A year ago, a blog tour was something of a mystery to me, but for February of this year, I planned a tour of my own to celebrate the publication of my new book.
Was it a good investment, or too much effort for too little return as I’ve read here? For me, it was definitely a good investment, and here’s why:
#1. I learned a lot. Some publishers are well set up for blog tours, like Tyndale House Publishers and their blog network. But since my publisher is relatively small, I did a lot of planning on my own. Another option would have been to hire my own publicist or blog tour service, but instead–with google as my friend–I did some research and arranged my own modest do-it-yourself tour. Two helpful posts:
#2. I invested a modest amount of time. Between pastoring full-time, with a lot on the go in my personal life, and wanting to keep up with my own blog, I knew I didn’t have a lot of time for a blog tour. So borrowing a page from the Slow Blog movement, I decided on a Slow Blog Tour with just one stop each week during February coupled with a Blog Carnival where people could write their own post on a Sacred Pauses theme and link up.
You can see the results of my blog carnival here, and as it turned out, I had eight blog tour stops that started at the end of January and spilled over into March. For me this was a manageable pace and investment of time and energy:
January 31 Shirley Showalter posted her interview of me the day before my book’s February 1 official release.
Who else wants simplicity? April Yamasaki’s Sacred Pauses Offers a Way
February 7 Another Way – Melodie Davis wrote her own reflection and review.
Have I become spiritually flabby?
February 15 Anabaptistly – my colleague, Chris Lenshyn, posted a 5-question author interview.
Sacred Pauses Author Interview: April Yamasaki
February 21 Godspace – Christine Sine posted a brief excerpt from Sacred Pauses as part of her Lenten series.
Come, Lord Jesus, Be Our Guest
February 28 5 Things To Do Today – David Ridings published my guest post on taking a break.
5 ways to take a break and be refreshed in the midst of a busy day
February 28 Mennonite Women Canada – Waltrude Gortzen interviewed me on writing and ministry.
March 20 Godspace – Christine Sine published my guest post on taking a social media fast.
Today We’ve Disappeared
March 20 Frank Viola – My publisher arranged for Frank Viola to post an author interview.
#3. I made connections. I knew some of my blog tour hosts and carnival participants personally, but most I had met online within the last year or during the course of my tour planning and blog carnival. These connections grew as I met some of their followers in the comments section and have started interacting with some on Twitter as well.
#4. I tried not to obsess over statistics or sales. I’ve seen other blog carnivals with a lot more people linking in, and my book isn’t exactly a New York Times best-seller, so at times I’m tempted to compare and despair. But most days I manage to avoid that trap–instead of focusing on the return in numbers, I think of my tour as an experiment to learn more about social media, to make connections, to celebrate the publication of my book. And at least according to my publisher, the book has been doing “fairly well” so far.
#5. I had fun! I enjoyed both the planning and the tour itself. It turned out to be a great mix of interviews, guest posts, excerpt, and review. Not quite as evenly spaced as I had hoped, but I was continuing to post once a week on my own blog and had the carnival running at the same time to fill in the gaps.
My initial blog tour is now over, but I have another guest post scheduled for May, and would like to develop more in future. I also hope there will be more reviews of Sacred Pauses in the next while (hint, hint, to any readers who have their own blogs or are willing to leave a review on Goodreads or Amazon). But I’m not going to obsess over that either. For now I’m starting to work on a Sacred Pauses guide for small groups–I plan to meet with a test group to help me develop it over the next couple of months, then offer it free through my blog. So I’m still continuing to learn and having fun–and oh yes, taking time for sacred pauses.
Here’s another good post on this subject: Blog Tours: Waste of Time or Valuable Sales Tool?
Are you planning a book blog tour? Have you ever done one before, and how did it go? Would you do it again?