Tag Archives: marketing

6 Easy Steps To Book Your Author Blog Tour

6 Easy Steps To Book Your Author Blog TourIt’s pretty common knowledge in the publishing industry that most book signing tours don’t generate big bucks for new authors. Sure—book tours can stir up buzz and interest. But most of the time, bookstore tours are put in place only after an author has established some kind of meaningful reputation that can translate into lines that wrap around the store.

These days, there’s a new way of connecting with readers that doesn’t involve brick-and-mortar book signings: blog tours. A blog tour is when an author does a series of interviews or guest posts on the blogs of book readers and reviewers. Blog tours are fantastic for author self-promotion.

Most of the time, blog tours are synchronized with book releases so that writers can sell more copies of their books. Blog tours can be inexpensive, fun, and rewarding!

How To Set Up a Blog Tour To Promote A Book

There are many ways to kick off your promotional blog tour. You can:

  • Hire a publicist to nab spots on popular blogs.
  • Hire an established and reputable book blog tour company (NOTE: There are unscrupulous companies that claim to get gigs for their clients on dozens of blogs, many of which lack a meaningful audience or are owned by the companies themselves).
  • Set up blogging dates yourself.

If you’re a DIYer and want to book a blog tour without having to pay for publicity help, here are the five steps that will get your book on great blogs.

1. Start reading book blogs. Do your research and narrow your focus to those blogs whose audiences are active readers in your genre. Make a list and track the blog’s attributes, audience participation, readership, and proclivities. HINT: Establish a clear minimum number in your head for the number of blogs that you’d like to appear on.

2. Establish a relationship. If possible, begin leaving comments on the blogs you like. Visit regularly. You may need to demonstrate your genuine appreciation of the blog before you’re invited to appear on it. Use Twitter and other networks to give shout-outs to blogs you like.

3. Write up a pitch plan. Some bloggers have writers beating down their door, begging for reviews and free promotion. You’ll need to make yourself stand out with a personal touch as well as an incentive. Are you willing to give away free copies of your book? Is your idea of what you’d like to “do” on the blog consistent with what the blogger is already doing? Are you willing to do interviews or only guest posts? Will you host the blogger on your author blog in exchange?

4. Draft your “nice to meet you” letter. Reach out to the blogger via a personal email when possible. Be kind, flexible, and maybe a little deferential: you’re asking to be invited to the party, after all. Express your appreciation for the blog and volunteer to host a giveaway (should the blogger believe that his/her audience would benefit from your visit to the blog).

5. Follow instructions carefully. If a blogger agrees to host you, be sure to follow directions. Also, include links to your social networks and author website in your post—just don’t overdo it.

6. Set up your blog calendar. On the days that your blog post is to appear on each guest blog, be sure to put in an appearance that day. Leave comments, interact with readers, thank the host for having you. Then, if you’re running a contest, follow up as soon as possible by sending out the prize.

When Your Author Blog Tour Is Over

Be sure to thank your host for his/her willingness to help you; you might even want to mail out a little thank-you gift. Then, keep your contacts well organized so that when you have another reason to do a blog tour, their contact information will be at your fingertips.

QUESTION: Do you like the idea of doing a blog tour?

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Posted by on April 18, 2013 in Self Publishing


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Xlibris Presents: How to Write a Book Promotional Plan

Xlibris Presents: How to Write a Book Promotional Plan

Xlibris Presents: How to Write a Book Promotional PlanWhen it comes to the point that your Xlibris manuscript is complete, you have edited it and edited it once more until it’s as good as it can get. Finally you have designed the book and its cover, written the foreword and your bio notes.

The next critical area to address ‘is how do you get the book noticed?  A promotional plan is a must. It’s just as important, or more so if you want to make a living out of it, as the writing and design of the book itself.

It is pertinent to note many authors, who ignore this vital part of the self-publishing progression, then express severe disappointment once their book doesn’t sell.

So, how does one put together a promotional plan for your book?

There are many articles and books on the subject and, indeed, software packages available online to assist you in this process. However you need to identify and set the core ingredients to promote and sell your book. Your Xlibris marketing adviser will help in this key element of affordable publishing. But initially what should to be included in your promotional plan?

Overall Goal:  At the start you need to understand why you slaved away to write your book. In other words “what’s the goal you are making an attempt to attain?” Did you want a bestseller or just get your story out there to friends and family?

Once you have selected this personal definition of success you can then set your promotional plans accordingly.

Target Market:  When your overall goal is set you then need to verify who you want to reach.

Key Message:  Once you have determined your targets market(s) attempt to find the particular message that will insure your book stands out.

Objectives: You must set objectives to attain your goal. Make certain these are reasonable and achievable within the overall plan (budget, timings etc).

Plans:  If the objectives listed above are the “To’s” then the plans are how you meet the objectives or the “By’s”. In other words your plans define the steps to satisfy your objectives, and they ought to begin to form measurable actions.

Actions:  These are the individual tasks required to attain the plans.

Timing:  Your selling ought to happen on associate current basis, thus you must produce a timetable from your plans to ensure your objectives are met. Also making sure resources are available for every action.

Budget:  Finally you need to set an affordable budget to attain your objectives and goal. Thus you ought to modify your strategy and/or retime various plans and actions to be within your budget.

We trust the above will help you focus on what you need to achieve your dream and remember your  Xlibris personal marketing consultant is always on hand to assist you in creating your book marketing strategies and in every aspect of implementation.

Fill out the form to get your FREE Guide To Marketing Services or call 1-888-795-4274 today for a FREE consultation with your personal marketing consultant.

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A-Z of Self-publishing and writing tips: T

I’m only covering the letter T today, because I found that I almost wrote a novella about how to use Twitter! (see below). There are also a few other things beginning with T mentioned.



I have found Twitter to be an invaluable resource for promoting my books. I know that some people hate it. I don’t claim to be an expert, but in the past couple of years I have built up just over 12,000 followers. I’m not sure if that’s a good number or not, but it seems like a decent amount to me. I haven’t bought any followers from anywhere either; these are just people who follow me and I follow most of them back.

I think Twitter works best when you follow a few rules:

1. Always follow people back when they follow you (unless they are spammers or some other kind of lunatic).

2. Thank people for RTs (re-Tweets) when you can, or alternatively you can RT something that they have Tweeted. RTs are always welcomed, as these help with promotion.

3. Interact with your followers. By this, I mean, if someone asks you something, you should respond to them (again, provided that they are not a spammer or a lunatic).

4. To build up your following to begin with you need to follow people. This may seem obvious to most people, but there seem to be those who think that people will just follow them. If you’re Lady Gaga, or someone like that, you would be right to think that you don’t really need to follow people to have them follow you; otherwise, I think you should make some effort, or you’ll be left with hardly any followers and Tweeting to yourself.

5. Use the hashtags. This does come with a warning though. For example there is #FF for Follow Friday, where you list people who you follow, that you would recommend to others. For writers there is #WW Writer Wednesday, where you recommend writers that you follow.
The WARNING is this: Twitter is on the lookout of for spammers. They seem to be unable to get rid of real spammers, (you know, the ones who send you DMs that say ‘have you seen this pic of you lol,’ or ‘someone is saying real bad things about you in this blog’ with a dodgy link), but Twitter does hone in on people who mention lots of other Twitter names in their tweets, or people who use the reply function often.
My account was recently suspended because I did a lot of #FF mentions on one particular day. I was informed that the reason my account was suspended was that I used the ‘mention’ and ‘reply’ functions too much. I did eventually manage to get my account back, but it was very annoying.
So, #FF and #WW are a good way to get more followers and to keep your followers, as long as you don’t overdo things. Try to vary your tweets on days when you’re doing these types of mentions so that your account won’t look like a spammer’s account.

6. Trending topics are a good way to get your account noticed. What I mean by this is that on the left hand side of the page you’ll see the list of popular topics on twitter i.e. those that lots of people are tweeting about. If you can join in with one of those topics, you should see that you gain a few more followers. For example, I recently joined in on one that was #SongsThatMakeMeCry and noticed that I got quite a few new followers on that day. Whether it was a coincidence or not, I can’t be sure.

7. If you have something that you want to promote on a particular day and need help with RTs, I find it is a good idea to RT other Twitter users on your Twitter feed randomly, i.e. those that you wouldn’t usually RT, and this will usually result in those people Tweeting something for you.

8. Something that is off-putting is where someone is always Tweeting about their own stuff and not about anything else. Unless you are very famous, this tactic will not work, and will result in you losing followers.

9. You can use to find out who unfollowed you, and who is not following you back. This enables you to unfollow them. A word of warning here though. Twitter also doesn’t like people who follow a lot of people on one particular day, or unfollow a lot of people on one day as this could be seen as the action of a bot. Be careful, and try to limit the following and unfollowing, and spread it out a bit.

10. You can use to schedule Tweets to go out from your Twitter account at times when you won’t be able to Tweet e.g. when you are sleeping or working. There is a free version which I use sometimes, and find it particularly useful when I have a special promotion going on so that I can reach all time zones. There’s also a version you can pay for that does other things, like clean your house for you (just checking that you are still concentrating!). No, actually, I don’t know what the paid-for version does, but it probably allows you to schedule more Tweets in advance and other such stuff. You can find out on the website.

11. There are ways of getting more followers by joining certain groups. For example, there are groups here on Goodreads where you can list your Twitter name and others will follow you back. I have also joined the World Literary Cafe’s Twitter Follows group. Here’s a link where you can leave your Twitter name to be followed by others, and you then follow them back:…

12. The aim on Twitter is build up a following so that when you Tweet about your work it will reach a wider audience. Where you RT other people’s Tweets they are more likely to Tweet yours, so you reach an even wider audience each time you tweet.

13. Tweet about things you enjoy and you will find like-minded people to connect with, which makes the whole Twitter experience all that more interesting.

14. There are daily or weekly papers that you can set up to automatically tweet from your Twitter account, where you help promote other Twitter accounts. This will result in more RTs for your own work, and it helps to keep your account active when you’re away from the Internet for a while because the paper will Tweet from your account daily or weekly, depending on your settings. Go here, and log in with your Twitter account to set up your paper: – It only takes a few minutes and it will post the paper to your account automatically (as long as you request that in the settings), so once you’ve set it up, you don’t need to do anything else to maintain it.

15. BookBuzzr on allows you to set up tweets that link to samples of your writing. These will be tweeted daily or weekly, depending on your preference.

16. A hashtag that is useful for writers for promotion is #SampleSunday, where each Sunday you can provide a link to a sample chapter of your work. Other authors who take part in this will RT that for you.

If anyone else has any Twitter tips, please feel free to list them in the comments section below.


I am quickly mentioning this only because I know that some of my indie author friends swear by it. I haven’t worked out how it works, but if you have time, it might be worth having a look into.


I have a account but don’t use it often as there are just too many networking sites to keep up with. It is quite a popular site, though, and is another way you can spread the word about your work. You can also blog from that site. It’s similar to Twitter in that you follow other users and they follow you back, but there is not a restriction as to the amount of words you use. You can post videos and photos there too.


Time management is very important as a self-published author. When you self-publish, you do your own promotion, and most of your own editing, so this can lead to very little time to do much else, especially as most of us also have full time day jobs.

It’s important to make sure you have time for the things that are important in your writing life. I haven’t come across the secret formula for creating more time, but if somebody else does, please let me know.

Try to find a balance that works for you and find ways to organise your time so that you don’t work around the clock and burn out.

I would suggest finding one or two networking sites that work for you and devoting the promotion time to those sites. Have a realistic schedule for your blog, maybe run a series, like this one that I am doing, so that you have something that people might want to keep up with and will follow the blog, so you don’t have to worry about losing followers if you’re away from the blog for a few days or weeks.

If you find that you don’t have enough time to write, think about what you could do less of to make more time. For example, I have had to cut down the amount of book reviews I do so that I can keep up with my own writing. Having said that, it’s important to keep reading other people’s work because the more you read the better your own writing will be. Reading is great for fuelling our imagination.

One way to make more time, is to use an editor for your novels, so that you spend less time having to read and re-read your own work.

It’s all trial and error, but find the balance that works for you, and concentrate your time there. It’s more productive to have one good blog where you can promote and keep your readers up to date, than to have multiple blogs and lessen the impact of those because you don’t have time to promote them.

Networking with other writers helps with time management because you can have a support network. Usually other authors will help to promote your books if you do the same for them; so at times when you’re not around on the Internet the chances are someone else will be tweeting something about your work.

Also, as mentioned above, apps like Hootsuite are great for helping with time management because you can schedule promotion for when you’re not around. WordPress blogs have a similar scheduling system, so you can set up posts days or weeks in advance.

I have to say, I find managing my time one of the most challenging things about being an indie author. If anyone else has any tips, please leave them in the comments section below.


Book Trailers. Just like Twitter (and Marmite) some people love them and some people hate them.

Personally, I think anything that can positively add to your book marketing campaign is a good thing. I like book trailers. I can’t say that I’ve ever bought a book because of a book trailer, but maybe I might have found out about a book because of a book trailer. So it all adds to promotion and exposure for your book.

I make my own book trailers, and you can find them on my YouTube channel:…

One of our members, Magnolia Belle, makes book trailers.

Here’s a promotional video for the book trailers she makes:

She made a couple of trailers for our Bestsellerbound Anthologies. Here’s a link to one of them:

I’ve recently found out about an innovative company, Red 14 Films, that makes cinematic book trailers. They believe that book trailers are a great marketing tool. Here’s a link to their website where you can view some of the trailers they have made:
Also, at the moment they’re running a contest where you can win a free 30 second cinematic book trailer. You just have to subscribe to their website to enter. There’ll be a raffle in March to choose the winner.

Targeting your readership

I think one of the most important things for any writer is to find a target readership and focus on promoting to that group. It’s harder for writers (like me) who write in many different genres, but if you only write in one genre, you can use this tactic effectively to find a following.

There are many different websites that promote one type of book; for example, some sites only promote romance, others are set up to promote science fiction, etc. You should use Google to find such websites and blogs and try to get your books listed.

I’m going to promote my crime fiction novel, Haunted, on a website this week Fantastic Books Publishing. They are doing a spotlight on Crime Fiction on the 28th February 2013, so it will be interesting to see what result that achieves in terms of book sales.

Targeting a specific audience does work. For example, I recently promoted my novel, Second Chances, on EReader News Today (ENT), in their ‘Bargain Books’ promotion. They have a huge following of readers who are looking for bargain e-books; so I lowered the price of the book to 99 cents and it was promoted on the site for a couple of days (ENT takes 25% of your total royalties for sales over the 2 day promotion). The result was 140 sales overnight, and another 50 sales since the promotion ended. Okay, the royalties on 99 cents (given that you only get 35% of that from Amazon) is not great, but the exposure is a good way to find a new readership. Here’s a link if any authors want to try it:…

Similarly, for a short term boost to sales, and to make your book more widely available to an audience who might not otherwise try it, the Amazon KDP Select free promotion days can be good.

I hope you’ll find these tips helpful!

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Posted by on February 26, 2013 in self publish tools, Self Publishing


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What’s Worked in my Self-Publishing Journey so Far

Dionne Lister - Author

Hello again. Today I was bragging about the fact that Shadows of the Realm (SOTR) was still in the top 100 for teenage literature fiction books on Amazon after two weeks up there. Even though it’s liable to drop out at any moment, today was good because I was sitting ahead of one of the Twilight books and one of the Gossip Girl books—it just proves dragons still have some clout. After I tweeted it out, I had a comment from another indie author who wanted to know how I had made it this far. I’ve been meaning to write about my experience for a while, and that was a good reminder. So here’s some of what I’ve learned. I hope it helps someone, somewhere, especially when you feel like giving up—believe me, you’re not the first and won’t be the last.

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 3.06.53 PMSelf-publishing is a tough business—you have to be…

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Posted by on January 22, 2013 in Self Publishing


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Self-Publishing By The Numbers

Well done infographic about self-publishing vs. traditional publishing.

Research your market, outline your book, section it into bite-size chunks, then work on it until it’s finished. It doesn’t have to be long, especially if it’s cheap. Check out Seth Godin’s books for an example of short and sweet. Just make sure your book delivers value on every page.

Once your feet are wet from your first eBook, you can finally get around to writing the novel you’ve been dreaming about!

Self-Publishing By The Numbers

Infographic by: Website

Though I’m a creative type, I’m also pretty obsessed with numbers and charts, so I found this to be a really interesting breakdown of self publishing vs. traditional.

If you just scan the article, it will probably seem like e-books and self-publishing are no brainers. You receive a larger portion of the profits, there’s no printing costs, and the risk is significantly lower. But there are a few key points here that may be overlooked:

  1. In the self-publishing vs. traditional book deal section, it shows that you’d have to sell almost 3000 books before earning $10k (the average book advance). Most people think, “3000 books? No problem!” but this infographic clearly shows that the average sale of books is around 150. Though we hear plenty of self-publishing success stories, the reality is, on average, self-published books sell less than traditionally published books. If your goal is to reach as many readers as possible, especially as a first-time novelist, you’re better off with a traditional publisher.
  2. I was happy to see that this demonstrated the higher cost for print books. When you’re with a traditional publisher, they have the ability to print and warehouse bulk orders of books. The more books you order, the less each costs, so the overall profit is significantly higher. But as most self-published authors will tell you, it’s all about the e-books.
  3. The e-book case study demonstrates some very appealing numbers. Who wouldn’t want to earn $24k a month? But what the case study neglects to highlight is that J.A. Konrath had a strong online following as a traditionally published author prior to transitioning to self-pubbing. I don’t forsee a newbie author, unless they’re some sort of celebrity, generating these types of numbers.

Feel free to share your thoughts or ask any questions you may have. It’s a lot of data, but I think overall, very informative.


This infographic was originally posted on The Digital Writer.


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The Problem with Self-Published Authors

J.D. McLaughlin

Here I go again. Jumping on the self-published authors soapbox, telling you that I read a lot of self-published fiction (both good and bad). This time, though, I’m going to go to the flip side:

What bothers me and will make me less likely to read your book if I haven’t picked it up all by my lonesome.

Now, the majority of self-published fiction that I have read I stumbled upon myself. I was digging through Amazon for something to read, probably saw a pretty cover and decided to see what it was about. If I read an author and enjoyed the book, I was willing to see what other authors they recommended. So when I read some Amanda Hocking and thought she was fun, I saw JL Bryan and decided I loved his Jenny Pox book. Heather Hildenbrand I stumbled upon. A book called Gravity by Melissa West popped…

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Book Marketing

Inspiring a World of Listeners

It’s amazing what a little know how and encouragement can accomplish.  Learning from others successes and failures can be one of the best ways to successfully market our books. One great place that I have found to do that is the Book Marketing Success Community by where authors build connections with other authors, as well as get answers from those who have gone before them and already know the in’s and out’s of book marketing.


This month is featuring book marketing expert, Staci Stallings in their Q&A session. Here’s a little bit more about Staci:

A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, her stories run the gamut to make every title a new adventure. With over 20 books published…

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