Should you do a blog tour? What is the value of blog tours?

by Travis Luedke

Image from http://spiritauthors.com/news/what-is-a-virtual-blog-tour-how-do-you-set-one-up/

Blog tours have rarely resulted in book sales for me, not that I could ever really measure. I might see a few extra sales here and there, but, that is not really the primary reason for a tour.

What tours do for me is reviews, social media exposure and some of that badly needed ‘word-of-mouth’ gushing book love. I tend to focus on reviews-only tour packages from http://www.rbtlreviews.com/, who specializes in novels of Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy – my genres, and http://bookienookiereviews.blogspot.com/ who runs Erotic Enchants, the single largest Erotica group on Goodreads. Though I won’t turn down a promo/excerpt posting when it comes along, I do push for reviews as much as possible.

As my series grows ever longer, I noticed that when I tour the latest book, (The Nightlife San Antonio) new bloggers I have never seen before will request to read/review all my books in the series. So, each tour I do in succession is bringing in reviews for my entire series. One fee, one blog post, 4-5 reviews in one. The tour hosts who have been with me a while will often link to the reviews they did of my previous books. So, either way you look at it, the backlist gets more exposure.

Example:
http://theboyfriendbookmark.com/2014/06/01/blog-tour-the-nightlife-london-the-nightlife-4-by-travis-luedke-giveaway/
http://bluechrysalisbookpromo.wordpress.com/2014/06/05/2093/
http://quickanddirtystories.blogspot.com/2014/06/blog-tour-nightlife-london-by-travis.html

The first post, Steph at Boyfriend bookmark, has been one of my most awesome fans since February 2013. The second link is someone new to my novels, but, having read the whole series, she had loads of good things to say.

The tangible result? One more book blogger just added me to her ‘must-have’ list. Not because I had one book that was OK, not because of my book covers or whatever, but, mainly because I have a consistently entertaining writing style, with complete novels–no cliffhangers, and as she read through the whole series, I became an author she appreciated more fully. I’m not just a one-hit wonder that’s so easily forgotten.
Another consideration: SEO. Bloggers often use Google+, twitter and facebook, and that means your book title and author name are going to be showing up all over the place in Google. Relevant Google+ postings always show up in the first page results. I have seen bloggers who posted a review years ago, that still show up on the first page of Google search results when I look up my name or my book titles. That stuff stays out there in cyberspace for a very long time.

Often, bloggers have a sidebar that shows their most popular blog posts. How do you get your review to show up there? Tweet their review over and over and over. Share that review everywhere, repeatedly. Tell all your friends about that review. Before you know it, that review will be the most popular blog post that blogger has ever had, and now, its sitting there in the sidebar of their blog, forever immortalized as a popular post. Bloggers will love you for bringing buttloads of traffic to their blog. Its a win-win.

So, if you only have one book, by all means do a blog tour, you need the reviews and exposure. But, if you have several books, especially a series, make sure you do a blog tour with each new release, maybe even several tours back to back.

You will eventually find one or more tour hosts that become consistent fans of your fiction, and that is precisely where you want to be. Blog tour hosts are super bloggers extraordinaire, and if you can win them over, now you’ve got something of value.

Another thing to consider, which is in many ways like doing a blog tour, without trying to schedule or coordinate, is Netgalley. I use Patchwork Press to get my books into Netgalley for $45 a month, and I generally do it for 1-2 months. Its not really necessary to post books any longer than that.

Netgalley has THOUSANDS of bibliophiles who love books, and regularly gobble them up in their preferred genres. These are book bloggers, media-library people, and voracious readers. What better audience could you ask for?

So, what is my latest tour you might ask?

Well, I have two of them going: The Nightlife London and in a couple weeks, The Nightlife San Antonio.

The Author Marketing Podcast Launch

We’ve just gotten word from iTunes that our new podcast has gone live called the Author Marketing Podcast. Click here to subscribe and listen.

What Is It About?
The AM Podcast consists of short sessions (usually 10 minutes each) that cover a new topic in book writing and marketing. For example, here are the topics of the first few episodes.

  • 5 Things Every Writer Should Be Doing To Sell More Books
  • 3 Small Changes That Will Transform Your Writing Overnight
  • How to Keep Readers Engaged With Email Autoresponders
  • 5 Outside the Box Ways to Promote Your Book
  • 5 Things All Authors Should Stop Worrying About
  • 7 Steps to Getting More Reviews on Your Book
  • 5 Things You Should Email Readers to Keep Them Engaged
  • How to Optimize Twitter for Readers, Connections, and Opportunities
  • How to Find Your Superfans With Pinterest

How to Find Your Superfans With Pinterest

howto-pinterest

There’s nothing quite like a superfan. It’s great having readers who will read and review your books. It’s equally cool when certain folks will comment on your blog, video, or podcast. When one person does all of that to the extreme, in addition to posting like crazy about your latest release, you might just be witnessing a superfan in action.

Superfans don’t just like the books they read. They devour and love them. As an author, you should do everything in your power to seek out these devoted readers. One way to hunt down fans who have no issue sharing the books they love is on Pinterest.

To the casual user, Pinterest is great for seeking out recipes or wedding ideas. Superfans use Pinterest to pin links to their favorite memes, art, movies, music, games, and books. When your work is included as part of the pinning frenzy, you may find Pinterest as your top referrer of traffic and email subscribers.

If you’re confused by Pinterest or new to the platform, here are five ways you can use the site to find new superfans:

1. Show Your Passions

Image from http://e-strategyblog.com/2011/10/daily-numbers-pinterest-the-growth-of-visual-communications/

Pinterest is not a place for neutral. It’s a site where passionate people pin links to things they’re passionate about. It’s a collection of the best pictures that link to the highest-level content online. People who love things with all their heart and don’t mind sharing it are major Pinterest users.

Pinterest isn’t a “fake it until you make” it platform. You need to pin boards that you’re passionate about. Create boards that show your influences as a writer. For instance, if you’re a paranormal author you might pin a board for the TV show “Supernatural.” On that board, you’d re-pin memes and links while creating several pins that link to posts about the show on your blog or podcast.

Pinterest is all or nothing. Don’t pin a board that doesn’t reflect your passions. By showing what you love and how it influenced you, you’ll find followers who might be interested enough to follow your writing somewhere down the line.

2. Create Quote Pictures

Image from http://id.educationaltravel.com/ws/blog/2013/10/28/top-tweets-of-the-week-october-25th/

Some authors have collected thousands of followers by using quote pictures. These are artfully designed quotes from their favorite authors. The right quote with the right design could result in dozens of re-pins and exposure to new followers.

You can create quote pictures in a free image tool like Canva. Simply find a royalty-free background and a suitable quote. Place the quote into the image using an attractive font and voila! You’ve got your quote picture.

Add the quote pictures to one of your boards. As an author, you may be inspired by dozens of quotes on the subject of writing. If TV is more your speed, you may want to pin a board of quotes from your favorite characters. Whatever you post, make sure it’s something with emotional weight behind it. If it doesn’t matter much to you, then it won’t matter much to your potential followers.

3. Share Your Research

Image from http://usm.maine.edu/research/digitizing-maine

Researching large and detailed story worlds has become much easier with Pinterest. You can use the site to search for inspiration on setting, time period, and style. When you find a post that helps you in your writing journey, you can re-pin it to a board related to your research.

Creating a research board gives your followers the chance to go deeper into the world of your story. By seeing how you came up with your ideas, followers forge a deeper connection with the worlds you’ve created.

Thriller author J.F. Penn shares these research boards on Pinterest in a call to action at the back of her books. This gives readers who’ve invested their time in the book a chance to dig deeper. While not all readers will search through J.F.’s boards, some will be interested enough to follow the board and re-pin its posts. The more people invested in the board, the more likely it is that new Pinterest users will find and follow her work.

As you open up your process to your readers, they’ll feel more like insiders who want to promote your work.

4. Create a Board For Your Books

Image from http://www.vineandlight.com/blog/pinterest-board-wear/

Once you’ve shared your passions, quotes, and research, it’s time to start sharing your books as well. Create one board or several boards representing your work as an author. Within each post, you can link to your books on sale on Amazon or to blog posts or podcasts in which you’ve discussed the work. You can also re-pin posts that other users have made about your work.

Notice that your book boards make up less than half of your total number of boards. In many cases, they may only show up as two out of 10-30 boards you’ve got posted. This is because Pinterest is about finding fans to follow you, not about direct selling.

You want to make it as easy as you can for people who want your books to find them, but you don’t want to push away the people who are just getting to know you. That’s why selling shouldn’t be your top priority on Pinterest.

Keep an eye on which pins on your book board seem to get the most attention. Find similar pins or create them on your own through Canva and your blog.

5. Use Calls to Action

Image from http://www.realestatemarketingblog.org/real-estate-blog-calls-to-action/

When you do post about your book, calls to action make it easier for superfans to connect with you. A call to action is a clear request for a person to do something with your link. If you want a reader to click through and buy something, then you should tell them to do so. Don’t force the issue with all-caps and a hundred hashtags. A simple, “Click here to get the book today” will do.

You can use calls to action throughout your boards to ask readers to follow you or re-pin your posts. Just like with selling books, you don’t want to overdo it. Ask your followers to do something every so often, and you’ll be surprised at how often they respond.

Superfans Are For Life

Pinterest can take several months to a year to obtain a few hundred followers. Even then, it requires upkeep to make sure your followers stay interested. It may seem like a waste of time to try, but it’s one of the best ways to find devoted readers.

Pointing a few superfans in the direction of your work may be worth the time you put in. Even if it’s not, Pinterest can be used to inspire both you and your potential readers. You’ll need to work hard to obtain success, but if you do, you’re bound to find multiple word-spreading superfans from your efforts.

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