Yep, I’m still at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Summer Conference, and right now, I’m in a class with author Kathryn Trueblood, who is teaching us how to do a blog tour. Here are my notes:
The way books are promoted has changed. It used to be that writers could only hope their book caught the attention of publicity’s gatekeepers, but now it is possible to create a groundswell from the bottom up. Authors can extend the shelf life of their books and work at niche marketing in ways a publicist might not consider. In this class, we’ll see a blog tour demonstrated, learn what a web release needs to look like, and consider some interactive strategies that appeal to bloggers. You’ll find the right constellation for your book.
Goodreads, salon.com, and The Story Siren are all sites that review books. What Ms. Trueblood was trying to do, though, was to insert herself into a conversation that was already going on, rather than having everyday folks review her books in a way that she may or may not approve of.
Before you compose your web release, do the following:
- Figure out the angle of social relevance that your book offers. Why is this a topic that needs to be a part of the cultural conversation, or that enlarges a conversation already taking place?
- Do your research. Find your constellation, your neighborhood. Once you’re there, see if you can locate some matrix blogs (ones that display blog rolls). Then visit the sites listed in those blog rolls and start making lists for your future reference. Tiered lists are helpful: your first choices, second choices, etc… Which blogs would you like to offer your interview to? Which ones appeal to you most? Star or highlight these on your list and begin including comments on those blogs before you ask for an interview, before you get published.
Non-Negotiables (you MUST have these in your web release):
- At the top of your web release, put your book cover image.
- At the bottom, put your book’s title, name, and contact info of your publisher, pub date, number of pages, ISBN, price, and logo (if you like). Prominently displayed, offer a free copy, booking date, live interview, your e-mail and a website address.
- At the bottom, you should also put your photo and a 3-line bio (no more than that). If you don’t have big credentials, then offer information that would make you seem like an interesting interview or that emphasizes why you are qualified, in your own way, to speak powerfully on your subject.
Negotiables (the body of the text doesn’t have to have these):
- Excerpts from great reviews, especially a chunk that does a good job of letting the reader know what the book is about and why it is relevant to your target audience.
- Blurbs and testimonials. It’s always best to have someone else say great things about your book.
- Your pitch, in a paragraph or two, but written in a journalistic voice, so that it can be easily adapted by the media.
- A self-contained chunk from your book, especially good for fiction or nonfiction. If it’s a how-to book, a list of compelling topics covered.
- Relevant information about events, speaking engagements, or teaching related to your book.
Sorry everyone. That’s all I got. I would have liked to have asked Ms. Trueblood more questions, but she was swarmed with admirers after the class was over. She also had technical difficulties with the Internet, so she probably didn’t cover everything she would’ve liked to have covered in her class.