Hey Everyone, thank you for all of the emails regarding my last business post. It was well received so I thought I’d share a bit more, this time in regards to promoting your books through blog tours. As you know, I own Coffee and Characters and started as a blogger, then freelancer, before I began writing.
So many authors hire tour companies to promote their books, which is great, really. I love when an author hires Coffee and Characters because, well, getting paid is awesome, but remember, as an author, especially if you’re a self-published author, you are a business owner, and organizing your own blog tours is super simple, if a little time consuming but the pay off is well worth it and if this is your business, you need to do a little leg work from time to time.
The best way to sell your book is through word of mouth and a blog tour generates that word of mouth buzz that every book needs to get off the ground.
Let’s start with the basics. You need a plan. The average tour takes 8+ weeks to plan. Why 8? Because you need time to ask people to participate, and they need time to read and review your books. The average blogger likes 4+weeks to review and the amount of time you provide will affect their willingness to participate and review rather than just doing a promotional post. Also, you need to decide how long you want the event to run. Average lengths are 1 week, 2 weeks, and 1 month. Obviously the longer the event, the more potential for buzz. The downside is, you have a lot more dates to try and fill, and you really don’t want gaps. I recommend starting with a two week tour but working to get 2-5 bloggers scheduled per day. This helps in case someone forgets to post on time (it does happen) you’ll still have visibility from other bloggers
What you need: If you do not have a google drive account yet, you’ll need one so you can create sign up forms. You’ll also need ebook review copies, and you’ll need to set up a rafflecoptor giveaway for the event. Blog tours need a giveaway. Consider amazon giftcards or print copies of your book. Book depository is a great way to send your books to INTL winners. Now, a giveaway isn’t a light suggestion. You need it! Also, if you offer to bloggers that you’ll add one of their links (twitter or facebook) to your giveaway entry options, you will get almost double the participants, just saying, it’s worth considering. Next, you need a spiffy tour graphic. Here are a few examples.
If you don’t have photoshop, have no fear. You can easily whip up a graphic on picmonkey.com or cava for free! If you’re still not confident in your ability to make a good one, most freelancers like myself can make one for you for an average of $5-$10. Still less than the cost of a blog tour (which are anywhere from $50-$250 depending on the tour company)
Why do you need a graphic? Because bloggers like them, and many post them on their sidebars prior to the tour. It’s free advertising so make the damn banner *smiles fiendishly*
So, now you have a graphic, and you made a sign up form on google drive right? Be sure to include the following options on the form
- Blog name
- Blog website
- Available dates (list all of the dates individually with the check box option so people can give you their full availability. It will make your life easier when you go to assign dates)
- Type of post (Review, Promotional Post, Interview, Guestpost) You don’t need to offer all 4 options if you don’t want to. These are just suggestions. Reviews and Promotional Posts are the two main ones I would inclue.
- Preferred ebook format for reviews (epub, mobi. and pdf are options, you don’t need to provide them all. You can also choose to only offer review copies via netgalley, or by sending directly to their kindle address)
- Leave a section for questions or comments.
- Social Media link for the giveaway (if you’re including this option)
Next, build an email. Mine usually look something like this.
Hi <insert blogger name> (NOT Blog name, the Blogger’s name)
My name is Danielle Annett and I’m the author of the #1 Amazon Bestselling book Cursed by Fire, book 1 in the Blood & Magic series. It’s a pretty rad Urban Fantasy novel featuring a kick butt heroine. Coming September 30th is Burned by Fire, book 3 in the series, and I wanted to invite you to participate in the upcoming blog tour taking place during the week of release from September 30th to October 7th. I would love if you would take part in the tour and consider reading and reviewing my book. I have review copies available of the previous books in the series as well if you’re interested in starting the series from the beginning but that isn’t necessary. Below is a little bit about the book and should you decide it is a good fit for you and your blog, here is the link to sign up <insert google drive sign up form link here>
Thanks so much for your time and consideration. It really does mean a lot and I hope you have a terrific week. Btw, your blog is adorable. I love your header image. It’s super cute. (feel free to mix this last line up. Compliment a recent review of theirs, their design, something that says, yes I went to your blog and I know who you are apart from other bloggers)
Book Details: (Here you would include the title, series, and synopsis, and possibly the goodreads link if you wanted to. Always, always attach a jpeg of your cover!)
So, did you notice that I said to use the Blogger’s name. How to you get that? You go to each and every blog and you check out their About Me section. This is vital. I cannot tell you how many requests I would receive as a blogger that started out with Hello Blogger. Wanna know what I did when I saw that? I deleted it. Didn’t bother reading any further. It is imperative that you personalize the email with their name, and that you check out their review policy. This will let you know the genres they like and whether they’re accepting reviews or not. I know this sounds daunting but it really is worth it. Once you contact bloggers (a lot) and get sign ups, you’ll be able to use that same list for future books making future tours easy peasy because you can start you emails with a reminder that they were kind enough to promote X book and you wanted to reach out for X upcoming book.
Okay, you have your your sign up form (in addition to email, share that sucker on your social media sites!) You have your tour graphic, you hopefully have some sign ups by now, and you hopped over to rafflecoptor and set up a giveaway right? Good! Send reviewers the review copies asap! Phew! Thats done, lets move on.
Now, you’re going to look at the sign ups and everyones available dates, and your going to start scheduling your tour. When you’re done with that you’re going to send out a Media Kit. What the heck is a media kit? Its a word doc filed with everything bloggers need to promote your books. It should include basic book info, Title, Author, Series, Genre, Page count, and synopsis. It also needs your buy links, author bio, excerpt or your book, and rafflecoptor giveaway code. If you’ve chosen to include a guestpost or premade author interview, you’d attach that here as well. In addition to the media kit, in jpeg format and NOT inside the media kit, you’ll want to also send the bloggers your tour banner, cover image, and author photo. If you have teaser images, all the better, include those too! All of this goes in an email to the bloggers. Also I suggest copy/pasting the schedule into the body of the email. Bloggers aren’t great about opening attachments right away (I know I wasn’t) so let them see their date in the body first.
Okay, so all of thats done. Not too bad right? Now you wait. Answer questions and reschedule dates as needed but wait until about a week before the tour, then send a reminder email to everyone and re-include the media kit and images and schedule just in case it went to someones spam folder or it was lost in the never ending slush.
Now enjoy the tour once it starts. Its important to stop by each blogger’s site on their scheduled day. Leave them a comment saying thanks and then share the post on your social media accounts. This goes a long way to help generate buzz, increase visibility, and it makes bloggers happy that you took the time to share thus increasing the chance of them helping you out in the future.
There is a teeny bit of follow up. About a week after your tour ends, you need to select the giveaway winner and you need to send a thank you email. Mine usually looks like this.
Thank you so much for taking part in the blog tour for Burned By Fire. It was a huge success and I owe it all to you guys. If you happened to post a review on your blog, please do remember to post it on Amazon and BN at your earliest convenience. It really means a lot.
This allows you to give people a gentle nudge and ensure those reviews get up on retailer sites because we all know, reviews help sell books.
Whelp, I hope you found this informative and if you have questions, just ask!