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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Blog Tours: Trick or Treat?

Some readers hate blog tours and who can blame them? If all you get is a sales pitch, you might as well nail your coffin now. I'll even throw in some old Halloween candy (circa 1989).

Here's my reader confession: I won't follow a blog tour that only brags about the book. As a reader, I want to be entertained, or at the very least informed. 

I am not big on excerpts either. Some of my hosts for this blog tour have asked for excerpts and I oblige with very short ones. Maybe I'm the exception, but very few excerpts have ever gotten me excited about a book. I count on the blurb to lure me in. If it succeeds I will hunt for the book myself and seek out my own answers. 

This is my second ever blog tour and I learned a lot this go round. A blog tour (for me anyway) is all about name recognition. Secondly, it's about the book. 

With that in mind, I strove to choose blog hosts who had a diverse readership on their blogs. I wanted to find new readers, people who didn't know me before I stepped onto that platform.

But that added a new parameter in how I wrote my posts. I had to write "universal" topics that new readers could follow without knowing my history, but familiar themes (or insider jokes) that old followers would appreciate. 

Interviews were tricky too. A regular old interview is fine for people who don't know you, but how do you spice it up for people who know you too well? 

That's why some interviews were conducted with "snitches", and some have off the wall questions (or answers). One of the big favorites so far was Jackie Burris's idea of my life through pictures. I honestly didn't think my photos would be interesting to people, but it got a load of comments.

I really struggled with interviews because they can be very boring, but the new twists on this year's interviews added a lot of warmth and whimsy. 

Perhaps my biggest problem on this blog tour was time. In the beginning, I was afraid no one would want me on their blog. (Note big puppy dog eyes.)

The offers trickled in and then all of a sudden I was bombarded. I had to started declining. I think that mortified me more than not having any offers at all because I hated to let people down. 

I could have accepted them all and wrote something. But I really wanted every post to stand up on its own and not be a slapdash through tourville. So I declined and hope those people will ask me again later on down the road.

Friday, the blog tour gets underway again and my next stop will be my one and only quiz. Be sure to check back!

In the meantime, if you missed any of my other posts, check out the Blog Tour Page to see where I've been.

Tell me, guys. What do you think of the tour so far? Don't be afraid to tell me if anything sucked. Really. Any suggestions on how to improve it would be greatly appreciated. Is there anything I could have done better? Is there anything you expected and didn't see?

I think there was one thing that failed, but I'll reveal that at the wrap up report after the tour.


Marianne Arkins said...

A blog tour (for me anyway) is all about name recognition. Secondly, it's about the book.

You hit the nail on the head with this one.

Also, I think posts rather than interviews are FAR more interesting and I'm more likely to read them.

I don't read excerpts, not often, and not unless I've already been enticed in other ways.

You've done a fabulous job, IMHO (take it from someone who has organized dozens of tours ... yours was outstanding).

Linda Leszczuk said...

I missed the bulk of the tour because I fell off the blog wagon that week, Now I'm playing catch-up so don't be surprised if you get some VERY late comments from me over the next few days.

But the puppy picture on this one was a tease. I thought, "Hey! Maria's got a new dog!"

Maria Zannini said...

Marianne: Gee, thanks! That means a lot coming from someone who's handled so many.

Ref: interviews
The thing about interviews is that a lot of the information is canned, so if you do more than one, you're recycling old information. I thought the Dakota/Tank interview was a blast! I loved that one.

Joanne said...

I'm enjoying the variety on your tour, each visit seems to be unique in content, and different from previous posts. It's definitely a nice way to get to know an author, and I think it's more about the conversation that gets going that seems to draw readers in.

Joanna St. James said...

it was great getting to know things abt u but yeah the doggy ones with Jen shirk and Marianne were my faves

Maria Zannini said...


Ref: "Hey! Maria's got a new dog!"
I knew someone would say that! LOL! --sorry for the tease.

Glad to hear you'll check out some of the old posts. That's why I put the list on its own page. People have lives. I am at their convenience. They aren't at mine.

Maria Zannini said...

Joanne: Exactly! I want conversations and interactions. I like learning about the people who comment. That's why I ask questions. I want to know about the people who visit and how they feel.

Maria Zannini said...

Joanna: :o) I am a dog person. Hear me Woof.

I know it's not always everyone's favorite topic, but I love talking about the dogs and hearing about other people's pets.

Animals sometimes say more about people than they think.

Dru said...

The Dakota/Tank blog post was a fun one.

Your blog tour was fun. It was always a surprise to see what you were going to say. You've kept it interesting and I learned more about you and your thoughts with each one I've read.

Lia Bal said...

Hi Maria,

I have to admit, I was very busy with work, home, and my own writing lately so I didn’t have time to check out the blog tour. The few posts that I read I did enjoy. My favorite (and it seems like everyone else’s) was the dog interview. I just fell in love with the big teddy bear Tank, and I really think Iko and my dog might be related. I absolutely love animals and I’m all for more dog pictures and stories.

Maria Zannini said...


Ref: ...and I learned more about you and your thoughts with each one I've read.

Is that why you're blocking my calls? LOL. Kidding.


Maria Zannini said...

Lia: Life happens and I'm always glad when people show up, no matter when it is.

Meghan Schuessler said...

So far so good IMO. I like getting a view inside an author's head before reading their book(s). And I loved the doggie interviews of course! :)

Mike Keyton said...

It's been very impressive, Maria, an eye-opener into how to market a book in an intelligent and non-exploitative way.

I'm taking notes :)

Ellie said...

You're spot on when you say, "I won't follow a blog tour that only brags about the book. As a reader, I want to be entertained, or at the very least informed." I feel exactly the same.

Also, I don't like it when bloggers hold competitions that involve acruing points by mentioning the author on blogs, twitter etc. It just feels wrong to me.

Maria Zannini said...

Meghan: Watch out for the drunken orgies and sword fights in the author's head. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: Thanks! I am trying very hard to reach an audience without resorting to prostitution.

Maria Zannini said...

Ellie: Contests that count points are too hard for me to follow.

I use to pick winners. Obviously the more you comment the greater your chances become. That's just mathematics.

hany said...

verry good

Liz Fichera said...

Maria, you've done a fab job!! It's always more fun when blog posts are more personal and fun--posts that just brag about books usually aren't that effective, if at all.

jackie b central texas said...

Blog tour has been fun and I am so glad the stop at my place went well, you have an interesting take on things and people love to know more about the author not just when the book is out and where to buy it!
I too will not really read interview posts, at least not more than one by the same author as it gets very boring to read the same questions and answers over and over...
Hope you have enjoyed yourself as much as we have enjoyed following you around from place to place Maria!

I am not an author but from my point of view you have handled everything nicely so far and looking forward to reading the rest of the tour posts.....
jackie >_<