A Buck Can Buy a Lot in the Blogosphere

When a new title arrives from a big publishing house, the ad usually includes a phrase like, “Available wherever books are sold.”

The phrase doesn’t mean what it once meant. With Borders shuttered and simple self-publishing tools available for any writer, the “place where books are sold” is online, and the store never closes.

This is a challenge and an opportunity. Absent a huge advertising budget, and without help from a snazzy PR firm, self-publishers – who usually have day jobs – have two puzzles to solve: how to find readers, and then how to engage them.

Success requires high and low-tech communications – Facebook posts and face-to-face appearances, Twitter and T-shirts, YouTube and the more personal, “Hey, you! Please buy my book.”

There is also the blog tour. This hybrid is possible because someone thought to toss new technology and old-fashioned messaging into the PR blender. Emlyn Chand of Novel Publicity describes the blog tour as a period of intense online publicity.

“Instead of travelling to New York, LA or Chicago to promote your book in person, your book travels for you while you remain in the comfort of your own home,” she says.

You can set up the tour yourself, or hire someone to make the travel plans. On Aug. 17, I’ll be joining author Terri Long (In Leah’s Wake) and a few other authors for a one-day version of the blog tour called, “Bestseller for a Day.”

Terri is featured on this one; the rest of us are along for the ride. Best part? Five books, including Bella, are temporarily available for 99 cents each. (Bella would recoil at the notion that she’s somehow become cheap.) Click here to visit the promo page.

While there, please check out the work of my esteemed colleagues: Chelsea Fine (Sophie and Carter); Melissa Foster (Chasing Amanda), and Sean Keefer (The Trust).

I’ll let you know how this turns out, but in the meantime would love to hear other authors’ stories about travels through the blogosphere.

 

17 Comments so far »

  1. Sean K said,

    Wrote on August 14, 2011 @ 7:25 pm

    Thanks for mentioning me. Not having a large publisher I’ve done the lions share of the marketing for The Trust. I had a great experience with a blog tour. I believe the more things you do to market your book the more chances you have to promote it.

    [Reply]

    stevepiacente Reply:

    Hey, Sean, agreed! I’m in the same boat and have the found the toughest challenge is knowing when to call it a day…

    [Reply]

  2. Tom Kepler said,

    Wrote on August 14, 2011 @ 7:59 pm

    My virtual tour did not result in a lot of sales but did produce good contacts and some great reviews to use in promotion.

    I believe I’ll be more knowledgeable when my next novel comes out.

    http://www.tomkeplerswritingblog.com/p/love-ya-like-sister.html

    [Reply]

    stevepiacente Reply:

    Thanks, Tom, success isn’t always measure strictly by sales. Reviews and experience count for a lot.

    [Reply]

  3. Deb Hockenberry said,

    Wrote on August 14, 2011 @ 8:02 pm

    Hi Steve,
    I can’t speak as an author that’s had a VBT (sorry). I’ve been a stop on a couple of virtual blog (or book) tours now. The ones I’ve been part of have been for children’s book but I’ve just signed up to be a stop for books written for adults too. I’ve found out from other authors that these really do work. The more stops you have, the more free publicity you get.

    [Reply]

  4. My Life. One Story at a Time. said,

    Wrote on August 14, 2011 @ 8:05 pm

    I am participating in a blog tour with Melissa Foster in September as a book reviewer. I’ve done several and as Christine Nolfi put it (not exact words) sales climbed on the days of reviews.

    [Reply]

    stevepiacente Reply:

    Seems to make sense, Deb. I’ll have more to say after Wednesday’s one-day tour.

    [Reply]

  5. Shawn Lamb said,

    Wrote on August 14, 2011 @ 10:13 pm

    I did a one day blog tour on the advice of my publicist even though I didn’t know what it was. There were 40 stops! I will never do that type of blog tour again – too exhausting and unyielding in scope for an author to deal with.

    There are different types of blog tours. Research and find the one most suited to your book and what you’re comfortable with.

    [Reply]

    stevepiacente Reply:

    Good insight, Shawn, thanks for sharing!

    [Reply]

  6. Chelsea Fine said,

    Wrote on August 15, 2011 @ 2:23 am

    Hi Steve! I’m so excited for the Bestseller For a Day event this Wednesday, and am honored to participate alongside you! 🙂

    [Reply]

    stevepiacente Reply:

    Thanks, Chels, the honor is mine!

    [Reply]

  7. Jenny Milchman said,

    Wrote on August 15, 2011 @ 6:28 am

    Even if you do have a big publisher, a lot of marketing muscle falls on the author. I think blog tours and joint posts are a great approach to net marketing. I also like how you emphasize good old F2F events.

    [Reply]

    stevepiacente Reply:

    Thanks, Jen, we’ll be looking for a firsthand account once your novel is published by Ballantine!

    [Reply]

  8. Debra Brown said,

    Wrote on August 15, 2011 @ 7:36 am

    What I have liked most about being part of a blog tour are the wonderful comments from those who have read an excerpt or looked around the blog. It feels great to hear that people appreciate what I’ve done.

    [Reply]

    stevepiacente Reply:

    Right, Debra, it’s very gratifying to know someone is actually listening.

    [Reply]

  9. Terri Giuliano Long said,

    Wrote on August 15, 2011 @ 1:19 pm

    Hi Steve,

    It’s such an honor to participate in this Indie Book Collective promotion with you, Sean, Chelsea and Melissa – four amazing authors with phenomenal books! You guys rock!!

    Marketing is tough, especially for small publishers and indies. You try a lot of things; some stick, others don’t. At the end of the day, it’s about recognition, people hearing about your book, so the more you do the better off you are. That’s been my experience, anyway.

    I’ve been blessed to work with Emlyn/Novel Publicity and the Indie Book Collective. They’ve supported me and really spread the word. Of course it’s also about all of us authors working together, supporting one another.

    Thank you, Steve, for all you do! I truly am thrilled to be bundled with the four of you!! Let’s go get ’em on Wednesday!!

    [Reply]

    stevepiacente Reply:

    You’ve put a lot of work into this, Terri; I’m sure it will pay off. As for marketing, I agree that you increase the odds by doing more, and by doing it creatively.

    [Reply]

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