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Posts Tagged ‘Liz Johnson’

Kelly Blewett (WaterBrook Press) and Liz Johnson (Multnomah Books) graciously agreed to participate in my interview series. You can check out their publicity efforts on their blog WaterBrook Multnomah Publicity.

How do blogging and/or blog tours fit into an author’s overall marketing plan?
The obvious answer is that it depends a great deal on the book and the author. For fiction titles, especially new authors, blogging and blog campaigns are an integral part of the campaign. For authors working to establish themselves in a genre or the CBA market, blogging is an excellent grass roots way to create a buzz about their book. Personal blogging can also tie in with other publicity and marketing efforts. For example, if an author has a booksigning or interview coming up, he or she can blog about it before and after the event, adding excitement for those reading the blog and those able to participate in the event. For nonfiction authors or more established fiction authors with a strong platform, personal blogging is important so that fans can keep up. Fans like to feel involved and connected to favorite authors and reading an author’s blog can be like reading an interview with them everyday.

Do you require or encourage authors to participate in blog tours to promote their books? Why or why not?
We always encourage our authors to participate in the blog tours, leaving comments and reading posts. It’s a great way for the author to see how his or her book is affecting the reader. As we mentioned before, it’s also a great way for the blogger, maybe a new fan, to feel connected to and appreciated by the author.

What type of blog tour do you suggest and why? (e.g. a short, blitz-type tour mimicking more of an online press release; a longer, multi-stop tour mimicking a physical book tour; or other structure.)
At WaterBrook Multnomah, we’ve modeled our blog campaigns similarly to groups like the CFBA—offering a short, blitz-type tour. Ours are usually 4 to 5 days long. From our experience this can have great results in increased sales and better Amazon.com ranking numbers, giving the book more credibility on certain sales sites. For example Jeffrey Overstreet, author of Auralia’s Colors noticed more Amazon activity during his 5-day blog tour than he did over 25 radio interviews. Often repeated words and phrases in a blog tour can also affect Search Engine Optimization, which is key to hitting the first page on Google or Yahoo.
We haven’t tried the more extended blog tours, although several of our authors enjoy running those and feel that they get good results from month-long, or longer, campaigns. Logistically, our publicity department is better able to serve our bloggers and our authors by running the shorter campaigns.

What should be the goals of a blog tour and how do you track whether or not a blog tour is successful?
The goal of a blog campaign should be to increase the awareness that leads to sales of the book that is being toured. There are several ways to measure awareness, including Technorati.com, which offers graphs and numbers of mentions of a specific word or phrase over a given time period. This is a good indicator of awareness—who’s blogging about the book. Sales departments can often offer information about sales by month or week. We noticed specifically an increase in the number of books purchased by Amazon the month directly following a 2007 CFBA blog tour of Sally Stuart’s Christian Writer’s Market Guide. This told us that they had sold so many books that they needed to restock.

What does a blog tour accomplish, if anything? What data or analysis has led you to believe that?
As mentioned above, awareness and sales should be the accomplishment of a blog tour. We’ve seen increased awareness in every blog tour we’ve done and sales data has shown increased sales via online venues in many of our campaigns.

What do you think are the big mistakes writers make when blogging for promotion?
From a publicity standpoint, we’ve found that it can become easy for authors to think blogging is the only promotion they need to do. The truth is that it’s very important, but definitely not the only thing to focus on. As writers are given the chance for radio interviews, to write articles for other magazines, or other opportunities, we encourage them never to turn down an invitation—unless there are extenuating circumstances. Every publicity opportunity is important—you never know who will listen to or read something. Smaller media can lead to bigger media!

Do you think the benefits to an author’s writing career are worth the costs of blogging? Why or why not?
Usually the highest cost of blogging is time. Authors are usually on tight deadlines, so blogging can take away from precious writing and editing time. But within reason, it’s a wonderful thing. Each author needs to carefully examine his or her schedule and see how much time can be dedicated to blogging. But making that time is important for reaching new fans as well as keeping those who wait a year or sometimes more for the next book. Even if an author blogs just a couple times a week, fans will appreciate the time and the author gets the chance to begin building excitement over upcoming projects.

Any other additional thoughts on blogging and blog tours?
Thanks for the opportunity to share with you and your readers!

Thanks, Kelly and Liz!

To read the other interviews in this series, click here.

You can read the summary posts and discussion of what I’ve learned through these interviews over on my personal blog, click here.

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