The first problem of marketing a book, it seems to me, is simply to let people know that it exists. One hopes that if a book is any good, people who like it will start to tell other people about it and word will spread.
But for that to work, you first need to find the initial set of people who are going to like it and tell other people about it. And it is not like everyone who reads it is going to sing its praises from the rooftops, even if they liked it. I mean, I don’t do that for most of the books I read. I’m betting most people reading this newsletter don’t do that either. (Though I sure would appreciate it if you did!) Only a few readers of any book are going to turn into its cheerleaders, which means you need to find a fairly large pool of readers yourself first before you have any hope of word of mouth taking off.
Now, I could insert an ardent plea here that you all go out into the streets, accost a hundred strangers, and tell them what a life-transforming experience it was for you to read The Wistful and the Good. But you’re probably not going to do that. (Giving it a review on Amazon would help too, and is much less likely to get you arrested.)
So, I’m trying some other things to get the word out. One of the things that has quickly become clear is that there is no one set of right things to do to publicize a book. Things that work for one author, one genre, one style, one piece of subject matter, don’t work for another. For instance, I recently tried a Book Funnel sales promo. While Book Funnel newsletter building promos have worked well for me (a lot of you came to this newsletter that way) the sales promo didn’t seem to do much at all.
So I am trying different things to see what will work for me and for The Wistful and the Good. Next is a blog tour hosted by The Coffee Pot Book Club, which will start next week.
What’s a blog tour, I hear you ask. Well, to be honest, I’m not sure myself. It means that a bunch of book blogs will feature The Wistful and the Good on the days listed in the graphic above. There will be a blurb and some excerpts and a picture of the cover. There will be donkey rides and balloons for the children. This is all good. It will let a bunch more people know about The Wistful and the Good, and hopefully some of them will buy it, and some of them will write reviews on Amazon.
But there is an aspect of a blog tour that I don’t understand, and if you follow blog tours or have ever had one for your book, I would appreciate some insights in the comments. It’s great that the Coffee Pot Book Club is orchestrating all this for me (for their usual fee) and it is great that the book will be mentioned on all of these book blogs. But how does it help that it all takes place in one week? How does it help that there is a published schedule like this? Does the focused blast, all in one week, make a difference to its impact and reach? Do people go round all of these sites just to follow an individual book through every stop of its tour?
I get that there is an element of quid-pro-quo in this. I will be promoting this blog tour to my mailing list. (Well, actually, that is what I am doing now.) Some of you may go and visit some of these book blogs, or the Coffee Pot Book Club, helping them to grow their audience. I just wish I understood the concept a little better so that I could recommend you to do this with a little more information to back me up — and so that I could get the most possible value out of the event for myself.
I suppose my lack of understanding is in part because I am not myself a book blog reader. In part this is because I am a slow reader. This is (for me, at least) one of the perils of being a writer. I analyze everything I read. What’s working? What’s not? How is this effect being achieved? Why is that effect falling flat? Often I can’t get very far in a book before it sparks an idea and I have to put the book down and go off and record the thought before I lose it. And as result of this, my TBR list will last me a long long time. I don’t particularly need to find books to add to it.
Still, it is maybe a little odd that I am so out of the loop on this. I read books. I write about books. But I very seldom read other people’s writing about books. Maybe I should. Maybe I am missing something important.
So please help me out here. Do you read book blogs? What do you like about them? Do they shape how you choose your next book to read? If you are a writer, how have they helped you sell more books? What could I do better or different next time I have a blog tour? Educate me!
And please do consider buying a copy of The Wistful and the Good, and/or writing a review. It all helps, and I will appreciate it greatly. Thanks!
Disclaimer: I've never read a blog tour, or been a part of one.
That said, I suspect the goal isn't for readers to follow you through all the blogs, but to expose your work to each of those blogs' readers--which, presumably (and hopefully) have different readerships. Thus increased exposure.
As for doing it in a week, I dunno. I guess it's just to make it sound like more of an event. Wouldn't be quite as memorable, I suppose, if it ran for three months, or whatnot.
i've also never participated in a blog tour or read a book blog. i relate to what you say about being a slow reader and not needing to find more books. i already have a growing stack i'm forever trying to work my way through.
i really dread the whole idea of book promotion because there is just an entire online book culture that is alien to me and i have no desire to become part of it. but if blogs are willing to talk about your book and you don't have to get any more involved than providing your readers info about them, that sounds pretty painless (and who knows, there are two on there that specifically mention historical fiction, so i might check them out...)
good luck! i hope you get a positive response.