Thursday, May 17, 2018

Tours, Blitzes, and Getting The Word Out

Do you have the particular set of skills to publicize your book?

Last week there were several books released but you might not have noticed, because Alex Segura’s latest Pete Fernandez mystery Blackout was released and Segura was everywhere: here at Do Some Damage, Chuck Wendig’s Terrible Minds, Criminal Element, LitReactor, and SleuthSayers. There were a couple of reviews last week and some articles the week prior to Blackout's release. But Segura doesn’t need to apologize for getting the word out about Blackout, it’s kind of Marketing 101 and since publicity work was his day job for years, he's good at it.

But what if you don’t have Segura’s particular skill set? 

One suggestion would be to look into a blog tour for your book. Blog tours are an organized set of reviews, book excerpts, interviews, and author-generated content over the span of one or two weeks with one or two different book bloggers taking part each day. I’ve seen some blog tours last up to a month and others as short as a few days with four or five bloggers each day. The last is called a book blitz. Yes, it does cost some money to have a publicist (usually a book blogger) run it for you, but then you are removed from the heartache and hassle of scheduling and herding the cats that book bloggers are.

Earlier this week, I participated in my first blog tour as a reviewer for Richard Godwin’s Android Love, Human Skin. The tour started on May 9th and ended on the 15th. With three book bloggers a day, Godwin’s book got publicity at twenty-one different book blogs during one week. If you’re not Alex Segura, how many blogging mentions did you get during the week of your book's release?

The price for a blog tour isn’t outrageous, some start around $60. If you think about the amount of time you would need to collect a list of book bloggers, send out emails and try to herd them to publish on assigned dates, then $60 bucks doesn’t look that bad at all. (The Godwin blog tour organizer also followed up with me to add my review to Amazon – that already makes it worth the price, doesn’t it?)

As a book reviewer, there are two things I like about a blog tour. First is that I’ve committed to reading and reviewing a book for a specific date. Usually, my reading and reviewing system is a bit fluid, okay, it's a puddle of water in a thunderstorm. Right now I know I have to read and write a review of Simon Hall’s The TV Detective for May 25th. The second bit is I get to connect with new book bloggers with every tour I participate in. Trust me when I say this, I follow a lot of book bloggers and there are some bloggers in the tours I am participating in that I’ve never heard of.

Of course, any of this work should be done in conjunction with your publisher.  In fact, what are the publisher's publicity plans for your book? Do they just drop and run? What are some things you need to be doing to help the publicity along?

The biggest draw back in a blog tour is your book needs to be ready six to eight weeks before the tour kicks off. If you and your publisher work on a deadline days before the release of your book, first that’s stupid and second a blog tour might not be what you need, you and your publisher have other issues.


Kristopher said...

I agree that blog tours are a great way for some authors to get attention.

My only caveat to this is to make sure that your blog tour is using new content - whether it be reviews, interviews, or guest posts - at each site. Too many blog tours rely on re-tread postings of the same information on each of the various blogger sites and this will lead to fatigue for the readers (who likely visit more of the blogs than an author might realize) and could be interpreted as lazy and uninvolved (something most authors are not.)

David Nemeth said...

Agreed. An author can ask for only a couple of interviews and content, the rest should be book reviews. Also, there are some lazy book bloggers out there who just post synopsis and book covers. That's definitely not the way to go.

Thomas Pluck said...

You need something new, yes. It's work, but there is some overlap between site fans and seeing the same stamped out stuff turns people off. But you need that spread, to reach new readers.
I'm hiring a publicist for my next book, me. That stuff is hard work.