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Friday, October 12, 2012

Blog Tour How-To: Interview with Gwen Gardner

For the final installment of the blog tour how-to, I present independent author Gwen Gardner who recently released her debut novel Givin' Up The Ghost (An Indigo Eady Paranormal Mystery).

You put together an impressive blog tour for your new release Givin' Up The Ghost. What steps did you take to get this done?

1. I researched the process and learned from others who had already been through the experience.

2. Pre-planned. I had my cover made four months in advance. If you’re having someone create your cover or format your ebook and print book, make sure you reserve their services, so they’re not booked up.

3. Started planning the tour early. Angela Brown and I put our tour plans together two months in advance. I’d recommend three months in advance.

4. Used social media for self-marketing. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, GoodReads. Since I partnered with another writer, we also set up social media for our partnership: Partners in ParanormYA.

5. I blogged about my self-publishing plans. When other writers found out I was self-publishing, most wanted to help, whether for cover reveal, hosting or advice on editing and formatting.

6. I posted a comment linky asking for volunteers, and also asked what kind of posts they’d like. FYI, most wanted short, quirky, fun, and character based posts.

7. Based on the above research, we generated interest by bringing our characters to life. We posted short character sketches, character dialogues and character interviews.

How did you find hosts for your blog tour? How did you approach them to ask for their help?
For the most part, we didn’t approach people directly. We posted a comment linky on each of our blogs (hers, mine and ours) asking for volunteers for our cover releases and tour hosts. The response was overwhelming. The blogging community is so generous and willing to help.

We did approach at least two high-traffic blogs separately, though. They tend to fill their guest spots pretty quickly, and you’ll want to reserve a spot at least two months ahead.

You are one half of Partners in ParanormYA. What were some of the benefits of working with a partner?
I lucked out in partnering with Angela Brown. Not only is she clever and creative, but absolutely reliable. Here are some of the benefits we shared:

1. Sharing in the excitement, stress and the occasional bouts of self doubt.

2. Sharing in the work. Double-booking our blog tour required ten fun, interesting and creative posts per week, in addition to our regular blog posting schedules. Once we started the actual tour, we published 25 posts per week between the two of us. That takes some real creative brainstorming!

3. Since Angela and I critiqued each other’s books - twice - we know each other’s books and characters well enough to write posts for all the characters. Our characters even interact with each other in our posts!

4. Laughing with, and at, ourselves and each other. Priceless.

Has your release been how you expected it to be? Any surprises?
There were no real surprises. I’ve done a lot of research and benefitted enormously from the experience of other writers.

What advice do you give to other authors promoting their new release?
Start early and do your research. Use social media to engender interest, but don’t risk alienating your friends and writing buddies by bombarding them with pleas to buy your book. I believe I read the recommended ratio is 80/20, i.e., 80% of your Facebook posts should be about something other than your book.

Thank you for visiting Gwen!


Angela Brown said...

Wonderful words of wisdom. I'm glad I partnered with such a smart, fun, hilarious and very dependable writer - ahem, author - to promote our books. Gwen has taken her research - can't you tell she's uber organized extraordinaire - and used it well. Three cheers, Gwen!!!

dolorah said...

Sounds like this partnership will endure past this on event.

Those are awesome blog tour tips. I have caught several of the tour stops, but I hadn't realized there were 25 each. Wow, a lot of work. You both deserve a vacation after this :)


Gwen Gardner said...

Thanks for interviewing me, Sharon! I hope this is helpful to those who are about to self-publish:)

Gwen Gardner said...

Awww, Thanks Angela. You are so supportive, and of course the most awesome touring partner, ever!

Gwen Gardner said...

Donna, we've coming and going and everything in between! But having a blast:)

Deniz Bevan said...

I think this is the first partnered blog tour I've seen - sounds like you're having a great time!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

25 posts per week!!!! Wow. That is so impressive.

Gwen Gardner said...

Deniz, I've seen authors traveling under the same banner, but not the combined posting and interviewing together at the same blog at the same time. We may be a first at this:)

Gwen Gardner said...

Susan, it's work, but it's fun:)

Jess said...

Congrats on the book (love the cover!) and thank you for the insights about putting on a blog tour~ great interview, great advice!

Gwen Gardner said...

Thanks Jess - I adore the cover as well. It's by the talented Corona Zschusschen.

Tara Tyler said...

awesome advice! hopeful to use it soon!
you guys are doing a wonderful job! curious how to rate your results?

ps, sharon, how do you like curiosity quills? email me if you have time =) (taratylertalks at gmail dot com)