Thoughts from novelist L.J. Sellers, who now writes first thing every day, even if the bank account is low and the bathroom needs cleaning.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Blogathon! Be AFRAID!
Mystery/suspense/horror novelist Jack Kilborn (aka J.A. Konrath) stops in today to evaluate his experience with a blog tour promoting his latest release, AFRAID. I’ve seen reviews on the mystery list servs and they’re all great. Several people have said, “I don’t usually read horror, but I couldn’t put this book down.” I started it yesterday and am having the same experience. Very compelling!
Meanwhile, Joe has been on a nonstop blog book tour for 27 days, hitting multiple blogs each day. Few authors could keep up that kind of pace, but Joe is not your average guy. Now we find out if it’s been worth the effort.
You said earlier that you won’t know how successful the blog tour has been until you see your Amazon sales on April 1st. Did you set goals before you started? What kind of numbers will make you happy? All authors have a love/hate relationship with Amazon, because it is the only way we can immediately view the results of our self-promotional efforts. If you do something on the Internet, and your Amazon ranking goes up, obviously some people just bought some books. But Amazon ranks are confusing, and are far from hard science. The only way you truly know how you’re doing is when you get a royalty statement. If, in April, AFRAID is ranked higher than 20,000 on Amazon, I’ll be happy. It’s already spiked past there a few times this month. For a first book by an unknown author without a big marketing campaign, that ain’t bad.
Did anything about the tour surprise you? It’s been a bit challenging to not repeat myself. By the end of the month, I’ll have been on close to a hundred blogs. That’s a lot of blogging. I’m pleasantly surprised that people are still tuning in, still following the tour. Personally, I’d be really sick of me by now.
Did it improve your promotional skills and repertoire? It allowed me the opportunity to try different styles. My blog, A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing, is basically me lecturing about the biz. I don’t get very personal, and don’t do much self-promotion. With this tour, I had the chance to blog about many topics I’d never do on Newbie’s Guide. I got to answer a lot of great questions, talk about my new book, AFRAID, goof around, and try to match my writing style to be simpatico with the blog hosting me. It was a terrific learning experience.
Can any author pull this off or do you think the blog tour is suited to certain genres and certain author personality types? The best way to answer that for yourself is to go back to Day #1 of my tour, follow it up until now, and ponder if it’s something you think you could do. I can’t really speak for anyone else. I don’t think it has to do with genre. It’s more about networking, time constraints, and a willingness to adapt.
You’ve created a lot of momentum by doing 73 blogs in last 27 days. How important is it to have that kind of schedule? And is it worthwhile for authors to do a blog tour even if they can’t maintain your frenetic pace? And, BTW, how much coffee does it take to keep you going? I have sort of a “go all in” personality. But I think there can be benefits from doing this no matter the scale. Obviously the more places you appear, the better off you are, but I’ve said before that you can’t every compare yourself to any other authors. Your race is with yourself, not with me. And my coffee machine is hooked up to me intravenously.
Why should an author follow another author’s blog tour? We can all learn from each other.
Why should a reader/fan follow a blog tour? What do they get out of it? Information and entertainment. But if you’ve been following this tour, you probably knew I was going to say that. ☺
Would you do it again? And if so, what would you do differently next time? I would do this again, that’s for sure. But I’d plan it next time. I announced this blog tour on Feb 28, on a whim. In the future, I’d try to set things up in advance, and not be so rushed and disorganized.
If someone has never read any of your work, should they start with AFRAID? Or do you recommend they read your Jack Daniels' series first and ease into this scarier stuff? People who like horror, will like Afraid. People who like thrillers, will like my Jack Daniels series. People who like both will like both.
Was it liberating to break away from your recurring characters and write a standalone? Was it harder? It was fun. Writing is always liberating, no matter the genre. I’m the luckiest guy in the world, being able to do what I love for a living. The worst day I ever had writing is still a wonderful day.
Any negative feedback from fans (or publishers) who often just want more of the same? Some people think AFRAID is too extreme. They’re probably right. It’s a pretty intense book. But I’m all over the place when it comes to genre. I’ve published mystery, thriller, horror, sci-fi, paranormal romance, humor, and a few genres I’m probably forgetting. If someone likes one type of my work, but not another, I’m fine with that. Everyone has a valid opinion.