RWA CONFERENCE REPORT: Day 1

Wednesday, July 28 

I arrived at the Dolphin Resort with my roomies for the weekend, authors ALLISON CHASE and SHARON HARTLEY.  We went early in the morning to register at the RWA Annual Conference and to drop off our promo items in the goody room. Not too many people were around but we figured it would get crowded later. We said hello to JOYCE HENDERSON and LYNETTE HALLBERG from SWFRW and to DARA EDMONSON and MICHELLE YOUNG from CFRW.  MONA RISK was there from FRW looking for the booksigning room to drop off her stuff for later.

Allison,Nancy,Sharon

Allison Chase, Nancy Cohen, Sharon Hartley

 At 2:30, we attended the Librarian Networking Event where we met librarians from Florida and around the country. Many authors were there too and offered book giveaways and other promo items for the librarians. The mass Literacy Booksigning followed with over 500 authors in alphabetical rows sitting with their books in front of them and cashiers at the far end. NY Times Bestselling authors like HEATHER GRAHAM and SUSAN ELIZABETH PHILLIPS had their own spots. I roamed the aisles greeting fellow authors and introducing myself to people I hadn’t met.  I greeted JUDI MCCOY who writes the dog walker mystery series, and other authors whose names were familiar from the various listserves where I hang out online. A bevy of our own FRW authors were present: KATHY PICKERING, BONNIE VANAK, DEBBIE ANDREWS, MICHAEL MEESKE, ONA BUSTOS, and many more. The two hours went fast, and over $55,000 was raised for adult literacy.

Allison Chase at Booksigning

Allison Chase at Booksigning

Joan and gang

Joan Schulhafer, Kristen Wallace, Kathleen Pickering, Ona Bustos

Nancy and gang

Kathleen Pickering, Nancy Cohen, Sharon Hartley

Sharon and Traci

Sharon Hartley and Traci Hall

Sharon and Nancy

Sharon Hartley and Nancy Cohen

 Coming Next: Day 2 with keynote luncheon and workshops.

Prize Drawing from all my blog commenters in August for signed book from my personal backlist collection.

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ALLISON CHASE ON BLOG TOURS

ALLISON CHASE is the author of the Novels of Blackheath Moor, paranormal historical tales set in the wilds of nineteenth century Cornwall. At the April 2009 Romantic Times Book Lovers Convention, she received a Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Historical Romantic Gothic of 2008, for DARK TEMPTATION. Her latest release, MOST EAGERLY YOURS, debuts her new Victorian series, Her Majesty’s Secret Servants, featuring four sisters who risk their Allison Chase lives, hearts, and occasionally their virtue in the service of their new young queen. While Allison has somehow found herself living in ultra modern South Florida, she and her family love to travel, especially to Great Britain and Ireland, and she’s never happier than when exploring castle ruins, ancient abbeys, and the rambling environs of old country manors. But no matter where her travels take her, you can always find her at www.allisonchase.com or www.allisonchase.wordpress.com.

10 Tips for Successful Blog Touring

 Here we are at the end of March, and my “blog tour” to promote the new release has wound down for now. Blog touring has become a major way to promote a book, so much so that a few months back my editor sent me an article about it and urged me to do it during the month my book came out.

So what are the benefits?

 1. It’s FREE! A blog tour costs you nothing…but time, that is. Depending on how many “stops” you schedule, it can be very time-consuming, so if you also happen to be on a deadline or have other pressing time constraints, you’ll want to have your blog posts written up well ahead of time. This doesn’t get you entirely off the hook, though, because for a successful blog tour you need to be available to comment on your comments. More on that in a minute.

 2. Exposure. Blog touring spreads your name across the internet. One thing I learned is that a lot of blogs seem to be part of networks, so blogging at one will get you at least a mention on others. Bloggers also post their schedules on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Did I mention that all this publicity is free?

 3. Readers have a chance to get to know you. You’re plugging your latest release, yes, but a good blog strategy is to reveal something personal about yourself so readers feel they are connecting with you as an individual. 

 4. Invitations. Once you’ve blogged in a few places, you’ll probably start receiving invitations to blog on other sites as well.

 So what are some strategies for a successful blog tour?

 1. Look for popular blogs that attract readers. How do you do that? I found several blogs through Facebook, and some through readers sites like Romance Junkies and Coffee Time Romance. I also found bloggers by doing a search of my book and seeing who had reviewed it so far. Contacting them or leaving a thank you in their comment section often opens a dialogue that will result in an invitation to blog.

 2. Check the comments sections to see which blogs are lively and interactive, and if the majority of visitors seem genuinely interested in books and authors, and aren’t simply hoping to win something. You can tell this by the kinds of comments they leave.

 3. Don’t over-schedule. Be realistic about how much time you can invest. I’ve heard of people who blog every day for an entire month. Yikes! If you can do that, great. I found 2-3 per week quite sufficient, thank you. Especially because of #4 below…

 4. Vary your posts. I’ve seen authors repeating posts on different sites, but while I used some variations on similar themes, each post was unique, highlighting a different aspect of my book and the history that inspired the story. Don’t forget, readers tend to follow multiple blogs, and identical posts won’t hold their interest.

 5. Don’t just talk about your book. As I mentioned, your posts should contain some personal insight that reveals something about yourself to your reader. Explore your setting, time period and themes by including some interesting real life tidbits. Think about your research. What unexpected discoveries surprised you most? Design your posts around those things.

 6. Make your posts relevant to your readers’ own lives. That means discussing themes in your book that others can immediately relate to. Some of mine were the power of friendship, standing up for oneself in difficult situations, female empowerment, alpha men vs. beta men in real life relationships… At the end of your post, ask a question that invites your readers to share their personal experiences – you’d be surprised how lively the discussion can become!

 7. Don’t blog and run! Be available to comment on comments throughout the day. This helps keep the discussion going and assures your readers that you’re interested in them – that they are very much worth your time.

 8. Giveaways attract attention! You can offer a signed copy of your latest release, a backlist title, or other small prize like a gift card. Don’t go overboard for two reasons: 1) it will get too expensive and 2) this is a token offer to attract real readers to you and your work. Too large a prize may attract those who are only interested in “free stuff.” So keep it real! At the end of each blogging day, I add up the comments and plug the number into random.org. The number generated determines who wins the prize – in my case it’s been copies of Most Eagerly Yours.

 9. Good manners! Don’t forget to thank your hosts and visitors! You posts should always include something like, “Thank you…(plug in names) for having me here today…”  And your last comment should be a thank you to everyone who came by to read and/or comment. Remember, not everyone who reads your post will be inclined to comment. It’s often a privacy issue, but do know that you are reaching more people than might be apparent.

 10. Have fun, and take this opportunity to shine!

Catch me at my next blog engagement with Sue Grimshaw at Borders True Romance, April 15th.