Guest post: Alex Cavanaugh tells you how to do a blog tour

A couple of months ago, I became aware of one of the major new ways in which writers, especially indie writers, promote themselves and their latest book online – the blog tour. One of the bloggers I follow, Alex Cavanaugh, was launching his second book, and doing a blog tour. I dawned on me that since doing an actual book tour is often impossible, the blog tour is the next best thing. Actually, it may be better, because the information is all still out there after the blogging has happened. So I asked him to tell me how it worked.

Organizing a Blog Tour

Gabi asked me to explain how I organized my blog tour for my second book, CassaFire. Those two weeks were wild, as was the release date itself, February 28, and I’m happy to share. So, if the idea of cat wrangling doesn’t scare you, read on!

And to make it easier, I’ll give you a step-by-step account of the insanity.

About five-six months before the book’s release date, I started selecting hosts. Since this was my second book, I’d already experienced one tour and knew my book’s audience. I made a list of prospective bloggers with large followings and readers who might be interested in my book. Two weeks and ten stops seemed appropriate. (As opposed to my first tour, which was almost three weeks long with nineteen stops. Too much!)

I sent each host a request, offering either a guest post or interview, and a list of potential dates. I included my book’s full information and links to the cover art and book trailer. All ten said yes! Lucky me. (And I ended up with eleven hosts total. Bonus!)

Several hosts requested review copies, which my publisher sent.

I got permission to do a couple giveaways during the tour.

Three months before the release date, I announced my Catch Fire! Blog Party. (This is where the insanity began.) Those bloggers who signed up were eligible to win one of five copies of my book. Participants agreed to post about my latest book on its release date.

I completed all guest posts and interviews, sending everything to my hosts, along with a jpg of my cover art and all links, three weeks before my tour began. (I know I can procrastinate with the best of them so wanted to stay on top of things.)

I made sure my blog was ready, with a page devoted to CassaFire and to the Catch Fire! Blog Party

A week before the release date, I sent information to the Catch Fire! participants. (Cover art, book trailer code, synopsis, links – all that good stuff!)

The tour kicked off! I checked my host site several times during the day and for many days afterwards. I also had a contest running on my site for any who commented during those two weeks. (Prize package included both books, a mug, a tote bag, and promotional swag.)

Release day. This is where things exploded. In addition to my tour stop, close to three hundred Catch Fire! Blog Party participants posted about my book. (Some a day earlier or later, which was cool.) A lot of announcements went out on Twitter as well. I took the day off from work and spent eleven hours visiting every site that featured my book. (Those of you who read and type faster, I’m sure you could shave a few hours off that time.) I also announced the five winners of my book.

The tour continued, with something new and different every day.

I sent a thank you email to each of my hosts a few days after each stop.

Exhausted just reading that? (GC: Yes!)

It was fun, though, and a lot of people purchased my book. (And now both books are Amazon Sci-fi Best Sellers in the US and the UK.) I’m still doing guest posts and blogfests, keeping the momentum going. I probably won’t do such a massive one-day event again, but I’ll definitely do another tour for my third book.

Now I just have to think of some new Ninja tricks!

Alex has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He minored in music and plays several instruments, including guitar. He’s experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. He’s the founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and a co-host of the 2011/2012 A to Z Challenges. His first book, CassaStar, was released on October 19, 2010. The sequel, CassaFire, was released February 28, 2012. He lives in the Carolinas with his wife.