Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.
For every genre of ebook, there are hundreds of book bloggers—people who read books and post reviews on their sites. When ebook authors plan their book launches, many of them add blog tours to their marketing plans. A blog tour is series of pre-arranged blog posts, usually scheduled during the months just before and just after a book launch.
The exposure ebook authors receive in blog tours can help jumpstart interest in their book. The book cover will be introduced to all the bloggers’ followers, and an enthusiastic review can generate the buzz a title needs to get off to a strong start.
But blog tours can be a lot of work. And sometimes, especially for first-time self-published authors, blog tours don’t generate as many sales as anticipated.
There are specific steps, though, that you can take to help make your blog tour successful.
1. Start Early and Be a Blogger Yourself
Bloggers are more likely to agree to write a blog post about your book if they already have a relationship with you. That’s why it’s important to start networking as early as possible. If you are a member of your genre’s blogging community, you will have many advantages when your book launches. First and foremost, you will have personal connections with the other bloggers, so they’ll be inclined to read and review your book. People in these networks become friends with other authors and often support each other.
Starting a blog doesn’t cost a lot of money. A WordPress blog is free, and there are many resources available to get you through the technical setup.
Once the web portion of the blog is stable, you can focus on building your content. Look up authors you like, see what they are blogging about, and base your blog on the ones you like. Get in there and start making contacts and friends, and building your community.
Many bloggers are writers themselves. If you’ve got a blog and have reviewed another blogger’s book, they’ll probably be happy to review your book in exchange.
2. Know Your Genre
Book marketing is a genre-based business. If you’ve written a novel that doesn’t fall into a specific genre, or if your book falls into more than one genre (a romantic mystery perhaps, or humorous self-help) my advice is to pick one genre and stick to bloggers in that category—at first. No matter how niche the audience is, it’s large enough to get you started. You will find it easier to market to one audience at a time, streamlining your messaging and clarifying your call to action.
In fact, the more narrowly aligned your book is to the audience, the simpler it will be to find true “superfans.” And one superfan who tells three friends is a truly valuable reader. Once you have saturated that small, enthusiastic market, you can then reach out to bloggers in other genres.
3. Be Generous and Offer Your Own Content
Many book bloggers are busy with outside jobs and active families. In addition to receiving a free copy of your book, book bloggers appreciate quality content that they can include in their posts without much additional work. This content can include text and images. Often authors offer Q&A information. A typical Q&A document includes about 10 questions (and the answers to those questions) about the events that motivated you to write the book; the themes, characters and settings in your book; and interesting personal information about you as the author.
Bloggers also appreciate reader’s guides that invite people to think about the various themes, dilemmas and decisions that appear in the book. When writing a reader’s guide, think about what a leader of a book chat group would ask the members to talk about
Finally, you should send your book bloggers a screenshot of your book cover, an author photo, and any other graphics that bring your book to life visually.
4. Hire a Blog Tour Organizer
Finally, if you’re willing to spend some money to hire help, blog tour organizers can keep you organized and broaden the range of bloggers that you may be able to reach out to personally.
It takes a lot of legwork to contact bloggers, get them to agree to read your book, send them your book with enough advance time to read it, keep the schedule organized and follow up with their questions and requests. If you don’t want to arrange a blog tour yourself, or don’t have many personal connections, you can hire a blog tour organizer to handle everything. These people are professionals who work to build connections between authors and book bloggers.
To get all the ebook and digital publishing news you need every day in your inbox at 8:00 AM, sign up for the DBW Daily today!