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Marketing on the Internet: Setting up a Virtual Blog Tour


One of the most difficult things for me to do is market my books. Yet, these days, it’s important for an author to know how to get the word out about their current and past releases.

There is any number of options open to authors, but one of my favorites is the virtual blog tour.  This is a tool whereby an author approaches bloggers, asks for a guest spot, and sets up a tour to promote his or her book. I like this method of promoting because I can reach potential readers all about the world while sitting in my living room.

While this seems like an easy thing to do, there are some general rules that you should follow. First and foremost, you need to be professional in your approach, and you should locate bloggers who have content similar to your genre.  You wouldn’t want to ask an erotic blogger to post about your children’s picture book.  The best way to find bloggers who might host you is to do an Internet search. When you have a group of potential blogs, stop by and visit each of them on your list.  Get to know the blogger by leaving comments about posts and be sure this is a good fit for your book.

Once you’ve created your list of potential bloggers, send out personal emails. Introduce yourself and let them know you’ve seen their blogs and why you think a guest spot would be a good fit.  If you have a blog, offer a blog swap—if you host me, I will host you.  This helps to increase blog traffic on both of blogs.

Once you hear back from all your contacts, create a list including email addresses, blog addresses, and what the blogger would like to get from you:  an interview, a guest post and what the topic is, or a simple media release.  Make sure you’ve gotten all of the information you need and store it in a folder on your desktop.  As soon as you have your complete list, email the bloggers to set up the date you will visit their blogs.  When you’ve heard back from everyone, send out a complete list of blog stops and ask the bloggers to confirm you have the correct dates and blog addresses.

At this point, you’re ready to begin answering questions and preparing your blog posts. Start with the blog at beginning of your proposed tour and work your way down the list.  When you send off your information be sure to include everything the blogger has requested.  Also send off an author photo, cover art, links, and a short bio.  Be sure to thank your blog host in advance and ask if they require anything else from you.

A few days before your blog tour is to start, send off another list of all of your blog stops to remind your hosts of the dates they will spotlight your book.  Be courteous and remember to thank them again for their support. At this point, if you have aTwitter service where you can pre-post Tweets, make sure you’ve got everything set up to announce the tour on your various networking sites.  Don’t depend on the blog host to promote for you.

On each day during your tour, stop by the blog where you’re being hosted.  Thank the blogger in the comment box and check to see if anyone has left any comments or questions for you.  Be sure to respond to all comments.

It’s up to you if you want to do a giveaway during your tour. This can be anything from a PDF of your book, a print signed copy, bookmarks, or other swag. Use your imagination.

When the tour is complete, remember to send thank you notes to all of your hosts. If you’ve offered a giveaway, be sure to follow through. If you follow the above steps and promote your tour on all your networking sites, you should reach more potential readers and make some new friends.  With brick and mortar bookstores decreasing, the virtual blog tour is the new way to have a book signing!

Penny Lockwood has published more than 100 articles, 75 stories, a chapbook, and her stories have been included in two anthologies. She writes for both adults and children. Her fiction has appeared in numerous genre and children’s publications, and non‑fiction work has appeared in a variety of writing, parenting, and young adult print magazines and on line publications.  She edits for MuseItUp Publishing.  Visit her web site at http:// pennylockwoodehrenkranz.yolasite.com. Her writing blog is located at http://pennylockwoodehrenkranz.blogspot.com/.

She has recently released Boo’s Bad Day with 4RV Publishing and has three other children’s books under contract with them: Ghost for Rent, Ghost for Lunch, and Many Colored Coats. She has three romances published by MuseItUp Publishing: Love Delivery, Lady in Waiting, and Mirror, Mirror.  Her short story collection, A Past and A Future, is available through Sam’s Dot Publishing and Smashwords.

20 comments:

  1. Jo, thanks for the opportunity to talk about setting up a blog tour and my recent release Boo's Bad Day.

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    1. You're very welcome Penny. Thanks for sharing a great post. All the best with your tour.

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  2. I am bookmarking this! Great advice:-)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Susan and for bookmarking ;)

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  3. I have to set a blog tour up for my first children's book.

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    1. Give me a shout out when you're ready to tour Vivian. I have other sites that fit your genre where I can host you too.

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  4. Hi Susan, glad you found this useful. Vivian, when you're ready to tour, let me know. I'd love to host you on my blog.

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  5. Great post, Penny. I enjoy virtual tours, meeting new readers and writers. Lots of fun.

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    1. Hi Bev, I know you've done a few tours yourself. Thanks for stopping by.

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  6. Great post. I need to keep this. I never really knew how to set up a blog tour when my first book came out. Maybe I can do it next time.

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    1. Hi Janet, good luck with your next blog tour. If you need help, feel free to contact me. You've got my email.

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  7. I really like your blog and i get a lot of information related to my topic. I will bookmark your blog for my future updates...

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  8. Nick, thanks for stopping to read my advice. Hope you found some useful information here.

    Congratulations to Susan York Meyers! She's the winner of an autographed copy of Boo's Bad Day.

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  9. Interesting read! Thank you for the great advice! Enjoyed reading your post. Nice share!

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  10. We are organizing a virtual tour for our colleagues next week. Do you have any ideas for organizing them within budget?

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    1. Look for sites that host interviews and/or guest posts and check for submission guidelines. A quick search on Google stating your niche should bring up enough sites to get you started. You can also try asking for hosts via social media. I suggest setting up a website page for the tour with all the relevant details and include a sign up form for hosts. There are lots of other ways you can find stops for free too but this should get you started. Good luck with the tour.

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