Blogger: Mary Keeley
We talk a lot about the importance of writers promoting your books and advise that this becomes your full-time job when it releases. Equally important is timing book promotions to reap the greatest return for your effort. You need a plan. I’m going to focus on blog tours, media outlets, and libraries in today’s discussion.
As Facebook’s logarithm changes continue to limit free access to your followers, blog tours have become increasingly popular and for good reason. They effectively reach the followers of all the blogs involved in your tour. Begin your blogger list by commenting on author blogs early in your writing process, and as you cultivate good relationships among those with whom you are comfortable, offer to exchange guest posts and agree to reciprocate on their future blog tours. Keep a list of their mailing and email addresses.
Whether you have a traditional publisher or are self-publishing, request or order advanced reader copies (ARCs) early in the production process to ensure you have them when it’s time to mail books to blog tour participants. Bloggers don’t usually mind getting the un-proofed copy of your book because they realize if you wait to send them the final version, they won’t have enough time to read and review it by the book’s release date.
At least a month before your book’s release, send a blog tour announcement to the bloggers, stating the launch date, which is your book’s release date, and ending date of your tour, which usually is several weeks later. Invite them to sign up to review your book and give them a week to respond. Offer to do a guest post for them during the week of your book’s release and offer a give-away or drawing to their followers, perhaps an autographed copy of your book. You’ll benefit the bloggers in return for their participation by attracting increased activity on their blog. Here is an extra tip: write your guest posts well in advance of the blog tour because you’ll be very busy those few weeks before and after your book’s release date.
Mail your ARCs to participating bloggers as soon as possible with a cover letter thanking them for their participation and your email address for responding to questions they may have.
Financial cost: Minimal. Depending on how you’re publishing (traditional or self-publishing), you might have to purchase the books you mail and/or pay shipping costs.
Radio and TV Outlets
These media outlets prefer to receive the final version of books. If you’re working with a traditional publisher, consult with the PR department. Request that your local area radio and television stations be added to the publisher’s media list. The PR department may arrange to have copies of your published book mailed directly from the printer to these outlets. This can save almost two weeks time by bypassing delivery time from the printer to the publisher’s warehouse and then from the warehouse to the outlets.
Financial cost: Same as for blog tour.
I want to dispel the myth that having your book available in libraries discourages sales. It may actually work the opposite way for a couple of reasons. Readers who are first introduced to your book at their library and enjoy it are known to then purchase a copy of their own to re-read or give as a gift. Individual libraries and library systems also purchase multiple copies. These sales add up, and those books are not returnable. You won’t be shocked by negative sales numbers to libraries on your royalty statement like you could be by large numbers of returns from big box sales outlets.
Contact libraries about loading in copies of your book several months before your book’s release date. Many writers ask how to go about doing this. Library Insider is the best resource available. Check out the many options and tools they offer on their website, libraryinsider.com.
Financial cost: You can choose from a wide range of options that suit your budget.
In this era of publishing when the number of books available to readers has multiplied exponentially, discoverability is an author’s greatest challenge. If you self-publish, you are your sole means of book promotion, and traditional publishers do only a fraction of the promotions authors used to rely on less than ten years ago. Setting aside funds or using a portion of your advance to hire a publicist is a wise investment to consider. Ask your agent or author friends and mentors for referrals. A publicist is especially important for authors who self-publish because many publications and Internet sites won’t review books submitted by self-published authors. However, a reputable publicist may gain access for you. And a publicist knows all the ins and outs of timing book promotions.
What have you been doing to prepare for promoting your next book? What do you need to begin doing right away? If you have participated in an author’s blog tour, how did it go and what will you do the same and differently in your own blog tour?
Timing book promotions will reap the greatest return for your effort. Click to Tweet.
You need a plan for timing book promotions. Here are three strategies. Click to Tweet.