Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Blog Tour Tips for Authors, Part One: Guest Post by Kimber Leigh Wheaton

Today we have the first of two installments on tips for authors curious about blog tours and/or wanting to take advantage of their many benefits. Take it away, Kimber!

While I was locked away in my own little writing world, summer rolled around again. Honestly, I can't believe it's June already! Summer is here, school is out, and thousands of kids have nothing to do. This is a big time for YA book releases. Maybe you have a book releasing in the next few months. Whether this book is your first or your fifth, you'll probably need to promote it. Sure some publishers do it, but I refuse to sit back and not take an active role in my own marketing. So, what does that mean? Blog Tour!

There are several companies still taking tour requests for July and August. If you haven't put together a list of blog contacts, then I recommend using a company. But be sure to research the company before handing over any money. If you're completely lost, you can go to the home page of my YA/NA review blog, Once Upon a YA Book. On my right sidebar are most of the tour companies I work with along with links. These companies will take care of everything for you, but you'll have to pay quite a bit for the service.

While these tour companies are great, I really think every author should put together their own mailing list of book blogs that post in their genre. When my novel, Shadow Fire, went on sale, my publisher told me one week prior. It was too late to contact a tour company to promote it, so I was on my own. Fortunately I had spent months researching blogs, commenting, and putting together a blogger email list. I created my own sale blast, made a banner on PicMonkey, contacted everyone on my blogger list, and ended up with a very successful sale.

Don't know where to start? If you have an author blog, consider participating in the Feature & Follow Friday through Parajunkee. You'll meet lots of bloggers and have a chance to check out their blogs and see if they are a good match for your novel. Google can be an author's best friend. Here you can get an endless list of people who blog about your genre. Be sure to read the individual blog's policies before adding them to a contact list. Most bloggers will list if they are open to blog tours, spotlights, and review requests. You don't want to spam a blogger who is closed to requests. In addition to creating this list, you also have to maintain it. Check each blog periodically to make sure they are still open to requests from authors.

Be sure to comment on posts when you drop by the blog. Most bloggers love comments and may even remember you when you send your request for promo help. It's important to develop a rapport with as many bloggers as you can. Trust me, this will only help, as long as your comments are not nasty, obscene, or… well, you get the picture. Yes this can be time consuming, but it really is worth the effort.

Plan six to eight weeks in advance when contacting blogs. I'm usually booked out two months in advance with just a few slots left open for last minute requests. If you are looking to secure reviews, consider eight to twelve weeks.

I don't recommend sending out a mass mailing, but sometimes it can't be avoided. If you must send out a mass mailing, try to keep it as personal as possible. Skip the "Dear Bloggers" and just try "Hi". Now this is extremely important! Do not list all of the email addresses in the To: section. Never, never, never! Not only is it impersonal, but it gives everyone's email address to everyone else. There is no faster way to be blacklisted than to pull this stunt. Use Bcc, or whatever software you have to hide the individual recipients.

Such great info so far, Kimber! Thank you! 

Come back June 18th for the second half of Kimber's Blog Tour Tips for Authors! 

~Kimber Leigh Wheaton (@Cymberle) is a YA/NA author with a soft spot for sweet romance. She is married to her soul mate, has a teenage son, and shares her home with three dogs, four cats, and lots of dragons. No, she doesn’t live on a farm, she just loves animals. Kimber Leigh is addicted to romance, videogames, superheroes, villains, and chocolate—not necessarily in that order. (If she has to choose, she’ll take a chocolate covered superhero!) She currently lives in San Antonio, TX but has been somewhat a rolling stone in life, having resided in several different cities and states.


Angelica R. Jackson said...

Great post, Kimber! I'll be looking forward to part 2 in a few weeks. :)

Unknown said...

This is excellent information, Kimber. I will compile my list.
Elizabeth Hein - Scribbling in the Storage Room