What I learned from my first blog tour

Well, the Make Believe Blog Tour is over.  There is a part of me that is sad.  After all, who doesn’t like meeting new people, making new friends, expanding your marketing base.  But there is also a part of me that is very happy it’s over.  It’s very time-consuming to set up a blog tour.  While I enjoy talking to people, it takes a well-oiled machine to follow-up on all the posts to make sure you ‘participate’ in your own marketing.

I have to admit I was completely lost in the beginning.  What do I do?  Who do I contact?  I don’t think I could have done it without some hand-holding by Aimee Lane, J.A. Belfield and Julie Reece.  These are authors who have run the blog tour gamut before and offered up some great advice like:

  • Don’t be afraid to approach people who follow your blog to ask for a tour stop.
  • Don’t be afraid to throw out a universal request and see who bites.  The ones who say yes are generally interested to host your tour.
  • Try to find hosts who write or features stories similar to your own.  That way you know the audience will be geared to your writing.

Some other thing I learned:

  • Some hosts like you to write your own guest posts.  Familiarize yourself with the host’s blog and write a blog post that will appeal to your host’s audience while finding a way to tie it into your own.  For example, one of my hosts is a Christian woman, so I focused on morality in my fictional characters.
  • It’s okay to say “no”.  I had several requests from potential hosts to participate in the tour, but after reviewing their sites (which were more than a little on the risqué side), I declined their kind offers.  I am not a prude, but I write YA and New Adult fiction.  I wanted to direct my attention to those audiences, not just to anyone.  While I appreciated the offers, I felt I needed to remain true to me.
  • It’s inevitable.  Reviews will be a part of a blog tour.  Some will be hot, some will be cold and some will be just right.  This was the hardest part for me because I wanted everyone to love my story as much as I did.   I thought I had thick skin.  I realized very fast I needed to toughen up a bit more and understand not everyone will like what I write.  The main question I need to ask is did I write the story I wanted to write and did I like it?  My answer to both is yes.  If someone else loves it, then that is icing on the top of the cake.  If someone didn’t like it…it doesn’t mean my story was bad.  It means someone else didn’t like it, and that’s okay.  The world would be very boring if we all liked the same things.
  • Be ready and willing to reciprocate when the time comes.  I found many hosts are aspiring writers as well as book bloggers.  They need help in promotions, too.  Be willing to help them as much as they helped you in whatever way you can.  They’ll thank you and your name will make it around to others that you are a gracious guest and an even more gracious host.
  • Offering giveaways is a great way to thank people for visiting your blog and the blogs of your hosts.  People love getting cool items for free.   It’s also really nice to give to charity events as well.  Several Facebook sites raised lots of money for the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and authors gave away their books to raise a lot of that money.  Wherever you can, give yourself to others and ask nothing in return.  It’s the best kind of feel good medicine out there.
  • Last of all, be yourself.  Stay on top of all the tour posts and comment as often as you can.  Engage all your readers, even those that comment on your hosts’ site.  There was one blog that got over 70 comments in one day on the Make Believe tour.  It was awesome chatting it up with new peeps from all over the world.  Don’t be afraid of being who you are.  People will recognize your genuineness and will love you for being you.

I want to personally thank all those who helped me out with the Make Believe Blog Tour.  If you ever need anything of me, please do not hesitate to ask:

Julie Catherine

Reading and Writing Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance

Lynda Young

J.A. Belfield

Kelly Said

Jennifer Eaton

Terri Rochenski

Ruth Ellen Parlour

Julie Reece

Vikki Thompson

Lori Freeland

Brook Syers

Rebecca Hart

J.C. Martin

Jamie Ayres

Clare Davidson

Vanessa Chapman

Susan Rocan

Maghon Thomas

I would also like to thank all the reviewers who participated in the Make Believe Tour and for taking the time to read the anthology and sharing your thoughts with the world.  Your time and honesty is greatly appreciated.

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