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Kick off your blog tour with a party!

  Just like a live book tour, you can have a big event online to celebrate the release of your book. How do you hold a party online? A virtual book launch party can take all forms. It’s highly customizable and rich with multimedia. It’s not for authors who want to sit back and wait for the dough to roll it. It’s active and interactive. And it’s a lot of fun. 

First you will need a place to post all the information about your tour. This might be a post on your blog. This might be a tab on your Facebook Fan Page. This might be a page on your website. It might be all three. Here is where you want to send people whenever you want to inform them about your party. It should include all the events taking place at the book launch and what day and time it’s occurring. You can even add an RSVP if you want to get an idea of how many people will be involved. 

So what in the world do you do at a digital book launch party? Well, it really depends on your book. Be creative in thinking of what this audience will want most from you. Here are some ideas that other authors have used: 

  • Live video chat: Blogtalkradio allows you to be on video answering questions while your fans are typing to you in the attached chat box.
  • A printable cut-out game (cards, board, etc.) based on the adventure in the book
  • Printable posters, cards, activity book, etc. to include in a gift bag
  • A free download of the e-book (or just an excerpt)
  • An audio or video of the author reading from the book
  • TV interview clips
  • Live Twitter chat in Q&A form
  • Live Twitter scavenger hunt (using clues to locations of thing online) — don’t forget to offer prizes to winners
  • Live webinar teaching something the book is based on
  • Be creative. This is a platform just taking off. Be part of the new movement!

  

Good examples:
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon book launch (kids book)
Lessons to My Children book launch (finance book) 

Useful link:
Virtual Book Launch Parties (Book Marketing Maven)


With this economy, publishers just can’t afford to spend as much money on big book tours anymore. Many authors are having to pay out of pocket for travel and hotels. It’s also a dying art when it comes to selling books. The publicity surrounding the event actually is more beneficial than the number of books sold at the event itself. Is it any wonder that focus is shifting to the web where everyone’s at anyway and where publicity is free?

What’s a blog tour?
A blog tour is a digital book tour–a tour across the web from the comfort of your own home. Like a regular tour, there are dates and locations (URLs) that you will “appear” in some fashion, be it by writing an article, answering questions from readers, or giving an excerpt from your book.

How do you find blogs that will host you on the tour?
Look at all the angles of your book, study the different audiences, and seek out blogs on these topics. Keep a list of the URL, the topic, and the contact for each blog. Aside from relevant topic and the audience being your audience, you want to make sure this blog is active. If it hasn’t been updated in over four months, it’s a good indicator that the blog is dead or struggling. It’s also good to see if a blog gets a lot of comments or has a lot of followers (some blogs will list the people who follow it). Be specific to your topic, but also feel free to be broad: Find blogs of your genre, book blogs, or blogs by other writers (you may be able to trade blog entries with another author).

How do you get them to host your event?
The best way is to email them your press release with a pitch telling why you think your book is a perfect match for their audience. You don’t have to email everyone separately. If you have multiple topics, lump those people into one email. Make sure to put the email addresses in BCC, not To or CC, otherwise they will see that you’re mass emailing them. And don’t start with a plural salutation like “Hi, everyone!” You don’t want to make it obvious, even though experienced bloggers will assume that it is a mass pitch.

You may also want to give a couple sentences of your intentions, what a blog tour is in case they don’t know, and what they can get out of it. Perhaps offer to host a competition or giveaway on their blog. Don’t forget to tell them you’ll send a book to them if they are considering.

What do you post?
Mix it up so your readers will go to multiple stops on your tour.

  • An excerpt from your book
  • Let the blogger interview you (try to keep it to 3-5 questions)
  • Write an article on a topic of the blogger’s choice
  • Have the blogger review the book
  • Take questions from readers
  • Write from point of view of a character
  • Contest or give-away
  • A video of you reading an excerpt
  • A book trailer
  • Be original!

Then what?
Email the post to the blogger and they will post it on their blog. It’s up to you if you want to try to get them to post it on a certain day so that you don’t saturate the web by having four events in one day. After all, if this were a live tour, you probably wouldn’t be having all your events on the same day.

Don’t forget

  • to post your tour on your website and update everyone on your mailing list and social networks. Please link to all the blogs that you visit! Here is an excellent example of what this can look like.
  • Send the blogger a hi-res JPEG of your image to post on their blog. And make sure they have a link to where they can direct their readers to buy your book. Also encourage them to link to your blog or site.
  • You may have to followup with bloggers who have agreed to participate who don’t post on time.
  • It is also nice to send a thank you afterward.

Useful Links:
What’s a Blog Tour? (Novel Journey)
Take a Blog Tour (The Dabbling Mum)
Quickest Blog Book Tour Guide Ever
Crazy Book Tours

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