Check List for Organizing a Blog Tour— Preplanning
Over my six years of blogging, I have taken part in a lot of blog and book tours as well as hosted my own blog "events". Through all of this, I have seen what sort of pitfalls there are and where tours can be simplified.
Below is the first part of my "check list", with tips for how to make this process your own.
Every tour starts here. You decide the idea that a tour might be fun and could help draw traffic to your site. But then you have to actually plan it. Overtime, you will learn which of these options you prefer, but this list should get you started.
With this type of tour, you aren't the only author involved. Promotional material will include not only information about you and your books, but that of the other authors' as well.
This form of tour can be done with only the authors involved as blog hosts, or it can also include fans. However, the main push of advertising will come from the authors, as their names are what will draw interested readers. These tours are mainly about sharing platforms and fans rather than pulling in outside readers.
-Fan Hosted Tour
While a fan hosted tour can also have other authors as blog hosts, the sole focus is on one author and their book(s). While you will need to promote the tour yourself, the main advertising will come from the bloggers taking part.
These tours are meant for drawing in new readers and using the bloggers' influence to reach new people.
You might be tempted to do another portion of this list first— don't. People need to know upfront what dates you are planning to hold the tour so that they can determine whether or not it will work into their own schedules. Should that date conflict for most of the people whom you talk to, at that point you can reschedule.
-Single Day Tour
These are great for when you have a small window of time to promote, or you want to have a lot of people talking about your book at the same time. Tours like this are best for important marketing dates such as the first day of pre-release sales and release day.
Tours spread over multiple days are best for longer term marketing. They spread out mentions of your book, so that readers see the book cover over a longer period of time.
These tours also allow for greater social media sharing and work well when paired with a giveaway. They should probably last no longer than about a week and a half, as after that people are less likely to click on the associated tour links.
The best way to do this is to ask people. For a joint tour*, you will need to start with a theme that unites the books (genre, message, cute sidekicks, ect) and then compile a list of authors who are releasing or have recently released a compatible story. Shoot these people an email or social media message, filling them in on the details you have (schedule, other hosts, theme) and ask if they would like to participate.
When contacting people for the purpose of a tour, it is always best to start with those whom you have interacted with in the past either online or in person. If you don't know the individual, make sure to provide evidence that you are a real person (i.e. active social media profiles, website, ect.)
Another option is to write a social media or blog post, seeking individuals to take part. This will be more effective the larger your own platform is. If your platform is smaller, I would recommend doing this along with the above. And try to be realistic if you contact people. Smaller, less known authors shouldn't expect responses from popular bloggers or authors whom they don't already know.
* As a note, I am not a published author and have thus never run a joint tour. However, I have hosted events on my blog where I invited authors to guest post and do a giveaway. Most of those whom I contacted responded positively and agreed to join. For many authors, it is a relief to have someone offer them free marketing like this.
I put this after finding hosts because it is an optional step, however it is one that I have found particularly helpful. Even if you email someone to ask for their participation, a form will help you collect all necessary information as well as reiterate what you are planning for the tour. Below is a list of what you could decide to ask for:
1) First and Last Name
4) Social Media
5) Days they wish to post (if a multi-day tour)
6) What book they wish to promote (if a joint tour)
7) If they wish to contribute to a giveaway (if a joint tour)
There could, of course, be other information that you decide you need, but this list is a starting point. Google Forms is a great, free way to create one of these sign-up forms, though there are other options out there.