The Power of Paying It Forward

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Never underestimate the power of paying it forward.

When I launched my book two years ago, I had a small network of authors. I could count on a single hand how many connections I had with fingers still left over. When I planned my first blog tour, I was touched by the number of people who agreed to post materials for me, totally free of charge, and I was inspired to do the same.

Most authors already have their own blogs. If you don’t have one, I urge you to go out and get one (I have three–they’re great!). I purchased my own domain name, and pay a web server provider yearly to house my email and WordPress account. If you can’t afford to do that, you can still begin a blog, totally for free.

Creating  a secondary blog

If you already have a blog, contact your web server provider and ask how you can set up another. My site uses WordPress, and it was really easy to set up another web site, totally free of charge. Keep the site under your author’s domain name strictly for your self-promotion. Keep the second site strictly for promoting other authors.

If you have a blog with a free service, like WordPress.com  or Wix.com, then you can create a second blog at no extra charge.

When someone offers to host your blog tour, offer to do the same for them when the time comes.

How to find stuff to blog about

If you’re worried about how you will ever find enough time to create posts for your promotional blog, simply sign on as hosts for services who promote blog tours. These sites are always looking for blogs to help them out. They often send emails directly to your inbox and you can pick and choose which ones you would like to post. You might even get a free book or two out of it if you sign up to write a review.

Here are a few that I’ve discovered over the years:

Call in a favour

The first thing I did when planning my blog tour was to contact everyone I had hosted on my promotional site a month in advance of the book’s release date, and ask if they’d be willing to host for my new blog tour.

I live in Canada, and there are strict rules for advertising via unsolicited email, and the last thing I wanted to do was to have the CRTC at my back, so I began with the following disclaimer (slightly edited):

Hello.

Firstly, I want to thank each and every one of you for helping me to build Britbear’s Book Reviews into a success. Whether you have contributed by allowing me the opportunity to review your book, or by posting publicity materials, you have helped me to build my network and provide a platform for authors to help sell their books.

Now, I have a favour to ask.

I have my latest release scheduled for this July 12th, and I’d love it if you would be able to help me publicize my books, either by posting a review, or by posting publicity materials for me during the week of its release.

If you are unable to help, no worries. Britbear’s Book  Reviews remains open to each and every one of you as a venue to  help you publicize your future releases. If, however, you are able to help, it would be greatly appreciated.

Once more, a HUGE thank you to each and every one of you!

Elise Abram

This was followed by

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  • a cover image
    • the title of the
      book
  • the logline (one sentence summary)
  • genre list
  • number of pages
  • release date
  • blog tour dates
  • back cover blurb

The email went out to 46 people. Three people volunteered to post materials. Three others volunteered to post reviews (that I know of).

I know some of you will be doing a bit of math now–roughly 13%.

But remember that a week is only 7 days long. One email and 6/7 days are already taken care of.

Now do the math: one email and roughly 86% of my blog tour booked–those are numbers I can get behind!

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Best Practice Blog Tour

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I took a course a few years ago at a local university on book promotions, and the instructor swore that the blog tour was the most important publicity tool you will have. When I signed with a publisher for the last book, he was less than convinced about the correlation between running blog tours and successful book launches. Undaunted, I planned and ran my own month long blog tour for the release of my last novel, The Revenant: A YA Paranormal Thriller with Zombies with limited results. As a baseline comparison, I also hired a company to run a week long blog tour the following month, also with limited results.

In this series of posts, I plan to blog about the days leading up to the release and blog tour to help publicize  my new novel, I Was, Am, Will Be Alice. This time through I’ve scheduled my own again, trying to post as much material as I can to as many websites as I can over the course of a week, and compare that to my sales (something I couldn’t do last time as my publisher had control to all of the data).

I plan to be transparent in my posts, sharing with you how I went about the planning and execution of my tour as well as how it effects book sales, with the hope that I can help other authors to do the same.

I would be remiss if I did not share the document that gave me the idea to plan my own blog tour rather than pay someone to do it for me. Before I set out to go it on my own, I read A. Terry’s How to Promote Your Book with a Blog Tour, Volume 2 in Terry’s Book Marketing Survival Guide Series.

I won’t lie–planning a blog tour on your own takes a lot of work. You have to have good organizational and writing skills to do it. In addition, you must be willing to invest your time during the tour, sharing on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Storify, etc. But in the end, it will all be worth it as it (should) help sell books, but it will also help you to network and make a whole bunch of new contacts to help build your writing community for the next time around.

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Kudos for “I Was, Am, Will Be Alice”

alice blue cover

I Was, Am, Will Be Alice is the winner of the A Woman’s Write competition for 2015!

Here’s what Barbara Bamberger Scott of A Woman’s Write had to say about Alice:

Elise, who hails from Canada, has composed an elaborate time-travel fantasy based on Lewis Carroll’s world-famous classic “Alice” books. Her book is entitled I Was, Am, Will Be Alice. Starting with her mysterious role in a school shooting, we follow the heroine as she grows up, seeking the identity of the shooter, traveling back and forth in time to encounter characters reminding us of a modernized conception of Wonderland. Well conceived and cleverly carried through. Congratulations, Elise Abram!

In I Was, Am, Will Be Alice

When Alice Carroll is in grade three she narrowly escapes losing her life in a school shooting. All she remembers is the woman comforting her in the moments before the gunshot, and that one second she was there, the next she wasn’t.

It’s bad enough coming to terms with surviving while others, including her favourite teacher, didn’t, let alone dealing with the fact that she might wink out of existence at any time.

Alice spends the next few years seeing specialists about her Post Traumatic Stress as a result of VD–Voldemort Day–but it’s not until she has a nightmare about The Day That Shall Not Be Mentioned, disappears from her bed, is found by police, and taken home to meet her four-year-old self that she realizes she’s been time travelling.

Alice is unsure if her getting unstuck in time should be considered an ability or a liability, until she disappears right in front of her high school at dismissal time, the busiest time of day. Worried that someone may find out about her problem before long, Alice enlists her best friend (and maybe boyfriend), Pete, to help her try to control her shifting through time with limited success. She’s just about ready to give up when the shooter is caught. Now more than ever, Alice is determined to take control of her time travelling in order to go back to That Day, stop the shooting, and figure out the identity of the stranger who’d shielded Alice’s body with her own.

I Was, Am, Will Be Alice is scheduled for a summer 2016 release.

Posted in Alice, Contests, Science Fiction, Young Adult | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Complications: Mild-mannered Doctor goes Commando

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Jason O’Mara stars in “Complications”.

Thank you so much to Callum at Cultured Vultures for posting!

Complications, Jason O’Mara plays Dr. John Ellison, a mild-mannered ER doctor who goes commando when he witnesses a drive-by shooting in a park. Grieving the loss of his daughter to cancer the year before, he’s on his way to the vet to save a mauled squirrel when he realizes the animal has died. This most recent death brings back the emotions experienced during his daughter’s illness and death. Overwhelmed, Ellison stops the car in front of a park only to witnesses the boy being shot…

To read more, check out my review at the Cultured Vultures site!

I’m a Cultured Vulture!

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