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Showing posts from October, 2007

Internet marketing – blog tours, part 8

During the blog tour:

Permalinks: During the blog tour, post on your blog each day and link to the blog hosting you for that day. When the blogger has put up your post, change the link on your daily blog post and your Blog Tour Schedule to the permalink for that particular post.

For example, before the tour started, I had:

Alison Strobel Morrow interviews my chick-litty self, and I give the original blurb for Sushi for One that I used for my proposal.

The link to Alison’s blog was just her main blog page, http://alisonstrobel.blogspot.com/.

However, after she posted the interview with me, I changed the link to http://alisonstrobel.blogspot.com/2007/09/sushi-for-one_14.html, which is the permalink on her blog for that particular post.

Alison Strobel Morrow interviews my chick-litty self, and I give the original blurb for Sushi for One that I used for my proposal.

That way, when people click on the link to Alison’s blog, it will take them directly to the post with the interview.

I changed the l…

Internet marketing – blog tours, part 7

Logistics, continued:

The Blog Tour Schedule, continued:

If you have a blog, prepare a post for each day that will highlight that day’s blog stops. You can pre-date the posts so that they’re ready to just post when the day arrives.

Here’s an example of day thirteen on my blog tour. I pre-wrote each day’s post (day thirteen, day fourteen, etc.) so that as each day came, I just posted and didn’t have to worry about writing anything. Essentially, I just copied the short sentence from my blog tour schedule.

Email reminders: Ahead of time, write an email for each person on the blog tour to remind them that they’re posting “tomorrow, [Month, date].” Save these emails as drafts so that you can just click and send the day before the blogger is scheduled to post for your tour.

In these emails, resend your Interview questions or Guest Blog post, and also resend .jpgs of you and your book cover.

Giving away books: This is an option you can offer to your bloggers. They can give away books however the…

Internet marketing – blog tours, part 6

Logistics:

Make sure you’ve scheduled everything on either a spreadsheet or a calendar.

For each day of the tour, make sure you have written down which blogger, their blog address, and whether they’re doing a review, interview, or guest blog post, or a combination of all three.

Also write down if you’ve received the interview questions yet. If you haven’t, email them to remind them to send them to you so you have time to get the answers back to them in good time.

Also write down if you’ve written their guest blog post yet. Try to get that done before the blog tour even starts.

Pictures: Make sure you’ve emailed everyone .jpg files of yourself and your book cover so they can post them with the review, interview, or guest blog post.

The Blog Tour Schedule: If you have a blog, prepare a draft of a post that will include all the stops on your blog tour. Link each stop to the blogger’s blog address so your blog readers can click on it to get to the blog.

If you don’t have a blog, you can also ema…

Internet marketing – blog tours, part 5

Content, continued:

Guest blog posts: The blogger will ask you to write a short blog post, often on a topic of their choosing. Usually the topic is in line with the blog’s theme or the blogger’s interests.

Sometimes they’ll say to just blog about whatever you feel like. Even when given carte blanche like this, try to aim the blog post toward the blogger’s theme.

For example, when blogging for Sharon Hinck, I wrote about superheroes in my life since her theme is “The Superhero in all of us.” When blogging for Mary DeMuth, I wrote about authenticity since Mary’s blog is very authentic. I also managed to sneak in info on my writing and my books, since the blog tour is essentially to get the word out about you.

Try to keep your guest blog posts SHORT. I try to aim for 250 – 500 words. Do NOT run on for more than 750 words maximum, and only do that if the blogger has asked you to address several things in your blog post.

Scheduling:

Some blog tours schedule one person per day. Others let the blo…

Internet marketing – blog tours, part 4

Content, continued:

Interviews: The blogger emails you about 5 questions to answer. This enables the blogger to ask questions that tie in to their blog’s theme if they choose. For example, my blog is light, funny, and quirky, so I’ll ask quirky questions when I send interview questions.

Make sure that even if people ask the same questions, that you don’t just copy and paste answers. Make each answer original writing. If you can, give a different spin on the answers for each blog.

For example, I was often asked how I came up with the idea for the Sushi series. My answers from three different blogs is below:

From Robin Caroll's blog: What was your inspiration for Sushi for One?

I promise it wasn't my family! My grandma (and my parents, and my other relatives) are nothing like Grandma Sakai. GS was a conglomeration of stories I heard from friends about their parents/aunties/siblings/grandparents. Of course, once I had Grandma Sakai, what better than to pit her against Christian singl…

Internet marketing – blog tours, part 3

Content:

The best blog tours have completely original content on each and every blog.

You can have a blog tour where each person posts the same pre-written interview or just the blurb of the book and your bio, and those are still good blog tours because the large number of blogs that post about you and your book is still generating some internet buzz.

However, you ideally want an interesting, interactive blog tour, one where people will visit every single blog on the tour. For that to happen, you must have original content at each “stop.”

This requires pre-planning on your part. When you email your friends to ask them to be part of your blog tour, give them three options: to post a review, to post an interview with you (where they email you about 5 questions to answer), or to post a guest blog post written by you about whatever topic they prefer.

If you do your blog tour in conjunction with another group like the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, try to encourage people to email you to get …

Internet marketing – blog tours, part 2

Setting up a blog tour, continued:

Important etiquette: Generally, if someone agrees to be part of your blog tour, you are required to send them a free copy of your book to read.

If they want to give a copy away on their blog, then you provide another copy for them to give away. Another method is to have them email you the mailing address of the winner, and you can send the winner their copy directly.

Pictures: Make sure you send everyone .jpg files of your book cover and you so they can post it on their blog.

Central website: Mary DeMuth recently had a blog tour where she had a central website page that included everything for the tour. This is an excellent tool and I intend to use this next time. Her centralized website included:

--links to pictures that people could use
--book blurb and links to buy her book
--link to excerpt
--the Blog Tour Schedule
--canned interviews people could use
--links to examples of reviews and interviews
--detailed instructions and HTML code for those so inclined

Internet marketing – blog tours, part 1

Because of the nature of the web, blog tours have become an effective marketing tool. However, like most marketing strategies, it’s hard to quantify how effective it is in terms of sales.

Regardless, blog tours are low cost and get the word out (buzz) about you and your book, and that’s never a bad thing.

Also, if you’ve got a website contest going on, a blog tour is a great way to get the word out about it, because you can mention the contest at each blog on the tour.

Please use the following guidelines to help you schedule the time you’ll need for the blog tour. You’ll need time the month before the tour in setting it up (contacting people, writing guest blog posts or answering interview questions), and you’ll also need time during the tour to email reminders, to post the daily stops on the tour, to comment on each blog on the tour, and to correct any mis-posts.

Setting up a blog tour:

You can hire a publicity company to do this for you, or you can hire a virtual assistant privately to s…

THE SELF-SABOTAGING WRITER Part III

by Sara Mills from Double Crit editing service

Welcome back for the final installment of THE SELF-SABOTAGING WRITER. Today we’re going to use me and my writing as an example. A bad example.

In the first full-length novel I ever wrote, I had a lead character named Maggie. She was strong, she was tough, she was smart, she was sweet and she was beautiful. My critique partners called her Spy-Barbie.

SIGH.

It took me a while to understand why this was a bad thing.

Maggie was a perfect character. She was as plastic and fake as Malibu Barbie. She was the woman I want to be, with no faults, no vices and no warts.

She was possibly, the most boring character I have ever written. She never struggled with the choice between good and bad, she never woke up cranky in the morning and she could eat more than a starving truck driver and never get fat.

THAT IS JUST NOT POSSIBLE!! (Ahem, I may be over-reacting slightly to that last part. Moving on.)

No one could relate to Maggie because she was perfect …

THE SELF-SABOTAGING WRITER Part II

by Sara Mills from Double Crit editing service

I could have gone the rest of my life without knowing that.

Have you ever met someone who’s a chronic over-sharer? There are lots of people like that. People who feel the need to tell you more than you ever wanted to know about their life story.

Writers can do that too. They can bog the reader down in a character’s backstory explaining everything, from why they hate cheese to telling about the day they got their first bee sting. And it’s boring. All of it.

On the other hand, have you ever met one of those people who doesn’t burble out their life story in one sitting, but the few details that they do share are captivating. Like when they tell you about that time they were on a nuclear submarine in the Bering Sea… That makes me want to know more, how about you?
As a writer, you need to do the same thing.

It’s your job to make people long to hear the story you have to tell. You can’t do that when you toss in important facts about your c…

THE SELF-SABOTAGING WRITER Part I

by Sara Mills from Double Crit editing service

Self-sabotage. I’m not talking about ‘accidentally’ deleting your My Documents folder in a fit of post-critique frustration or sending a nasty email to an editor, I’m talking about writers unintentionally sabotaging their own stories. I’ve found three main things that writers do that works against them in their story.
The first one is letting the reader know what’s going to happen before it happens.
Have you ever watched a movie with a friend and it’s getting a little tense, the music is building and you’ve got that pillow ready just in case you need to cover your eyes, and then the friends bursts out with “He does it. Strangles her, but she’s not really dead. She’s going to shoot him and everyone lives happily ever after.”

SIGH. It’s like deflating a balloon. Pfftt, there goes the tension and it slides neatly into annoyance. I find that writers often do the same thing in their stories. They’ve got a nice mood going, some tension,…

Characterization and Garnishing

by Ronie Kendig from Double Crit editing service

My husband won a gift certificate to one of Dallas’ finest restaurants. They had a waiting list out the wazoo. We won’t mention the Lamborghinis or Ferraris at the valet parking (bet those attendants enjoyed their jobs!). Everything delivered to our table had the best presentation and garnishing, along with respect. All together, these finer elements made up the most impressive meal I’d ever had in my life.

We need to learn from the restaurant industry. We want our readers to go away satisfied, ready and willing to trust us as writers when our next book comes out. So, how do you garnish your story? How do you impress a satisfying story upon your reader? You start with your character, having interviewed them and defined their personality, you add quirks, obsessions, or paralyzing fears. These garnishings make your character tangible to your reader. That’s the sprig of parsley on your $100 steak, the shaving of chocolate on your tira misu.

I…

Characterization and Psychology

by Ronie Kendig from Double Crit editing service

Last time, we wrote about ice cream and characterization. Did I make you hungry for more (pun obviously intended)? Well, let’s feed that hunger with some healthy sustenance. Psychology—the protein of solid characterization. No, seriously. You heard me right. In order to write compelling characters, you need to have strength in the way you ‘draw’ them. You need to understand that character.

I understand people. Maybe it’s a gift, maybe it’s my degree. I’m often able to see past the action to the source that triggered the reaction. And that is exactly what we need to do in our writing. Scramble up some eggs, er emotion, and craft your character in a compelling way. Add some sausage (yeah, the artery-clogging stuff)—quirks—for flavor. Recently, I encountered a scene where I floundered, wondering what my heroine would do in response to a situation. Not knowing her well enough impeded the “feel” of that scene and made me realize I’d lost tou…

Characterization - Founder’s Favorite

by Ronie Kendig from Double Crit editing service

I love ice cream. Not just any ice cream. I’m addicted to Cold Stone—and not their plain Jane flavors. Mix it up. Make it unique. Founder’s Favorite blend with cheesecake ice cream instead of regular. And I’m just as picky when it comes to my characters. James Scott Bell in his book Plot & Structure says not to let your character “plop into your plot like plain vanilla.” If your reader does not care about your character, they won’t finish the story, which means that great scene you have planned for page fifty-seven will never get read. The most important part of any story is the character.

So, how do you make a Founder’s Favorite or a Strawberry-Banana Rendezvous? How does one get past blasé and thrill until the reader needs an oxygen mask? The key, of course, is your character. Have you interviewed your main character? Had a chat with her over a latte? Inquired about his relationship with his father over a juicy burger? No? Why not? …