A little over a month ago, I felt I couldn’t go anywhere on the web without seeing something about Doxology.
What, you ask is Doxology? According to its virtual dust jacket, it’s a “blue-collar Southern tale of love, loss, and the healing power of community and family” in which “[f]athers, sons and brothers reconnect over tragedy.”
Hmmm. Might be something I’d read, and the excerpt was intriguing. To qualify for prizes that included $450 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book, all you had to do was purchase a copy of the book on Amazon for $.99, fill out a form, and participate in a social media event.
I didn’t purchase the book or enter the giveaway, but the title, and the fact that the author had participated in a blog tour, stuck in my mind. The marketer in me (yes, there is one in there, though she usually doesn’t come out at the same time as the writer!) said, “Gee, that’s clever. Give away something people want in return for kick-starting your sales and gathering data on potential readers.” (The irony that I am sort of participating in the tour after the fact, albeit not officially, has not escaped me.)
I’ll admit that my first thought was, wow, that’s a lot. Then the marketer in me began thinking more about it. While $1,000 might seem like an amount to take your breath away (and there are companies with less expensive options; see below), consider for a moment the time and energy that would be consumed by an author organizing something like this on his or her own. Having worked in marketing and PR, I can tell you that the hours add up quickly. Not to mention the fact that Novel Publicity maintains a database of bloggers who have high-traffic sites and matches them with authors in terms of interest/focus—something an individual writer would be hard-pressed to do, especially if he or she also were trying to find the time to actually write.
You might think that, after writing that last paragraph, I’ve sold myself on the idea of a blog tour and I’m ready to rush out and do one for Dance of Souls.
Well, maybe. Then again, maybe not. Until now, I hadn’t considered the idea of investing actual cold hard cash in promotions. That’s something I’ll have to sit with for a while. If I think in terms of break-even costs, I’d have to sell an awful lot of copies to recoup $1,000. And if I’m not writing fiction to get rich, I’m certainly not writing fiction in order to drain my bank account.
What sayeth the blogosphere?
While sitting and thinking, I decided to do what I always do: a little more research. Here’s what some other indie authors have said about the value of blog tours:
- Melissa Douthit (fantasy) – high praise for the author’s first blog tour.
- Marie Lamba (young adult contemporary, humor, paranormal) – tips for DIY book blog tours.
- M. Louisa Locke (mystery) – reflections of a “slow blogger” on the non-traditional blog tour.
- Ron Vitale (young adult fantasy) – Great analysis of how he fared during three blog tours.
- Brian Holers (literary) – no specific discussion of how the Doxology tour went, just thanks to participants. But since his blog tour sparked my thinking on the topic, I had to include him.
And here are a few places to find people or organizations that will help you arrange a tour.* (Many are less expensive than Novel Publicity’s package.)
- BubbleCow – links to 7 companies that arrange blog tours for various genres
- Lightning Book Promotions
- Novel Publicity
- Pump Up Your Book
* DISCLAIMER: I have not evaluated the quality or value of any services listed here. They are provided purely for your convenience in conducting research!
I’d love to hear from other folks about whether they have done or considered doing a blog tour? Did you do it yourself or hire someone to help? If you did, was it worth it?
I am now tracking word count on a spreadsheet (yes, I am that geeky): 3,961 in the last week. Needless to say, this is a much better pace if I’m going to make it to 95,000 by the end of June.
I also came up with a plan for working through a sticky motivation issue for one of my characters. I wrote down an entire page of questions about one particular situation that’s been giving me trouble, questions like:
When/how does she meet him?
Why is she drawn to him?
When does she decide to…?
Does he know that she…?
Does he care that she…?
I figure if I can’t come up with good answers for those questions, whatever I write about the situation won’t ring true.
One more thing: Reading this Sunday
There’s another reading from the Fault Zone anthology this Sunday. I’m not reading, but several other fabulous authors are. If you’re in the San Francisco Bay area, join us at Florey’s Books in Pacifica on Sunday April 22 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Should be fun!