Anna del C. Dye was born in Valparaiso, Chile, amongst some of the world’s most famous beaches. After meeting Rodney, a native of Idaho, in her hometown, two years later, Anna traveled to Utah on Christmas Eve and married him two weeks later. Their love story, Why Him? was published by Covenant in the book entitled Angels Round About. Anna and Rodney reside in Taylorsville, Utah and are the parents of three princes and a princess. They love to camp, canoe, explore ruins and have sword fights.
Anna del C. Dye is a multi-award winning author. Her short story “Amerine—Fairy Princess” won 2nd place in the Oquirrh Writers contest. The first book in her new YA Romance Series entitled “A Kingdom By The Sea” won 2nd place in The Absolutely Write contest. Book three of “The Silent Warrior Trilogy,” won a bronze seal in the League of Utah Writers. Shahira and the Flying Elfs won Honor in the Oquirrh first chapter contest. Emerine’s Nightmare, a pre-teens short story, won 1st place right before it was released in digital formats for the Kindle and Nook.
Send out free PDFs, or ebooks, to bloggers who have tons of followers. If your book is non-fiction, send out digital copies to influential journalists. Ask the bloggers a review it in their blogs.
(Some bloggers or reviewers need a month to read the book. Always ask way beforehand.
Pull out excerpts of the book to use as articles. Post them on free sites.
Create videos. Keep it short and sweet (under 10 min.)
Talk about you. In another, talk about your book. Then in another, read an excerpt from it. Post them on YouTube.
Create a book trailer. (optional) Find pictures that reflect the content of your book and then use excerpts from the book to tease people to read more. Never tell the ending.
Schedule a launch day and make sure plenty of things are planned that day. Notify your email list, Facebook, Goodreads, Shelfari, Twitter, a week before and then the day of. Don’t forget to post the different links to your videos and trailer’s each time.
Offer a digital copy as a prize on other websites and blogs. Offer the blogger or website owners a free paperback book for their help.
Ask other bloggers to do an interview and send them lots of questions with their answers. (You can send the same list to all of them and they will pick how long and what to post from it.)
If you assign these bloggers to do your review on a different day of the week each, this is called a Blog tour. Make sure every day has a blogger assigned to it. You’ll gain maximum exposure for minimum costs.
Offer a chapter as a downloadable PDF. Encourage readers to share it with others. Include a summary of the rest of book to encourage people to buy it. Never tell the ending.
Publish the book’s table of contents on your website. Include a small overview of each chapter. Optimize the page for search engines. (List many good tags.)
Encourage people to write a five-star review of your book on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads.
Publish reviews and testimonials of the book on your website. Include reviews from Amazon.com and other sites.
Arrange interviews with radio hosts interested in your subject matter. This is a win-win since it provides them with valuable content and you with valuable publicity.
Makes sure you always say thank you to all that help you and join their sites to show that you care for their help.
Make bookmarks or business cards. (Check online for cost-effective sources.)
Always have copies of your book, bookmarks or business card with you or in your car.
Be creative, persistent, grateful for the help of others and you’ll see your book sales go up.
Don’t forget to share your success with others and help them get ahead. Is always sweeter when you get to the top and your friends are cheering you on.
Jennifer J. Bennett was born in Southern California as the youngest of six children. Her imagination began to develop as a child creating worlds in her backyard. Books have always played a big role in her life; favorites growing up were “The Country Bunny” by Dubose Heyward, “The Light in the Attic”by Shel Silverstein, and “Island of the Blue Dolphins” by Scott O’ Dell among many, many others. She also enjoys music, theater, travel, and cooking.
Jennifer moved from Southern California in 1989 and finished high school in Southern Utah where she met her husband Matthew Bennett who currently works in educational administration. They reside in St. George, Utah with four amazing kids: Haylee, Chase, Conner, and Libby. After her father was diagnosed with cancer, she began writing her first novel, “The Path”. Her father encouraged her to move forward with her writing and she has continued since. He passed away in 2009.
Jen, as her friends call her; can be found buzzing around California from time to time in search of magical elements from the past. She tries to balance fun, being a mom, and trying to be a grownup (which she really isn’t sure she ever wants to be).
The blog tour. You’ve all heard about them. They have been very popular lately. So popular, that I have seen an increase in hosting sites (basically you as the author pay a set amount of money for a certain amount of blog posts about your book for so many days). I like the idea of blog tours. If done effectively, they have the potential to reach readers you might not otherwise have gotten. They can get your name and book showing up in search engines. They also have the potential of getting you sales. The question is: are they worth paying someone else to do them for you, or are you better off doing this yourself? I hope to give you some insights with my latest experience and let you make that choice.
When my first middle-grade book, The Dream Keeper, came out in June 2013, I set up my own tour. It was a month long with at least one post per day. It took a lot of work. I spent a good month trying to find various blogs, focusing mostly on reviews and sites dedicated to the same genre as my book. I think I spent about 2-3 weeks just writing guest posts and answering interview questions alone. I put together some giveaways (incentives to get readers to the blog) and set up a list of stops on my website. The tour went really well. I was able to connect with new readers and get my name out. Like I said it before though, it was A LOT OF WORK!
When the time came to release my second book, The Dreamstone, I wanted to alleviate some of the burden of the launch. I decided I was going to outsource my blog tour to one of these hosting sites. Now there are a bunch of these places and they range in prices, quality, and experience. I first looked into hosting sites that were in my genre. However, the ones that focused on children’s and middle grade charged upwards of $400-$600 for a 2 week long tour. Of course they guaranteed reviews, original posts, and the promise to reach your target audience. The ticket price, however, was out of my price range—out of many indie authors’ price ranges. So I looked around at smaller tour sites. I found one that had the price I was able to meet and started asking the host questions. Please DO THIS! Know what you are getting into before you hand over any cash to author help sites.
Are they going to reach your target audience?
Will you be getting reviews and will those reviews be posted on sites that matter?
How many posts per day?
Are they original posts or the cookie cutter post?
What time will the posts go live each day?
Will the host keep in contact with you?
The host assured me that I would be totally satisfied and gave me all the answers I wanted. What I got…well…let me share that with you.
About a week after I paid (in full) I got my first and only email I would receive from my host without me tracking her down. She asked for a few things like the books blurb, cover pic, and PDF and eBooks files (for reviewers). I sent all the stuff and waited. About three weeks before the tour I was getting antsy because the host had not gotten back with me yet. I emailed her (with no response) and finally tracked her down on Facebook. She then invited me to be part of her secret group of bloggers and showed me that she had in fact set up the tour with a bunch of blogs. I had paid $75 for a 2 week long tour with a guarantee of 1-2 stops per day. I noticed I only had about one post scheduled each day. I wanted more so I started contacting my own bloggers. I set up my own 2 blogs per day and then emailed the host with my list and told her I’d get my bloggers everything they needed. A week before the tour I had yet to hear back from my host and I started again to get antsy. (Communication is always key for me. I want to feel reassured that my money is well spent). Finally I sent her an email with an attached HTML promo post that I created myself (something I thought she was handling—good thing I did it myself). The only email I got back was a topic for a guest post (mind you 2 days before it was to go live).
Day one of the tour I get online to find that not one of my posts I paid for had gone live. I sent several emails and checked the sites regularly. The posts were to be live by 8am each day. Finally at 2pm I got an email back from my host and she claimed one of the blogs had been up all day (not true—I’d checked) and that she was having the other blog posting theirs. Day one frustrated me, but it couldn’t get any worse right?—wrong!!
Throughout the next two weeks I had several posts that never went up until after I emailed the host. I also noticed that my book wasn’t the only one to be featured that day. I would scroll down past 2-3 sultry romance novels before I found my middle-grade book—did you catch that? Sultry romance novels! I am being kind when I say “sultry”. It kind of upset me that my children’s book was surrounded by half naked people. What further aggravated me was when I went to visit my paid post for the day to find my book being featured on an adult content website. That’s right! I had to click a button saying I would accept to view adult content in order to look at a post about my children’s book. (I did not share the post on my website’s schedule—after all, my readers are mostly kids, teachers, and librarians). When I emailed the host she blew it off—she didn’t see the problem. After the tour was finished I had paid for a total of 2 reviews, 1 guest post, and 1 site with readers of my genre. Every other post was the same cookie cutter book feature I created and was featured on a blog that focused mostly in sultry romance. Lucky for me I had set up my own bloggers. Bottom line, I got screwed by the host. I will never use that tour site again. I ended up paying someone else to email my pre-generated post to a bunch of sites my readers have no interest in.
Does my experience want to make you do it yourself? Probably, but remember though, this was just one hosting site. There are many sites and they are not all this bad—I hope. I paid a hosting site to do my online book launch party and I thoroughly enjoyed it. That host site also offers blog tours, but after my bad experience with this last one I’m not so ready to toss my money their way.
Things to keep in mind if you plan on handling your own blog tour:
Give yourself enough time at least 1-2 months before your launch to set it up.
Have at least 2 posts per day for a minimum of 2 weeks.
Make sure the posts are all original posts. No cookie cutter posts. Those will not reach out to new readers or help your status in search engines.
Plan about 2 weeks to write guest posts and answer interview questions.
Have GIVEAWAYS. This creates incentives for people to visit the posts and read about your book. Plan a head and make sure you budget out postage for prizes. Use rafflecoptor! The same giveaway can be used on all your stops during your tour.
Try to use bloggers that have the same interests and genre that your book is. Don’t waste time marketing to a bunch of romance readers if you have a children’s book. I did, and it doesn’t work.
Follow up with your bloggers and remind them of their commitments. Double check everything. Once the post is live, go comment and thank them for sharing.
Share each post on your own social media sites.
Prepare yourself to work hard.
I hope I have given you some valuable information. I know how frustrating it can be for authors to handle marketing and promotion, and I want you to learn from my experiences. Just be smart. If you want to go with a hosting site, ask around for referrals. Double check to make sure you will get want you paid for. Good luck in your progress and happy writing!
Mikey Brooks is a small child masquerading as an adult. On occasion you’ll catch him dancing the funky chicken, singing like a banshee, and pretending to have never grown up. He is an award-winning author of the middle-grade fantasy adventure series The Dream Keeper Chronicles. His other middle-grade books include: The Gates of Atlantis: Battle for Acropolis and The Stone of Valhalla. His picture books include the best-selling ABC Adventures: Magical Creatures, Trouble with Bernie, and Bean’s Dragons. Mikey has a BS degree in English from Utah State University and works fulltime as a freelance illustrator, cover designer, and author. His art can be seen in many forms from picture books to full room murals. He loves to daydream with his three daughters and explore the worlds that only the imagination of children can create. As a member of the Emblazoners, he is one of many authors devoted to ‘writing stories on the hearts of children’ (emblazoners.com). You can find more about him and his books at: www.insidemikeysworld.com.