Good morning! I’m a bit late in getting my post up. Yesterday being Father’s Day I was busy doing family things.
A few weeks ago I volunteered to organize a book release day blog tour for an author. It was a totally new experience for me and I had some help from my resident author on what I needed. A successful blog tour needs media kits from the author with teasers, a synopsis of the story, book cover, author bio, excerpts from the book, graphics for the section banners and most of all several bloggers willing to participate with at least a few willing to read and review the book and maybe an author interview thrown in the mix. Getting bloggers to sign up wasn’t a real problem. Putting together slightly different media kits for each one was a little work but not too difficult.
Promoting the the blog tour was a little more difficult. Just two weeks before release day I set up a Thunderclap campaign to promote the tour and the book release. Actually setting it up wasn’t too hard; getting support was more difficult though. Because it was my first ever doing this I chose the smallest expected support for the campaign to go forward, 100 people willing to have it post on their social media platforms. Posting to all the groups that will let me do that kind of promotion garnered almost half the needed support in one day. I was thrilled! The next couple days of repeatedly posting the support link and adding a few different appeal words didn’t do much for increasing support. Had it not been for the help of an author in APC who has a lot of pull I may not have gotten enough support. She humorously threatened members of the group to support the campaign and in another two or three days I reached my goal and a little more. Success! The Thunderclap would go out to all supporters the morning of the blog tour on release day!
Now came release day and the actual tour. I had set up my blog link as the first stop on the tour. So anyone accessing from the Thunderclap post would go directly to my blog. I wrote a nice introduction to the author and her books. I mentioned some of the things that would be found in the different blog stops. I linked to all the blogs in the tour. My blog posts are usually scheduled for midnight. So when I got up on Friday to have coffee and get ready for my day I checked all the links for the tour. Out of ten besides my own only one went directly to the blog tour post. Okay so it was still 2 1/2 hours before the Thunderclap would post. Already I’d had a couple of visitors but I thought to myself, “Well, knowing it would be promoted at 8 am EDT maybe they’ve all scheduled posts for that time. I checked again 20 minutes before the promotion, no change. I sent emails and a group FB message asking about it. I was somewhat in a panic! Was this tour going to be a complete failure because bloggers didn’t post? In the next hour two bloggers responded and I obtained the exact link to their posts, correcting them on my blog post so tourists would at least find some of the stops. One blogger had scheduled the tour post for 10 a.m. and I could deal with that. Slowly bloggers weighed in and gave me good links to their stop on the tour. Some had not posted, one posted for several days later, some the links I had gotten were to a different part of their site. By the end of the day 8 out of 10 bloggers had posted and provided the correct links. It was a little disappointing.
I know people have busy lives, most are authors that have jobs, need to time to write and promote their own books plus maintain their blogs.I understand that. But, I had provided each one a little different media kit to use in creating the post. I did tell them when the Thunderclap promotion for the tour would be posted and asked that they have their posts ready. I sent out the media kits a week in advance. I think they really are all responsible adults, life just moves in and things get forgotten. I didn’t realize I needed to be a mother hen and emphasize how important it was to get their blog tour stop scheduled ahead of time.
If I do this again, that is a big IF, I will set up a form for bloggers to enter their correct information and what they are willing to do for the tour. The author let me send an ARC of the book to all blog participants. I didn’t see that many reviews though. This was definitely a learning experience for me. Getting started earlier than 23 days before release day is another thing that is important. I did manage, but a few more days would have been most advantageous. It would have helped to have more in depth excerpts from the book instead of short quotes. That takes time for an author to extract and I’m sure with a couple additional weeks that would have been possible. Making sure everyone posted early in the day, well before the Thunderclap posted, would have been good too. Maybe having the blog tour promotion post a little later in the day would have been better, but, since it was an all day event I felt that an early promo would be best.
The purpose of having this blog tour was to not only promote the author and book featured in the tour, but to drive traffic to the blog pages to give the bloggers more exposure as well. I’d be all up ons that and have participated in other blog tours myself.
After all that, maybe you are asking yourself what I really learned. Well, I have never been the most organized person and organizing the blog tour and promotion has confirmed that one cannot organize something unless they are well prepared. Even though much of this experience was easy, the result was somewhat less than satisfactory for me. I had high hopes but doing something by the ‘seat of your pants’ is not the way to go. Have what you need ready before you start to initiate an event, don’t start organizing it before you get what you need. Start promotions early, just over 3 weeks may not be enough time to get it all together and promote it successfully. Blog tours and Thunderclap promotions can be done with little to no advertizing expense for the author, but, it does require a commitment of time and energy.
(If you haven’t taken the blog tour it isn’t too late. Follow the link to my introduction to the tour which includes my review of the book. http://wp.me/p6kbvq-nI )
Acknowledgements to those that helped make the blog tour possible:
Thank you Jen Winters (https://www.facebook.com/WintersJen) for giving me input on just what is needed for a book release blog tour.
Thank you Candi Fox ( https://www.facebook.com/candisbookshelfandreviews/)for volunteering and doing the wonderful graphics for the tour.
Thank you Jessica Wren ( https://www.facebook.com/jessica.wren1) for lighting a fire under members of APC (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1605983442956270/) to support the Thunderclap ( https://www.thunderclap.it/) campaign.
Thank you to bloggers for participating in the blog tour. Without each of you this could not have happened.
Andy Peloquin (- http://andypeloquin.com/),
Ani Manjikian ( https://rightthewriter.com/),
Jessica Wren (- jessicawrenfiction.com),
Kristin Bowers ( www.idontgetsundays.blogspot.com),
Mistral Dawn , ( http://mistralkdawn.blogspot.com/)
Paul White, ( https://ramblingsfromawritersmind.wordpress.com/ )
Rainne Atkins, ( http://rainnes.blogspot.co.uk/ )
Sahara Foley, (saharafoley.com)
Savannah Morgan ( http://savannahsthoughtgarden.blogspot.com/ )