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I was not going to do a Marketing Monday today but it’s been a long day of editing and most of it has been awful so I wanted to stop for a while and do something else.  It’s not so much the editing, there’s not that much to fix really, but can I just say some days Scrivener makes me want to bang my head against my desk.

I love Scrivener, but come on.  I copy the text from the Word doc and everything is in Times New Roman, just like it should be.  I paste it into Scrivener and now all of a sudden all my default settings change and the only font it will use is (I kid you not) Neuva Std Cond – Italic.  W.T.F.?

I could’ve did select all and changed the font, but why?  Why should I have to?  So I imported the whole file instead of going through each chapter one at a time.  It spit out TNR, so crisis averted.

Back to Marketing Monday – this one is about Blog Tours.  Should you do one?  Should you pay someone to set it up?  Should you run your own?

I do them for every book, except my short story stuff, that’s not worth it.  But every book, yes.  I tour them because it’s a valuable tool for getting your work seen around the book world.

I have paid to have them run for me and I have run them myself.  I greatly prefer to pay someone else, but for SF or horror your success is limited by the bloggers who accept your genre.  If you’re writing YA or NA – then just do yourself a favor and hire Giselle at Xpresso Tours because she’s like the goddess of blog tours for these genres.  There are a lot more, but Giselle pumps those suckers out and they get massive attention.

But if you’re writing something that won’t fit neatly into YA or NA, then you can use other tour hosts who have a more diverse list like Goddess Fish, Pump Your Book, I Am A Reader Blasts, Innovative Online, Bewitching, Supagurl, or a whole bunch of other smaller hosts.

Or, you could set up your own.  It’s not hard to do, but getting a lot of people signed up can be challenging if you’re just starting out.  How many stops you get on a tour varies greatly – some tours have five blogs posting every day for the length of your tour.  Some have one every few days.  This is highly variable.  I look for a tour host that offers a lot of bloggers the opportunity to sign up.

If you don’t have any blogger friends (or a book blog to advertise your signups on) you’re going to have issues.  So for first time publishers you’d do yourself a favor by hiring someone who already has these connections to set it up for you.

If you do have some book blogger friends then you’ll want to do this:

Decide what you want your tour to consist of.  Many books have a three step release tour process—they do a cover reveal a few months before the book is ready, they do a release day blitz the day the book goes live, and they do a tour. Tours can last one week, two weeks, or even up to several months. Once you decide what you want to do, then you‘ll need a Google Docs sign up form.  Here’s my form for the Range and Magpie tours:

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The best forms are easy to fill out and are as short and sweet as possible.  Just the facts.

And don’t forget your book banner!  If you missed my post on making book banners you can find it here.

So the first thing you’ll do is a cover reveal.  You take the list of people who signed up for the reveal and about three days prior to the date, you send them either a preformatted HTML post with all the images and links properly added so all they have to do is copy and paste it in their blog—OR—you just paste the plain text into the blog post and attach all the images for them to download.  Personally, I do a secret little happy dance when I get preformatted post.  It takes me like five minutes to put that post up.

You repeat this process with the release day blitz – but for this one you’ll probably want to add a giveaway.  Don’t make it your book that you want people to buy – make it a back list book or a gift card, or a Kindle Fire, or whatever.  Jewelry is fun, swag.  Whatever.  Release day blitzes do well with a giveaway and the better the giveaway the more attention your post will get on the blogs.

The Range/Magpie tour has about 40 blogs signed up for the cover reveal and 35 for the release day blitz.

The actual tour is another world.  Here you want to offer people the opportunity to post:

  1. Interviews
  2. Guest posts
  3. Promo posts
  4. Playlists
  5. Character interviews
  6. Reviews
  7. Top Ten lists
  8. SHORT (about 250 words) excerpts

Everyone wants reviews and at first glance you might think you only want reviews, but I’ll tell you from experience, I can’t review every book on my book blog.  Some of them I’ll hate, some of them I won’t have time to read, whatever.  It’s impossible.  But getting a promo post on the blog is almost as good.  It’s true that reviews get more hits and more attention, but allowing bloggers to fill their calendar with your post, even if they’d never read your book, is just another opportunity to reach more people who might be interested.

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Tours are a lot of work if you offer all these things.  Especially if you have a lot of stops scheduled.  You DO NOT want to offer everyone the opportunity to host you for interviews or guest posts because you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to write all that stuff.   So maybe put a limit on the time consuming stuff – three guest posts, three interviews, and three tens lists/character interviews.  Promo posts are just your cover and description, links to your books, an author blurb, your giveaway and maybe your book trailer or playlist if you have one.

The Range/Magpie tour has about 25 stops scheduled.

Hope this helps you in making a decision on blog tours.  I’d almost always go with a paid service, but I saved a boat-load of money – probably about $300 – by doing this myself.  I have however, hired Giselle at Xpresso Tours to do the covers and tours for my next two books as they fit her genre quite nicely.

If you’re interested in being part of my TRAGIC cover reveal on March 25th, you can sign up here.

If you want to see an example of a cover reveal post check back here on Friday!  That’s when the Range and Magpie covers go online.  🙂

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