Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Virtual Book Tours – YA Style

On A Dark Wing (Harlequin Teen, Jan 2012)

When 16-year old Abbey Chandler cheats Death and lives past her expiration date, her lucky break comes at a heartbreaking price. And Death has never forgotten. 

After reading my Young Adult (YA) debut book – IN THE ARMS OF STONE ANGELS – YA fantasy author Trisha Wolfe of YA Bound loved my book and contacted me. We kept in touch. She’s a talented author with her debut book – DESTINY’S FIRE - coming out in early 2012. When she heard I had book #2 being released soon—ON A DARK WING (Jan 2012, Harlequin Teen)—she asked if she could host a virtual book tour for me. I’m learning so much from her. She’s a very generous soul. Here’s what we’ve done to date and I’ll share what’s ahead.

COVER REVEAL - I held off on revealing my cover until YA Bound was ready to launch the sign up for bloggers wanting to be tour stops. This took coordination with my house so they wouldn’t make my cover available to public forums like Amazon or Goodreads.

TOUR HOSTS – From my Twitter & Goodreads activity, I had the pleasure of meeting Trish of YA Bound online, but I’ve learned since then that hosts sometimes charge for their services to host a tour. Another site I’ve heard about is THE {TEEN} BOOK SCENE. Coordinator Kari has a great reputation and conducts her services for free, but asks for donations. If you query “Virtual Book Tours” online, you will find many links on the subject, including host sites that may specialize in your type of genre.

TOUR SIGN UP - On Oct 3rd, when I posted a reveal of my cover, I announced that YA Bound would host my online tour and sign ups would start on Oct 4th. On the first day, Trish told me we had a record number of blogs join the tour and more were coming. The sign up period ended Oct 31 and we had 52 blogs on our final list. Since we had so many and didn’t want to turn anyone away, we opted to have a BLAST TOUR. A blast tour is condensed down into a 2-3 week period with bloggers allowed to schedule their own tour stop through the host so each stop is different and not redundant.

TOUR REQUIREMENTS - What do bloggers do on the tour? Look at YA Bound’s tour requirements HERE. Trish’s experience as tour host shows in this detailed list of requirements. The more that is spelled out in advance, the smoother things will run, but an experienced tour host is vital to make the tour look effortless.

DISTRIBUTING ARCs - Harlequin Teen uses Netgalley to get advance reader copies into the hands of tour members as well as other online reviewers who are approved by them. My book is HERE on Netgalley. To read Harlequin Teen’s reviewer criteria, click HERE.

BANNERS & COUNTDOWN WIDGETS – Trish created a tour banner using my cover and the logo of my publisher. These graphic designs can cost money, but you can do it for free using WidgetBox. Click HERE to see my tour banner and the countdown widget. These banners and widgets can be cross posted by bloggers and sites signed up for the tour to help spread the word. Anyone can grab the code, even if they aren’t participating in the tour.

CONTEST GADGETS – I recently ran a book giveaway contest on Twitter that linked to my blog. It lasted several days. I promoted my giveaway on Twitter using a link to my blog and asked entrants to become eligible by using a contest gadget I had posted through Rafflecopter. I set up the gadget to garner more followers on Twitter, so one of the requirements was to have them follow me. They could also earn extra entries into the random drawing by posting tweets about the contest, at their option. I set up the gadget for all the mandatory and optional objectives and Rafflecopter uses Random.org to help select the winner when the contest is over. It makes everything easy to administer. Rafflecopter is by invitation, so enter and wait for their follow up that could take 7-10 days or so. It’s totally worth it.

TOUR STOP VARIETY –Tour hosts work with each tour stop to come up with different kinds of features. I’ve seen longer lists of ideas to make each stop unique, but here are only a few (some of my favorites): Vlog Interviews (video interviews with the author posted online), When I’m not writing (highlights of hobbies, family or pets), Author Book Picks, Cover Interview, Author with Editor Interview, Character Tweets (I’m planning one with Death), Character Interviews, or a Top Ten List that can be related to the author or the book. There’s more, but this will give you an idea of how creative tour stops can be.

GIVEAWAYS – My publisher has contributed books to giveaway on the tour, but my character, Abbey Chandler, will have a special gift for readers who win a book. She says it’s a secret. [Insert eye roll here. She can be a real drama queen.] And at the conclusion of the tour—on a live chat hosted by YA Bound—a Grand Prize will be given away. It’s really cool, but I’m not saying what it is yet. Shhh!

GRAND PRIZE – A grand prize will be given to tour participants on a number of criteria that the host will track through the fabulous Rafflecopter widget. Tour stops enter what they did and random.org makes the winners easy for the host. As you might imagine, the grand prize is aptly named for its GRANDEUR, incentive for blogger to FLIP OUT!

SOCIAL MEDIA TANGO – With every tour stop, it will be important to promote on Twitter or other social media sites. My tour host will help with this, so will my publisher & other bloggers on the tour. This could be significant & retweeting (RT) by others can add fire to the buzz. I’m a big lover of Twitter.

TWITTER CONTESTS – I recently saw an author run a series of quick contests on Twitter for a limited period of time. She had simple rules stated in advance, but her main reason for conducting the giveaways was to get her ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) into the hands of readers AND to gain followers. Her ARC freebies earned her hundreds of followers in 2 days. ANOTHER CONTEST TIP - If you’re running book giveaways on Twitter or via a link you are tweeting, use the hashtag #BOOKGIVEAWAY to call attention to your post and reach beyond your own followers.

GAUGING RESULTS – A daily posting group blog like ADR3NALIN3 can lighten the load of posting to a blog and is very helpful for name recognition. Plus, if you blog or have a website, you can use stats to gauge traffic to your site. Using Blogger stats, you can see where traffic comes from and Twitter is a big resource to drive people to you. If you’re not using Twitter to its fullest potential, you’re missing out on a freebie.

Please share your thoughts on what you like about virtual tours, as a reader or an author. What are your favorite kinds of posts? What do you want to know about an author and a book? How do you learn about a new book you want to read? If you’re an author, feel free to ask questions on this type of promotion. ADR3NALIN3 is about sharing ideas.


Trisha Wolfe said...

Love the new blog! And thanks for the shout out here =D

Jordan Dane said...

Ha! I LOVE that our first comment is from YOU, dahling. Thanks for being a friend, Trish. Hugs.

Jen Bigheart said...

I'm the first follower! #fistpump


Jordan Dane said...

Ha, Jen. You are so cool. Love ya. Thanks for spreading the word. Several of our members are from TX, girl.