A long time ago, in another place, and what seems like a world so far different than the one we live in today, big name companies published books and made the authors of the time. The publishers controlled what and how their products would be shown in bookstores. They booked their authors on TV shows and radio spots. And their writer toured the country, going from city to city, bookstore to bookstore, reading excerpts, talking about themselves and their books, and signing books. Ah, the good old days!
Today’s author is pretty much on her own. After those famous words —THE END — are typed and the book is published begins the real work. In a word it’s called marketing. One aspect that parallels the days of yore is the book tour, which has been appropriately renamed the blog tour. Over a short period of time—a week or two or maybe a month—the author gets to travel around doing excerpts, talking about their books and themselves, and getting reviews…all on the Internet. I just finished a blog tour for my latest midgrade ebook, PENELOPE AND THE MOVIE STAR, and will share with you the good, the bad and the ugly. Only the names will be omitted to protect the guilty.
The blog tour was arranged by a blog tour manager who specializes in paranormal books, although not all the blogs were devoted to just paranormal reading. Part of my reasoning was to reach twentyish female readers that I’ve identified as my secondary audience. The paranormal book market is most popular with this reader and they lap into other YA books with female protagonists. Logically I should target middle grade readers, but they don’t read blogs, so hence my secondary audience.
Here is some of the bad. On one blog, none of the links worked. They were obviously miscopied and even after someone left a comment about it, nothing changed. In another case, the books titles were followed by the http:// address which did not look very professional. My belief is that anyone creating a blog should know how to embed links. For one blog, I did an interview, but it never appeared. Another blog site had a disclaimer that the material it contained may only be suitable for adults. Oh, my! Granted my target audience was twenty-something, but my protagonist is only fourteen. (Penelope had to keep her eyes closed the entire time.)
Now on to the good. Two blogs did a good job and did everything right. (Granted one blog leaned toward protagonists with fangs, but perhaps the next book I churn out could be PENELOPE AND THE VAMPIRE.) Layout was good. Links embedded. No complaints. For another tour stop, Penelope wrote the blog which was well received. As someone commented, “Isn’t Penelope lovely?” (Of course, she is!) I did a piece about the 10 books that influenced my writing and it went over well. And one of the bloggers is local to me in NC and will do a review when my next book comes out.
Next, the ugly part. I saw no increase in my sales on Amazon. Since PENELOPE AND THE MOVIE STAR is exclusively on Amazon, I had hoped to stimulate sales. Ironically my sales did a small jump on Barnes and Noble for the other books in the series. Go figure!
Getting a review or interview on any blog is not always that easy. Having a promoter with contacts helps. Also, the name of game is branding, so if anything, I did get the word out. If you want to check out the tour, check out my blog, That Was Then, This Is Now.