5 Mistakes Writers Make When It Comes to Virtual Book Tours (#4)

Welcome back to virtual book tour week, where we are talking about mistakes writers make. It’s been a brutal one, hasn’t it? It’s hard to listen to mistakes but every one we make gives us a chance to learn. Now, take a deep breath, we’re almost done! Here’s the next one.

Mistake #4: Not Making Your Blog Host Feel Special and Expecting Them to Drop Everything

I know some of you are reading this and thinking that this tip is just a little too much. After all, I’ve been hammering at you all week about blog tours, and now I’m suggesting that you don’t treat the blogger special?  After all, you’re gracious… you thank them…

Right?

But you can do more than that, and if you do, it will pay off. Let me give you an example of an author we hosted here: Michelle Moran. She was so wonderful here that she volunteered a guest post, answered my questions for an interview, offered up a signed book as a giveaway, and then did something no other author who has ever stopped by our blog had done: kept in touch!  I’ll tell you the special things she did after that, and why I think her unique touch in marketing has helped her achieve best-seller success and even (last I heard) have her latest book optioned for a mini-series.

Have a Special Spot on Your Blog for Bloggers

A quick visit to Michelle’s site and you’ll see that she has a special link just for bloggers.

The very first thing she says is:

“This page is for the many, many bloggers who have helped make my books a success. Thank you so much for taking the time not only to read my novels, but to post Q&As about them, links to them, and thoughtful reviews!”

Then, she offers up a wealth of resources for bloggers. This special attention to detail has probably gotten her quite a few kudos from bloggers (like me – I’m here writing about her because she made an impact).

Give Bloggers Plenty of Lead Time!

One of the biggest pet peeves I have is when authors don’t understand that bloggers have a life, have jobs, and can’t just drop everything they are doing and review their book. Some authors are very reasonable with this, to the point where their behavior borders on arrogance. I’ve had this happen from an author who wanted me to read and review their book in a week. First of all, the types of books this person wrote wasn’t my “thing” at all, so if I had reviewed I probably wouldn’t have given her the type of review she wanted. Second, her unreasonable expectation made me want to tell her to take a hike!

If this sounds like you, pay attention! Even if a blogger drops everything and squeezes you into their schedule, they probably won’t continue to recommend your books. In other words, you’ll have missed the opportunity to get a new fan.

Offer to Do More

Let’s go back to Michelle Moran’s example. She contacted me after I had interviewed another writer friend of hers. I agreed to interview her and since her book was in the subject matter of something I enjoyed (historical fiction), I offered to review her book. She then came back and volunteered a guest post and a book giveaway as well. This was in such sharp contrast to what I get with most authors. So many authors want to have space on my blog but don’t want to write unique guest posts, they whine about interview questions, and act as if I’m the one putting them out.

Well, contrast that experience to Michelle. Which author do you think I am happy to continue to promote?

Stay In Touch

Michelle has kept my address and continued to send me things, like a review copy of her fabulous Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution. Her personal touch has kept me interested.

Unfortunately, not all authors are this way. Hey, I get it, we’re all busy.  We can’t keep up with everyone. But if you do manage to add something more personal, it will go a long way in keeping that new fan you made.

I’ve had far too much of the opposite of this experience, where an author hounds me to death while their book is being published, and then drops me like a hot potato after that.

Follow Up

Michelle is the only author I can think of that actually sent me a lovely gift after her interview. She asked for my P.O. Box and a few days later I got an ancient coin that she had picked up from her travels, along with a note thanking me again for my involvement in her book promotion.

How many thank you notes (the real ones – not the quick email numbers) did you send after your last blog tour?

Tomorrow: Mistake #5

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2 Comments on "5 Mistakes Writers Make When It Comes to Virtual Book Tours (#4)"

  1. Yes, Michelle does an awful lot right. But she also breaks one of your rules: she recycles blog posts. When I was running West of Mars Win a Book, I’d see the same post appear on I can’t tell you how many blogs.

    Just some food for thought… also, it’s a lot easier to drop into someone’s inbox when you’re a known name… you DO get more attention that way.

    [Reply]

    Cherie Reply:

    Actually I had no idea who Michelle was when she “dropped” into my inbox a few years ago. I know that she was extremely pleasant and a breath of fresh air compared to many of the authors who contact me. I don’t agree that being “known” gets you more attention. Not here. I open up this blog to all kinds of authors, many of whom are novices or brand new.

    [Reply]

  2. As a relatively new blogger who just recently ‘hosted’ a spot for a book tour for the first time on my blog, you have my utmost gratitude for this post. Not only does it apply to the individual author, but if the tour is a large event being conducted by a book group/collective, it most definitely applies to them as well. I ended up having to read the book & write the review on what was pretty much a moment’s notice by the time my questions were answered. While I did truly enjoy the experience once all was said & done, I’d had to pull an all-nighter in order to accomplish it because the tour group collective itself was quite muddy on the details as to what was expected of a blogger host & when my post should be published was (I’d been given two different dates when first asked–both of which were relatively short notice, but the true deadline was even shorter). It was then that I came to the realization that the author, himself, wasn’t quite aware of the fact that the collective & the coordinators weren’t giving clear instructions/requirements to the bloggers. Attachments of appropriate graphics mentioned in the emails were missing & I had to dig for the right one (hoping it even was the correct one), for example. While there was email with an attached list of the authors & the books to be featured, there were no dates on that list as to when the blogger should publish their review or interview. I’d extensively combed their website looking for details for participating bloggers & found nothing. To say it was stressful yet very rewarding as a learning experience would be an understatement.

    In other words, Michelle Moran’s lovely author page that looks to be extremely helpful to a blogger willing to host a book tour spot for her (kudos to her for having such a helpful resource right there) should also apply to any author group/book collective that runs tours as major multi-author events. I would hope the authors would ask that of the groups they’ve chosen to belong to. Just as much as the individual author should have that tab for bloggers to obtain needed info from, so should the larger collectives–if not even more so.

    [Reply]

    Cherie Reply:

    Thanks for stopping by and welcome, Cari! Your point is a good one, and I almost wish I had spent more time on the “what is required of the blogger” aspect of things. (Maybe I’ll do another post on it…)

    It does take a considerable amount of time to give a book justice when you have to review it, and if you have a couple books in your “to be read” pile, it can really put pressure on to get them all done in time. Bloggers are very important to bookselling today, so I think authors should give as much time and attention to their tour (and making it easy for the blogger) as they can. I feel like Michelle taught me how to do things better in this regard as an author myself.

    [Reply]

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