Although my ultimate goal in life is to be the second coming of J.K. Rowling, I am currently only known for my efforts at blogging--both as the fearless manager of this here Project Mayhem, as well as the Don's reluctant sidekick at Middle Grade Mafioso. As such, I often get invitations from both authors and publicists to review books or to take part in blog tours.
In my first flush on enthusiasm, back in 2010, I would often jump at every chance. No request for a review was turned down; no blog tour ignored. It got to the point where blogging was becoming a full time job--except I was unpaid and my own novel writing was being shoved on a shelf to look pretty and sparkly and very obviously untouched. Something had to give.
As a result, I have now become exceedingly picky in accepting requests. (In fact, I feel a bit like an agent winnowing her query list and only showing interest in topics she really loves.) As for blog tours, I will take them on--on one condition: they are well-run, and I pretty much have to do no heavy lifting.
One of the best blog tours I have participated in recently was Jennifer Lynn Alvarez's cover reveal for book three of her Guardian Herd series--LANDFALL. Let me break down what Jennifer did that made it so easy for me to say yes.
- She contacted me early, about five weeks before the blog tour was set to start. In her email, she showed familiarity with my blog, and addressed me by name. I therefore knew I wasn't part of a mass mailing--a technique which always makes me feel good.
- She told me the dates of the blog tour, and asked for my top two tour dates.
- She offered a selection of articles I could use in the blog tour: an interview with the illustrator, or an interview with the voice actor in the audiobook version, or a fan art showcase. (In other words, Ms. Alvarez was producing the content, which is balm to a busy blogger's weary soul.)
- To sweeten the deal, she included a swag pack I could give as a prize to a "winner" on my blog.
- She promptly and professionally emailed me everything I requested, as well as links to her social media, and sent jpegs I could use in my post, as well as links about where to buy her books.
- On the day of my post, she went on social media (Facebook and Twitter) and drew attention to my post. As a result, I had huge blog traffic on that day, along with many new commenters. She retweeted my own tweets, creating a pleasant buzz around the event.
- After the blog tour had ended, she sent a very kind email thanking me for my hard work, and telling me she was looking forward to sending the prize pack to my winner, once I had one. (This reminded me that I actually needed to pick a winner.)
The thing is, I had not heard of the GUARDIAN HERD series before Ms. Alvarez contacted me. But you can bet your bottom dollar I'm a fan now, given that the author was so pleasant, personable, and professional. In fact, I'm linking to the original blog tour post, so you can see for yourself what a great cover Book 3: LANDFALL has, and read about David McClellan, the wonderful illustrator who created it.
Let me know if there are other things which make it easier for you to take on blog tours. And let me know if you, or a young reader in your life, has read the GUARDIAN HERD books! I'd love to know what you think.