Want to make your indie book a New York Times bestseller? You might think about contacting Jennifer Martinez who among other things, helped Shanora Williams launch a successful book tour that landed her on the list. It can happen to you too and as you’ll see from Jennifer’s interview below, it may take a little elbow grease but it’s not impossible to do on your own.
Stay tuned to our LIVE Google Hangout Class this Wednesday, March 13th at 12pm ET where Jessica will take us through the process step-by-step.
One of the services you offer are blog tours. For those who aren’t familiar with what a blog tour is, can you explain it?
A blog tour is an online, web based tour through blogs and other sites promoting a specific author or book.
How did you get started doing them and why?
I got started in them to help out an indie author friend. I had taken part in a few of them and decided to try organizing one for her. I am all about helping out my favorite indie authors in any way possible and this is a great way to do it.
What goes into putting one together? And how many blogs do you need in order to make a real impact on sales?
It all depends on your goals and your time frame. With a lot of the larger established book blogs you often have to send requests in months in advance. Usually I suggest at least a 7 blog tour or a 15 blog “book blitz” where everyone posts on the same day.
Shanora Williams said that you helped her start a blog tour even before she finished writing the book. Why is that helpful?
It is helpful because it allows the readers to anticipate… Think of Christmas morning, you’ve been staring at the boxes under the tree for two weeks and now the day has finally arrived. What’s the first thing you do? Head straight for the tree and start tearing open the wrapping. It is the same concept with the tour. Giving people time to get to know your book and characters allows them to get excited and to know something in advance so it isn’t a blind purchase.
What mistakes do authors make when trying to put together their own blog tours?
Organization and marketing. Authors have so much on their plates it’s hard to add a tour into that as well. I will spend on average 15-20 hours on a tour from start to finish. Add that time into the time an author spends writing, editing and keeping up their day jobs and family lives and something’s gotta give. Another problem is marketing. A lot of authors will only post about the tour on their web page. For an effective tour you have to have marketing everywhere, book blogs, Facebook, Twitter. You are trying to draw in new readers not just keep old ones.
If an author wants to put together their own blog tour themselves, give us a step-by-step guide:
1. Lay out realistic but high goals. I am releasing my book March 13 and my goal is “Reach Amazon Top 100 within 2 weeks of my release”
2. Determine the length of your tour. For a new author with only a few works a 2 week tour is best. If you have a large following you can have tours lasting up to 2 months.
3. Determine “post types.” You should choose post types based on your book style. The typical post types include Spotlight, Promo, Excerpt, Author Interview and This or That. If you have a book with lots of action, love or drama you can add in fun stuff like Character Bios, Character interviews and Book Playlists. These types of posts help create a relationship between the character and the reader.
4. Find blogs you DO NOT know. This is the hardest part for an author. You have to scour the internet and find blogs that don’t know about you and convince them they should feature you. This is one of the main reasons many authors hire a Tour company like mine. I have a list of over 75 blogs that I work with that all review and promote different genres.
5. Make your schedule. It is imperative you have a blog on each day and you know their post types. Not only will you have to check on these posts but you will want to post your schedule to either your webpage or in a Facebook (or similar) event.
6. Make your Media Kit. All posts should contain the purchase links (if available), Book Cover and Synopsis. People can read all about your characters but if they don’t know what the book is called they can’t go buy a copy. A media kit should include: your book cover, synopsis, genre, any warnings (i.e. 18+ read for heavy language and adult situations) approx. page length, author photo and bio, and author links.
7. Get your materials out there early. Send the media kit in a mass email to everyone in your tour and send the additional materials such as excerpts and interviews individually.
8. Send out reminder emails about posts and check your tour EVERYDAY. Once the post is live you have to share it. Twitter, facebook, tumblr… everywhere. The more you share the better it is for the author and the blogger.
9. Enjoy the spoils of your hard work
What do you charge to do blog tours and what is included in it? What other services do you provide?
Blog tour prices range and I am always willing to work with authors on a budget. My standard prices are
1 day “Book Blitz” (7-15 blogs): $50 (+$3 per blog over 15)
7 day “Blog Tour” (7 blogs): $60 (+ $21 for 2 blogs a day)
14 day “Blog Tour” (14 blogs): $75 (+ $42 for 2 blogs a day)
21 day “Blog Tour” (21 blogs): $100 (+ $63 for 2 blogs a day)
30 day “Blog Tour” (30 blogs): $150 (+ $90 for 2 blogs a day)
45 day “Tour Extravaganza” (45 blogs): $225
These prices include: 24 hour access to me and my knowledge, all set up and blog finding, custom graphics for your tour, event hosting through Facebook or Books, Brownies and Barkers, all marketing and promotions on all social media platforms and all organizational needs. I will be the one who is up at 5 am checking to make sure the posts are live with no type-o’s. I also offer additional services including the creation of your media kit and important links for your tour.
Aside from Blog Tours, I also offer digital media services as well as beta reading, proof reading and editing. Just like blog tours my editing, beta and proof reading services have prices based on the length and complexity of the work. For a complete list of prices on these services feel free to check out my Brochure.