After an abbreviated discussion with author Toby Neal about her post Is the Blog Tour Dead , I thought I'd do a little post on the subject as well. (I'm typing with 2 fingers, so it'll be short). No, I don't think the tour is dead - it's still a great way to get the word out on a new book release. I do think, however, that with the number of authors and book releases, that saturation is a problem as well as (sometimes) a lack of imagination. There are some great bloggers and reviewers out there, but let's face it; after reading a half dozen interviews with the same author, often with similar post titles, one's eyes can begin to film over.
Here are some ideas I think might jazz things up a bit.
Interviewing the Author:
The usual subjects include childhood, favorite books, influences, creative process. How about including a few personal recipes, cocktails, personal DIY hints, etc. What kind of car do they drive? What would they do if they won the lottery? Interviews don't HAVE to be serious...
About the Book:
Remember Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil? An entire industry grew up around that book, including various tours of landmarks, restaurants and cemeteries. You can do the same thing with a novel.
1.Interview one of the characters. Make it fun - create a talk show similar to Oprah, Dr. Phil - or Jerry Springer. For Alex Cavanugh's CassaFire tour, I created a fictional aviation magazine and interviewed his character Byron, who is a Cosbolt pilot. You could use a fashion magazine, professional journal, etc. as a vehicle to reveal more about a particular character and their background. heck, you could even do a resume or criminal record! (No, they are not always the same.)
2.Does the novel take place in a fictional town? Write up a Destination Guide for it. Is the action centered on a bed and breakfast? Do a fictional review of it.
3.Use the novel's setting and include interesting information and little-known facts about the location. (Because of its many bays and waterways, Louisiana has the longest coastline of any American state: 15,000 miles. There are no tooth fairies in Spain, but there is a tooth mouse named Ratoncito Pérez.)
4.Newspapers are a great source of ideas. Does a character die? Write an obituary. Murder, adultery, suicide? Fodder for a fake tabloid headline. Has the author created a space vehicle? Design a For Sale ad or a repair advice column.
5.Don't forget that culture/time period is also a great resource. For example, if the book is set in Victorian England, include a few facts about the era, or statistics. (In 1851, a boy born in inner Liverpool had a life expectancy of about 26 years. Much of the food consumed by the working-class family was adulterated by foreign substances, contaminated by chemicals, or fouled by animal and human excrement.)
6.Finally, try different sorts of promotional contests. Challenge readers to post pictures of your book in unusual locales (if it's hard copy), create artwork inspired by the story, or an acrostic based on the book title. Use your imagination and make it fun!
Remember, boredom is an insidious enemy so try and make your blog tour stand out in some way. If you're hosting a fellow author, promoting their book is not just a great way to be a supportive member of the writing community - it's also an opportunity to showcase your own skills and creativity. It's a win/win situation for everyone.
So, that's my 2 cents for the week. While I'm happy to promote via Twitter, Google +, Triberr and a featured authors page, I don't generally participate in blog tours because the focus of this blog remains flash fiction stories.
My hand is better, but not greatly so. Staying away from typing has been a help, so I hope to ease back into blogging over the next few weeks. I've missed it! Hope all of you are well and keeping (mostly) out of trouble. :-)