On Marketing Your Book with Blog Swaps & Blog Tours

The following is taken from a project that I’ve been working on at my job. It is part of a resource for authors to use upon the release of their book into the marketplace. But this post is applicable to anyone looking to grow their platform. Enjoy!

Perhaps you have a blog of your own. Here are a couple of ways you can use it:

A blog swap works just like it sounds. Contact a fellow blogger and trade posts. You send a post to them to put up on their site and they send you a post to put up on your blog. This gets your writing in front of their readers and vice-versa. Everyone wins.

blog_swaps_and_blog_toursA blog tour amplifies the effects of a blog swap, and a successful one is months in the making. Where blog swaps are reciprocal, blog tours don’t have to be. Basically, it is a virtual book tour that takes your writing to new audiences on new blogs. You will be sending content (a post, an interview, etc.) to a number of blogs for them to post, then you direct your readers to their blogs. You are basically trading exposure for the participating blogs. The tour can cover any amount of time that you decide.

First, make a list of bloggers whose content would lend itself to your audience and where you can write something that will appeal to their audience. For example, you may want to write a lighthearted post for a blogger who typically writes humorous posts, but you may want to share your writing process on a blog that appeals to a more literary audience. Your goal is to convince the readers of other blogs that they want to read what you’ve written.

You will need to decide for yourself which blogs you will approach. Some authors may focus on only those blogs with large readership. Others may be willing to focus on a more grassroots effort and focus on smaller blogs. To generate the list of bloggers you will ask to feature you in a blog tour, go to the blogs that you read first, ask your Facebook friends who blog, and work out to their connected blogs as long as you think your writing and their readership are a good fit.

I am raising a book lover.

My wife and my youngest daughter are recovering from a cold at the moment. My oldest daughter brought the disease home with her from preschool (we think) about a week ago and it has been cycling through the family. At the moment, I have yet to get sick, but I’m not holding my breath that I won’t.

All that to say that my eldest daughter and I went to church on Sunday by ourselves. Since one-on-one church time is rare as we normally attend family-style, my daughter was a bit more interactive than she would otherwise have been.

The sermon was an introduction to a series about why people attend church, and the pastor asked some questions to the parish and encouraged us to speak up with our answers. To the question, “What is something you like about coming to church?” most people gave the answers that you would expect to hear in church:

  • I like learning about God.
  • I like worship.
  • I enjoy giving back.
  • And so on.

My own answer wasn’t as spiritual, but it was honest. I like going to church to see my friends and to see what is going on in their lives. (Not that I don’t like those other things too, but I knew that other people would say those things.)

I asked my eldest what she liked about coming to church and she answered, “I like that there are books here.” So even if she isn’t spiritually-minded yet, at least she appreciates a place that provides books to read.

And since books are kind of a big thing in Christianity (John 1:1), I don’t think she’s that far off.

Friday 5 | Click-worthy Links

Wireless Computer Mouse with Wheel

Here are 5 more places online worth checking out:

  1. Sometimes, you just need a good info-graphic to tell you how deep the earth is.
  2. Have you ever wanted to make fake books and leave them strewn about a real bookstore for unsuspecting patrons to fine? Well, this guy beat you to it.
  3. Shout out to North Carolina! Where it is completely legal to bare your good out your front door because you are on your own property. On a scale of one to America, how free are you today?
  4. When Terry Pratchett fans are also web geeks, the result is a beautiful homage to Pratchett’s profound genius.
  5. I don’t know if you are a fan of exploration stories, but some folks just found a 100-year-old journal from an Antarctic expedition. My favorite part of the story is that there is a real place named “Inexpressible Island”.

Enjoy!

My wife is my St. Hilda.

Yesterday, on Sheridan Voysey’s blog, I read this story about St. Hilda, an English saint from the 7th century. In the story, a farmer named Caedmon had a dream that a man told him to sing a song about Creation, but since he was a farmer and not a singer, he refused. But upon further prompting, Caedmon did write a song.

St. Hilda with Caedmon

St. Hilda with Caedmon

When he woke up, he remembered the song and told his foreman about the dream. The foreman took him to St. Hilda, who treated Caedmon with respect, tested his calling toward song-writing, and became his patron, enabling him to pursue his calling.

The thrust of Voysey’s post was that each of us have a calling to use our talents for God, but sometimes we need a St. Hilda in our life in order to help us see that.

When I began writing, my wife was my biggest champion. I am, at best, an enthusiastic amateur when it comes to the written word. But when I told my wife that I wanted to write, she didn’t laugh; she offered to read my stuff.

I started writing quirky stories about a squirrel and his invisible roommate. She encouraged me to continue. I joined a writer’s group. She gave me the time I needed. I participated in a 3-day novel-writing contest, and she helped me develop ideas for my book.

DeAnne has been with me and my writing career from the beginning. She has helped make my dreams into realities. My wife is my St. Hilda.

Icebreaker #5 | What’s your favorite type of sandwich?

This is the fifth installment of my Icebreaker series. The ice is practically a slushy now. (For further reading, feel free to brush up on the rest of the posts on this blog. There are a few.)

What’s your favorite type of sandwich?

This may well be the hardest question on the list.

I enjoy the classics, so Peanut Butter and Jelly (Strawberry) is near the top of the list. They are simple to make, combine a salty with a sweet, and take me back to the cuisine of yesteryear. I especially like them with my wife’s homemade strawberry jam and real peanut butter (just ground up peanuts and sea salt, thankyouverymuch) on a fresh white bread (ideally, also homemade, but who has the time for that?). These, I cut horizontally.

But I’m probably a bigger fan a good roast beef sandwich, loaded up with meat, provolone cheese, tomato slices, and mayo. On a fresh and nutty whole grain bread, of course. These, I cut diagonally.

Don’t ask me why I change directions based on the type of sandwich. I’m sure you have quirks too.

But let’s just be honest, is there a better sandwich than an ice cream sandwich? No. There is not. Mmmmm.

ice_cream_sandwich

If I were the last man on earth…

My wife and I aren’t big television watchers. In fact, we had to think for a few minutes the other day on whether we actually still owned a TV or not (We do, by the way. It is upstairs in the room that is too cold in the winter and too hot in summer and neither of us think it is actually plugged in.).

"The Last Man On Earth" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia

“The Last Man On Earth” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia

But I’d been hearing some online buzz about the new FOX show starring Will Forte, The Last Man on Earth.

If you haven’t seen any episodes, stop reading my blog this instant and go watch some.

Okay, now that you are probably all caught up, let’s talk for a few minutes about what my wife or I would do if we were the last person(s) on earth.

I asked my beautiful wife, DeAnne, what she would do in that situation (she was mortified, by the way, by just about everything Forte’s character does on the show). At first, she gave me a sad answer about how eventually, she would stop eating and waste away for lack of human contact. What a downer! But then the truth came out.

She would try on wedding dresses. Hundreds and hundreds of wedding dresses. And with no one there to judge her or stop her, she would wear them everyday. Heck, if I were the last man on earth, I might try one on too, just for the fun of it.

Also, she would clean. She would clean everyone’s house (much like Wall-E did in the Pixar film of the same name). Except for the ironing. If anything needed ironed, she would just burn it. My wife isn’t big on ironing unnecessarily.

When she asked me what I would do, I told her that I would probably rifle through everyone’s stuff, just to see what they have and/or are hiding. I don’t think I’d do this to family members or close friends whose secrets I would want to leave alone, but everyone else is fair game. Also, I cannot tell you how much junk food I would eat if no one were around to stop me.

I would probably die an embarrassing death all alone by choking on Oreos (since I wouldn’t have any fresh milk to wash it down), but what a life I would have led; fat on secrets and junk food.

What would you do if you were the last person on earth?

Last-Man-on-Earth-Will-Forte