Thursday, January 10, 2013

10 Tips to Get Blog Tours and Guest Posts Right


Before the Make Believe Tour, I hadn’t experienced the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes of blog tours. There's a lot of juggling behind the fanfare. As a consequence, I learnt many important tips I thought I'd share here:

1. Always, always write down the dates you have scheduled for the tour and/or guest post. If you think you’ll remember them, you’re wrong. If you wait until the date is confirmed, you’ll forget. Just write them down. Use a pencil if you must.

2. Blog tours are often organised months in advance. It’s important to send out reminders of your visit a week before you’re due to be featured.

3. Try to have all interview questions in a week before the tour begins because once the tour has started you’ll be too busy to chase up questions, let alone answer them as well. The less panic you can cause yourself, the better.

4. In all your correspondence with your hosts, include the date you’ve agreed to feature on their blogs. This doesn’t guarantee no mistakes, but it sure will help to avoid them.

5. Always double check your posts and make sure they have no errors, and the content is good.

6. Read your emails regularly and make yourself available in case of any last minute changes.

7. Agree to a time of post. This is especially helpful when you live in a different timezone to your host. It’s a mistake to link to a host who doesn’t have anything there yet. It’s also a mistake not to link at all, which brings me to my next point:

8. Always link back to your host’s blog. Share the link on your blog and on other network sites, such as Twitter and Facebook.

9. Respond to comments on your host’s blog. And keep returning to respond to comments even when you’ve moved on in the tour.

10. Always thank the person who has generously given you their time and their blog space.

Carol Kilgore said it perfectly in an email: The best guest bloggers are those who will bring new people, interact with everyone, and have something interesting to say.

And that brings me to the final stop on the Make Believe Tour. The Secret Writer is hosting an ebook giveaway.

What do you think of Blog Tours? As a writer, do you think they are an effective promotional tool? As a reader, what’s your reaction to them?

--
M.L.Swift has started up a Progressive Book Club.

They post on the third Wednesday of every month.

He describes it as, "A unique blog hop that's an online book club!" So please check it out!

60 comments:

  1. All points I've learned as well! Yes, confirming and synchronizing the post time is important. Once the guest post is up, I add the permalink to my post. And bringing the army is a must!

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    1. Bringing the army gets you invited back :)

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  2. As someone who has done min blog tours for my short stories, I can say your list is spot on. I've learned a lot between trial and error + other how-to posts like yours. I hope when I'm touring for an actual book, I can do even better.

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    1. I'm kinda glad for the experience with the anthology as well. Now I'm forewarned and forearmed about what to expect. Hopefully I'll be able to improve on the experience next time.

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  3. I'm always curious how effective blog tours are for actual sales. I know it gets the author's name and title out there for other bloggers to see, but no one ever really comments afterward about the measurable effect of touring. Of course, the only way to compare it would be to release a novel without doing a tour, which I'm guessing most people won't opt for. :)

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    1. this is what interests me deeply as well. I have a feeling blog tours only make you more recognised among other bloggers and writers, not among the general audience and possible readers. In most cases... not in all....

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    2. Luanne, I'd like to know that too. I haven't received any sales figures yet from J Taylor Publishing so I have no idea how well the book is going.

      Dezzy, it depends where you do your tours. If you stick to only writers' blogs, then yes, you'll only get recognised around other writers who already have a huge list of friends' books they need to read. If you target actual readers and do your tours via book bloggers, then you have a greater chance of hitting the right audience.

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  4. Excellent points to keep in mind for when I get to that part of my journey. Thanks, Lyn.

    Oh...and #5 should be in bold. That's a gimme for any post that seems to fall through the cracks.

    And I forgot you were going to mention the PBC (it sounds like a non-profit tv channel). THANKS! :o)

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    1. Ha, yeah!! Sometimes I have the time to edit someone else's post that's going up on my blog, but mostly I don't have that time to spare.

      Anytime, Mike. And it sounds better than that :P

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  5. Great advice. I appreciate it.

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  6. responding to comments at your guest post is really important and not many people do it. I don't get it why would they do a guest post and then leave the audience to stare into darkness all alone?

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    1. ooh, and the hosts of the tour should alert their army too. I've seen blogtour posts with less than 5 comments which speaks more about the lazy host than about the guestposter. If you're having a guest at your blog you must be active few days before and after so that your readers would come and visit and pay respects to your guest.

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    2. I totally agree. I've had a few guest bloggers on my blog where I didn't get any thanks, or any help, and certainly they didn't even respond to comments. I just don't invite them back.

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    3. Yep, and I had guest posts in which out of 100 comments I brought 90 and the host only 10 comments :(

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    4. Yep, sounds familiar. But you also have to remember you have a BIG tribe of people who follow you and are chatty about it. Some authors might have a big tribe, but their readers tend to be less vocal. That's not always the case, though.

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    5. @Dezzy - Last night I dreamed of a big tribe, and they all expected me to visit them and reply to their comments and... well, that's when I woke up and had breakfast.

      I still don't know how you do it.

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  7. These are great tips; I'm glad you shared them. Having been a host to many guests, it is helpful when the guest follows up and offers a reminder and links over to your blog, etc. I think blog tours are a good tool, but I can see where they are taxing on the author. Perhaps when the tour concludes, some spa time is in order. :)

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    1. A spa!! Now you're thinking!! Why didn't I think of that??? I'm off to the spa.... ;)

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  8. Great tips, Lynda! Thanks for sharing. I'm putting a star on this post for later reference.

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  9. Just love reading about other authors, but it takes such a long time to put a tour together. Have never attempted one as I'm a self published author and as writer, editor, publicity guru, publisher I need as much time as possible to write my children's novels if I'm ever to be even slightly famous. But I can't give up the support I receive from the blogging community, Lynda! :0)

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    1. The support from the blogging community is truly amazing.

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  10. That makes me tired just thinking about it. LOL But these are great things to do and remember. I'm saving this list!! :)

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  11. Thanks so much, Lynda. My BFF is just starting to prepare for her tour - I'm passing it on to her, and saving it for myself. Great stuff!

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  12. oh, man, this is a SUPER list, Lynda. You are so right about writing down the dates and linking back. That's so important! And you're right. Once the tour starts, you're WAY to busy to try and keep up with anything! :D

    Great post--bookmarking this one~ <3

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  13. That doesn't sound daunting at all. Yikes. I'll be adding this to Delicious for future reference. Thanks, Lynda!

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  14. Thanks so much Lynda for this great list! I work through them on a daily basis! And I have to keep sending emails to some authors to respond to comments.

    All the best!

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    1. I don't know how you do it, Nas :)

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    2. I enjoy the deadlines and working with moody, reclusive writers! The challenge is adrenaline fuelled!

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  15. Hi, Lynda. Thanks for sharing all of these important tips. As I'm not yet published, I've not had to organize a book tour, but I've participated in them as far as having my blog be a stop. I enjoy helping authors get the word out about their books.

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  16. Mistakes will happen no matter what. It's important to forgive quickly and move on. :) Tours can be exhausting, too.

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  17. Great tips! Blog tours are very helpful. I've read some articles that say guest posts are more effective at promoting you than writing on your own blog. I agree that it's very important to be grateful. Not only will your hosts appreciate it, but readers will see it too.

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  18. Thanks for the tips. I'm "taking notes" on how Carol is conducting her blogging book tour, too. I'm telling you, she's like a general planning a major campaign.

    I have to admit, my eyes sometimes glaze over when I see post after post after post about the same book on blog after blog after blog, but that doesn't mean I'm not willing to help writers promote their work on my own blog whenever I can.

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    1. Yep, I think that's the only problem with blog tours--that your regular readers start to get bored. But ultimately blog tours are meant to catch the eye of more than your regulars.

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  19. Perfect timing, Lynda! ;) Thank you so much for sharing this!

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  20. I've hosted a lot of great writers for blog tours and agree - these are great tips!! :)

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  21. This is a great list.

    I was nodding my head at #1. It's true for blogging in general. I discovered really quickly I needed some kind of calender for my blog schedule to keep up with everything.

    Regarding #9, the easiest way to keep up is to subscribe to 'all comments' to the post. That way it pings your email.

    I love hosting folks who are organized and send me everything at once - bio, head shot, links, etc. And I try to be organized in return.

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    1. subscribing to all comments is a great tip!

      And yes, sending/receiving everything all in one package makes it heaps it easier.

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  22. What a great list! And perfect timing for me as I'm gearing up to try to do my own blog tour for the first time. I'm totally overwhelmed by the prospect so I appreciate your advice!

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    1. Exciting!! Good luck with your blog tour!

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  23. I needed this list a couple of months ago before my tour, lol!

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  24. So, so true! And I would add be prepared not to do much else when you're on blog tour. It's important to keep up the comments and visiting new people's blogs and such, so planning to do a lot else during that time just isn't advisable.

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  25. Thanks for your insight Lynda. I've been invited to blogs and responded to interviews but have not yet organised a blog tour - I'm a little scared of the organisation needed :)

    Now, keen to check out this book club!

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  26. Great tips!

    As a reader, I like to follow blog tours. It's fun to see new content from authors. As a writer, I don't really know--I've never tried running one myself.

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  27. Great tips. I can only imagine how much time, work and planning goes into a blog tour. I am grateful for each that I stumble upon. I've discovered some of my favorite authors and books this way. I often wonder if I would have missed out on the great experience if not for the blog tour.

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    1. I too have found some great books through blog tours, so they certainly do something.

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  28. Really great tips! I've never done a blog tour and can only imagine the behind-the-scenes juggling. But these tours work. I've bought more than a few books based upon these tours. I also liked the part about bloggers interacting with everyone. One of my complaints about Google+ is that is narrows bloggers too much into circles. However, I read a few weeks ago that the company is 'disappointed' is Google+ and changes will be coming. Er, hope Google notifies us properly (for a change). Hey, Happy New Year. And stay safe. Those fires in Oz are terrifying!

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    1. Interesting. I haven't kept myself updated as to what is happening with Google+. I wonder what changes they'll make and if that'll improve it.

      Yes, the fires are terrible. Fortunately I'm not in any of the fire zones, but my prayers go to those who are.

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  29. That's a lot of specific and helpful info. Blog tours seem like so much work; it's overwhelming. But you made it a bit easier to tackle. :-)

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  30. Great points to keep in mind Lynda. A little organizing helps to saves time and energy. We should not leave everything till the last minute.

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  31. I'm still in the learning process to Blog and Blog Tours.

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  32. Hmm that's an interesting question. I think blog tours are a great way to get out there and helps both the host and the author gain exposure.

    It doesn't always work on me as a promotional tool, maybe because my reaction is more of a "Hey! I should visit this guy again!" rather than "Hey I should buy his book."

    That said, I have found some great books through blog tours, so they can't all have been misses. :-)

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  33. If I may add something to your list, I'd say don't over saturate the blogosphere with too many back to back guest posts. Readers get tired of seeing you all over the place. So space your posts out. Instead of 2 weeks of posts everyday, schedule 2 or 3 each week over 3 or 4 weeks.

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  34. I needed this list months ago! I will be printing it out for future reference!

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  35. Great tips Lynda!
    I've discovered lots of new books via blog tours...
    (P.S. I like Nancy's suggestion on how to space the posts! Very practical!)

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    1. yep, it also helps for some personal sanity too ;)

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  36. Fantastic advice Lynda - and oddly enough it came in quite handy recently. ;-)

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