Monday, March 15, 2010

Blog Tour Rumminations

Well, I did it. I scheduled and completed a blog tour for my book, "Guardian." I have guest blogged, I have been interviewed, and my book has been reviewed.

What worked best? Easy, being hosted by folks who were as excited about my book as I am...at least those who acted like it! These fine folks were free with their praise (thank you), and were upbeat when they put the word out. It was a fun thing to be a part of those blog days, and the comments proved it worked best.

What worked least? Those who hosted my blog tour but did nothing to advertise it. Again, the comments proved this to be so.

So, where do I go from here? At what point does the enthusiasm of my blog hosts translate into sales for my book? I wish I could say different, but I really don't know. I do know that the blog tour has touched people far outside of my physical location, even those in other countries. How cool is that?

A blog tour is all about creating buzz as much as it is about letting people know my book is out and waiting to be purchased. Hopefully, the buzz results in book sales, which then continues by word-of-mouth sales. That's what we all hope for, I think.

When it's all said and done, as an individual we reach a finite amount of people. Friends, family, friends of family, that sort of thing. But to be truly successful in sales it depends on that and the above mentioned buzz and continued publicity.

I have approached the local bookseller about putting my book on her shelves. She was less than enthusiastic and told me I could leave a nonreturnable copy of my book at the desk and she would email me. Maybe.

It seems that there are lot of local authors in my area who are approaching the local newspaper wanting to be interviewed. After getting the book in the newspaper people's hands, and contacting those two folks a total of five times, you really can't do anymore than that. They did say if they decided not to read it or promote it, they would give it to a middle aged student. Gee, thanks.

Bottom line? Nobody--and I mean nobody--is as excited about your book than you are, but for sales to result, you must depend on those same folks at some point to help make your book a success.

I have hired an online pr team to do some marketing for me, so we'll see what happens with them.

Hopefully, school visits will be more readily available than the failed bookstore and newspaper help. I know the children's librarian and I have been playing what amounts to phone tag, so that is good.

So, I am cautiously optimistic about what is to come. The online pr people will send me information the end of this month showing me what they've done - book reviews, sites they've contacted, and so forth. I'll continue doing what I know to do, and plan to attend some festivals and contact people at other area book stores. All these breadcrumbs reach the final prize.

To order your copy of "Guardian," please visit 4rvpublishingllc.com.

13 comments:

Susanne Drazic said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the blog tour and about trying to get the word out there about your book.

I hope the PR group is able to help you find lots of success with sales of your book.

Guardian is a great book and I look forward to reading more of your work in the future.

Vivian Zabel said...

I'll pass the results of sales on as soon as I have them. Any sales results through the distributor take about 4 months to arrive on my desk.

Any sales through 4RV, I'll have soon.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Thanks for your comments, Katie. Promotion is tough. I've had little success with school visits (even in my town where I taught for 22 years). The newspaper hasn't reviewed any of my books. They put a notice in when I send them info about a signing. Brochures to radio stations-ignored. You just keep trying. Getting ready to send more brochures to schools. Hastings has been great about signings. They take books on consignment. Books-a-million, for some reason couldn't get the books. Who knows? Best of luck to you.

Bev

Jan Verhoeff said...

Katie, in reading this, I realized that there's an opportunity here.

I'm unsure how to advertize a blog tour, and would love to host an article from you sharing a variety of ways to advertize or promote blog tours and articles on blogs. I'll post it on www.ACEWriters.com if you'll send me one.

Jan

Mandy said...

Promoting seems to be a up hill battle keep up the good work.

Maryann Miller said...

It all takes time Katie. I learned a while back not to worry so much about trying to track sales, just keep plugging along on any opportunity to promote and sell. Alternative markets such as art fairs and festivals seem to work well, especially for people like you with books for young readers.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Katie,
Thank you for sharing your blog experience. I hope it pays dividends for you.
regards
Margaret

devonellington said...

One of the things that frustrated me when I did my last tour was when people only posted material from the media kit and didn't add anything unique. When I'm following an author on tour, I don't want to read the same material at every stop; as a touring author, I try to provide unique content, but sometimes the hosts just don't want to/don't have time to do anything but post provided material. I look at the media kit as the jumping off point, not the be-all and end-all. I never want to be an ungrateful guest, but sometimes it gets frustrating.

Best wishes moving forward.

devonellington said...

One of the things that frustrated me when I did my last tour was when people only posted material from the media kit and didn't add anything unique. When I'm following an author on tour, I don't want to read the same material at every stop; as a touring author, I try to provide unique content, but sometimes the hosts just don't want to/don't have time to do anything but post provided material. I look at the media kit as the jumping off point, not the be-all and end-all. I never want to be an ungrateful guest, but sometimes it gets frustrating.

Best wishes moving forward.

Sandy Lender said...

Devon,
I agree. You want to suggest in your media kit that you can provide canned articles for the hosts to post, which makes their job easier, but you don't want your tour to grow stale. Thus we end up writing 10 to 20 different thought-provoking essays about the writing process or the main character to entertain the masses and make each blog feel different...but not each blog host brings the audience that merits the time spent constructing a thought-provoking essay. It's quite the task! As someone else pointed out, marketing and promotion takes time...and time...and time...

I like Katie's use of "buzz." The online book tour generates buzz. It lets us network not just with potential readers, but with other authors and different players in the publishing field. I've made some fantastic connections through the various tours I've conducted.

As a plug for a friend's conference, Jo Linsdell will host a free online PROMO DAY! this May 15th for authors (and readers), and I'll present an hour-long seminar on the online book tour. You can check out http://jolinsdell.tripod.com/promoday/ for all the info. She has a blog linked to the site that featured my online book tour presentation info yesterday. Hope you guys can join in.

From Sandy Lender
"Some days, you just want the dragon to win."

Cheryl said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on your first VBT experience. While you're right that no one can be as excited as you about your book, a good online PR firm should come close. It is rare that I will coordinate a tour for a client if I can't get into his book. I've done it once or twice, but those are the tours I've always had trouble getting hosts (people can tell if you're excited about a book or not).

The comment thing doesn't necessarily mean the blogger didn't promote your tour stop. I have hundreds of visitors a week at The Book Connection, but if I have 20 comments a week I consider myself lucky. And, through my Amazon Associates account, I can see that readers are making purchases, which is way more important than leaving a comment.

One thing a blogging and author friend of mine does is always end her blog posts with a question. This encourages participation, and who doesn't like to be asked their opinion?

I agree with Devon on reusing material. I encourage my authors to come up with something new for each site. You need to give readers something they can't find online anywhere else.

Let me know if you would like me to host you at my blog one day. Book tour or not, free publicity is still free publicity.

Best of luck!

Cheryl

Penny Ehrenkranz said...

Katie, thanks for sharing your thoughts about your VBT. I know I was less than thrilled by sales after I did one for Ghost for Rent. As you say, the folks who hosted me were fabulous, but I saw no real increase in sales. I'll be interested to see if hiring someone will really help you. Keep us posted.

Karen Cioffi said...

Katie,

That only makes sense that the sites who promoted your guest spot would pull more visitors.

If a host commits to being a host to an author, he/she should know that promotion goes with the territory!

Interesting post.