I’ve been involved in blog tours for a number of years and found that in many cases there’s a confusion between this and the press release. The simple differences are that in a blog tour each posting needs to be different from the others and run in succession, while with a press release the same information is given out to all and saundry and released at the same time.
The blog tour is exactly what it says, a tour of different blogs. Why, therefore, would anyone want to go from one blog to another if they all contain exactly the same information?
When hosting a tour I ask for the following:
- Short author Biography
- Pictures of author (jpegs only) 400kb or less
- Book covers and/or other pertinent images – again around 400kb
- Replies to my questions
- Book buy links
- Multimedia links
- Blurb of novel
- Short excerpt of novel which no-one else is using that ends in a hook
- If part of a blog tour, date required of posting
I also ask that authors don’t send me formatted and framed ‘media kits’, nor have images that need to be downloaded from the internet. I’ve often received ‘kits’ with point 48 font splashed across them in different coloured texts, each of which I’ve returned. These ‘kits’ cause extra work for the host and can be irritating to say the least.
When I know the date that one of my books is due for release I approach a group of like-minded authors to see if they’d be interested in hosting me, and of course return the favour when they’re recruiting for their own tours. During the promotion I quite often see the ratings of my other books improve too.
Advertising the blog tour several days in advance on Twitter and FaceBook etc. is important, but don’t forget to include in each blog the link to the next host in line. This way readers can easily ‘follow the tour’.
On the subject of ‘following the tour’ it’s essential that different excerpts are used in each blog, ending in that all important hook. This way readers will want to know what happens next and find themselves caught up in the tour to find out what happens, and then hopefully they’ll purchase your book by the end of the tour. Therefore the different content in each blog will be the excerpt and the host’s questions and answers.
While undergoing a course in Copywriting we were taught that a blog should be between 500 and 800 words in length, while some blogs I write have targets of around 300. It’s quite difficult to keep within these boundaries with book blogs (they can quite easily end up more like features) but I usually manage to keep it to around 1200 words.
Research shows that people will usually only remain on a webpage for 10-20 seconds, so you need to grab their attention and hold it. One way to do this is by using images, hence the book covers. It’s also been shown that readers browse webpages in an E or F figure – across the title, the middle and the end. Breaking the blog up into short paragraphs, or ‘bite-sized’ chunks helps readers easily digest the blog, rather than them be faced by an off-putting wall of words.
Lastly, it’s worth noting that if you add up the twitter followers of each member in the tour, and they retweet, you’ll be hitting a surprising amount of potential readers. On a recent blog tour our groups combined twitter followers exceeded 90k, a decent audience by anyone’s standards.
Mark is the author of three novels, a short story collection, four novellas, a non-fiction book and an App. His short stories have been published in Back Brain Recluse, Dream, New Moon, Haunts, Kalkion, Screaming Dreams, and the anthologies Write to Fight, Escape Velocity, Auguries and Monk Punk. With over forty years’ experience in the martial arts and a 9th Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo, he’s written features for the magazines Combat, Taekwondo & Korean Martial Arts, Fighters, Junk, Martial Arts Illustrated, profwritingacademy.com and calmzone.net. He also runs a writer’s group for the British Science Fiction Association, along with The Scribe for Veterans with the help of The Royal British Legion.