I LOVE projects - the notes, the organizing, the satisfaction of a job well done.
The biggest online project I've tackled since setting up a blog & website?
Blog tours.And it wasn't just a single tour. Oh, no.
I had two releases in Dec '12 - Make Believe anthology and Christmas Magic anthology. Neither publisher sets up tours for anthos, so it was up to each contributing author to get-r-done on their own.
Someone approached me last week asking what a blog tour was, and how to go about setting one up. I'm no pro by any means, nor do I know a lot about marketing, but I figured why not blog about it? I've got two tours under my belt.
Hands rubbing together, I dove right in, figuring it out as I went. Here's how I did it, step-by-step.
First - The vision.
I looked at those who have gone before me - authors I respect. How many stops did their tours schedule? What kind of posts had they offered? Did they reply to every comment? How did they set up the schedule on their website? Did they link it all together with a tour widget?
Don't be afraid to ask questions!!
I asked tons (and probably drove a few people batty!!!) All this helped me get an idea of what I wanted and how I wanted my own tour to run.
Second - The set-up.
I learned how to make Google Doc sign-up forms and send out Mailchimp newsletters.
Why Google Docs? Because whenever someone signs up on the form you created, their information goes directly into an excel spread sheet. EASY PEASY to keep track of folks! I even asked what type of post they would prefer. HERE is the doc I used to give you an idea of what they look like.
And why Mailchimp newsletters? Regular email is fine & well, but I wanted to look professional when I sent out all the tour information. Their easy to use site is just that - and FREE!
Third - Finding hosts.
Once my sign-up form was ready to go, I begged all my cyber buds to participate and posted a link on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Triberr, Wana - all the networking sites I use.
I also browsed review sites who participated in other blog tours and checked their policies. If I felt someone was a match for my own tour, I snagged their email and sent them a personal query email. Be sure to use the bloggers first names whenever possible folks!! It goes a long way in creating online relationships, especially if you end up needing to set up another tour down the line.
Then it was sit-back-time & cross the fingers!
Fourth - Scheduling.
As people signed up to participate, I would contact them through email with 2-3 dates to choose from, and a big hearty THANK YOU! Once a day was chosen, their post date went onto my Microsoft calendar AND that google doc excel sheet.
I picked the lovely J.A. Belfield's brain, and she suggested a 4 week tour, scheduling one per week as people signed up. After all four weeks had 1 stop each, I went back to week 1 and started again with the next four who signed up.
This part can get a bit tricky, and some juggling may need done, but double up stops if need be. Exposure is the key!
Fifth - Newsletter time!
A month before the blog tour began, I sent out my Mailchimp newsletter with all the blog tour information - cover, blurb, author pic, bio, links, excerpts - anything I thought bloggers might utilize.
Of course, this newsletter I'd been playing with for two months until I felt it was just right. :)
Sixth - Reminders!!
Reminder emails including the post type my hosts requested, & the date scheduled went out, one week before the tour began.
Seventh - The count down.
Everything is done, so sit back and count down the hours until release day and the blog tour's kick off!
About 6 weeks before my tours were set to start, I noticed another tour holding a tour-wide giveaway. I decided to do the same.
I included a Rafflecopter HTML code in the newsletter. For those unable to use that code on their site, I sent them the direct link to my own blog tour kick-off post here on SS they could opt to include instead.
Eighth - Get involved.
Visit your scheduled stops. Comment a big thanks, and reply to others who commented. Hopefully you'll build some relationships and following.
Ninth - The end.
One last blog post here at home thanking every one a last time, and announcing the winner of the giveaway.
Until next time.
Any steps you've taken that I didn't? Suggestions to make a blog tour even better?