I was invited to lead a round table discussion at Book Expo America’s Blogger Convention about blog tours. We had three great discussions on the topic ranging from what is a blog tour to how authors can use them to help spread the word about their book. I was asked to share my “tips and tricks” I had written up before the con, and here they are. My hope is that if you’re new to blogging, new to blog tours, or looking for creative ways to spice up your tours, you’ll find this helpful. I got asked to provide some additional information as well that requires a little research on my end, so that’ll be coming soon.
1 – Be Excited. Even if you haven’t read the book or if it wasn’t your cup of tea, find something good to say. “Fans of___ will enjoy…” “If you like ____ you’ll enjoy…”. And if you loved it, say that, share it wide and far. But remember your promoting the book, fangirling/boying is good, but it should be fangirling/boying with substance.
2 – Provide your own unique content. I know a lot of tours are review or low author/publisher involvement, but that doesn’t mean you can’t provide your readers with unique content. It never hurts to ask if you can do an interview with the author or ask for an excerpt. But you can also do your own thing. Do a Top Ten list, a photo collage that reminds you of the book, make your own play list, write a personal essay about a similar experience or feeling a character in the book had, there are SO many things you can do to make a blog tour unique little or no author/publisher involvement
3 – Think outside the box. If the author can’t provide content, maybe their publisher, agent, editor or someone else tied to the release can. See if you can interview the cover artist, editor, agent, audiobook producer or narrator, publicist… the list is endless. Or if the publisher is unable to provide content look around you. Find someone in your area who can maybe talk about an aspect of the book and interview them.
4 – Be a creative host. If you’re hosting a tour, think of fun ways you and bring your book to life through a blog tour. If you’re character has a thing they really enjoys (knitting, surfing, scrapbooking…) use that to your advantage, plan a tour around that. Find bloggers outside the book community that fit your theme and work with them. Create unique content for book bloggers using your character’s favorite thing. If it’s scrapbooking send everyone the same packet of scrapbook supplies and see what gets made, if your character likes blue food have the bloggers turn their favorite food blue… there are so many ways to make your tour unique, fun and interactive.
5 – Don’t be demanding. It’s okay to ask for publisher or author provided content, but don’t be demanding about it. Many authors are on deadline for their next book as they are promoting their new release, have personal lives and day jobs. So if the answer if they don’t have time, respect that. And if you are doing an author interview, keep it to 5-6 questions, or if you have a lot of questions, give them all and let the author pick their favorite 5 or 6 to answer.
6 – Be respectful. Publishers, authors and publicists have invited you to be part of the tour to promote the book. So if the book wasn’t your thing, let the person ruing the tour know. If they requested a review and your view is below a 3 star (out of 5), or a lower rating on your scale, see if you can post something else and then post your view at a later date. Just because you didn’t like it doesn’t mean someone else may not LOVE It for the exact reasons it wasn’t your thing.
7 – Post on Time. I know we all get busy and life happens, but posting early and on time is important. I generally go for about 5 am central time so people can read it before they head to work across any time zone. It’s also nice for the post to stay your “top post” on your blog for that day.
8 – Keep Sharing the News. Be sure you keep posting on your social media about the tour. Do ICYMI, Last chance to enter or whatever so you keep reaching out to your audience.
9 – FTC GUIDELINES. I’m SO not an expert in this and because of that I’m not going to go into detail, but be sure you know what they are and what they require. And my general rule of thumb is, when in doubt, give a shout out. You can find some FAQs about this on the FTC Website.