Finally completed your manuscript and feeling accomplished?
Before you break out the bubbly and start celebrating your latest literary success, it’s important to start thinking about how you’ll get your book into as many hands as possible. Because as a self-published author who writes for a living, robust book sales are one of the greatest markers of success.
Ask any marketing expert and they’ll tell you the same thing. The easiest way to sell a specific product to as many people as possible, is to offer it to the ones who actually want it.
Seems obvious, but surprisingly many authors have no idea how to connect with the people who would be perfect candidates to buy their book, also known as their ‘target audience’.
The Key to Effective Book Promotion
An effective method for getting the word out about an idea, a person or even a book is through relentless publicity, which is the process of bringing attention to a subject by distributing information about that subject to a receptive audience.
Think about the last blockbuster movie you absolutely had to watch.
How did you find out about it? Why do you want to see it? Why that movie and not one of the many others?
Answer these questions and you’ll find that it all comes back to one keyword: Publicity.
But when you don’t have the promotional budget or social clout of a major movie producer, how exactly do you promote your new book and get readers as excited about your offering as you were about your last cinematic experience?
The answer: Blog tours!
What is a Blog Tour?
A blog tour is simply a string of publicity stops at various well-established blogs in your niche with a goal to promote yourself and your book.
It’s quite similar to the book tours that many well-known authors do to promote their latest offerings, minus the pressure of bookings, public speaking and the grueling travel schedule that usually comes with it.
There are several additional benefits to doing blog tours to launch and promote a book.
Blog tours help you to spread the word about your book by networking with established bloggers who already have readers who would be interested in your work.
It provides leverage that can take your book from completely unknown to an overnight success when done correctly.
Blog tours harness the viral nature of the internet and you usually find your promotion spreading far beyond the scope of your efforts. In other words, the content you distribute during the blog tour has a good chance of getting picked up by search engines, shared through social media and discussed among new and existing fans.
Most importantly, blog tours help to get readers excited about your book so they’re eager to buy it on release day.
How to Use Blog Tours to Attract Ideal Readers
Now that you know what blog tours can do for you and your next book launch, it’s time to talk about how to use them to attract your ideal audience.
The most important parts of executing an effective and productive blog tour are getting well-organized and including a few important elements.
Develop a plan for your blog tour.
For your blog tour to be successful you have to set targets and have guidelines for carrying it out.
Factors that should be considered while making your blog tour plan include the length of the tour (usually 4 to 6 weeks), the types of blogs/bloggers you’ll be targeting as well as the goals you have for the outcome of the tour, such as the number of blogs to be featured on or the number of new fans you want to join your mailing list.
Find blogs and bloggers to network with.
Once you’ve developed your plan, the next step is making a list of blogs to target. A good goal is to get featured on between 10 and 20 blogs during the span of your blog tour.
Do blogger outreach before asking for direct promotion.
It’s important to remember that bloggers are people and writers just like you. They want to know that you have an interest in them outside of just wanting to be featured on their website. When the time comes to approach them to ask for a feature on their blog, it’s best to already have a rapport developed.
The best way to achieve this is by doing blogger outreach for several weeks before you intend to begin your book tour.
Give the blogger a chance to get to know you by participating in conversations taking place on their blog. Comment, share their content on your social media channels and use every opportunity you have to ‘break-the-ice’ with the owner of each blog you target.
This step is important, as it makes approaching each blogger for a review and feature more natural and increases the likelihood of a positive response.
Ask for a review and feature.
Once rapport is built and you’re ready to start scheduling feature spots for your blog tour, go right in with a request to the blog you’re targeting. Don’t be shy!
While you may not get the green light from every single blog you approach, chances are you will get featured by many of them. It really is a numbers game and about how well you can virtually ‘schmooze’ your way through each blog.
Have copies of your book available for giveaway.
Have several copies of your book ready to offer as giveaways to the blogger featuring you and your work, as well as a few extra they can give away to their fans during promotion.
Knowing that there is a chance to win one of your books will certainly grab the attention of readers interested in your work.
Keep track of the blogs that give you publicity.
As you reach out to each blogger and they agree to feature your work on their blog, it’s important to keep track of all the relevant information for each opportunity.
Keep a log of the name of the blog and the blog owner as well as the date of your upcoming feature. Once the review and feature is posted, note the URL address of the page for quick reference so you can follow up with interested fans.
Follow up in the comments section.
An essential part of conducting a successful blog tour is making a good first impression and forming lasting connections with new fans. One of the easiest ways to do this is by replying to any comments that come as a result of your feature on each blog.
Answering reader questions about yourself and your book while all the attention is focused on you is a fast and easy way of making your mark and giving your would-be fans a taste of who you really are, the person behind the pages.
Taking an active role in promoting your books is important to having successful launches and to make sure that sales, reviews, and new readership keep coming in.
So are blog tours the end-all and be-all of book promotion for self-published authors? Probably not.
But used properly they are certainly an effective tool for garnering major publicity and getting your book in front of members of your target audience quickly and relatively easily.
Give it a try and you may find that for you, like so many other authors, blog tours become an indispensable tool in your book promotion arsenal.