Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Setting Up A Blog Tour 101 - #blogtour #amblogging

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!

*Special Note*

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?


  1. Excellent suggestions, much to look into now as I'm in the "how do I tackle this one" phase! Thanks for sharing your experience.

    1. Feel free to email me if you need any advice or have questions.

      terrirochenski at yahoo dot com

      Thanks for stopping by & best of luck!

  2. Thank you for this post! I really needed to see it since I had no idea how to get started on a blog tour. Thanks to you, now I do! :)

    1. Glad I could be of help! Thanks for commenting & best of luck planning your own!

      Email me at the email add above if you have any questions. :)

  3. Good tips! I've done two tours now and each was a little different. I'm happy to host authors as well and have my guidelines posted. Thanking hosts via an email is always important!

    1. I'll have to check out those guidelines for my Eye of the Soul coming out in Oct. ;)

      I sent a final thanks along with that final reminder. Never thought to send an additional one AFTER the tour ended. Made a note for next one.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I may have to partake in such an adventure :)

    1. They're a wonderful way to gain exposure - and meet some like-minded peeps.

      Thanks for commenting!

  5. Reminders and getting involved are the BIG ones that so many authors forget. Great post.

    1. ESPECIALLY over the holidays! Being out of town for 4 days really messed me up with comments and replies. I definitely missed a few!

      Thanks for swinging by the SS! :)

  6. Replies
    1. Glad I could be of help! Thanks so much for stopping by.

  7. I'm bookmarking this right now. In a couple of months I feel it will come in quite handy. Thanks for sharing the advice.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, David. Best of luck when you start planning that tour!! Glad I could be of help.