Friday, August 14, 2020

Behind the Scenes of a Blog Tour


Whether you’re a repeat customer or interested in partnering with JustRead Publicity Tours, LLC (lovingly referred to as JustRead or JR by those of us who refer to it daily) or simply a curious reader, I hope you’ll enjoy this behind the scenes peek at the planning and execution of one of our many campaigns. If you haven’t met us yet, JustRead provides a variety of publicity services including our example for today, tried and true blog tours. I’ll be referring to “you” as an author below and linking a few examples so if you’re a reader or publisher, it’s time to play pretend!

Hi, author friend! The first step to partnering with JustRead is filling out a Campaign Inquiry Form on our website. Once Carrie has a chance to review your information, she will send you date availability and pricing plus helpful suggestions to best meet the needs you indicate on the form. She’s such a sweetheart, she’ll even hold those dates for you for seven days while the two of you exchange any necessary emails to ensure we are all on the same page. We are big fans of open communication, it generally makes life less stressful.

Note: Clearly specifying your book's genre (Christian fiction or wholesome “clean reads”), subgenre (historical, women’s fiction, romantic suspense, etc.), and ANY content warnings on the campaign inquiry form is critical for a successful campaign. 

(fair warning, I’ll be chasing rabbit trails and dropping little notes throughout this post)

Another note: If we do not have availability within your target timeframe or if we don’t think your book will be well received by our hosts or regular reader base (for whatever reason), we will refer you to another tour company that might better suit your specific needs.

Once you’re ready to go for it, Carrie will add your tour to our calendar, enter all the pertinent information in our task management software, send an invoice request to Annie and (voila!) the countdown to your blog tour begins! Annie will square away all the money math then shoot an email invoice to your inbox but be sure to read it or you’ll miss important things like payment methods and due dates as well as what we need from you and when we need it to make your blog tour a success!

Note: Send a high-resolution image of your cover to Carrie ASAP. This is task #00 for creating your tour and believe me, it feels good to check things off the ol’ to-do list.

When possible, we like to begin reader (or host) sign-ups for tours a couple of months before the start date and since 2020 has been plagued with every shipping delay imaginable, we have pushed that timeframe back even further, especially when print copies are involved (such as certain review or bookstagram tours). To kick-off sign-ups, I (Beth) will use that hi-res cover you already sent to Carrie (go, you!) and book information (from your campaign inquiry form mentioned above or email exchange with Carrie) to create your tour’s banner, host sign-up form (for reader contact information, date availability, post type preferences, etc.), host review link submission form (more about this one a bit later), and a “new tour” graphic. Either Rachel or Carrie will jump in at this point to proofread these forms before we send them out into the world.

   
Note: Creating banners is one of my favorite tasks. Sometimes I go through multiple drafts before I’m happy with the outcome (and I often drag Rachel and Carrie into the deliberations). 

Once the forms are double-checked, readers can sign up to be considered for a stop on your tour! My next task will be to spread the word by posting the new tour graphic to our Instagram (you can see them in our highlights) and Facebook stories, sending out a newsletter showcasing the banner of your tour (and other new tours for that two weeks), and featuring your tour banner (with other open tours) on the Current Sign-Ups page of our website during the sign-up period. Near the end of your sign-ups, Carrie (since we’re referring to a blog tour) will make sure we have plenty of qualified hosts for your tour.

Note: If we are short on time or would like to attract more hosts for a specific tour, we also share a “tour alert” graphic post on Instagram and Facebook, highlighting your cover, tour, and book blurb. This summer, our lovely intern Kayla has been tending to our new tour stories and tour alert posts among many other things and we so appreciate her!

Another note: Carrie also assigns our reviewer and “blind date with a book” tours and Rachel assigns our social media tours.

When Carrie is ready to create your tour schedule, she will assign hosts to specific dates for author interview, guest post, review, and/or spotlight posts. She will check each blogger’s provided information including monthly views, preferences, and availability, plus past host performance to determine the best candidates for your tour. Carrie will then send each assigned reader a welcome email with the schedule specifying their assigned date and important reminders. Hosts assigned author interview or guest post spots on the tour have a few days to reply to the welcome email with their questions or topic suggestions and Carrie will email those to you along with any final details we need.

Note: If we have more readers than available spots, readers who are not assigned receive a “thank you for your interest” email. If you opt to include print copies for reviewers, Carrie will also send the mailing list at this time and a SHIP BY date.

Send Carrie your responses for author interview and author guest post spots and final details promptly because the last few weeks before your tour is when we will compile that information for hosts. I will build your blog landing post including giveaway graphic, Rafflecopter form, and linked tour schedule for the JustRead website plus assemble host assets such as post requirements and HTML for WordPress and Blogger. Rachel will proofread those before I send asset emails to the tour hosts and Carrie will email your author interview and guest posts to each assigned host one week before the first day of the tour.

Take a deep breath, it’s the morning of your long-awaited and highly anticipated blog tour organized by JustRead Publicity Tours! Are you excited?! We’re excited!

Note: As day breaks and the dew dries and my children and dog are pulling me in at least 5 different directions at once… I will (eventually) link your tour banner on our home page. However, if you’re an earlier riser and function-er than I am and you just can’t wait to see that post for yourself, simply click on Blog under Campaigns in the menu bar. (ta-dah!)

Your landing post on the JustRead website will go live at midnight EST (automatically be shared in JustRead’s Facebook and Twitter feeds) and that’s also when your giveaway begins! On the first morning, your book cover will be pinned to JustRead’s “Books to Read” Pinterest board and your giveaway graphic will be pinned to a “Book Giveaway” board. Hosts will have their posts published by noon EST (and shared on social media) and Rachel will visit each blog to make sure the post contains the correct information and leave a thank you (yet another task our intern Kayla has excelled in). By the conclusion of the giveaway, hosts will also submit the host review link submission form which Carrie will include along with the tour giveaway winner and link to an anonymous feedback survey in her wrap-up email to you.

Ta-dah! That's how we do it, folks! Did you learn something new? Did I put you to sleep? 

As we draw the curtains on this exclusive sneak peek, we invite you to ask any general questions you may have in the comments below but please direct specific tour requests to the campaign inquiry form mentioned above or you may email me: beth @ justreadtours.com (with no spaces).

Let us know in the comments if you'd like to be entered in a random draw for the winner's choice of two books from the JustRead stash!

JustRead Publicity Tours, LLC is a full-service publicity tour company for published works in the Christian genre or books that are considered a “clean read”. For more information, check out our “About” page to see who we are or jump right into “Authors & Publishers” to learn more about our campaigns.

42 comments:

  1. I'm amazed at how organized you are! What a wonderful service to writers. Hope to avail myself of it at some point instead of doing it all myself. Please enter me in drawing, my own book stash is pretty low about now.
    It is still very hot here so am taking it easy.
    Kathy Bailey

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    1. Hi Kathy! We are organized because we have to be but there are definitely days when we have 20 tabs open in 3 different browser windows and forget what was supposed to be getting done, LOL! Using a task management program has been a lifesaver for us. We can't have your book stash getting low! Stay cool and read on, friend!

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    2. A task management system sounds amazing, but also scares the breath out of me. I'm imagining this virtual boss breathing down my neck. LOL Gives me hives.

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    3. LOL! I think of it more as a brain helper, no more relying on those mental notes and the work is all broken down into bite-size pieces for us. It's a relief!

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    4. Beth is sort-of the virtual boss breathing down our neck via the task management system - but she's awfully sweet about it :) lol

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  2. Oh, what a great post! I look forward to reading it more closely. This has been a bit of mystery to me, so I really appreciate you guiding us through all the steps!!

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  3. Wowza! That is a lot of work. You ladies are amazing! Before Just Reads existed, I used two other blog tour companies. The investment was well worth it.

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    1. Hi Karen! It is but it's also a labor of love for us! JustRead empowers us to do more for authors by working together and combining our strengths 💪 ❤

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    2. I agree, Karen. I was getting dizzy just reading it!

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    3. We get dizzy sometimes too, Cate 😂

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    4. and that's just a blog tour, not the social media tours which require a whole other level of work but not by me LOL

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  4. Beth, thanks so much for sharing the behind-the-scenes glimpse. I'm just starting to gear up for my January 2021 release, so I've definitely been looking into this. I'm curious, since I have seen my cover but don't have permission to release it yet, should I wait until I do to contact you all?

    Thanks,
    Cate

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    1. While having the cover or at least having an idea of what the cover looks like is extremely helpful, I've been known to create banners with no covers on occasion when circumstances work against us. It's not ideal since the cover is helpful from even the beginning stages of selecting what kind of tour would be most successful for you but I promise you can trust us to keep your cover secrets as soon as you're at liberty to disclose them to us. We're absolute sticklers about protecting covers until the reveal dates. If you're looking at January dates, I wouldn't recommend waiting much longer to snag some space on our calendar.

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    2. yep. what Beth said. Now's a good time to get it booked. We can always start sign-ups when the cover is available :)

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  5. Beth, I am so thankful for JustReads Tours. You all have helped me SO much and done things I'd never be able to pull off on my own. In a word, y'all are AMAZING. Thank you for sharing your passion for Christian fiction with the world.

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    1. Mindy, I love love love working on (and participating in) your tours! Thank you so much for your encouraging words and repeat business! You made me all teary. We appreciate you!

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    2. As soon as I'm on my way home, I'll be responding to your form, Mindy! :) We looooove you! YOU are amazing & stress-free to work with :-D

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  6. I would love to be entered in a random draw for the winner's choice of two books from the JustRead stash! wow this is a lot of information. I wasnt sure about what all went on behind the scenes but knew it had to be time consuming. thanks for sharing.
    quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

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    1. It really is a lot when you look at all the working parts! We have been streamlining and shifting tasks to make the best use of our individual time and strengths this year. Our hosts (both faithful and newbies) make it all possible, we appreciate all the time they spend on posts too!

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  7. You gals are amazing! I need to read this post again...and again. So much info! I'm totally impressed and blown away!

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    1. Thank you, Debby! I'm so glad y'all find this post useful and interesting!

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  8. Wow! This was such a great post, it was really cool to learn how you guys help authors promote their books. I would love to be entered in the giveaway.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Angeline! We'll put your name in the hat!

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  9. Wow. What a lot of work goes into a book tour. I know the authors are so grateful for all you to to help promote their books. I’d love to be entered in your giveaway. One can never have too many books.

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    1. We love helping authors and we appreciate all they do to bring wonderful books into the world! Anne, you are so right, there's no such thing as too many books!

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  10. This all seemed a bit overwhelming to me as I really don't know much about blog tours. I hope to someday need something like this, so appreciate you providing the information. Please put my name in the drawing.

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    1. It IS overwhelming, Sandy - but hopefully you learned something new :) We'll put your name in the drawing for sure!

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  11. Thanks so much for this post. I've been interested in doing something like this and have two books coming out between now and March 9th next year. Eek!
    Questions: Do you think it would be better to do something like this right at the beginning of a release or later when sales have slowed down?
    And I don't think I noticed in your info above-- is there a certain number of books the author is required to donate to this?

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    1. Hi Amy! Most of our tours can use digital copies - with the exception of a couple of social media tours (Instagram & Takeover tours usually require a minimum of 11 print copies). And as far as timing, it's really up to you. If you're already doing a lot of promotion on your own right around release, sometimes waiting a little bit until initial sales have slowed down is beneficial. Often, we recommend a social media blitz around release day & a blog tour a little later. But it really depends on the book & the time of year. For instance, around the holidays all of what I just said shifts a bit lol. Keeps us on our toes ;)

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  12. Thanks for tag teaming with me, Carrie!!! ❤

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  13. I love JustReads! Mostly because of the fabulous people running it! :) I had such a lovely experience with JustReads in launching The Lost Lieutenant this past spring. I couldn't be happier with the exposure, the bloggers, the 'grammers, etc.

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    1. Thank you, Erica! We completely fangirled over promoting your book and I was fortunate enough to keep the drool off my computer while creating your graphics 😘

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  14. I'm still waiting on a publisher to love my book, but your service looks wonderful. Definitely bookmarking it!

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    1. Aw, thank you, Linda! We're happy to be in your back pocket 😊

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  15. You guys are amazing! You've already made the process easy and I look forward to November when my debut comes out ACK! I honestly didn't realize how much work goes into blog tours so I'm happy to work with you on that. Thanks for giving more insight with your post today. (Ps I can always use more books, so please drop my name in the hat if it's open to international readers).

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    1. We're delighted to have you, Lee-Ann! We have a soft-spot for debut authors and we are honored to be part of your journey!

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  16. I'm tired just reading this post, Beth! I love that you all have strengths and work together to make the tours a success. Plus, I love all of you for the amazing, wonderful ladies that you are! All of the posts about CFRR 2017 this week are making me so nostalgic! I want to go back and do it over again! Well, at least see all my reader/author friends again!

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    1. Well, Winnie, I have to admit that I got pretty tired writing it! We love you, Winnie!

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  17. As a reader I love these author blog tours! I don't usually follow along for each and every stop, but I follow enough bloggers to get the main info about the author and book.

    What a great service to offer an author!

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    1. I would love to be entered in the drawing!

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