How to Plan a Book Blog Tour
How to Plan a Book Blog Tour
Book blog tours are a fun way to get the word out about your upcoming book and you as an author.
It can be fun, that is, if you plan ahead and stay on schedule.
The more planning you put behind a book blog tour, the more you will get out of it. You can grow your audience, show off your expertise, and encourage those much-needed book reviews.
Following these steps can ensure a successful book blog tour.
- Start Early!
You will need to have a book listing on Amazon or somewhere else that the blogger can use to verify the information you’ve provided, and to link to (often as an affiliate, which helps fund the blogger’s blog).
Unless something is truly time sensitive, wait until you have the cover art for the book rather than placeholder art, because a professional looking cover is one of the biggest draws for getting a blogger to take your work seriously.
Consider that popular book bloggers schedule months–sometimes up to a year–in advance.
If you want a blogger to fit you into a slot, give them as much notice as possible. This is especially important if you are hoping to have bloggers read the book and give reviews. It takes a significant amount of time to read a book, and the last thing you want is a rushed review.
Book bloggers are much less likely to take on a title after the release date (though it is not impossible, be prepared for a higher number of rejections). And, they will be most interested in the first book in a series. So, contact bloggers well before the release of your book.
- Gather Your Book Data
Your goal is to make the book blogger’s life as simple as possible. You’ll want to provide basic data on the book, either in the form of a 1-page document to go with your pitch, or as a block of information you can paste into your e-mail (yes, the blogger could pull much of this from the book’s Amazon listing, but you want to save them time).
Make Sure to Include:
- Your Name (as it appears on the book cover)
- The Book Title
- The Book’s Genre
- The Date of Release
- The Number the Book is in its Series (If applicable)
- The Book’s Publisher
- The Number of Pages
- Formats of the Book you Can Send to Bloggers (print, .mobi (Kindle), ePub)
- Synopsis of the Book (usually from the back cover or Amazon blurb)
- Your Biography (Shoot for no more than 200 words)
- Links to your Webpage, Blog, and Social Media Accounts
- Purchase Links (Provide several, if possible)
- Book Excerpt (Optional – around a page of text)
- Proposed Date for Tour Stop (At least a general timeframe, if specific date unknown)
You Will Also Eventually Need:
- Your Book’s Cover (At a decent resolution)
- Your Author Photo (Professional quality headshot, without a cluttered background)
- Organize Your Pitches
You want to respect each blogger’s time, and not contact them more than once for each given book. You also need to keep track of positive responses, with a list of when the resources (the text and graphics you are providing) for each stop of the blog tour are due. You’ll also want to know when the post for each stop goes live, so you can interact with people who leave comments on the post.
Use a simple spreadsheet to keep track of everything, with columns labeled:
- Blog Title
- Blogger’s Name
- Link to Blog (I use the contact or about me page)
- Date Contacted
- Reply (Pitch accepted or rejected, specific info)
- Resources Promised
- Date Resources are Due
- Date Post is Scheduled to Go Live
- Giveaway Items Promised (If applicable)
- Write and Polish Your Pitch
When you are trying to get a blogger to choose your book to highlight, you want to focus on what makes your book unique and exciting.
What aspects of your work will connect emotionally with readers? Is there something about your background that gives you expertise in a subject? Some personal reason why you wrote this particular book? Make sure and mention it.
Try this exercise: If you were a journalist looking to write a news feature about the book, what would that feature say? You might just find the hook that will draw bloggers to feature you.
Keep your pitch short and to the point. Try to fit the pitch into one paragraph, and if you are pitching custom resources to each blog (a guest blog post, a music playlist, a recipe, etc.), include a separate paragraph outlining your idea.
Consider Adding a Giveaway
Readers love giveaways, and offering one will make your pitch more attractive to many bloggers. You can offer a copy/multiple copies of your book or items related to your book.
For example, I write two series that involve chocolate, and I have offered gift cards from specific craft chocolate makers. I know writers who have prize packs that include stickers, mini mirrors with cover art from the book, keychains, bookmarks, etc. If these kind of giveaways are outside your budget, you can still offer bonuses if you think outside the proverbial box. Could you create a custom short story for the contest winner or include their name and description as a character in your next book?
- Create a List of Potential Blogs and Personalize Each Pitch
You will often find roundup articles highlighting people’s favorites, or directories for blogs accepting guest posts.
However, this information can quickly go out of date, as blogs become inactive. So, follow up by looking at each blog, especially the date of the most recent reviews/posts.
It’s a waste of time to pitch a blog that hasn’t done a review since 2017, or that only does literary fiction when you write cozy mysteries.
You should give preference to blogs where readers are actively commenting, or that have large numbers of social media followers.
Many book bloggers also Instagram the books they read, so you can search #bookstagram or #bookstagrammer. Book bloggers often follow other book bloggers, so that’s a good place to look for resources, too.
If your favorite book had a blog tour, make a list of the tour stops that book had, and check each blogger’s website to see if they accept unsolicited pitches (some will only work with publicists, or as part of a company that organizes blog tours.)
For each blog you find, check the guidelines for submitting pitches. Some bloggers have contact forms, others prefer e-mails. You want to contact them in the way they prefer, so they will be most receptive.
You might consider working with one of those blog tour companies. Most of them charge a fee, in exchange for a guaranteed number of posts. A few services do this for free (with affiliate links, paid premium options, etc. on offer).
I have worked with folks to set up both paid and free pre-organized blog tours, and I have had positive experiences with the bloggers from each group.
If this all feels too overwhelming, there are freelance publicists you can hire to take care of organizing the tour for you. But you will still get the best results if you communicate clearly/frequently with the publicist and participate in publicizing and responding to the tour.
Personalizing the Pitch:
When you write your pitch emails, try to make a personal connection with each blogger. Why did you choose this blog? Was there a post you particularly enjoyed? Did you try a recipe the blogger listed? Keep it professional, but not stuffy. Make the opening paragraph of each pitch unique to the person you are sending it to.
- Create a Framework for Organizing Your Resources
If you are doing a blog tour with multiple stops, you can’t just name all your files BOOK TITLE Blog Post. And if you plan to release multiple books, sticking everything in one folder can get confusing, fast.
I like to create a sub-folder for each tour, and a sub-folder inside that one for all the graphics for the tour.
Title your Word documents systematically. I use:
BOOK TITLE – BLOG NAME – POST TYPE
You don’t want to send the same post or interview to all the blogs you are working with, because many people follow multiple blogs, so this will feel repetitive, which can actually turn off readers.
Try to match your pitch to the tone/aesthetic of the blog in question.
Some of the types of posts you could offer in your pitch:
Guest Posts (About something related to the book – are you a subject expert in a related topic? Do you have writing tips to offer? Is your life fascinating?)
Character Guest Posts (Written from the point of view of one of the characters in your book. Check to see if the proposed blog does these before you pitch them.)
Interviews (These may be assigned as part of a pre-organized blog tour. You will probably have to wait for the questions before you can write these.)
Recipe Posts (Is food created and consumed in your book? Do you have a recipe from the place where the book is set?)
Top Ten Lists (About some aspect of the book. Ex. Top 10 reasons to visit MY BOOK’S SETTING, Top Ten Things about The Breed of MY PROTAGONIST”S ANIMAL SIDEKICK.)
Media Posts (Photo slideshows, music playlists, video clips).
- Deliver Your Resources
Make sure you get the resources to the blogger well ahead of time. Most of them pre-schedule posts, and if you wait until the last minute, you run the risk of bloggers having issues and being unable to post.
- Publicize the Tour
To get the most out of a blog tour, you need to tell others about it. E-mail friends you think might be interested and/or willing to spread the word. Post about it on social media, using hashtags such as #booktour #newbook #bookgiveaway, etc.
- Interact on Each Blog
A blog’s readers may make kind comments, express excitement about reading the book, or ask questions. They will feel recognized–and therefore more likely to actually buy or review the book–if you take the time to interact with them.
Keep it fun, and don’t feel obligated to answer any questions that don’t feel relevant. Do not respond to trolls, marketing spam or other negative posts.
- Follow Up
If you’ve offered a giveaway, send out the books/items to the winners in a reasonable time frame (preferably within a week, while the recipients are still excited). If you have the winner’s e-mail address, contact both the winner and the blogger with a brief note and the prize package’s tracking number, so everyone is on the same page as to delivery date.
Thank each book blogger, either in the comments on the blog or in a separate email. If you make this a positive experience, the blogger will be more likely to want to work with you again when your next book comes out. And if you’ve followed these steps, you’ll have a fun and successful book blog tour with every new book you release.
Have you ever participated in a book blog tour? Do you feel more confident trying one now? Let me know in the comments!