On May 16, 2014, I will be releasing my third novel, Inquisitor. Unlike my other two novels, Inquisitor is a paranormal urban fantasy. Because of the popularity of the genre, I made a very important decision for myself and my career:
I decided to pursue a launch party extravaganza. What does that mean? Instead of focusing my efforts on one service, I am approaching the launch of this novel using several outlets at the same time. I'm combining book tours and single-day blast promotions to spread as much word and hype about the novel as possible. I am also looking into potentially doing a press release in order to spread word of the novel in other venues.
That venture is still up in the air, as I do not know anything about this branch of marketing. It's taking a lot of research. I'll go into that a little later, however.
First off, I want to talk about the basics and the inherent flaws with my release day extravaganza.
Unlike my other experiences, I am running a lot of promotions at the same time. Unfortunately, I do not have the capability of tracking the performance of each specific campaign (or promotion) that I am running. This means some may do well, others may not. I'm looking at the entire extravaganza for the end-game result.
My hope is to learn if the time and monetary investment will pay off in the short term and the long term.
Here is what I am doing so far:
I'm working with two blog tour groups for 7 day blog tours.
I am working with three other groups for single-day blast tours.
I am working with bloggers and book lovers directly to help spread news of the release. If you're interested in hosting my novel on May 16 as a part of the release party, please email me at blain . rj @ gmail . com (remove spaces.)
I am considering investing in a press release to spread news to traditional medias, including newspapers and other print resources. This is something I have to think long and hard about, as I do have a limited budget on what I can use for this. (It took quite a bit of extra work on the side to be able to afford this experiment at all.)
I will not reveal the amount of money I have invested or will invest in this project just yet. Why? Because the numbers aren't confirmed yet, so I'm not comfortable with saying them. However, I will state that I have already invested over $200.
Creating a release day promotion is a little different than a standard book blog tour. Unlike a standard tour, which is typically scheduled after the novel has been released, these tours are scheduled prior to release. For an independent author without the ability to set up preorders, this is a little tricky.
Before you contact any blog tour group about a release day promotion, there are a few things that I recommend you do:
1: Setting a definite release date is important. You won't be working with five or six bloggers. You will be working with hundreds of bloggers. Imagine having to apologize to each and one of these individuals! Or, worse — making a tour group you paid good money to have to apologize to these individuals.
It is a good way to be banned from using these services again. Just because you want to hire a service doesn't mean that the group has to let you hire them. Abusing their services and their hard work is a good way to get blacklisted.
Make sure you're 100% capable of being 100% ready for your release on the day you set.
2: Preparing the promotional material in advance means you can just attach everything you need for each and every tour group or blogger. No thinking, no hassle, just attach everything and send. This makes sure your posts are all uniform, and you don't have to invest nearly as much time.
You will want the following promotional material:
Each tour group has different requirements, so make certain you follow all of the instructions you are given.
3: For a large-scale release promotion, I tried to stick with reputable groups with a lot of social media and blogger sway. I also stuck with groups with a good reputation. To find out a group's reputation, I researched their blog group on the internet. Over half of the groups I selected came from recommendations from other authors.
In order to do a truly large-scale release promotion, I feel it is necessary to work with outside groups. It takes a lot of work to get a group together. One of my tour groups is putting me in touch with over forty bloggers. This is a staggering amount of work on the coordinator's part.
Working with nine people individually has cost me a couple of hours. I don't have the time to work with hundreds of bloggers. That's why I hired several different tour groups to help me.
When you're working with a blog tour group, there are a few things you will want to do (and remember.)
First, you want to reply to organizer questions as quickly as possible. Second, you want to make sure you pay your invoice when it is sent to you. Request that the company invoices you so you can use the invoice as a part of your taxes. Finally, make sure you give them all of the promotional material they need as soon as you can so they have time to organize your tour.
Because you have to do this with each and every group and blogger, I really recommend that you make a spreadsheet tracking which groups you are working with and where you are at in the process.
Make sure you do not delete any of your emails from the tour groups or bloggers you are going to work with. You may also want to make use of google calendar to track when you need to send interviews and guest posts to bloggers who need that material.
So far, working with five different tour groups and nine individuals, I have invested some 6-10 hours of work. I expect to invest another 4 or so hours before I'm finished setting up all of the tours.
Future posts in this series will cover specific tour groups and the types of blog tours available for someone releasing a novel.