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If you were Stephen King…

September 4, 2007

your publisher would be chomping at the bit to send you on a major 20 city book tour.  But since there’s only one Stephen King, and the odds are you aren’t him, a book tour is probably going to be a waste of your time.  This was one of the points made at the BlogHer Blog to Book session by Ariel Stallings – old school bookstore appearances are so 1990 for the majority of authors.  She found herself talking at best to 3-5 of her friends, and the random person who happens to wander into the section of the store where she was speaking. And that experience was not unique to her.

I’ve done a couple of book tours and many author events in the material world. The best tour was for Kevin Mitnick. It was when his first book came out and his fan base attended the events in force. Other speaking events have been hit or miss, depending on the city (tech topics work best in San Francisco with Seattle a close second, outside of that, blah), the venue (independent stores with a good fan base are as good if not better than most chain stores) and the author’s following.

What does work is a blog tour. An article in this weekend’s NY Times talks about authors from some mainstream houses who found success with this type of book promotion. It’s definitely something to encourage all authors to try. Find some blogs that people who you think would read your blog would also read. Approach the blogger and offer to guest blog for a couple of days or see if s/he would post an interview with you. Every blogger is looking for fast and easy content (don’t I know it) and would probably find a way to accommodate a special guest star for a while. It’s something we will probably try with our upcoming <em>IT Girls Guide to Blogging with Moxie to help get the word out there about the book. Likewise, the upcoming <em>Blogging Heroes is a natural for this kind of promotion.

For those not inclined to DIY on such a project, I can recommend Patron Saint. They were the first publicity firm that Wiley worked with to help arrange a true premium book blog tour. Patron Saint is run by Steve O’Keefe. Steve was one of the pioneers of this idea and has seen it grown and help change the way his company promotes books.

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