Monday, June 28, 2010

Ask Not What Your Novel Can Do For You

tavernier stones cover Please welcome cyberpal and all-around good guy Stephen Parrish to the blog today. His book, THE TAVERNIER STONES, came out May 1. It’s a crackling good read (and I’m not just saying that—I read it, and crackled throughout. In case you missed it, I blogged about his book when it was released here) Oh, yeah, he’s also giving away a diamond.

Take it away, Steve…


Alan and I agreed to exchange lessons learned while blog touring. We're with the same publisher, we wrote for their mystery line, and we're both debuting as authors. Alan's book came out one month before mine, giving me an opportunity to observe and learn. That didn't stop me from making mistakes. Here's what I think:

* Ask for help. Openly on your blog, behind the stairs, anyway you can get the word out. You'll be surprised how many people come to your aid.

* There's no such thing as too much exposure, despite advice I've heard to the contrary. If anyone gets sick of hearing about your book, they already own it or they don't intend to.

* Give a free copy to anyone who agrees to so much as whisper your name in the howling wind. (Most will decline, electing instead to support you by buying a copy themselves.)

* One thing Alan advised, unfortunately too late for me, was to write guest posts in advance. You want your guest posts to be interesting and entertaining, and it's hard to come up with such stuff in the eleventh hour.

* Update your email contact list. Some of your most likely buyers will be distant relatives and ex-boyfriends from high school, even the ones you dumped unceremoniously for the hairy guy on the motorcycle.

* Wait until your book is actually published before announcing it to Muggles (non-writers). A suprising number of Muggles implicitly believe the publication date is the print date---that the book doesn't exist until then.

* Sign up for Goodreads and participate in their giveaway program. I gave away ten copies of my book to readers, who also happen to be potential reviewers; 1386 readers signed up for a copy and so far 160 of them have added it to their shelves. Took me ten minutes. (LibraryThing has a similar program, but they separate publisher-submitted books from author-submitted books, and the latter are mostly self-published.)

* My publisher sent out ARCs to an impressive list of reviewers, but late in the tour I decided I wanted to submit to some of the more nook-and-cranny places too, at my own expense. Problem is, it often takes weeks or months for review sites to get reviews out, so whatever comes will come long after the "buzz" is over. I recommend you get the ARC list from your publisher, research the market to determine where else you might want to send copies, and send those copies the moment they come off the press.

* Ask for help. Openly on your blog, behind the stairs, anyway you can get the word out. You'll be surprised how many people come to your aid.

Thanks, Steve, for visiting and for your insight—these are tips all writers embarking on a blog tour should heed. (You’ll be pleased to know I recently took your advice about the Goodreads giveaway, too.)



Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Great tips here! Two things I *haven't* done that you've reminded me I need to check into is a newsletter and a Goodreads presence. Thanks!

Alissa Grosso said...

Thank you! This is getting printed out.

ssas said...

Now we need to figure out similarities and differences between print and eBooks.

Good post, dahling.

Anonymous said...

Alan - Thanks for hosting Steve.

Steve - You've got some terrific ideas here! I have to explore the whole Goodreads thing, as I haven't been really doing that (tsk, tsk). I have to agree, though, that asking for help and not being afraid of exposure, so to speak, are great ideas.

Unknown said...

Those are great tips and I didn't know about the Goodreads giveaway. Thank you.


JournoMich said...

These are excellent tips! As a writer, I am making note and planning to follow your advice!

As a reader, I would respond to any of these. ARCs are great, but I'm one of those people who buys a book if it's written by a friend.

And now I think I'll have to check out YOUR book! Great ideas on exposure, Stephen, and great gust post, Alan!


Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Thanks for the tips. I've obviously been offering my book to the wrong people because most don't decline so they can buy it - they grab it from my hand like I owe it to them!)

So true about Muggles.

You also reminded me that I must do better on Goodreads.

Ingrid King said...

Great tips!

Alan Orloff said...

Thanks, Steve, for some great tips about blog tours. Good luck with THE TAVERNIER STONES and good luck giving away that diamond!

Thanks also to all the commenters and blog readers for stopping by. I hope these tips help you on your blog tours! And good luck finding that diamond in Steve's treasure hunt!

Barbara Martin said...

Excellent tips, Steve, of which I'm making my notes. My turn will come eventually.