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NYT on Blog Book Tours

Books2Judging by the number of catalogs and new title review inquiries I've received this year, publishers are starting to realize the benefit of book reviews on blogs.  Authors should pay attention and invest some time and effort in this as well.  A review of your book on some of the more popular and well-targeted blogs is likely to result in as much (if not more) interest and sales than you'd get from the typical in-store book tour/appearance/signing.  And you can do it all from the comfort of home.

Here's a recent story about book blog tours in The New York Times.  It closes with an interesting observation from Dave Weich, director of marketing and development at Powell's Books in Portland: "the dirty little secret of real-life author tours, he said, is that 'most of the people who go to events don’t buy books.'"

Authors, work with your editors to find out how much effort your publisher's marketing team is likely to invest in this area.  You don't want to step on their toes or duplicate their efforts.  Once you've determined the publisher's plans, do some research of your own.  Dig around a bit with Google Blog Search, Technorati, etc., and find the most popular blogs that cover your book's topic.  Send that information to your editor and let them know you plan to reach out to all the bloggers on the list to find out who might be interested in reading and reviewing your book.  I also suggest you ask your editor for enough additional comp copies of your book (beyond the quantity in your contract) to cover the ones you plan to send out; it's the least your publisher can do since you're offering to establish contact with these bloggers and mail everything out.  Finally, follow-up on all of this.  Check back in with the bloggers to make sure they got their copy and if they plan to read/review your book.  Also, ask them to post their reviews on the various online book sites -- it's usually a simple cut-and-paste effort and takes no more than 2 or 3 minutes.

(Thanks to former colleague Juliana Aldous for flagging this article on her publishing blog.)


Anthony S. Policastro

Hi Joe,
Interesting post especially about the dirty little secret about author's book tours. If you Google "Book review blogs" about 211 million sites come up so you can find a review on just about every book published.

I just signed up with a book review blog group and started doing reviews. Check it out at http://fictionreport.com/blog/2007/09/10/finn-a-dark-look-at-racism/


Yanno, the community of Romance authors has been doing this kind of promotion and cross-promotion for quite some time. Two years ago, I wrote in a series in which the authors created a community blog for their characters (that spawned similar blogs set up by fans) and did blog-tours for our books as they were released. Romance has the benefit of a large and devoted following of readers who took their efforts on line ages ago. We've known for years, and I do mean years, which on-line review sites are good and influential. It's kind of funny to see non-Romance writers, editors and publishers talking about this as if it were just now discovered and invented.

As ever, thanks for the great blog!

Michael A. Banks

Anent attendees at real-world book events, it's been my experience that most people do not buy books. The Crosley book was an exception ('ve signed more than 200 each at several talks and bookstore signings), but that's a special case.

For authors who are sending out copies on their own, I suggest sending copies to the recipients' home addresses when possible. That way the book doesn't get lost among dozens of others coming in every week at the magazine or newspaper in question. The personal autograph is always a nice touch, along with a bookmark if you have 'em.

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