Tour book companies: Host them before you hire them!

Source: depositphotos.com
Source: depositphotos.com

Okay, your manuscript is complete, edited and proofread, and a launching date is dancing in your head. Bravo! In the meantime (hopefully) you’ve spent serious time building your platform. You’ve connected with like-minded authors, hosted them in your blog, made use of “pay it forward” in the most generous way since you still have no wares to hawk, and you know that these kind people will be more than happy to help you when your time in the spotlight comes. But will that spotlight shed enough light on you?

Unless you’ve been extremely lucky to have a big name, same-genre author with a massive following at your beck and call, most likely, you’ve connected with talented but recently published or aspiring authors, who, like you, have been seeking information on how to build an author platform on solid foundation.

I have made wonderful friends these past ten months, and they are more than willing to host the upcoming cover reveal for Fate Accompli, my debut novel, but only two of these nice and generous friends are established romance writers with a specific genre following. How much can I rely on my fantasy/paranormal/thriller/horror friends’ readers taking more than a cursory look at a book that’s been meticulously branded as a contemporary romance?

On the other hand, being active on Goodreads, I know there are dozens of hyper-active bloggers who promote and review books in my genre. But they’re not writers. I can’t say, “Hi! Your book sounds interesting. Hop on my blog for a nice WIP interview,” and connect. I tried connecting through Twitter or Facebook, but this was time consuming, and I didn’t feel it got me anywhere.

Enter virtual book tour companies. These companies thrive on bloggers, and bloggers feast on them. The tour operators need their clients’ book to get as many stops on the tour as possible (or as many as the plan the client has purchased allows) and the bloggers are reading addicts who need tons of books that they couldn’t possibly afford to pay to curb their “need for read”. (I say that in the best possible way as I’m just like that.)

What I suggest, if you’re a blogger/soon-to-be-published writer/reader like me, is to search for book tour companies in your genre and sign up as a blog host before hiring them. Check out the advantages:

  • You instantly become part of their entire bloggers’ network
  • You get easier access to other bloggers’ sites through commenting on posts regarding a book you also hosted
  • Other bloggers, doing the book tour rounds, will stop at your blog and connect.
  • You get more traffic on your own blog.
  • You get to check out soon-to-be-released books of your genre and also gauge the competition.
  • You can get tons of free books that you choose to review or promote on your blog.
  • Through reviewing you connect with same-genre authors (all authors love to connect with readers who spent time reading and reviewing their books).

and last but not least…

  • You evaluate the book tour company’s services (how many bloggers sign up, how responsive they are, the quality of the material sent to you) BEFORE you hand them your good money to promote your book.

I’ve been hosting for some months now, more actively during the summer, and my experience can only be described as positive. First off, I got to read Truly, Ruthie Knox’s new contemporary romance for FREE! (Sorry, that had to top my list as I’m a huge Ruthie Knox fan.) I’ve connected with bloggers, and I feel that when they see me coming out as an author, they’ll be inclined to pick up my book and blog about it. I’ve connected with the book tour operators on a personal level, and I feel more confident approaching them as a client. I read six free books in August alone! Need I say more?

Actually, I do. How do you go about finding virtual book tour companies? Here are some suggestions:

  • Google them. E.g. “science fiction virtual book tours”. You will get results.
  • Ask same-genre authors for suggestions.
  • Join Facebook or Goodreads groups on your genre and ask the members directly.
  • Ask a company that focuses on a different genre to suggest a promoter that accepts yours. They are well connected.

Important notice: Always check a site’s Alexa ranking before doing business with them. For more on that, read Effosyni Moschoudi’s post: Do you check with Alexa before parting with your money? Solid advice there!

If you’re a romance writer, I recommend the following companies for which I’ve hosted (random order).

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Since you’ve come this far, see if these blog posts are helpful:

When beta readers come with an agenda

5 ways new writers can chase away potential readers

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Too tired to write? (Reblogged – original by Kevin M. Jackson)

Image - bigstockphoto.com
Image – bigstockphoto.com

Now, there’s a title that resonates with me! The only state I can write in is when I feel awake, alert, alive! But lately, that hasn’t been me… The image on the left is me (okay, younger and darker). So whenever I see a post with ideas about writing when you feel anything but, I devour it! And know this: whoever writes a similar post, I’ll instantly reblog for my amazing 2,500 followers, unless instructed otherwise.

Kevin M. Jackson, author of two bestselling sonnet collections, For Life With Love and Disturbed Solitude, and the fantasy novel Storytale, gives interesting and doable options for punching those keys through the haze of your mind. I usually go for option two, that’s why I never have a zero draft stage. My draft might be puny in terms of word count, but very readable. Here’s Kevin’s article in its entirety, reblogged by permission of the author.

Too Tired to Write?

by kevinmjackson

The other night, maybe a couple weeks ago now, I sent out a tweet (@KMJacksonAuthor), asking if anybody ever sits down to write feeling too exhausted to actually write. On that night, I was. Working a nine-to-five to afford being alive and with a busy personal life, many nights come where I am far too tired to write. Do you want to know what I do? I write anyway. I’m currently in the middle of writing my fourth full-length novel, and I can’t fall asleep at night unless I’ve added to the word count.

When you do feel too tired to write, you may want to choose one of the ideas I have here.

One option is to take the night off and get a full night of rest. If you’re writing like me, at night after a long day of work and other activities, a good night of sleep will serve well for your primary job and set you up for a strong night of writing that following night. Also, when you think of writing as a second job, if you had a more typical second job, would you really be scheduled to work seven nights a week? Overall, I don’t like this option because I’m obsessed with writing daily.

Another option is to not start adding to your story right when you sit down but go through what you’ve recently written, consider where your characters are taking you, play with a few future scenes, recheck where you are in the story, then proceed with new words. I would consider this gearing up to write. With this scenario, you’re tired and would rather go to bed, but open your document anyway. As you start to look through your story and play out coming events, your mind starts rolling on your work, and you forget about ever being tired. This is my option of choice.

Better yet, grab a cup of joe and give it a go! (I may have just made up that little rhyme, so for now, it’s a nickel to use it.) Not into coffee? Grab some (caffeinated) morning tea or chocolate or a glass of Mountain Dew, whatever gives your mind a quick jolt. You could always combine this with the second option above.

So those are my only suggestions for now. I’d love to hear what some of you fellow writers do when you drag yourself to the computer and flop your head in your hand, thinking, do I really have to write right now? If I think of a few other ideas, then I will make a second blog on this topic.

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Please leave your comments on the original post’s page, here. Thanks for reading!

 

The 4 elements of a click-worthy title

golden 100

Hurrah! This is my 100th blog post, so I thought I’d apply myself a little more with a shareable post!

Back to the title of the post: I tried what I preach with it. (Okay, aiming for a pun, I almost wrote “Headlines: your head is in the line”, which would be a tad over-reaching.) Nevertheless, the point is that if the title of your post, article or even your tweet is blah no one will turn their head your way (there I go again). I might lack experience, but I always count on my instinct and empathy skills. So, in order to turn the headline “skimmer” into an actual reader of my content, I try to think beyond of a summary of what my post contains. I try to create a title that resonates and attracts.

But if we were to put that in a title how would it read?

As the excellent article on copyblogger, entitled Writing Headlines That Get Results suggests, one of The Four U’s of writing headlines is Be Useful To The Reader. Before choosing a title, think: What will the reader gain from reading it? I tried this with my “5 Ways New Writers Chase Away Potential Readers” blog post which has proved to be my most successful so far with over 1,000 views in two days and 70+ comments (okay, there’s also spam I have yet to delete–but a spam-attracting post is a successful post!). I’m not a big name. I don’t have impressive credentials. So, if so many people made it to my actual blog, they must have clicked on the title after seeing it on some of the social media platforms I use, or (most likely) through retweets by friends with a bigger following.

I hope I’ve managed to convince you that the title was definitely catchy and click-worthy. What made it so?

  • It starts with a number. 5 ways. A number always presents something concrete. That’s always appealing. But it’s also a low number. I’ve often come across headlines boasting of showing you “50 ways” to overcome an obstacle. Way too many ways for the impatient reader! Can I tell you a secret? My 5 ways article refers to a lot more than five erroneous tactics new writers tend to follow. But I rounded these up into 5 broad categories, which allowed me to use the number “5” instead of a bigger number which might have discouraged people from taking the time to read. In other words: Be succinct.
  • It brands the target audience. 5 ways new writers. New writers were indeed the majority of the readers of this post, but also experienced writers were interested, as they wanted to see if they had followed these tactics themselves when they started out. In other words: Be focused.
  • It hits the target audience were it hurts–excuse the poignancy, but “chasing away potential readers” is the one thing a new writer would want to avoid at all costs. The whole idea of self-publishing and promoting your book is to “attract” as many readers as possible. And here I am, telling you that you might be doing the exact opposite! Wouldn’t that intrigue you to see if I’m right? (Of course, the idea that I might be seen as overstepping my boundaries since I’m not published worried me, so I started the article by clarifying that I was writing from a seasoned reader’s perspective.) In other words: (Don’t be afraid to…) Be evocative.
  • It ends with a lollipop! – “potential readers”, to writers, are the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. We want them! We want them all! So anything that refers to them, we usually read. In other words: Be appealing. Use sensory words and newfangled terms. If you can’t come up with any, read more edgy romance. Those ladies are surely creative!(Where do you think “click-worthy” came from?) 🙂

So, that was the anatomy of my top title in terms of “clickability” based on WordPress statistics. Combine the above with the Four U’s of the copyblogger article, and see what you can come up with yourselves!

Also, I hope I gave you an idea of “repurposing content”! Until I come up with anything remotely as popular, I thought I’d bring my older post to the surface again! What!? Not everybody has read it! 😉

Read the other three U’s of writing headlines on Brian Clark’s site:

Writing Headlines That Get Results

Any further insight on how to create magnetic headlines? Use the comment form!