Writers hate to market their books. To stand at a book fair and watch people scurry by. To pour your heart and soul into a blog post that only your mother ever reads. (Thanks, Mom.) But here I am anyway on a book blog tour.
A blog tour is a set amount of time, usually a week or two, in which your book will be promoted across various websites and blogs. The dates are set in advance; each blog knows what material it will be posting, and the content should be unique to each blog.
That sounded like something I could do and so I said yes.
Nicole then got onto Twitter to ask for volunteers. She came back with a whopping list of 50 names. Pared down for availability, I ended up with a fab list of of 14 bloggers. 8 book bloggers agreed to post reviews of The Dancing Girl and the Turtle. 2 wanted to publish an extract from the novel. 2 asked for interviews and the rest invited me to post a guest blog.
So I did my homework. I looked at every book blog and found a wide variety of styles, interests and tones of voice. How could I produce something that would speak to them all?
Back in the days when I was a lawyer, I would occasionally teach marketing to my younger colleagues. These were men and women with 6+ years of experience. Excellent lawyers but really uncomfortable with the idea of having to market their services. I would tell them:
Think about it as a conversation. It’s nothing more than that.
OK, my little class agreed. We can do that. Then we got down to the tough stuff like where do women keep their business cards? Dresses don’t always come with pockets. A handbag at a networking event is an accident waiting to happen. Here’s my tip:
Tuck your business card inside your bra. Then you’ll always have something to talk about.
This is not to say you go into a room unprepared. Any good networker figures out who’s on the guest list ahead of time. You choose 2 or 3 individuals you’d like to meet. And you figure out what you’d like to discuss.
For my book blog tour, I wanted to apply a similar tactic. I tried to imagine who the blog readers might be and who among them might be interested in me. But truth to tell, I was struggling. Then, in one of those moments of synchronicity, my friend Tori Egherman invited me to her persona workshop.
Designers and marketeers use this tool when trying to identify potential customers. The object is to create a persona, much like an author would devise a character. You know her age, ethnicity and marital status. Where she works and how she votes. Whether she has any hobbies or pet peeves and, if so, what those are.
Unlike a character in a novel, however, a persona is an archetype. A category of people rather than one unique individual. Your goal is to create a persona specific enough to address, in my case, for the book blog tour, but not so quirky that you end up with an audience of one.
book blog readers
Step 1 was to ask: who are likely book blog readers? Here’s what we came up with.
- A book lover who already knows the blog and uses it to find new books to read;
- A professional like a librarian who, by definition, a book lover. She reads book blogs as part of her job, in order to expand the library collection;
- A web surfer who’s interested in the topics raised in a book and finds the book blog using Google search terms.
In step 2, we had to decide whether these categories represented distinct groups of book blog readers. Book lovers and librarians sounded pretty close to each other, but the web surfer was a whole other animal.
Could a single message have multiple personas? Not a problem. So, in step 3, we designed 2 personas I would meet while on my book blog tour.
Sorry, I’m not going to tell you who they are. Because I could be completely wrong!
But the process of thinking about my audience, who they are and what they want to know, has been invaluable. I can already see how this can improve my guest blog posts. The persona tool will also help me prepare for interviews, author readings and book club visits.
Here’s the poster Nicole put together for The Dancing Girl and the Turtle book blog tour. The first 3 stops have already gone live. You can find the links here.
I can’t wait for the rest.