Thursday, February 25, 2016

How to Book Your Own Blog Tour, Part 4: Kicking Off the Tour

Previous post - Part 3: Keeping Yourself Organized

Today is Day 4 of my week-long series on how to book your own blog tour. Our agenda, once again, is:
  1. Planning Your Tour
  2. Recruiting Bloggers
  3. Keeping Yourself Organized
  4. Kicking Off the Tour (This post!)
  5. Wrapping Up the Tour
This is Samantha, and I'm going to 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, how and where to find potential bloggers, and how to keep organized as you recruit. And now the time is approaching for the tour to commence.

Step #1: PANIC!

No, just kidding.

Send Out Your Guest Posts Well in Advance

"Well in advance" means something different to everyone. I can't say that I'm the Patron Saint of Never Sending a Last Minute Blog Post, but my advice is to try sending everything at least a week ahead of when your posts are going live. If you wait too long, people start wondering, "Is she going to send it to me? Is she flaking out? What's going on? Do I need to email her? Did she forget? Did I get the date wrong?" And then they're at the aforementioned Step #1 themselves, and that you don't want.

What's the latest you can go? I would say the Saturday before the blog post is scheduled to go live, and that's pushing it really hard. Give people one weekend day, please. When I get guest posts going live the night before, especially in the middle of the week, I get irritated. I personally do my blog-related activity on my weekends while Morrigan is napping. If you're sending it to me in the middle of the week, I had planned an evening of Netflix and pj's, thanks very much. Now I have to trundle my butt downstairs to my computer and get a post formatted. Even if it takes five minutes, I just don't like doing it. *cries all the tears*

Everyone is different. Maybe one of your bloggers always schedules their posts every Tuesday night. Getting it to them a week ahead of time lets them fit it into their life as they prefer.

Side note: It's perfectly acceptable to email people to tell them you're running behind. Better is giving them the date ("I'll have this to you by Sunday, April 3, in time for you to schedule it for the Tuesday, April 12 book blitz") and then sticking to it. But things happen.

Make It Easy

This little tidbit was pointed out by one of the bloggers that participated in my July 2015 tour, Brian Basham. He said that one of the reasons he enjoyed working with me was because I made it super easy to participate.

In the weeks leading up to the tour, you've been writing and revising your posts. Once that's done, you package everything up to makes it the simplest possible experience for bloggers to get your posts on their blog. You've already created a lovely format and hyperlinked your links. You hit the "send" button, and out goes your posts.

This is what you you want to happen:
  1. Blogger opens your email.
  2. Blogger copies your content.
  3. Blogger pastes your content a new post.
  4. Blogger schedules your post and presses "publish."
That's it. That is our end goal. That's what's going to win you friends and influence people.

To accomplish this, I write my posts and plan everything in my own blog, and then I copy and paste into two Word documents. The first is the copy/paste from the WYSIWYG editor. The second is the copy/paste from the HTML editor. (Yes, the HTML tab, the one that you're scared to go into on your own blog. It won't bite. I promise.)

I provide both because sometimes the first goes wonky and/or because some people really do like to tweak the HTML themselves (myself included). If you're an HTML tweaker yourself, so much the better, because then you really have ultimate control over what everything looks like. MWAHAHAHA, ULTIMATE CONTROL.


So make everything self-contained. Open -> Copy -> Paste -> Publish.

Bonus: Make Sharing Easy and Your Posts Pretty

You can add all sorts of bonuses to your email. Pre-written 140-character tweets, several different graphic sizes, whatever else you can think of.

And speaking of graphics, yes. People like looking at aesthetically pleasing things. So use Pixabay. Unsplash, morguefile, or whatever other free graphic sites you like to find images, and then use Canva to create something attractive.

Send those with the post.

Tweet them out on social media.

Admire your awesome blog tour organizational skills.

Ah, But Don't Forget The Most Important Part

Pop quiz: Why are you scheduling a blog tour?
  1. Because I love writing blog posts. I can't get enough of writing blog posts. OMG, MOAR BLOG POST WRITING, PLEEZ.
  2. Because some jerkface told me I had to do a stupid tour if I'm gonna be an author, or some crap like that.
  3. Because I want to sell books.
The answer is, obviously, d) None of the above; Cthluhu thinks bloggers taste terrible, so I'm hoping to be spared when he rises from the deep.

OK, but on a serious note, take a gander at the end of these posts. You want something like that. A quick little bio and all your links jam-packed in a tiny, little space. Think I went overboard? Fine, then only include your Twitter handle or your webpage or your blog. Whatever. I'm not telling you how to do it. I mean, what do you think this is? A how-to guide or something?

Addendum: Don't Forget To Make Yourself Presentable

This is beyond the scope of this blog series, but I also want to mention one of the most important things about peddling your wares (whether to potential book buyers or potential book blog tour participants): make yourself presentable. Have a professional quality cover image, an author head shot that looks like it was taken by a real photographer and not your cell phone, a book that's been edited, an author webpage that someone with an eye for graphic design helped you create, a purposefully crafted bio that makes you sound like an interesting person, and an awesome book blurb.

Even if you're trade published, you need to put some work into your online persona, so don't think you can scoot around this just because your book package is taken care of by others. You are responsible for presenting you. (Though, of course, your agent & publishing team are there to help.)

If you're not sure how to start polishing your image, spend a lazy Sunday afternoon reading the blog posts over at Rachel Thompson's blog. She knows a thing or two or fourteen about branding.

Got any questions? Post them below, and then come back tomorrow to hear about flawlessly executing and wrapping up your tour!

Next post - Part 5: Wrapping Up 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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