Authors with new book releases are gaining exposure by turning to blog tours more and more, says online publicist Diane Saarinen. Instead of physically traveling from bookstore to bookstore, authors are scheduling virtual online tours where their new novels or memoirs are featured in popular book blogs.
"An author might be scheduled to appear in anywhere from eight to eighteen blogs. Their book will be in the spotlight with a review, and often there is participation from the author with a guest post or interview. It really helps start an online conversation about the book," says Saarinen, who has arranged tours for best-selling and prize-winning novels.
A study by Jupiter Research and Buzzlogic indicated that blogs influence consumers more than social networks. Findings from Rubicon also revealed that online word-of-mouth (WOM) was second only to in-person recommendation, a factor that should be taken into consideration when an author is planning publicity. And an LA Times article recently focused on the growing influence of book bloggers, stating this "vibrant online community is attractive to imprints that want to get attention for releases, some of which might not be written about elsewhere."
Saarinen suggests the most important step in planning a blog tour is to coordinate early – often months before the book hits the shelves. "A really popular blogger's dance card will be full. You need to approach them well in advance." Saarinen's web site is http://bookblogtourguide.com/.