As most of you know, we just finished up our Story Empire – Something Wicked, blog tour. This was a massive effort on our part, and many of you came along for the ride. Whether you followed in part, or made the whole route, we’re eternally grateful.
What some of you don’t know, is I made it a part of a longer tour for my story, Viral Blues. I published this one on Friday the 13th of September, for some extra juju. It has a Halloween theme, after all. Since that time, I’ve been all over the blog world with it.
Blog tours have always been a good sales tool for me, and this time was no different. I changed it up a bit, because I’m constantly experimenting. Normally, I wind up hitting two blogs per day for around two weeks. This generally works pretty well, but leaves my brain in recovery mode for months. This time I tried to hit one or two blogs per week and draw it out. The concentrated focus was for the Something Wicked tour, right before Halloween.
My results were… questionable. I found no more, or less, success than other tours I’ve conducted. If I experiment again, maybe I’ll spread even farther. Maybe a couple of stops per month for several months. That idea is still fermenting.
Like a good guest, I tried to return to all the posts and participate in the comment threads. I do this for three days in hopes of communicating with everyone. When I go back, I also use the sharing buttons again. Twitter will let you recycle from the site every day.
Hint: If you want to tweet more than that, you have to change the tweet in some way. I tag on my Twitter handle, both before and after the host’s. That gives me three different times I can share it per day. The original, me + them, them + me.
I also hosted multiple authors during my tour. October is a good time for book releases. When I host, I share the post to all my social media locations. Again, the twitter trick works by adding on the guest’s handle.
Hosting is a good way to grow your blog followers. Generally, a guest post is interesting, and interesting content is what it’s all about. Interaction is also paramount. A simple exchange of words can get people to follow you.
Make it easy for people to leave comments and share your posts. This helps both you, and your potential guest. There are multiple blogging platforms, but WordPress seems to be the most popular. Dig deep down into the innards of your site and make it simple for people to participate.
I’ve been to sites where I have to log in and enter my email address before commenting. As a guest, you can bet I’m going to do it. As a casual reader – not so much. I’ve even been to sites where I have to solve a Captcha before I can comment. I’m just not going to dedicate time to identifying highway signs. I’ll bet many of you feel the same way.
All of this stuff is changeable at your site. Askismet is great at catching spam, so let it do its job. I’ve only had one slip past, and it was easily deleted. I’ve been blogging for years, so the odds are pretty slim. The increase in communication is well worth the risk. It also makes things easier for my guests. Happy guests have a way of becoming hosts one day. I intend to keep writing books and am always looking for someplace new to spread the word. By making my space available, and a good experience, maybe those people will be there for me one day. That’s how it’s worked in the past.
I’ve rambled on for a while now, so a summation is in order:
Blog tours are great. They spread the word, they sell books, and are a good way to make new friends.
Being a guest involves a certain amount of participation. It’s your post, so this ought to be obvious. You’ll meet new people, maybe your next fan. Be nice to them.
Hosting is also great. Opening your site up gives you a break from having to come up with a post on occasion. Welcoming in your fellow authors gives them a place to promote, and God knows there aren’t enough free options available. You might also be grooming the future generation of hosts the next time you need to step out with a new publication.
In the spirit of interaction, let’s have some here today. What do you think about blog tours? Would you consider opening up your site to guests? Is there a specific reason you want people to log in before commenting on your site?