Laura Howard: DIY Blog Tour


DIY Blog Tour

Raine Thomas has gone from unpublished hopeful to best-selling author of six novels and one novella in a year and a half.

If there's one thing I'm always interested in, it's other authors' road to publication. There are lots of nuggets of wisdom here, so take notes!

Before I published the Daughters of Saraqael trilogy, I experienced my share of rejection. But I believed in my books, so I decided self-publishing was the way to go. Soon, I had a new website, a spanking new Twitter account (that I didn’t know how to use), and a couple of Facebook friends who I think were related to me. With this questionable presence, I launched the books on July 24, 2011.

If you want to know what not to do before launching a book, look to that as an example.

Despite—or perhaps because of—my incredible naiveté, the Daughters of Saraqael began selling on their first day, and sales have never stopped. Becoming has been on Amazon’s bestseller lists multiple times and it won an award this year, a fact that staggers me. I’ve established a fan base that rocks my socks off, and I’ve expanded my social media presence to several hundred times what it was last July.

I say all of this to point out that even though I stumbled my way through my first book launch, I’m surprisingly qualified to offer advice about the topic. My sixth book, Elder (Firstborn Trilogy #3) launched yesterday. I asked Laura about participating in the launch tour, so…voila! Here I am.

For all three books in my Firstborn trilogy, released in April, August, and now December, I’ve done a blog tour. The first one in April was hosted by a blog tour organizer, YA Bound. I was nervous as hell. I didn’t know the bloggers participating in the tour, nor did I have a clue how it all worked. In the end, my fears were groundless. I had a great experience and hired them again to assist with my August release.

For Elder, I decided to coordinate my own blog tour. It has been quite the experience! I feel like I’m wearing twenty hats, which I suppose is the lot of an indie author.

Blog tours have many benefits, not the least of which is exposure to new readers and reviewers. If you offer a giveaway during the tour (recommended), you’ll also end up with more followers via social media. But Laura has posted about this topic already, so I thought I’d give the breakdown of reasons why you should or shouldn’t use a blog tour organizer. Let’s start with the reasons why you should:

  • Making introductions. As I mentioned, blog tours expose your book to potential new readers. A blog tour organizer will also introduce you to new bloggers. This is especially good for new authors. Tour organizers use a network of bloggers they trust, which helps ensure posts will be up on time and toned in a respectful manner.

  • Having a liaison. Tour organizers create the blog tour calendar, gather promo posts, links, giveaway info and book information from you, share that information with the participating bloggers, and visit each blog on the date they’re scheduled to make sure a post wasn't forgotten.

  • Time. Odds are, unless you write for a living with little outside interruption, you don’t have much spare time. Blog tour organizers handle most of the big chores for you, freeing you up to handle other promotional tasks.

Compelling reasons, no? Here are a few reasons that you might want to handle organizing a blog tour yourself:

  • Money. Blog tours aren’t free. If you have blogger connections and don’t have a lot of expendable income, a DIY tour could be the answer.

  • You’re launching a book that is part of a series…but not the first book. Using a blog tour organizer for a book that is second, third, etc. in a series can be challenging. Although some bloggers have the time to go back and read your earlier book(s), you can’t assume it. That means you could have less than stellar reviews if the bloggers get confused while reading the new release, defeating the purpose of your tour.

  • Control. If you want control over which bloggers participate, you’re better off hosting the tour yourself.

Whether or not you use an organizer, don’t underestimate the value of a good blog tour. It just might make the difference between a bestseller and a flop!

Daughters of Saraqael Trilogy
Spreading the word about your new release is such a huge topic, what ideas do you have to reach readers?

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