IWSG – I need your help!

I know this is a blog hop. I get how this works (it only took me a couple of months of stalking IWSG to figure it out) but now I need some help. Your help.

I’m releasing the fourth book in my series in June.

*ECSTATIC HAPPY DANCE ENSUES*

…and I actually need to market this time.

*stops dancing*

*hangs head*

*ugly sobs*

It’s cliché at this point in the industry to say I have NO idea what I’m doing. But I’ve picked up a few things and I know—I KNOW—I should probably do a new-release blog hop. I’m just kind of confused on how. How do I set this thing up? Do I contact each individual blogger I want to be featured on? Do I put out an announcement or blog about it here? Do I tip the man with the magic beans or kidnap a student on their way to Hogwarts? How?? How do I do this?

When you’ve released your book with a blog hop, how did you go about it? How far in advance did you set up the author interviews / guest posts/ other things I don’t even know exist? And did you do it differently if there were previous books in the series? I am completely and *utterly* lost and barely being able to operate a computer (let alone this blog), any help/advice/drink recipes would be greatly appreciated. 🙂

The first Wednesday of every month is Insecure Writers Support Group! It’s a place for writers of all stages to get together and express their fear, doubts and worries, and also to encourage, inspire and befriend 🙂 If you’re interested in not suffering through it alone anymore, I’d suggest checking us out here.

*Compliments to Alex Cavanaugh who started this awesomeness!

35 thoughts on “IWSG – I need your help!

  1. C.D. Gallant-King says:

    I’m in the middle of planning my own, but this is only my first time officially doing it myself, so I may not be the best resource.

    As far as blog hoptour goes I’ve see it done a couple of ways. You can post on your own site (especially on IWSG days) asking for volunteers to host you. If you have alot of followers, this seems to work well. Alternately, you can reach out to people you know that have done blog hosting in the past (especially if you’ve hosted them yourself) and ask them to host you.

    As far as how far in advance, I think that depends on the blogger. Some people fly by their seat of their pants (like myself), others schedule their posts weeks in advance. I would say a month or two of lead time should be enough. That way you can get your stuff in early for those who want it, and for those who aren’t in a rush you can just remind them closer to the date.

    But yeah, all that said, I don’t know 100% what I’m doing either so hopefully you get further suggestions. 🙂

    IWSG February

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    • cgcoppola says:

      No, that all makes perfect sense. I wasn’t sure if there was some secret blog tour hangout that I needed the password to into. All good ideas.

      Thanks, C.D! And I am thinking about spotlighting authors on my site so if/when you want to be hosted, you know at least one place you can go 😉

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  2. Joleene Naylor says:

    I think blog tour may be what you’re looking for 😉 I’ve done several – I like to start two months in advance because the month of I am always busy with last minute stuff. It’s easier to start with bloggers you know – just ask them flat out “I’m releasing a book in June. I’d like to do a tour from this date to this date. Would you be willing to host me on (give them a date or two as suggestions)? I can do an interview, guest post, excerpt, (whatever you are willing to do.” And let them have first pick of what they’d like. Most people will say “I don’t care” so you may have to get creative. Also when it comes to dates I’ve seen a lot of sporadic stuff, but I liked to do one a day for the duration if possible. I know some authors like to do more than one, but I don’t want to overwhelm my regular readers with that many posts. (Remind me and I’ll mention blasts later). I mention giving them dates because a lot of bloggers don’t care what day, and it makes it easier for you to try to schedule.
    Once you’ve hit up people you know (and posted a general open call to both facebook and your blog – I have actually gotten stops that way) the next thing you can do is look for stranger’s blogs. You can google things like “author interview” or “get interviewed on my blog” etc. Though be sure to do a little homework and make sure their blog is a good fit to advertise on. If they usually post only erotica, for instance, their readers might be disappointed with your story. Then it’s the same thing, email them with the explanation, tentative date(s), and what you’re willing to do (unless they have a cool interview posted somewhere you can just fill out.)
    As for posts, the general rule is to have all materials sent out a week to two weeks before it needs to go live, unless the blogger says differently. What I usually do when I send the post to them is write a little paragraph at the beginning of the email reminding them who I am and what date they signed up for. You’ll need to include any images you/they want which is usually your book cover, your tour banner (more later), and your author photo and make sure to add in links to your blog, facebook, and of course to where the book is. Since this is the fourth in a series the marketing is always trickier because even though you’re marketing the new book, at the same time you are ALWAYS marketing the first book because it’s the series starter, so you may want to spotlight it/have links to it as well if you can.
    When it comes to post content there seem to be two differing opinions. I’ve been to a lot of blog tours where the authors just say the same thing on every blog (sometimes it’s even the same excerpt over and over). The defense for this is that each post is on a different blog and they want to be sure each audience gets the same (most important) information. I find these tours very boring, so when I do them I try to make sure each post is different – even if they ask me the same interview questions I try to give a different answer, or at the very least phrase it differently if I can. This takes more work, and if you have a lot of guest posts to write it can get taxing to come up with creative ideas. (This is why I am on a guest post hiatus unless someone says “I’d like you to write a post about ____ – because I am out of ideas, LOL!). At the very least I would suggest using different excerpts. I tried to tailor mine towards the blog audience, like on a mostly thriller/male blog I went for the fight scenes, and on a mostly romance blog pulled up a romance scene. (You have the same “trouble” I do where your series skirts the two without ever fully committing to being just one or the other – which IMHO makes it awesome. This can be handy but at the same time it’s a pain in the butt when trying to classify it!)
    You’ll want to start advertising your tour lineup at least a couple of weeks before it starts, with the schedule and links to their blogs (just the http://www.authorsite.com until you have the individual link to your post). Most authors do giveaways with their tour. You can do either a big one at the end (in this case using something like Rafflecopter is a good idea – though you need to send bloggers the code and – warning – the code does NOT work on wordpress.com blogs, and even on blogs it does work on you’ll have bloggers who screw it up, so I suggest sending them the rafflecopter link which will take people to the rafflecopter contest on the rafflecopter site instead of putting the cool box on the post.) or you can do small ones on individual blogs (like choosing one winner at random from the commenters to win an ebook or a small gift card.) If you can’t tell, I always go for the bigger prize, but then I am still cheap, so my bigger prize is usually only a 20$ gift card or a 12$ custom coffee mug or something like that. Some authors do kindles and have a huge turnout on the entries, but I have no idea if that translates into huge sales or not.
    I promised to get back to blasts. Blasts are a post that have your cover, synopsis, and sometimes a tiny excerpt or review. If you’re doing blast posts then instead of doing a multi-day tour you want to blast to a lot of blogs all on the same day for maximum exposure.
    I also mentioned a tour banner. You’ll want to name your tour. (Usually just means your book title plus the word tour) and have a banner that features the name and the book cover with the dates on it. This helps unify the tour posts and gives you something to put in your sidebar with a clickable link to the tour page that lists all the stops.
    Sound like a lot of work? It is. Alternately you can hire someone to handle a lot of this for you (You still have to write the posts). I’m sure there are very good tour people out there, though I have never run into any. One lady I hired was “okay” though a third of the bloggers didn’t post and she offered no money back for it, and the other one I hired “forgot” about it (WTF??) until I emailed her a week before it was supposed to start. She did refund the money but since i had been advertising an upcoming tour I had a week to put one together. not cool. So if you hire someone, only do it by recommendation. (Ask me and I’ll message you the two not to hire).
    Whether a book tour is actually worth all this, I don’t know. I skipped it on my last release and sold more on release week than I had on any other release BUT I have a series I’ve been touring with since book three – or was it book two?- along with other stuff. A final suggestion is to start an email list/newsletter and as part of your giveaway have people sign up for it. With facebook not showing posts, and people either not wanting to, or not understanding how to follow blogs, it’s often hard to get the word out to your readers that a new book is upcoming. That’s why I broke down and started one last year, and I wish I’d done it sooner.
    Oh, and btw, I’d be happy to have you on my blog. I’ll take any date – though if you want to do a character interview I prefer to post those on Saturdays. I also have author interviews, or you can guest post or send an excerpt of around 1,000 words. Same goes to anyone else reading this 😉

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    • cgcoppola says:

      Joleene.

      Oh.My.God.

      I’ve read through it for a second time and I KNOW I’ll have to go through it about ten more times just to get all of the information. THANK YOU!! Could you smell my desperation and confusion? This is so, so awesome. I might be emailing you with some ?s or about those guest posts but thank you *so* much for all this. (Plus, I’m pretty sure you’re helping other people reading this as well.)

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  3. Lidy says:

    I’m in the middle of planning my own blog tour. I’ve blogged it on my blog, mention about looking for hosts at the end of every post. As well as on social media, FB and Google+ groups and in my online writing sites. I’ve also done a Q&A interview with IndieView in the past, so you can try that. Or doing a press release in your local town/county paper. As you’ve already mentioned, you can contact bloggers (will be doing the same). Also, if you do decide to do a blog tour, create a Google docs signup form to keep track of who wants to take part and what they want to do. I’ve scheduled my poetry book blog tour from March to April, but started preparing and letting others know about it since January.

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  4. Loni Townsend says:

    Crystal Collier made a post a while back that covers things pretty well. When I’m on a computer, I’ll dig it up and send the link over.

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  5. emaginette says:

    I used Google Docs to make a sign-up sheet. I did an internet search for a blog tour template and changed it to suit. Once it was done, there is code to insert into a blog page and put the link to the sign-up on the sidebar. Then post a blog post looking for volunteers and email the link to any friends you think might want to participate.

    I’m sure you’ve volunteered yourself. 🙂

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  6. Cathy Keaton says:

    I wish I could help, but you’re further along in the publication journey than I am, my friend. I wish you luck on figuring the whole blog touring thing. I will likely need to learn about it myself, one day. In the meantime, I’m interested in your book series.

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  7. Nicola says:

    Some great adivce there. I hope all goes well with your first blog hop! Congrats on the new novel and I absolutely adore the cover!! I’m a big ‘judge a book by the cover’ kinda girl (even though I know I shouldn’t be) and I would most definitely pick this!

    Have a great week.

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  8. Jacqui Murray says:

    Looks like you got some great suggestions. I think it’s a numbers game: Get your book onto as many blogs as possible to increase its visibility. Quick announcements, nothing big. Doesn’t matter as long as you’re linked onto lots and lots of sites.

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    • cgcoppola says:

      That’s the feeling I’m getting. I keep rereading all the information, getting all panicky and thinking “I’m going to mess this up. I have no idea what I’m doing. It’d be better to do nothing at all.”

      But I’ve done nothing at all before.
      I want to try something different.

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  9. Lori L MacLaughlin says:

    Wow, you’ve gotten some wonderful information from everyone. When my first book came out last February, I asked in a post on my own blog if anyone would be interested in hosting me for a blog tour and got enough responses for a three-week tour. Everyone was so generous and helpful. If you plan it out and get guest posts, etc., written ahead of time, it will run more smoothly and be less stressful. Good luck with it, and I’d be happy to host you as part of the tour. Just let me know the details when you’re ready. My e-mail is lmaclaug82@gmail.com.

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