How to create a book #blogtour

Summer-in-Santorini-BT - Updated

Today is the last day of the book blog tour for One Summer in Santorini, and it has been a blast. I first learned about BBTs last year when I was an indie author and I knew I wanted one for my first novel with HarperCollins.

My agent, Lina Langlee, was across BBTs from her experience in the world of publishing-marketing, and she helped by walking me through critical steps. Once I told my publisher I was working on a BBT, they reached out to bloggers they work with regularly – and they created the banner above.

I had support and I learned a lot, so I wanted to share what I learned. Whether you are an indie author or are being published by a publishing house, a BBT will require a lot of hard work and dedication from you. But I think this it is worth it. I think it helped me reach a larger readership.

WARNING: This is a really long post – but it includes everything I learned. Here’s what to do, including step-by-step instructions.

Plan ahead. A book blog tour takes time to set up. Give yourself a minimum of three months, two if you are extremely efficient and you already have a strong network of bloggers and fellow authors.

Read (blogs) widely. If you want to create a fabulous book blog tour, start by reading book blogs. Ask readers and authors in your genre who their favourite book bloggers are. When you find one whose style you like the look of, follow them on social media and see which book blogs they read. You are building a wishlist.

Be an active online community member. Subscribe to your wishlist book bloggers’ sites. Follow them on social media, respond to their content, and share it. There are many terrific book bloggers – people who genuinely love books and who are creative in how they support the author community. Support their work.

Be a supportive member of the writing community. This has to come from a genuine place. Seek out other authors in your genre, or who share a common connection. While I am connected with many romance authors through our writing community, I am also connected with authors in other genres through the Australian writers’ community, through my agency, and through my publisher.

Many authors (like me) blog. If you like an author’s books, subscribe to their blog. There are hundreds of Facebook groups and Twitter communities for authors. Find your tribe and participate. Offer support, even if it’s just a well-time tweet. If you have a special skill related to the profession, offer to help. Be a beta reader, edit a blurb, connect an author friend with a graphic artist friend.

You will grow a professional network and it’s very likely you will make friends. I have dear friends whom I’ve only engaged with online.

And when it comes time to create a blog tour, you can ask authors who blog to join in.

Think outside the box. Not every post on a book blog tour must be a review. Once you’ve created your wishlist of bloggers and authors, make note of those who also post interviews, ‘share a scene’ posts, essays on writing, or other innovative ways to engage your readers.

On my recent blog tour for One Summer In Santorini, fellow author Belinda Missen challenged me to describe the perfect Greek dinner party. That post was a blast to write.

It may be easier to get people commit to the tour, if you are doing the heavy lifting with regards to content. For my recent blog tour, I wrote nine different pieces.

The practical stuff for a DIY blog tour

  1. Create a spreadsheet for your wishlist (Excel or Google Sheets will work) and include:
    • The name of the blog
    • The URL (web address) – make it a link
    • The name of the blogger/author
    • Their email address or a link to the contact page of the blog
    • Any other information that may be useful when you contact them
    • Columns for tracking data: date email sent; date of reply; format of blog post, etc.
  2. Write your reach out emails (the templates). You will want slightly different versions for bloggers and authors. The emails should be friendly, clear, and succinct:
    • If you are not yet connected with the person, introduce yourself and explain why you’d be thrilled/honoured to have them be part of the tour
    • Give a brief synopsis of your book
    • Give the proposed date range for the tour
    • Be explicit about the type of post you’d like and if you’re offering to create the content for non-reviews
    • Ask them to RSVP before a particular date, so you can start assembling the tour
    • Link to your website or most public social media profile(s) – they may want to see how much reach you have
    • Edit your reach out emails and get feedback if you need to
  3. Carefully send the reach out emails:
    • Ensure that each one is addressed to – and is specific to – the person you are emailing
  4. Wait:
    • As you receive responses:
      • Reply with a thank you (for every response – even ‘no’)
      • Update your spreadsheet
      • If it is a yes, mention you will be in touch soon with more information
    • When you’re close to the deadline, send a quick follow-up to any non-responders
  5. Schedule the blog tour:
    • Use a tool such as Doodle (free to use)
    • Set the date range
    • In the settings, limit to one or two blog posts per day
    • Send a notification email (through the tool) to all bloggers/authors who said ‘yes’ – include a ‘due date’ and follow up as you get closer to it
    • As people respond, update the spreadsheet with the dates for each blog post
      • Note if you need to create content and set up calendar reminders
      • Most bloggers and authors will tell you in their email what they require from you – if not, ask
    • Email each blogger/author to confirm their date for the tour
  6. Prepare assets and content:
    • Book Blog Tour Banner
        • If you have a publisher, send them a succinct spreadsheet with the book bloggers/authors (often their Twitter handle or website address) and dates
          • Ask them to create a blog tour banner
        • If you don’t have a publisher, you will want to create a banner with the book cover, blogs and dates. Search online for what these look like.
        • Triple check the names, dates and other information on the banner
    • Author photo (high resolution), book cover (high resolution), book blurb, buy links, your social media links, and any other ‘assets’ you have been asked for
    • Write content you have promised or answer interview questions
  7. Email the blog tour participants individually and send assets (and content)
    • Give them as much notice as possible
    • Refer to the spreadsheet and previous email exchanges to ensure you are sending each person exactly what they need/have asked for
  8. Count down to the blog tour on social media to generate hype – tag the participants
  9. Once it starts:
    • Post your blog tour banner each day of the tour, tagging that days’ blogger(s) and thanking them for participating
    • Like and share their social media posts
    • Save the links to their blog posts about your book
    • Grab quotes from their posts and use these to reshare their posts on social media
    • Comment on their blog post with a thank you
    • Loop back to previous posts and share these, tagging the blogger
  10. When it is over
    • Send a thank you to all the participants
    • Collapse in an exhausted, but happy, heap

4 thoughts on “How to create a book #blogtour

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