Wednesday, February 24, 2016

How to Book Your Own Blog Tour, Part 3: Keeping Yourself Organized


Previous post - Part 2: Recruiting Bloggers

Today is Day 3 of my week-long series on how to book your own blog tour. Here's what you're going to get out of this week:
  1. Planning Your Tour
  2. Recruiting Bloggers
  3. Keeping Yourself Organized (This post!)
  4. Kicking Off the Tour
  5. Wrapping Up the Tour
This is Samantha, and I'll be using the following examples as we talk through how to book your own tour:


My July 2015 blog tour
 ran for two weeks and had eight stops. 


My October 14, 2015 cover reveal
 ran for one day and had fourteen participants.

So far, we've talked about planning your tour, plus how and where to find potential bloggers. Now that you're all ready to go, it's time to prepare.

I'm an organization freak. I'm a planner, a rearranger, a planner of rearranging. When I was ten years old, I made my bookshelves into a "library," complete with Dewey Decimal System note cards and card holders at the front of all my books. I never got the date stamp I wanted, but that was ok since my brother didn't really give a rip about playing library.

(Now you know what to get me for Christmas next year.)

So let me help you help yourself, by organizing your life... at least in regards to your book tour.

Inviting Bloggers to Your Tour


You've got your pre-written email and the book blogger lists. Now's the time for combing through the lists.

Open up your first potential blog. Now's the time to decide if it's worth emailing your shiny, new introduction email to its owner. Here's the checklist I use to decide.
  • Has this person posted in the past month? Sometimes I'll find a blog that looks like a perfect fit, but rats, May 2013 is the last time they posted! Don't spend your precious time on that. You have better things to do.
  • Does this person accept my genre? The "About Me" pages are nebulous things. If a blogger doesn't specify what genres they accept, look through some of their posts. You'll see immediately what they like to read. If they aren't interested in your genre, move along.
  • Is this person accepting guest bloggers or review requests (if that's something you're looking for)? Again, this may take some sleuthing. Do you see book blitz posts? Are they doing reviews of non-best-sellers?
  • Have they provided contact information? This is more annoying to find than you might imagine. Despite the oft-repeated advice, "PUT YOUR CONTACT INFO ON YOUR WEBSITE" (you've done it, right?), people don't.
I'm going to be honest here: You'll feel like you're wasting a lot of time as you sort through blogs, especially if you're as fanatical about me as the details. Like, what are these people thinking? Where is the simple information a poor author like me needs? Don't any of you want books to read or content creators for your blog? COME. ON.

The most frustrating thing is knowing what to do first. If I spend time hunting around for someone's email address, but then I discover they're closed for requests, I've wasted time. If I make sure they're a great fit for my genre and style of book, but then discover their email address is missing, I've wasted time.

But it's still time well spent. I refer you back to the statistics I posted on Monday. If you're emailing a dead blog, it's guaranteed you're not getting a response. Or a no six months after you've released your fifteenth book. Or if, miracle of miracles, they say yes, but then they forget and don't post your guest post or do a review of your book because, after all, they let their blog go dead for a year without bothering to tell anyone about it.

However, don't get discouraged. Their "About Me" page might simply say, "I love books and cats!" and that's all. But they might still end up responding to you. Don't rule people out just because they aren't exactly clear on what they want or how you can get in contact with them. But do rule them out if they say, "Please don't email me about [whatever genre/thing you're peddling]." That's just common sense, right?

Keeping Yourself Organized


And here is where I extol the virtues of spreadsheets.

O spreadsheets, how oft I have praised thy beauty!

Your spreadsheet does not have to be complicated. Your spreadsheet does need to be a way to keep track of stuff. On mine, I have two tabs:
  • Bloggers I have emailed
  • Bloggers who have responded

And on each tab, I keep basic information about the bloggers, stuff I might need later that I don't want to go hunting for:

  • Person's name (if I can find it)
  • Email address (and if they have a contact form I used but not email address, I mark "form" here)
  • Blog's name
  • Link to the blog
  • What list I found them on
  • When I emailed them

For bloggers who have responded, I keep track of:

  • A yes/maybe/no column for each thing -- cover reveal, book review, blog tour, etc.
  • Date they responded

And that's it. That's all you really need. If you're contacting 25 blogs a week like I do, it'll fill up fast. You can search and sort and do all sorts of nifty spreadsheet things, but the most important thing--keeping track--is taken care of.

You'll start hearing back, and that's when the magic happens.

Keeping Track of Responses


Short section here because there's really only two things you need to do.

The first is keep your spreadsheet updated, so you have it to refer back to whenever you forget what the heck's going on.

The second is to keep your emails organized. Me? I have a folder for each and every blogger that responds. Then when Invested Ivana of One Book Two (who's awesome, by the way; go check her blog out) emails me, I can go refer to our previous correspondence. No need to sort through my inbox or panic because I can't remember what we talked about. No wondering if I've already offered her my link to my newsletter and worrying if I sound like I'm badgering her.

Organization. It's your friend.

The Work's Not Over


K, so off to the races you go. You're emailing your bloggers, you're starting to hear back, you're filling in spots in your blog tour.

The time is approaching.

Dun dun dun.

Next up: Getting ready for The Big Week.

As always, let me know any burning questions in the comments section!

Next post - Part 4: Kicking Off the Tour


***

S. L. Saboviec grew up in a small town in Iowa but became an expat for her Canadian husband, whom she met in the Massive Multi-player Online Role-Playing Game Star Wars: Galaxies (before the NGE, of course). She holds a B.S. in Physics, which qualifies her to B.S. about physics and occasionally do some math for the sci-fi stories she concocts. Her dark, thought-provoking science fiction & fantasy contains flawed, relatable characters and themes that challenge the status quo.

Her short fiction ("I Am NOT Little Red Riding Hood") has appeared in the webzine Grievous Angel. Her debut novel, Guarding Angel, received an honorable mention in the 23rd Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards: "... A fascinating story of a particularly loving guardian angel. Overall, the writing is emotionally grounded, character-focused, and technically superior..." The sequel, Reaping Angel, is available now.

You can call her Samantha.

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