A while ago I put up a short post about blog book tours and a great site for getting more information about such. Since I know the site's creator (!hi Dani!), I decided to ask her a few questions and do a little interview about blog book tours on this blog!
Herewith are my questions and Dani's answers.
Ann: Tell us a little about yourself. And particularly, what do you like to read?
Dani: In a nutshell, I'm a middle-aged professional artist pursuing a writing life, because I have things to say that aren't so easily communicated in the visual arts. Most of what I write is non-fiction, so I do a huge amount of research and read enormous amounts of non-fiction, but for entertainment, nothing beats a good mystery. I read several a week. I also like historical novels, which I suppose is how we met, isn't it? You combined the two, very well I might add, and we became friends. Nothing hard to figure out there! And I like your heroine, Inez Stannert so much I even made socks for her. Did she show you?
Ann: Ah yes! Inez loves those socks ... they are "kindred spirits" to her green-striped stockings. But back to blog tours ... What inspired you to get involved in the world of blog book tours?
Dani: A few years ago, I went to the Women Writing the West conference. Didn't you drag me into that? No, that's not quite accurate. I appreciated having you as a pal to tag along with, and it made the conference much more enjoyable. I met some nice folks, and pitched some book ideas to a few agents and editors. But it didn't take long after that gathering for me to realize the industry model was absolutely NOT how I would spend my remaining life. In fact, I was so adamant that I would not travel to promote my book, would not do the airline routine, would absolutely not stay in those dreadful hotels with the ghastly air and eat who-knows-where-it-came-from foods... well, need I carry on? I actually stopped writing for a few months after that revelation.
Then I started hearing about virtual book tours, participated as a host for a few authors, and suddenly I saw a light at the end of the tunnel. There were other ways to promote books that were perhaps better than live tours, especially for someone who didn't like the travel routine to begin with. The more I investigated, the more I discovered that blog book tours were more sustainable any way you looked at them. So I've been promoting the idea with a vengeance ever since. I guess you can say I'm paving my own road for a possible future tour.
Ann: I see you also have a squidoo lens The Quickest Blog Book Tour
Guide Ever. Do you have other blogs/sites/groups that focus on the ins and outs of blog book touring that you'd like to tell us about?
Dani: Yes, I have an actual blog on which I host the occasional tour. I say "occasional" because they are very time-consuming not only for the author, but also for the host if they're done right. I run a Yahoo! Group that authors can join for further discussion and brainstorming, as well as to get help planning their own tours. I always encourage authors to go there and plan one tour for themselves, before they hire a professional service. Not that I have anything against that route; I just think it's a lot of money to spend when the author really needs to be involved with picking their host blogs. Not just any blog will do. The blogs need to have some relationship to the theme of the book. I've seen too many tours that made me wonder why a blog stop was chosen for that book—it simply didn't make sense. For example, Ann, you would want to choose blogs related to your historic timeline, Colorado, Victorian fashions and manners, mixed drinks, and poker, to name a few. A yoga blog would be ... confusing to the reader, to say the least. Right? Even if that blog had a thousand visitors a day and the author loved mysteries, it would be hard to justify, unless your character actually practiced yoga. Yet, I've seen this type of mismatch time and again.
Ann: Wow! Those are great ideas, thanks, Dani! (...Now where's a sticky note to write them down?) And good point about looking out for "mismatches." Now, is there an author you can point to an author who you feel has/have "mastered the art" of book touring via blogs?
Dani: Susan Wittig Albert. The woman is already planning her third tour and each one outdoes her previous tour! She has it all figured out. There are several wrap-up interviews with her at Blog Book Tours (http://blogbooktours.blogspot.com) that are worth a read.
Ann: What's the *most interesting* question you've seen asked in such a tour?
Dani: Well, it depends entirely on the book's subject. I have a running Google Alert for blog book tours, so pick them all up. There are various techniques to make your blog book tour more interesting. I like "pretend" interviews with a book's protagonists Those are fun. I always like to hear what an author's spouse has to say about the writing process. And I especially love the Page 69 and Page 99 book reviews which do exactly what you think they do - look at those pages in the novel and discuss them.
Ann: Words of advice/encouragement to those who've never tried a blog book tour and are hesitant?
Dani: First, have a really good blog of your own. Then start cyber-schmoozing and investigating other blogs that might be potential hosts, and give yourself months to do this. Enjoy this part of the process because it's socializing for a very good cause – your book. Also, follow some other blog book tours to see what techniques you
like. Then start thinking about how you would like a tour for your next book to look. You can have one before or after a live tour, or as a standalone tour, but keep in mind that you'll spend an enormous amount of time on a virtual tour. Not as much money and not as much travel, but still a lot of time. But it has definite benefits, not the least of which the fact that your tour will be online forever. In a live tour, here today, gone tomorrow. So the concept is very worth considering. Enjoy a live tour as long as there's petrol, but start easing into other promotion methods now. I don't think it can be avoided anyway. As the saying goes, forewarned is forearmed. And, for crying out loud, get your publishers to help you in some way. Give them these links so they can get up to speed on blog book tours and know how hard you're working. Get them to give you books for the blog hosts and for drawings, too. They can spring for that part of the expense, and most won't squawk. Finally, make sure they have a blog that will host their authors, as well as other blog hosts that they've pre-qualified for you. Everyone will benefit from that bit of teamwork, especially the readers.
So, Ann... when's your first tour? ;)
Ann: Hey, I'm asking the questions here. ;-) In any case, I'm convinced: for the next book, I'll definitely add a blog tour to the mix. Thank you, Dani, for sharing your time, your enthusiasm, and your expertise!
For more information, see
A quick note to readers et al: I will be taking up a different identity as a Girl Scout camp staffer for the next week-and-a-half ... No computers, no cell phone reception, way out in the back of beyond! So, no Monday post from me next week. I'll return on August 4.