Guest post by Linda Poitevin: Blog Tours 101 (part II)

Guest post by Linda Poitevin: Blog Tours 101 (part II): Working with an organizer.

The follow-up to Linda’s first guest post here on DCC! Linda Poitevin is the author of The Grigori Legacy, a new urban fantasy series from Ace Books. Book one is entitled SINS OF THE ANGELS and Book two is entitled SINS OF THE SON.

In her other life, Linda is wife, mother, friend, gardener, coffee snob, freelance writer, and zookeeper of too many pets.
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After setting up my own blog tour last year for my first book, Sins of the Angels, I decided that, to save time on my part, I would work with a tour organizer when book 2, Sins of the Son, came out in April. I’ve already written about my experience with setting up my own tour in Blog Tours 101: Setting up your own virtual book tour, and I thought some might find it interesting if I compared the two experiences. Here then, are my thoughts on working with an organizer:

Finding an organizer

At this stage in my career, finances are still very much a consideration when it comes to promotion and factored heavily in my Internet research of various companies and the plans they offered. I was looking for a basic tour organization that included a banner/button design that my tour hosts would be able to post on their sites. Eventually I narrowed my choices to a few smaller operations and then discovered that Parajunkee, one of my favorite paranormal book bloggers, had just started her own tour company. As a start-up, her rates were incredible and, as a successful member of the online paranormal book community, I figured she would have the connections I was looking for. We had a flurry of email exchanges and a contract was negotiated.

What I was looking for

I wanted this tour to be a little less intense than my last one, and so I asked Parajunkee to plan for six weeks, beginning one week before my launch and averaging three stops per week. This left a little wiggle-room for adding in last-minute hosts and/or switching dates if a conflict arose. I requested a return to some of the blogs that had hosted my first tour, along with a few new ones in a bid to reach new readers. As with my previous tour, I was looking for blogs that reviewed books in my genre (urban fantasy) with a minimum of 200 followers on a blog.

Staying organized

This was where hiring someone to do the legwork really paid off, because I didn’t have to do a thing. No emails or follow-ups with hosts, no spreadsheets, no tracking of any kind. Parajunkee took care of it all, creating and maintaining a spreadsheet and keeping my publicist at Penguin apprised of the details. She chased down hosts and handled all the scheduling, and once she had a complete list, simply let me know who wanted what from me (i.e. guest post vs. interview, etc.). She also took care of forwarding the finished posts to the blog hosts, so that she could keep track of what was still outstanding.

What I wish I’d done differently

While it was nice having someone setting up the tour, I must admit I had a hard time with letting go of the detail-keeping (it turns out I really am a control freak about some things ). In retrospect, I would have liked to have a weekly update from Parajunkee so that I could see how things were progressing; this would also have allowed me to get many of the posts/interviews done ahead of time so that I wasn’t having to write them after the tour was up and running.

I also needed to have communicated more clearly about reviews at the host blogs – while my Penguin publicist and I intended for each blog host to receive a review copy of Sins of the Son, Parajunkee understood that a review was one of the options (in lieu of an interview or guest post). That mistake on my part meant that I lost out on several opportunities to have the book reviewed, and also several opportunities to interact with readers at blogs that chose to review instead of having me as a guest. But live and learn, right?

What I am doing differently

At this point I remain undecided about how I’ll handle my next book tour. With my third novel , Sins of the Righteous, still at the work-in-progress stage, I have plenty of time to reflect on both of my previous online tour experiences. While I thoroughly enjoyed having someone else manage the time-consuming tasks of contacting and scheduling blog hosts, I also really missed that personal interaction with the hosts…that sense of human connection that can already be somewhat lacking in the virtual world. Now that I’ve had the experience of setting up my own tour once, I wonder if it might not be easier a second time around. I also wonder if I might not have rocks in my head for even considering taking on such a large project again. The jury is still out on that one.

Bottom line

Whether or not you should hire a tour organizer depends on a lot of different factors…and on personal choice. If you’re a hands-on kind of person, you might be better off managing your own details…or at the very least ensuring that you work with an organizer who understands your need to be kept in the loop at every step (Parajunkee was very patient with me, even though I think I drove her a little nuts on occasion!). If spreadsheets and scheduling aren’t your thing, however, a tour organizer can be a gift from heaven.

Time vs. organizational ability vs. money: only you, your wallet, and your agenda can determine what will work best for you.

Once again, feel free to ask questions—I’m happy to answer if I can!

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