Monday, May 5, 2014

To Blog Tour or Not to Blog Tour

The launch of my third novel in the “Dreams” series—Dare to Dream—is today, and I am embarking on a two-week-long blog tour.

I did a blog tour when my first book came out in 2008. Then, I did my due diligence and searched for blogs that would fit either the writing/book theme or the cowgirl theme. I followed them, commented, and got “acquainted” with the bloggers for several weeks or months before I asked them to host me.

This time, after I announced the launch date of my book, I had enough invitations to blog that I have extended my planned one-week tour to two weeks (with a week off in between).

Are blog tours becoming just another one of those things that inundate our social media friends? I wonder. An author friend, C.M. Mayo, writes, “One of the most marked changes since the mid-2000s is the increasing importance of guest-blogs for helping a book find its readers.” I’m hoping she is right.

Although blog tours are time-consuming, with contacting bloggers, scheduling, and writing posts or answering interview questions, they are still much easier and less expensive than doing a “reality” tour. But do they sell books?
Social Media Maven Kristen Lamb says it’s all about connecting with others. She says in her book, Rise of the Machines, that blogging should be “high-concept”—universal and giving the audience something to contribute and/or take away. She also lists bad blogging ideas: author interviews, articles about writing, and book reviews. I do have a couple of author interviews scheduled on my blog tour and one article about using family history in fiction. It will be interesting to see which blogs will draw the most readers and/or comments.

How do you feel about blog book tours and how to go about them? What has worked or not worked for you?

A native Montanan, Heidi M. Thomas now lives in North-central Arizona where she blogs, teaches writing, and edits. Her first novel, Cowgirl Dreamsis based on her grandmother, and the sequel, Follow the Dream, won the national WILLA Award. The next book in the series, Dare to Dream, has just been released. Heidi has a degree in journalism and a certificate in fiction writing.

11 comments :

  1. All the best with your launch and your blog tour, Heidi.

    I decided to put my efforts into making videos to put on YouTube and from there to embed them in a few blogs, but I missed the boat with an actual blog tour because I ran out of time to send review copies out. Maybe next time I will be more organised and co-ordinated and I'll be able to make a comparison.

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    1. Thank you, Elle, and to you as well! You don't necessarily have to send out review copies to have a blog tour. Some hosts like it, others don't require them, although it is a nice gesture.

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  2. Well, if blogging about writing is a bad idea, we're all in real trouble. :) I have not participated in a blog tour. I've read pros and cons. I suppose it depends on how large an audience the blogger has. The higher the reach, the better I would think. Not sure what she means by "universal" or "high concept."

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    1. I do think it depends on who the blog's followers are. And I think "high-concept" is something that resonates with the reader, an emotional focus. For example, for some reason my blog posts on travel or hiking or reminiscing about growing up in Montana get more comments and hits than my author interviews. Here's a link to a Writers Digest column on that subject http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/write-better-the-7-qualities-of-high-concept-stories

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    2. The most hits on any of my blog posts was about writing now versus the past. Oh, well. Maybe I'll change my blog to Nostalgia On!

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  3. Well, since I've made a living teaching authors about blog book tours for a number of years and all my social media still has "blog book tours" in the name... take a wild stab on that last question! LOL. Didn't you take my online blog book tours classes, Heidi?

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    1. Yes, I did, Dani, and I know you are a big proponent of them (so am I actually!) Have you seen any change in their effectiveness over the years?

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  4. I've never done one and tend to shy away from such endeavors. Methinks I need to take Dani's online blog book tours classes.

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    1. Yes, you should, Linda! It's actually a lot of fun!

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  5. Kristen's take on the popularity of book reviews and interviews as part of marketing is interesting, since the reviews and interviews on my blog are the posts that normally get the most views. I do make the author interview more than just the generic writer type by asking questions pertinent to the book or that particular writer. I also ask the guest author to pick questions from my list of interview questions that we can have some fun with. I think a key point to consider about the interview is to make it different from the thousands of author interviews out there.

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    1. Good point, Maryann. We do have to try to distinguish ourselves in the crowd!

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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