Continued from Wednesday - Sept. 10
Angela Wilson is an author, freelance Web content director and Book Blog Editor for Pop Syndicate, a pop culture site with more than 8,000 hits per day. Each week, Pop Syndicate hosts authors on virtual tour. I was fortunate enough to be one of those authors. Here's a link to my interview by Angela that week: http://www.popsyndicate.com/books/story/book_tour_virtual_sitdown_with_morgan_mandel
Enough about me. Once again, I bring you Angela Wilson who'll give you some valuable tips about virtual book blog tours...
Virtual Tours - Part Two
When venturing out into the blogosphere for the first time, start slow. Plan a three-month tour. Secure space on blogs every week during that time. Check the sites each day to be certain your sponsors post your items. Reply to any comments submitted by readers. The personal touch goes a long way with people in an age of impersonal communication.
Send thank you notes to your sponsors, as well as updated newsletters that tell them where you will be featured. Ask them to post that as well, so readers can follow you throughout the blogosphere.
Do not pay to be placed on a blog. If someone wants cash, get site statistics and feedback from other authors before you cash in. Google the sites and see uninhibited feedback about them; don't just trust the owners' word.
Some authors take whatever blog space they can get – which is not a bad idea when you are first starting out. Other authors, both experienced and new, have specific criteria for blogs that feature them, including a certain number of hits per day and demographics. (See Cheryl Kay Tardiff's blog about her criteria.) When first starting out, some big-name blogs may be reticent to host a small-time author, e-published or self-published novelist. Be prepared to take what you can get, then build on that as your career grows.
Not a blogger but excited at the prospect of using this free interactive tool? Don't jump into the blogosphere on a tour. It is hard, detailed, sometimes mundane work. It can be overwhelming for authors who don't have the experience with the programs. (Yes, they are out there!) First, start a blog at a free service like Blogger or Wordpress, play around, see how it works and your comfort level with it. Also read other blogs and see what they are saying. If you don't like to blog, or don't want to learn how, consider hiring a virtual PR firm. There are those now that specialize only in virtual tours, and work to play your columns and excerpts on sites that fit your target market.
Only experienced bloggers should venture into contests while on tour. The best ideas I've seen so far come from authors in different genres. Delia Latham and Michelle Gagnon asked readers to post comments on all blogs where they were touring. Then, the authors collected names and emails from those posts, put them in a hat and chose a winner. Another author sent readers directly to their guestbook, and chose a winner based on signatures during tour time. As a virtual tour host at Pop Syndicate, I can safely say the most streamlined method is using a guestbook. That places all contest entries in one place, instead of over several blogs on the Web.
Do not expect your virtual tour host to handle the contest. Most blogs and sites will not handle details of a contest, but will be happy to post contest details. Write your own contest copy and allow hosts to tweak as necessary for their site.
Want details on Pop Syndicate virtual tours? E-mail Angela at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pop Syndicate's Group Linkedin link - http://www.linkedin.com/e/gis/130844
Some content originally posted at Mike's Writing Workshop & Newsletter - http://www.mikeswritingworkshop.blogspot.com