Crystal Collier shares the secrets to a successful blog tour–and a giveaway!

Welcome Crystal Collier here today to share her new book and some writing tips!

In 1771, Alexia had everything: the man of her dreams, reconciliation with her father, even a child on the way. But she was never meant to stay. It broke her heart, but Alexia heeded destiny and traveled five hundred years back to stop the Soulless from becoming.

In the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Church has ordered the Knights Templar to exterminate the Passionate, her bloodline. As Alexia fights this new threat—along with an unfathomable evil and her own heart—the Soulless genesis nears. But none of her hard-won battles may matter if she dies in childbirth before completing her mission.

Can Alexia escape her own clock?
 
BUY: Amazon | B&N

DIY Blog Tours

Thank you Dianna for having me here today!

So you’ve written a great book, it’s being published, and now you have to get the word out. You’ve heard about blog tours but don’t have the cash to pay for a service. What do you do?

Do it yourself.

Truth is, you’ll probably have more success with it if you do, and you’ll meet a bunch of new, wonderful people. I’ve run several successful tours with between 50 and 80 hosts, and learned the hard way what works, what doesn’t, and the best time frames. Lucky you, I’m going to share my recipe for success.

How to Organize a Blog Tour
Figuring Out the Details:
1.
WHEN: Research when book sales are highest for your genre and target it. Ex: I
write paranormal. September-November is my sweet spot.
2.
LENGTH: 
Marketing is LONG TERM, so pick a pace YOU can handle. Tours can run for:
      * Months (one to 3 features a week) 
      * Day after day for a week to a
month

      * 1 day as a blitz
3.
WHERE: If you’re a blogger, ask friends to host, but reach beyond your circle. 
Make a spreadsheet of potential hosts. Research sites with aspects from your books. Ex: I write about time travel, so I might approach a popular blog that
features historical trivia in one of my eras.
Querying Bloggers:
Click to enlarge
Put out a call through social media for hosts, BUT, for valuable internet realty, you will have to query. Create a succinct email including:
  • A direct subject line. (NAME OF BOOK: Blog Tour Request by AUTHOR NAME)
  • A personal greeting. Show that you’re familiar with the host. Blogging is all about connecting.
  • Introduce yourself. (Credentials and something memorable.)
  • Share your book image and details: tag, blurb, buy links, publisher, genre, length. These will show a potential host how professional you are.
  • Tour details: Dates & features available.
  • An incentive (gift card raffle for hosts—$5 is awesome, just a something to say “thank you.”)
  • End by telling them how awesome and appreciated they are.
Keeping Details Straight:
Create a sign up form via Google forms or web programming, and export it to a spreadsheet where you can keep track of ALL THE DETAILS.
 
The Tour
Give yourself more than enough time to prepare features. Plan the tour 3 to 5 months in
advance, and query no later than 2 months ahead of time.
DO NOT PREPARE THE EXACT SAME FEATURE for every host. (Unless it’s a one-day blitz.) People will follow your entire tour if the content is new and exciting. Create a media kit and make it available to all hosts.
Feature Suggestions: Think beyond these ideas. Invent things that go with your theme.
  • Interviews: Attention spans are short. Limit the number of questions interviewers may ask. (3 to 5 is plenty.) You might even send them a list of potential questions.
  • Introduce Characters: This may be done through character interviews, a casting post, graphics, and quotes, etc. (For my current tour, I have a character doppelganger quiz. Who is YOUR MOT Twin?)
  • Reviews. Query early. (3 to 4 months is optimal. 2 is cutting it close.) Follow up. People you know are most likely to say yes. Ask reviewers to post their reviews after the tour if they would rate the book less than 3 stars, and be ready to provide a feature in place of the review.
  • Guest Posts. KEEP THESE RELEVANT TO YOUR BOOK. Every post needs to hook people on your story. A “story hook” illustrated in gifs is an example of a highly effective idea. Expert posts are also epic. (Using examples from your books to hook readers.)
  • Author Reading. A virtual reading (best with a live audience) via Youtube or in a podcast.
    (Keep these short—excerpt length.)
  • Promotional Spotlight. Book cover, summary, author picture, bio, excerpt, and buy links. These are widely accepted and loved by book bloggers. Excerpts sell books. Keep them short: no more than 500 words and preferably less than 300 (or a single page of
    print). Before each tour, find potential excerpts and ask friends to choose their favorites.
  • Games. A Truth or Lie game, online scavenger hunt, a quiz, choose your own adventure, a book excerpt where the story continues in a chain of blogs, trivia. Make it simple AND easy to share.
Giveaways:
Amazon giveaways are instantaneous, but limited. And expensive. Rafflecopter has a free option. If you use this, post an image of your prizes ABOVE the widget. (And be sure all hosts receive the code & image.) Assign as many points as possible to incite mob mentality. (The higher the number of entries, the more people will enter. What can I say? We’re lemmings.) Invite authors in your genre to contribute prizes & share. Word of warning: buyers may hold off on purchasing your book if it’s being offered in the giveaway. It maybe be better to offer swag or backlist titles. Advertise on sites like these about your giveaway. (For free.)
Communication:
It is easiest to format your posts in Blogger or WordPress, then copy the html and send it to your hosts. This way all images, links, etc. are already in the post. Some hosts will request the text and images be sent separately. Make sure to send posts NO LATER than a week in advance. Two or three weeks is better.
 
Each morning of the tour, send emails to the hosts for the following day—to thank and remind them. Some will still fall through. That’s okay. Move on. Use YOUR social media to promote ALL posts. Thanking hosts is a tactful way to do this.
In the end, a successful tour comes down to planning and execution, but remember, marketing is most effective if everyone is having fun. Make it enjoyable—for you, your hosts, and your readers.
What are some blog tour features you’ve seen that were particularly neat?

 

Crystal Collier is an eclectic author who pens clean fantasy/sci-fi, historical, and romance stories with the occasional touch of humor, horror, or inspiration. She practices her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese.

Find her and her books online HERE.

(Email address is required for awarding prizes.)


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