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Blog Tours: A Primer for Bloggers

Back in March, we tackled the topic of planning blog tours from the perspective of the author. If you have a book to promote (or, if you’ve never heard of a blog tour), you should definitely check out that post for the scoop on the basics of blog touring! This post, on the other hand, is geared toward bloggers who are interested in hosting blog tours. If you have a blog (and, if you’re an author, you should) the following should get you started with hosting your first tour!

Blog Tours for the Blogger

Why should I host a blog tour?

  1. Blog tours bring traffic and add content to your blog. What blog owner can say no to that? Make sure your blog is in tip-top shape, and you’re bound to gain a few new followers!
  2. Blog tours help a fellow indie author. As as all know, self-publishing is a long, hard road. Hosting a touree helps them on their way to success (and, hey, maybe they’ll host you when your book is released)!
  3. Blog tours support self-publishing. We’ve talked a lot recently about getting involved in the online writing community and supporting indie authors, and promoting an indie book on your blog is a great way to do just that.

How do I find authors to host for a tour?

  1. Check out TLC Book Tours’ page ‘Be a Tour Host.’ You can add your blog information and wait for authors to contact you to schedule a stop.
  2. Create a ‘Hosting Blog Tours’ page for your blog. Include any genres you’re willing to host, how much lead time (advance notice) you’ll need, what types of content you’re willing to use (interview, guest post, etc) and a contact form or e-mail address so authors can easily get in touch with you.
  3. Ask on Facebook and Twitter. Post a message saying that you’re looking to host authors for a blog tour with a link to the details page on your website. On Twitter, be sure to use the #writing, #amwriting or #selfpub hashtags to ensure you’re getting the maximum exposure!

What do I do when I’m contacted by an author for a tour stop?

Check out the author’s work and be sure they’re a good match for your blog. If the genre isn’t one you care for or are comfortable with, you’re totally within your right to politely decline. It is better for the author in the long run anyway, because s/he definitely wants tour hosts who are enthusiastic about their work and genre. If you like what you read, write them back and tell them you’re in!

If they didn’t provide the following information in their original request, make sure you find out:

  • The dates they’re planning on holding the blog tour.
  • What other blogs are involved and what content they plan on hosting.
  • If they have a proposed type of tour content for your blog, or if they’d prefer you to suggest one.
  • Any links to include in your content, including a link to purchase their book, a link to their website, social media links, etc.
  • Whether they have an official author photo to use on the post. Also ask for a high-resolution .jpg of their book cover!
  • Do they have a blog tour page on their website? This is a page that includes links to all of the stops on the tour and is often linked-to in each tour stop’s content.

How do I structure my blog tour content?

This is totally dependent upon what type of content you’re hosting, but no matter whether it’s a review, Q&A, guest post, podcast or something else, be sure to include the author’s links and photos in the post. Also include a link back to the author’s blog tour page (if they have one) and consider adding a link to the previous and next stops on the tour.

How do I market a blog tour stop?

  • On your blog: on the last post before your blog tour post, be sure to add a special note about the blog tour. Also consider sending out a special note to your mailing list about the author, their book, and their tour!
  • Twitter. Ask the author if there are any special hashtags they’re using to promote their book or blog tour. Be sure to include these in your tweets as well as any other topical hashtags (#writing or #chicklit or #scifi, etc). Be sure to tweet about the stop throughout the entire week, not just on the day of your stop!
  • Facebook. Post links to the author’s stops throughout the week on your Facebook page and be sure to ‘Like’ or comment on any posts the author makes on their page.
  • Comment. Visit each of the other stops on the author’s tour and post a comment about that stop’s content. Be sure to mention your upcoming content and leave a link to your website!

What else should I keep in mind?

  • Hosting a blog tour brings visitors! Be sure your blog’s ‘About Me’ page is updated. If you have a blog schedule, be sure to include it in the sidebar so new visitors know what your general content type is. Also consider creating a special page just for new visitors containing some of your most popular/favorite posts as well as ways to subscribe to your content.
  • Don’t hijack the opportunity and market yourself. The tour is a great way to bring traffic to your site, but be sure to keep the focus on the author as much as possible. This is their week to celebrate their book!

Talk Back

Have you hosted a blog tour? Have you been ON a blog tour? What additional advice, tips and tricks do you have for bloggers looking to host a blog tour? Let us know in the comments!