Sunday, May 3, 2009

Promotional Overload

Ever done a blog book tour? I know a lot of you are familiar with Dani and BlogBookTours, including her wonderful Yahoo listserv group on which she is now running classes every three months. Or is it four months? If I wasn't so tired from my latest jaunt into the cyberworld of promotion (or the promotional world of cyberland?), I'd do some fact-checking. But whatever the specifics are, Dani is the, the empress...NO, Dani is the goddess of blog book tours and I worship at her shrine!

ANYway, I have done two cyber tours for my murder mystery MURDER FOR HIRE, one solo and the other with Jess Lourey, author of the very funny MURDER BY THE MONTH series. Both were hard work; lots of posts to write and interview questions to answer, but definitely manageable. And the one with Jess was a lot easier because we shared the work.

Why I thought this would mean organizing and running a tour for eleven romance authors (myself included) for Ravenous Romance would be easy is beyond my comprehension. I guess I figured if there were eleven of us, it would mean that much LESS work for me. Except I was the organizer. And none of these other authors had ever done a blog book tour before and had no real concept of what it was.

Without boring you with the myriad of frustrations I experienced during the last two months, I'll just give you a brief idea of what I had to accomplish with this tour. There needed to be 13 stops: an intro, eleven stops that showcased one author per day, yet also involved all 11 authors, and a final stop to wrap things up. I had to find and contact all the host blogs, explain what we were doing, and figure out dates for each post while matching authors with the appropriate blogs. I came up with a format that included a question of the day that would be answered at length by the showcased author, with short Reader's Digest answers from everyone else. I had to send out questionnaires to the authors, nag them to get the questionnaires back in time for me to cut and paste all the answers into 11 separate posts, add the last paragraph telling people where the next day's stop would be and talk about the
giveaways for each post. These had to go BACK to the showcased authors for their intros and anything else they wanted to add, including their book excerpts. Lists of urls and hyperlinks were sent to all the hosts, along with the schedules. Reminders were sent out, more nagging to authors to get the final posts back so I could proof them and send them on to the various hosts.

I was the first blog host and spent hours putting in everyone's book cover jpegs and as many hyperlinks as would help promote the authors, Ravenous Romance and all of the hosts. I checked links obsessively to make sure everything would be perfect for our first day. And it was - over 95 comments for our first stop. After that... well, let's just say no matter how carefully you plan something like this, there will still be things to go wrong and all you can do is damage control as best you can.

One host, a very reliable friend of mine, had the time wrong so the post wasn't up in the morning and I couldn't get a hold of her. I hastily put the post up at my blog, contacted another person on her blog, and he got the post up and running at the planned site. Another host was gone a large portion of the day and had the comment moderation on, so none of the comments showed up for a few hours. Yet another had the wrong link for the showcased author's website and was also gone for a large part of the day.

I, of course, took them all as personal failures and emitted
stressons all over the place. My long suffering boyfriend was on hand to dispense soothing words, backrubs and wine. All in all, I spent two months putting this tour together and then baby-sitting all the stops, even while on a mini-vacation. I have not gotten anything substantial in the way of writing done during this time.

Was it worth it? Yes. The authors have seen a rise in their sales, we had an average of 60 comments per stop (over 160 at one stop), and it's been a blast. Doing a tour for my next mystery novel will be a snap in comparison.

Would I do another multiple author tour again?
Ask me in a few months when I've recovered from this one!


Hagelrat said...

Like so many things D, once you forget the pain you'll be at it again. ;)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

You'll do it again because now you've seen the attention multiple authors can attract!

With multiple releases this spring, my tour wasn't so much a rush as a babbling brook - started in February, intense in March, and still trickling through April and May. August, I start again. Plus my physical appearances have been heavy. So yes, it's exhausting.
Take your break and then attack once more!

L. Diane Wolfe

F. M. Meredith, author said...

I've done three blog tours and each time saw a rise in sales. They really are fun, though certainly time consuming.

Marilyn a.k.a. F. M. Meredith

David Fitzgerald said...

I'm very proud of Dana for all the hard work and sleepless nights she spent getting this tour together. It was a tremendous success, and great for all teh authors and all the RR readers, too. Go, Dana!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps a smaller group of authors next time? Or perhaps the demand for co-organizers?

You were such a doll to take this on in the first place. I hope you do realize how wonderfully it went, even if a few hosts fell down on the job. That was no reflection on you. You worked your butt off.

Thank you for that.

Dana Fredsti said...

Dana looks up sleepily from her cup of coffee and smiles at all the nice, encouraging and positive comments from friends, fellow authors, and some of her blog tour participants.

I think once I get back into my writing and catch up, I'll be a lot more likely to even think of doing something involving so many authors. Maybe a smaller version... I do like the tour bus


Morgan Mandel said...

Not an easy job. No wonder you're bushed. You rock, Dana!

Morgan Mandel

Jean Henry Mead said...

Blog tours are great fun if you can survive all the sleepless nights and carpal tunnel from pounding out all those articles and requests for blog space. I might do it again someday, maybe . . . :)

Btw, Dana, you were a great blog host for my tour. Thanks again!


Dana Fredsti said...

Thank you, Morgan!

And Jean, you were both a pleasure to host and a pleasure to be hosted by!

And yeah, there's that carpal tunnel...