen, but honestly, I don’t think any blog tour has ever sent a book into the top 100.

However, a blog tour does have purpose:

It reminds your followers that you have new book out, or you have an old book that needs attention. But it has another value. Marketing wisdom says the average person doesn’t buy a book until it’s been mentioned at least 7 times.

So even though blog tours don’t sell a lot of books for the majority of us, they have a purpose.  They wheedle away at the seven mentions needed to trigger a buy.

When I eventually went indie and had to pay for my own editors and covers, I needed to reconsider where my limited money should go.

Since it seemed to me that I was doing most of the work involved with a blog tour, I began there. I first began doing tour posts just as the professionals do them. But over the next two years, I questioned the value of many things.

First, I stopped offering cash gifts. I found most of the people signing up for my Rafflecopter were just looking for prizes. They had no interest in the book, and many of them never stopped by a single blog stop. They would get the link for my Rafflecopter and go directly to it. While dropping the prize meant fewer people stopped by, those that did were real followers.

Over the last two years, actual sales during a blog tour have gone up, but that could be because I’ve been doing this longer, and if the book belongs to a series, I run a 99-cent promotion for its first week.

Personally, I find visiting the exact same blog post over and over on a blog tour boring, so I take the time to personalize each and every post. No two are the same. [Note: Creating unique posts for a tour also helps the Search-Engine Optimization (SEO) rankings, and publishing identical posts across several blogs actually hurts your book in those rankings. ~kih]

I get my unique topics from my book. Some are based on questions my editor wrote in the comments. Some are facts or situations discussed in my book, and sometimes a blogger will give me a topic (like today’s blog).

At first, I tried to line up blogs for every day of three weeks, but that was exhausting. So instead I reduced the total number of blogs, placing them with three or four days between them. That way, I can continue to promote a host longer.

For example, my first post for Surviving Terranue has had over 2000 views. [And this post for Surviving Outbound on The Maze has gotten almost 3,000 views, but that is also due in part to my potential 2M Twitter reach via Triberr membership. ~kih] I wouldn’t have gotten that many if it had showed for a single day and then I moved on promoting something else. Thus, this change is a win for me and my host bloggers.

Since I now do fewer blogs, I try to snare the best bloggers I know in the genre of my book and spread the blogs over a entire month.

The professional blog tours can offer to place the same post at 50 sites in a single day.  That increases the chance of reaching new readers but I would die of exhaustion contacting 50 people for blogs, so if I ever think this is worth doing, I’ll use a professional blog tour.

To ensure you are invited back for your next tour, make publishing your post easy.  Don’t send 3 Word docs which your host must assemble. If you have the ability and know-how to create HTML blogs that work on various the blog types (Blogger & Word Press are different), offer those. I tried to do that, but it proved to be a disaster for many of my hosts. So now I submit one Word doc with everything laid out, and wherever I want a picture I include its label in red print. That way, they only have to drop the Word doc into their blog and attach the pics where it says they should go.
Ensure the experience is easy for your hosts and that your post is well promoted. Then, the next time you ask for blog space, they’ll probably say yes.

Ah. One last bit of advice. Active bloggers tend to fill their slots at least a month in advance, so ask for a blog slot early. If they are really popular, ask two months in advance.

There is no reason you cannot do a blog tour on your own. To be honest, even if you use a professional service, all the content still has to come from you. And I do recommend you try a professional service before you do your own so you’ll know the standard you need to set.

So get blogging to help get through the seven times a person needs to read your title before they buy.

Here’s a mini-version of what my blog posts look like:


 To avoid being redundant, imagine everything you just read above is written here.

(Book Cover)

Surviving Sojourn
By Liza O’Connor

An alien species is removing human colonies from planets, but to where, no one knows. Sojourn, along with the Emperor’s daughter and their crew, must find this unknown species and negotiate a treaty before the Empire’s army declares war on all non-human races.

Those who do not follow the Path of Light would prefer to kill all the non-human sentient beings before they are even aware they are under attack.

Matters turn bleak for the Path of Light when Sojourn’s ship crash-lands on Terranue before their journey even begins.

(While the blurb stays the same,
all excerpts are different)

Brenner burned with resentment as he watched the King of Sargon, the giant bull named Blue, carry Saran to the land cruiser resting at the far edge of the valley. A parade of Sargon followed, porting Tamsarandem’s possessions to the other side.

Once the small ship whisked Dmitri and Saran away, he sensed a change in his people. Their faces pinched with fear, and they constantly whispered to one another rather than working on their assigned tasks.

His lackeys soon updated him about their worries.

He called his colonists inside for a meeting. “I understand some of you tremble like children because Tamsarandem has decided to favor the ship-people over us. First, I will tell you why that is not a concern, and second, I will tell you why they did so.”

The colonists went silent with trepidation. He loved the power he held over these people. It made his blood rush with exhilaration. “When we first arrived, we needed Tamsarandem to negotiate peace with the Sargon. After that, we took over. We determined how to survive the deadly three seasons. We brought the meat and furs of bears home to hold us over Cold Days and Angry Days. Truth is, we’ve been doing it all for two years now.”

He waited as almost everyone nodded and agreed that was true. “The reason Tamsarandem went to the other side was for personal reasons. The son they sent away last year was on that ship—but not as a baby. They did something to the boy so he turned into a man overnight.”

Their frightened looks pleased him. “Now calm down. The Gods won’t hold us responsible for their actions. They will see that we’ve cast them out. My best advice is to avoid Tamsarandem entirely. Come next year, I’ll let you know what we need to do long-term.”

(If the book is part of a series, I provide links for all prior books as well so the reader can grab the one they need.)

Sales Links
Book 4 : Surviving Sojourn

Book 3: Surviving Terranue

Book 2: Surviving Outbound

Book 1: The Gods of Probabilities

All books are free for KU subscribers

About Author
Liza is a multiple genre author of 17 novels. A Late Victorian Series, The Adventures of Xavier & Vic, plus a spinoff, A Right to Love, is an ongoing series.   A Long Road to Love is a humorous Contemporary Disaster Romance series of five books. She has two single books. One is a humorous, bad boys contemporary novel with ghosts, called Ghost Lover, the other is Untamed & Unabashed, a spinoff from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Now, she’s rolling out her Science fiction series (with romance & humor) called The Multiverses. The first four books are slotted for last half of 2015.  In addition she hopes, if she hasn’t dropped from exhaustion by then, to re-release a sometimes humorous/suspense thriller called Saving Casey.

Social Networks
Investigate these sites:

(Insert 4 books of series here)

Thank you, Liza, for sharing your wit and wisdom today.
I wish you and everyone the best of luck with book sales and fan networking for all your tours, DIY and otherwise!
And stay tuned, Mazeites: next month I hope to have Liza back to discuss how she creates her lovely DIY Book Covers!

If anyone else has tips or tricks to share, 
please post them in the comments below. 
We would all love to hear about them. :)

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  1. Thanks so much for having me over. I loved the added comments your provided. You are a fabulous host in all ways!

    1. Thanks, Liza, and I look forward to hosting your DIY Book Covers series next month! :)

  2. What a wonderful post. I'm struggling with blog tours because as you said, it seems like people just want the prize. I love love this book. It's my favorite of the series. :)

    1. Yes, but even so, the tours still are a great way of getting your name "out there." It may take 7 times, as Liza suggests, and perhaps even more, but eventually people =will= start to remember you.

      For pro-organized tours, these days I'm sticking pretty much with the review-only types, though I'll do the occasional blitz tour if I come across a great deal. Use the same tour coordinators often enough, and you're usually assured of getting coupons and special pricing.

      Thanks for stopping by and for your kind comments, Melissa, and best of luck with your work too!

    2. Thanks. If you do decided to offer cash prizes, don't let Rafflecopter choose the winner. They don't differentiate between real visitors and those who went directly to Rafflecopter without ever visiting the blog. I found over 50% of my entries weren't legitimate.


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