Bigging up bloggers #bloggerssparkle

Mavis and Dot

Two years ago, I’d never heard of a Blog Tour, but I wasn’t as involved with my writing back then. Bloggers sounds like a rude term: “blogger off” could be used as an alternative to another expression. BUT, how could I ever think negatively of a blogger?

Having released my new novella, Mavis and Doti in mid-November 2018, and having spent nearly twelve years on its birth (long, protracted labour), I needed to let the world beyond friends and family know about it. Especially as I was selling the two ladies to raise funds for cancer research.

I was recommended Rachel Gilbey of Random Resources. For the uninitiated, here’s how it works.
1. You contact her and receive a very modest price list. Bite the bullet, you have to speculate to accumulate, folks. It’s nerve-wracking to think of your work being picked at by the wider world, but we’re writers; we can’t closet ourselves away in our untidy work space (speaking for myself). We wrote the book to be read, for heaven’s sake.
2. Rachel is very efficient. She designs a beautiful banner for you, with flair and imagination, and then puts out the word to find bloggers. I don’t think she uses a sandwich board and a megaphone. She walks the streets of the internet and I was flabbergasted to hear she’d almost filled my 42 blogger spots (sounds like an advert for acne) within two days. About one month in advance, I created an e-book for Rachel to send to these lovely people. (I used CALIBRE).
3. Some bloggers request individual posts from the author. I wrote nine, but it was good for me; made me re-evaluate the themes I’d hopefully put across in my book. The remainder would read and review my book. Eek, knees tremble, heart palpitates.
4. The blogs came in from November 17th – 30th and I was bowled over by the reactions. I kept links for the posts as, at first, I was posting too much and felt I was boring the pants off social media friends. I decided to drip-feed over future months, because I’ve learned you have to keep this publicity lark going for the first six months at least, after publication. You can’t sit back and twiddle your thumbs. So, I’ve filed the quotes for future ads and promotions.
5. I was gratified to see that reviews were also posted on both Amazons and Goodreads. To date, I have 23 on UK Big Brother Amazon, 6 on USA and 27 on Goodreads. Not too bad for an indie book at this stage, imho. All 4 and 5 stars, except for a 1 from Ibrahim, but that’s fine too. The book is out there.

3 - REviews M and D

WHY DO BLOGGERS BLOG? What do they get out of it? I wanted to find out.
First I talked to Rachel Gilbey. For her it’s a business and she runs it very well. She started by organising tours for a small self-publisher after getting an internship and really enjoyed it. She has a large mailing list now but is always on the look out for more. Rachel filters her lists according to each book’s genre. To date she’s organised 316 tours in 2018 and has 58 confirmed for 2019. I highly recommend her efficiency and friendliness and am very grateful to her for my first blog tour experience. She doesn’t do all the work: it’s up to the author to tweet and post too – obviously.

Next, I turned to one of the complete strangers who blogged me (sounds like a one-night stand). Her name, HonoluluBelle, was interesting for starters. I’d love to travel over to Hawaii one day and investigate whether it’s only in Mutiny on the Bounty that grass skirts are worn…and to meet this hilarious lady too, of course. She’d said she “found treasure” in my book and “each and every one of Ms Petch’ quirky characters was deliciously peculiar and colourfully drawn. I adored them no end.” (Blush).
“Why do you blog?” I asked and here’s her reply. (She wrote a new blog following on my question. (I need to think of a saying along the lines of “you can take a grass skirt off a Hawaian but you can’t take a blog out of a blogger”). She’s in blogging because she loves to read. Simple.
I don’t make a cent from my blog, I don’t have ads, I don’t have affiliate links. I just get free books. Which is all the motivation I need. I mean, come on… Free books baby! I’m a retired government worker living on a pension, I’m in it for the FREE BOOKS! I don’t care one whit if my reviews are read or not, I don’t expect or believe anyone actually does or will read them other than once in a great while a desperate indie author stumbles onto one or maybe a bored PA now and then. I’m always surprised, shocked, stunned, and even a bit horrified when someone new finds them and leaves a comment.”
I asked for “Belle’s” tip for authors on a blog tour:
“Be patient, select your tour operator with care, and have thick skin… BTW – Rachel’s Random Resources is excellent. I have worked with many and several have come and gone in the short period I’ve been blogging. Rachel is by far, the most organized, personable, and dear to me. I have never met her in person but I call her my English Rose – without her awareness, of course. She would most likely cringe in horror if she knew, yet she is very patient with me. I know I’m a bit of a wildcard for her and she always seems immensely relieved to receive my links with a positive review as there have been a few that I didn’t care for.”
There were 42 of these sparkly reviewers and bloggers on my tour and I could have talked to more (but I talk too much, I know).

Jessie Cahalin Coffee Shop

Blogger extraordinaire – Jessie Cahalin

The very first blogger I had (confession time) is the inimitable, lovely Jessie Cahalin at Books in my Handbag. So, last, but definitely not least, I turned to her to ask why she blogs about authors? Doesn’t it take away time from her own writing?
She describes herself as a “book warrior”.

“I am an accidental blogger who never dreamed I would become synonymous with books and handbags.
Blogging enables me to establish my identity as a writer. Through my blog, I have found my voice. I love to blog about my writing experiences and adventures: it is a great way to keep a visual diary.
Blogging is not a business for me. I blog to connect with the bookish community. The international bookish community is a dynamic force powered by words, creativity, friendship and lots of coffee I want to promote my own book and support other writers. I get a real buzz from helping others when it is appreciated and reciprocated.
I do believe that authors are stronger together and must support each other. Readers listen more when someone else talks about your book online. I promote other authors’ books via the Handbag Gallery, interviews, extracts and guest posts. When I launched my debut novel You Can’t Go It Alone authors reciprocated with spotlights on their blogs.
I asked Jessie for advice for an author contacting a blogger.
I love people who interact with me. Retweet my tweets, comment on my blogs and respond to my FB posts. Make sure I know about you and look at my blog and my book to see if we share common interests. Please don’t send me an e mail asking for a review, telling me I’ll love your book, if I’ve never heard of you.
At the moment, I am lost in the world of my second novel. Recently, I reduced the number of blogs in order to focus on my writing. I reward myself with snatches of time on social media. I am ashamed to say that my TBR pile is a huge mountain -time to buy more hiking books and a large supply of coffee.”

You can’t go it Alone

Jessie’s own book title is very fitting. So, there you have it.
Bloggers are our friends. They sparkle and we need to love them.

 

About Angela Petch

Bit of a story dreamer, published six books. I love my little family and in no particular order afterwards: Italian culture, food, wine, walking everywhere I can and especially in the Apennines, East Africa, tennis when I can, reading, reading and more reading. So much to discover still before I die.
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18 Responses to Bigging up bloggers #bloggerssparkle

  1. Empress DJ says:

    Thanx for the shout out – I’m impatiently awaiting your next book while gleefully rubbing my greedy palms together in anticipation! ~ DJ, aka – Honolulubelle 😉

    Like

    • Angela Petch says:

      Thanks, pal! I have a historical novel on pre-order at present, so I haven’t had time to write much more about “Mavis and Dot”, the two ladies. But… if you are interested in being transported to Tuscany and a love story (based on fact) set in the Second World War and present day – here you go: https://geni.us/B07Q38YX7XCover Excuse me being a shameless hussy! Big hugs to you. xxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Roger Bray says:

    Fantastic post Angela 🙂 Rachel and her band of bloggers are awesome 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sue Wickstead says:

    Thank you for this blog article.
    I too had never heard of a ‘blog tour’ and felt a bit foolish that no-one had said before.
    I was advised to contact Rachel Gilbey as well and WOW! she was fantastic. She set up the tour and I felt reassured.
    My book tour was for the first week of December, 1-7th, so has only just finished.
    My tour was for a children’s picture book.
    The book was for Christmas so I was glad that Rachel found time for me.
    I have felt a bit overwhelmed but have loved the comments.
    I only hope I can, and have, maximised the potential.
    I will definately have to look at another blog tour for hopefully one of my existing books.

    Like

    • Angela Petch says:

      So glad it went well for you, Sue. Yes, it was the first time for me and I’ll use Rachel again. So efficient. Thanks for reading!

      Like

      • I was lucky to meet Rachel at the LBF in March. We have organised a BlogBlitz for my first pictuer book on April 20th.
        Also another Blog Tour for my second book 19th to 25th May.
        Rachel is indeed a lovley lady and we hope to send each book on a tour this year and then hopefully my new books too.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Angela Petch says:

      She is amazingly efficient and having a tour with her for Mavis and Dot definitely helped. I still can’t get over how many selfless bloggers there are too – who simply review and blog because they love books. They work very hard. Thanks for reading this post and, hopefully, we will meet at a CHINDI event some time. Did you find going to the LBF useful, Sue?

      Like

  4. Thanks for a great post! I now realize how scintillating “blogging” can be! Great idea to ask “Why do book bloggers blog?” Nice to meet Honolulu Belle! I join you in the shoutouts to Rachel and Jessie!! Merry Christmas everyone!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Angela Petch says:

      And, Jena, there are so many bloggers to be thankful to, including yourself. How could we manage without you? And how many new friendships have been forged as a result – quite apart from all the new subjects our “little grey cells” are taking on board as we share tips and… laughter. Happy festivities to you too – enjoy the preparations and the build-up (sometimes more fun than the actual day).

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is an excellent blog. It’s so important to make these connections with people.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Angela Petch says:

      Real, warm people too! Thanks, Rosemary. I always worry my blogs are too long, but there was a lot to say this time and I wanted to explain to newbies what a tour was like. I think Rachel Gilbey is marvellous. Now, back to my editing! I need to write a blog on how not to get distracted by social media soon…

      Like

  6. A great blog, Angela. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I’m hoping to set up a first blog tour next year, either for the launch of The Coal Miner’s Son, or alas, if he’s not ready, then the anniversary of House of Grace.

    The best of luck with Mavis and Dot. I too am reading and enjoying this but still have a way to go before I get to the end. Your friend will be shining down and looking at you with pride. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. jessiecahalin says:

    Thanks for including me in this lovely blog with Rachel. I enjoyed reading your articles and reviews of Mavis and Dot. It was wonderful to read the well deserved accolades. Interesting to get an isight into Rachel’s incredible approach.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Angela Petch says:

      Love including you, Jessie, because you are so supportive. You do so much for us. Now, you need to concentrate more on you. xx

      Like

  8. Lexi Rees says:

    I agree on the blog tours – they are hard work to get all the posts written in time, but great fun. I e-met some great people through mine, and my TBR pile is ever growing as a result!

    Like

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