Blog Tours, Part 1

I researched “blog tours” for the past six months, polling some 1,500 authors (self, indie, small house through major house (note: not Big5) publishers) and received responses from 793. The majority of responding authors are USA based (368), second high being Canada based (297), and a conglomerate minority (128) making up the Europe, Australia, South America, the Middle East, and a few African nations. No responses came from any Asian countries.

The question set was:

  1. What is/was your expectation for a blog tour?
  2. Your success/failure with blog tours.
  3. Best blog tours you’ve experienced (listed 1, 2, 3, and no more than 5, please. It would be grand. if you could provide a brief explanation for your ranking)
  4. What gets you the most response/feedback/attention: video, podcast, text?
  5. Would you pay/what did you pay for your blog tour (and was it worth it)?
  6. Anything else you’d care to share.

I followed these up with further email exchanges and, in some cases, Zoom chats.

Note that this survey occurred during 2020, “The Year of COVID.” Personal appearances, conferences (cons), book signings, and public interaction in general stopped. This caused people who had not considered blog tours to rethink their marketing strategy as blog tours became one of the few ways an author could socially safely publicize their book.

Any author intentionally selecting and contributing post (as opposed to advert) content to ten or more blogs within a specified period of time for the purpose of self-promotion is on a blog tour.

 
What is a Blog Tour?
One thing that turned up was confusion re what a blog tour is, exactly. Is it being interviewed on a blog? In writing? Video? A podcast? Is guest posting part of blog touring?

There was no clear definition and I’ll offer one based on commonalities arising in the responses: Any author intentionally selecting and contributing post content to one or more blogs (not their own) per week for two months or longer for the purpose of self-promotion (they are not paid for their content) is on a blog tour.

It doesn’t matter if the contribution is video, audio, text, images, Q&A, interview, excerpts, et cetera, so long as it’s part of the main post (rather than a comment or pingback) and for the purpose of self-promotion, it’s part of a blog tour.

Be advised: a book review is not a blog tour. A blog tour is when you and your work are the show and has more marketing power than only your work on show. People pay more attention to people interacting than they do when someone writes about a book.

Big TakeAways


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I Pitched Nine Agents in Two Days – Six said Yes! Here’s What I Learned (Pitch Evolution)

I recently had a fascinating week; Nine agents (including the ones who weren’t interested in my work) shared industry insights and offered suggestions for improving my pitch.

The is the third and last installment in the I Pitched Nine Agents in Two Days – Six said Yes! Here’s What I Learned series and deals with how the agents themselves helped me shape my pitch. The first installment dealt with Do’s and Don’t’s the agents shared with me during the day. The second installment details conversations I had with some of them and their thoughts on the industry and agenting.

Note the following deals with a fiction pitch.

Enjoy!


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I Pitched Nine Agents in Two Days – Six said Yes! Here’s What I Learned (Conversations)

I recently had a fascinating week; Nine agents (including the ones who weren’t interested in my work) shared industry insights and offered suggestions for improving my pitch.

The is the second installment in the I Pitched Nine Agents in Two Days – Six said Yes! Here’s What I Learned series and deals with the conversations I had with them. The first installment dealt with Do’s and Don’t’s the agents shared with me during the day. The last installment (available starting 28 Oct 2020) details the evolution of my pitch based on their suggestions.

Note the following comments deal with fiction markets exclusively. Some elements may apply to non-fiction publishers, agents, authors, and titles, and my conversations were about fiction books.

Enjoy!


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I Pitched Nine Agents in Two Days – Six said Yes! Here’s What I Learned (Do’s and Don’t’s)

I recently had a fascinating week; Nine agents (including the ones who weren’t interested in my work) shared industry insights and offered suggestions for improving my pitch.

Two Big TakeAways Upfront:

No agents/publishers will ask you to put your own money into marketing.

Pitch in person/virtual whenever you can.

 
This post is the first in a three part series on what I learned. The agents provided info on marketing (publishers won’t sell you marketing schemes, that was a big one), the need for a social platform when you’re starting out (you don’t. The agent and publisher will help you build one), and of course, what a proper pitch should look like.

About a year ago I paid to have my pitch professionalized. That pitch had a 3% success rate. I scrapped it, wrote my own, listened to what each agent told me about making it work, and hit 66% success rate.

This installment of I Pitched Nine Agents in Two Days – Six said Yes! Here’s What I Learned deals with Do’s and Don’t’s. The next installment (available starting 21 Oct 2020) goes over a conversation between myself and agents who’ve been authors and worked in publishing houses. The last installment (available starting 28 Oct 2020) details the evolution of my pitch based on their suggestions.

Enjoy!


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More Publishing Hype

Back when Susan and I ran our own company, I often told clients “Never believe your own hype.”

Some clients were offended. Some laughed and nodded.

The big problem with hype is the hyper knows its BS and behave in three basic ways:

  1. They know they’re BSing and are constantly on guard lest someone should catch them in their BS (this often results in impostor syndrome. You can find lots of info on Impostor Syndrome in Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History)
  2. They know they’re BSing and want to be caught because they desperately need structure in their lives
  3. They believe their own BS and are delusional. Either get them help or get away from them
The opening line was “The first round of the Book Shot promos went great.” I responded with “Wonderful. What are the numbers?” I’ll let you know when I get a response.

 
It’s worth noting once you get beyond a certain size, it doesn’t matter if someone sniffs out your BS. Get past a certain size and you’re the Emperor and everybody loves your clothes even though you’re buck-naked. The one who really suffers here is the Emperor: Their kingdom is on the brink and they refuse to recognize it as such.

Marketing hype usually falls into Group 1 because Groups 2 and 3 are mostly populated by people with such blatant character flaws they may as well be carrying lunchboards around or ringing bells as they move about. They tend to be that obvious.

Let’s focus on Group 1. Danger lies in between the Emperor and the boastful kid on the playground. The danger itself is you not being able to recognize the BS for what it is (hearkening back to “I have an incredible opportunity to share”).

So here, dear ones, are three kinds of hype to be aware of and guard against.
Continue reading “More Publishing Hype”