Join my virtual book tour to celebrate the release of Easter Hair Hunt, #16 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries. Reviews, Spotlights, Interviews, Guest Posts & Giveaway. Please leave comments at each site to support my hosts.
Blog Tours can gain exposure for your new release on sites with a different readership than your own. If anything, readers might be prompted to go look up your book if the post piques their interest. Name recognition and exposure is the goal more so than selling books. You want to expose your work to new audiences. A blog tour can be an important tool in your marketing and book promotion arsenal.
Another huge benefit is that you’ll gain reviews. The tour hosts, if this is what they offer, may post a review on their blog sites, Goodreads, Amazon, and in some cases on BookBub.
Decide if you want to book your own virtual blog tour or if you’re rather hire a tour organizer. You can also do both if you have a list of bloggers you can approach on your own. How do you find these people to start? Check out the blog tours of authors who write in the same genre. Go to each site and look for contact information and submission guidelines. Some will do reviews. Others will offer interviews or spotlights. Begin a list of possible sites with these details, including if there’s an online submission form. If you want to cast a wider net, consider a Bookstagram tour or look for YouTube Book Vloggers or podcasters that will host you.
To arrange a virtual tour yourself, send a query to the host. Mention your book title and details, the release date, a short book description with buy links, and if you have digital or physical advance reading copies available. On your list, jot down the date when you sent this query. If you get no response and several weeks have passed, send out a reminder letter. Also note down when you get an answer and the date you send the ARC to the host. Keep meticulous records, because you’ll use the same people again for the next book if they follow through. When they do post a review or host an interview, write the date and add the link to your notes.
Once you’ve been accepted by the hosts, write your blogs. What do you write about? My advice is to scribble down topics as you are writing your work-in-progress. Subjects can relate to the research you had to do, to the writing process itself, or to the reason why you were inspired to write this book. Another popular item for a post is a character interview or a “day in the life” essay by your protagonist.
At the end of each post, put your book blurb and buy links; plus an author bio with links to your social media sites. Send an author photo and book cover along with your post to the host.
To attract readers, offer a grand prize drawing from all commenters during the tour and/or do a giveaway on each site.
Publish your tour schedule on your website and broadcast it on your social media. Create an eye-catching graphic and use it to make this an event. Post it as an event on your Facebook author page and with your Appearances on your website. Use these sites to create memes: BookBrush, https://bookbrush.com or Canva, http://www.canva.com
Be sure to show up the day of the posting on each site to answer comments. Thank the host for having you on her site.
If you’d rather hire a tour organizer, you’ll get the benefit of their network of hosts and their publicity on your behalf. You’ll also perhaps get a graphic you can use to publicize the event. Decide if you want to do guest blogs, interviews, spotlights, or reviews.
It’s our group’s anniversary at Booklover’s Bench and we’re celebrating by gifting six mysteries to one lucky winner! We founded our site in Feb. 2013, so we are seven years in the running and still going strong. You can rely on Booklover’s Bench for great reads and monthly giveaways. CLICK HERE TO ENTER
Goodreads is where readers go to share their reviews and to discover new books. As an author, you want readers to add your book to their TBR (to-be-read) shelf. Shelvings can lead to Sales that can lead to Reads and hopefully Reviews. Your goal is to raise awareness of your book and entice readers to buy it. Goodreads should be a part of your book promotion campaign.
1. Sign in as a Goodreads Author or Librarian, so you can click the Edit Details button on your books and make changes. You can combine editions, choose a default edition, add a book cover, link your series books, or manually enter a new title if it’s available on Amazon. With an author page, you can list your books, link to your blog post feed, create events, and more.
2. Search for Goodreads author promotions so you can take advantage of them. Or run a Goodreads Giveaway. These cost money but can be effective to raise awareness of your upcoming release.
3. Followers, and not friends, get notified when you have a new book launch. So ask people to follow you on Goodreads. If you’re doing a Rafflecopter contest, add Follow Me on Goodreads as an option. Add this link to all your social media posts and sites.
4. Since Goodreads is primarily for readers, contribute reviews for each book you read so that other readers accept you as one of their own. It’ll also help get your name out there when it shows on your update feed.
5. Join special interest groups and participate in discussions, but be careful to promote your book only in the sections allowed. Read the guidelines before you post about your own books.
6. Utilize the Ask-the-Author feature. It allows readers to ask you questions in a Q&A format.
7. On the Home page, click on General Update and add your contest news, book release info, or anything else you wish to promote.
Do you want to send an agent a query letter but have no idea what it should include? Or perhaps you’ve sent out several queries and you keep getting rejections. What could you be doing wrong? Here are some steps you can take to put yourself on the path to success. · Check the guidelines for submissions on the agent’s website. This will tell you what genres the person represents and if they prefer email or snail mail submissions. The guidelines will also state if you should include any sample chapters. · Make sure the agent does not require an exclusive submission. If so, you’d lose months while waiting for a response. See if the agent mentions their expected response time. · Write a one-page snappy query letter introducing yourself, giving the word count and genre for your book, a catchy story blurb, and your writing credits. If possible, include a hot premise or marketing hook that makes your story stand out. This means using keywords such as “paranormal” or “dystopian” or “domestic suspense” or saying your story is “Indiana Jones meets Romancing the Stone.” If you can compare your style to similar published authors, do so without bragging about how your book is as wonderful as Ms. Bestselling Author. · Be careful not to sound as though your writing is all over the board in terms of genres. Be clear about your focus. For example, don’t give the genre as a suspense novel and then mention that it takes place on another planet and your next book will be a vampire story. You’ll want to build your author brand by focusing on one genre as you grow your readership. · Do not describe your life history or any personal details unless they relate directly to your book. Do include if you belong to a critique group, have won writing contests, or if you’ve attended writing workshops and conferences. · You can also mention why readers might want to read your book. What is the value in it for them? Again, don’t brag and say it’s the most exciting book they’ll ever read, or it’s a fast-paced thrill ride. This is for readers to determine. But if it helps them appreciate family values or learn about how you can rise above past mistakes, this could be useful to include as a theme. Basic Structure First Paragraph – State your book’s title, genre and word count. Here you can put if you’re a published author seeking representation or a new author seeking an agent for your first book. Second Paragraph – This is your catchy book blurb. Write it like a log line for a TV show or like the back cover copy of your book. You’ll want to engage the reader’s interest. Third Paragraph – Here offer your biography as it applies to your writing, including works you’ve published, memberships in professional writing organizations, writing workshops you’ve attended, critique group participation. Mention any expertise or work credentials that apply to your book. You can also make marketing suggestions or mention your proposed target audience. Mention if your story is book one of a series. Last Remarks – Thank the agent for their consideration and offer to send the completed manuscript upon request. Do mention if this is a multiple submission. Signature Line – Here is where you can add your social media links. Doubtless the agent, if interested, will look you up to see if you have an online platform. If you hear nothing back from the agent for a couple of months, send a follow-up email to ask if she’s received your query. Be courteous and respectful of the agent’s time. Be aware that some agents won’t respond at all, and this can be taken as a rejection. But follow through at least once to make sure your email was received. As an alternative, you can request a return receipt for when the agent opens the message. If you receive a rejection letter with detailed suggestions for your work, write a thank you note. Remember, an author-agent relationship is a two-way street. Just as you want to hire the ideal agent, the agent wants to land the ideal client. Be courteous, professional, and savvy about the industry. Also respect that while the agent might offer suggestions for improvements, this is not an invitation to resubmit your work unless the agent says so in her response. Resources http://queryshark.blogspot.com/ http://bit.ly/2OuiFX2 http://wp.me/pHSwk-3e3
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What should you be doing in the days following your new book release? Promotion doesn’t end when your book launch is over. You’ve tossed the ball into the court. Now you need to keep it rolling. Let’s say you have sent advance reading copies to reviewers and are participating in a blog tour or doing guest posts along the way. What else can you do? Here are some suggestions:
Start a file for Amazon reviews and copy down each review as it’s posted, along with the date and reviewer. Do the same for Goodreads. Repeat for bloggers and other review sites. If you start getting tons of reviews, skip this step and go to item two.
Check these names against your personal reviewer list and mark each one as done. Then you’ll know which reviewers followed through so you can approach them with your next release.
Send a thank you email to the reviewers on your personal list who have posted.
Send a reminder to the reviewers who have not yet posted.
You should have already written a page of tweets and posts for your new book. For each reviewer, note their Twitter and Facebook handles. Now pull relevant quotes from these reviews and add them to your Tweet page. Remember to tag the reviewer.
Also write a tweet or post for each stop on your blog tour. Tag your hosts and add a link to their site.
Set your Twitter posts to rotate automatically at a site like SocialJukebox.com or schedule them ahead of time at Hootsuite. Space out your Facebook posts between your own pages and your groups.
Add quotes from reviews to your website.
Check your Amazon book’s page. If you don’t see reviews posted by your reviewers, you can add them as quotes via Amazon Author Central.
If you are doing a blog tour, return daily to each site and respond to comments. Leave your own comment thanking the host for having you there.
Get the specific URL for each post about your book and update it on your Appearances page. Shorten the link for tweets.
If you’re running a contest, don’t forget to mention this to your followers.
Remember to promote your friends’ books and retweet their posts so it’s not all about you.
If you’re doing concurrent sales on your other books, you’ll need to advertise these as well.
Gauge the effectiveness of the newsletter you sent out the day of your book release. Update your mailing list by removing bounces and unsubscribes.
If you boosted your Facebook post, was it effective? How many engagements and clicks did you get?
Keep meticulous records so that when you have another release, you can contact the reviewers who posted about your book and drop the people who got an advance copy but never responded. Then you can seek new readers to fill in the gaps.
I’m sure you can think of many more activities you’re doing in the couple of weeks following your book release. It’s a busy time when the pace seems relentless, but it will ease off. You’ll have to keep the promotional ball rolling, but at least it’ll be more of a steady pace than a race. What would you add to this list?
Once you or your publisher sets a date for your new release, you can start planning ahead for the big day. You’ll need to begin months earlier and get your pieces lined up ahead of time. Planning for a new release can be a full-time marketing job, so I’d advise you to set aside a few weeks to get everything done. Here’s a basic countdown schedule to act as a guideline.
4 to 6 months ahead
Prepare your story blurbs and tag lines.
Update the author biography on your website. Have a short and long one along with a separate speaker introduction.
Send out advance reading copies to reviewers and bloggers.
Announce the launch date in your newsletter and on your social media sites.
Schedule a virtual blog tour.
Reserve ad space in trade journals, e-magazines, and online reader sites.
Set up speaking engagements and signings.
Consider doing a Pinterest story board.
2 to 4 months ahead
Send out a press release about the new release and include signing dates.
Do a Cover Reveal once your book is available for pre-order.
Write a page full of tweets and Facebook posts about the new release.
Create your book trailer (optional) and add to social media sites.
Write guest blog articles and interviews for your virtual book tour.
Run contests or giveaways with your ARCs as prizes.
Order print promo materials and swag for conferences.
Consider if you want to put another book in your series on sale during the window of your book launch.
1 to 2 months ahead
Set a book launch party date, time and place. Here’s an example of the online site I share with author Maggie Toussaint: https://www.facebook.com/NewReleaseParty/. Other authors might invite their writer friends to participate. Note what appeals to you and use these elements in planning your own book party.
Write the party posts, determine the prizes, and schedule all posts ahead of time.
Create memes for your launch party and the new release.
Send out “Save the Date” notices. Treat the launch as an “event” and broadcast it on your social media sites and to your influential contacts.
Schedule a newsletter and blog to post on the launch date.
Update your website with reviews as they come in. If time permits, thank each reviewer.
Write a book club discussion guide (optional).
Post the first chapter on your website.
Put excerpts on your blog to entice readers to want more.
Do as much of this work in advance as you can. This is simplifying all the effort a book launch entails, but being prepared relieves some of the stress as your book birthday approaches.
What do you do when you’re in between books but you have too much going on to start the next novel? You might be waiting to hear back from your editor or beta readers or cover designer if the book is done.
I’m in this situation now. I have four projects pending release but am in a holding pattern until I hear back from various sources. As I write this piece, Body Wave Audiobook is complete and waiting publication by Audible. Trimmed to Death is awaiting feedback from beta readers and a mockup design from my cover artist. Hairball Hijinks, a short story that includes an epilogue to Hair Brained, will include a teaser chapter from Trimmed to Death, so this one has to wait until there’s a pre-order link for that title. And Writing the Cozy Mystery: Expanded Second Edition uses examples from Trimmed to Death so is best to come after that title is published.
In the meantime, I don’t want to get involved in plotting the next project. Instead, I am spending time on some of the following activities. Here are suggestions for what you can do when you’re in a similar holding pattern before a new release and you don’t want to work on another book:
· Prepare your book launch announcement
· Write all the blogs for a blog tour
· Do an optional book trailer as a bonus for your readers
· Start a Pinterest storyboard for your new release
· Prepare for speaker engagements with handouts and PowerPoint presentations
· Update your reviewer list by marking which people reviewed your last title
· Review your front and back materials for each indie book project
· Determine if you’ll have an online launch party and plan ahead for this event
· Update your mailing list and work on your next newsletter
· Create memes relating to your new book
· Write a Reader Discussion Guide for book clubs
· Update your bio on all social media sites
If you’d rather engage in brainless activities for a break, you can always clean out old files, update your blog index, rearrange your online photos, or go through the stack of papers in your to-do pile. As soon as your book is ready to go, you’ll be plenty busy. So take advantage of this lull while you can.
What else do you do in between book projects, besides doing preliminary research and jotting down plot ideas for the next story?
SleuthFest 2018 was a great conference for mystery writers and fans. One of the first workshops I attended was given by book publicist Maryglenn McCombs. These are the points I took away from this workshop on marketing. Any mistakes are due to my misinterpretation.
Reasons why readers buy books:
Placement (i.e. in library or on bookstore display or in airport store)
Interest in Topic or Setting
Need for Entertainment
Hand Sales by a Bookseller
Media such as blogs, radio, interviews, etc.
Public Relations is only one component in selling books. A publicist’s job is to create awareness of your book. But there’s no guarantee that you’ll get media coverage.
Why your book might not be selling:
You’re not meeting the above requirements
Not wide enough cast of promotional efforts
Trying to do too much at once
No advance planning
Product isn’t professional
Cover isn’t appealing
Too much “buy my book” social media
You’re offensive on social media (i.e. talking politics or using bad language) Book is overpriced
Not targeting your audience
You get a great review and don’t share or promote it. But make sure you have permission first.
Your book doesn’t have any endorsements.
You aren’t doing signings and appearances. Look for non-traditional outlets.
Writing/editing needs improvement
Bad cover copy
What does not work:
Radio tours, with a few exceptions like Authors on the Air
Lengthy book tours
Purchased editorial ads
“Buy my book” social media tactics
Gimmicks such as dressing in costume for an appearance
These may work or not:
Soliciting Amazon reviewers
Major media coverage
Steady media coverage over time
Personal contact with booksellers
Finding your superfans
Winning awards Big author endorsements
Making the “Best of” lists
Getting into Gift Guides
Writing a Great Book Having a Professional Product
ENTER HERE to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench.
I want to offer a big Thank You to my blog followers for sticking with me through the years. You have my special gratitude if you’ve left comments, liked a post, tweeted one or shared it on Facebook. I’m especially touched when you come up to me at a conference and mention that you appreciate my blog. I send these messages out into cyberspace without knowing if anyone reads them. So it’s most gratifying to get any kind of feedback.
As a gift to you in return, I’d like to offer you the chance to win a $15 Fandango gift card, so you can see one of the latest movies. All you have to do is comment below and your name will be entered. The drawing will take place in two days.
In your comment, let me know, if you wish, what you like about this blog, what you dislike, or what kinds of articles you’d like to see more of in the future.
Meanwhile, have a safe, happy, and healthy New Year!