How To Organize A Blog Tour – Research by A. J. Alexander

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During the past years of activity on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest,’ and the inquiries to publish posts and interviews for different Blog Tours I promised myself once I find the time I would do research on ‘Blog Tours.’ What is this? And why is it so important to writers? Who does organize them and if I have to do that myself, how to do it best?

What is a Blog Tour?

Alessandra Wike writes on “PR by the book”:
The age of the internet gives authors the opportunity to connect with thousands of people. Taking advantage of these seemingly endless possibilities, blog tours provide great publicity for a new book without the hassle (or expense!) of travel. Instead of an author traveling from bookstore to bookstore and city to city, an author’s book can travel virtually from blog to blog and garner hundreds, if not thousands, of views in a short amount of time.

To read the entire blog post, click here.

 

“Reedsy,” writes:

A blog tour is very much like a traditional book tour, where the author would go from town to town to sign their books and meet new readers; except this time, you go from blog to blog. There are countless fiction and non-fiction blogs that have emerged in the past few years, all written by passionate readers who want to share their love of books with other readers. They post book reviews, launch announcements, and interviews with their favorite authors. To continue reading the article on Reedsy, click here.

 

“Bookmaster” for example gives us a hint on what it means to work on a Blog Tour by writing:

A blog book tour can be set up by a publicist, but if an author has self-published and doesn’t have a publicist, they can do the leg work themselves. The key is to find blogs that are relevant to the topic of the book that are interested in participating in the blog book tour. For example, cooking blogs would be the target if you wrote a cookbook and relationship blogs would be the target if you wrote a book that provided love advice. Depending on the topic of the book there could be an unlimited number of blogs, or there might only be a handful if the topic is extremely niche. Each book tour should include a manageable amount of blogs, as the tour requires a significant amount of time from the author. Even though it’s not an in person tour, there is still plenty of work that needs to be done. (The article can be found here)

 

Now: what interested me most is: How do I really organize a Blog Tour? Of course, there are several hints, tips, and tricks from different writers; the basic work seems more or less the same – several have apparently had super-success while others complained that their echo was insufficient.

One article that impressed me was an article, published by Penguin Random House.

For example, does the post answer important questions like:

• What are the benefits of putting your book on a blog tour?
• What types of books work best for blog tours?
• How can an author ensure his or her blog tour is a success?
• How can an author work with his or her publicist to set up an effective blog tour?

or

• What are some best practices when preparing for a blog tour?

The entire article can be read here:
http://authornews.penguinrandomhouse.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-organizing-a-blog-tour/

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By researching further into the topic, I found another impressive and informative post on Joel Friedlander’s Book Designer’s Blog. He published a guest post, 7 Top eBook Blog Tour Sites, written by Greg Strandberg.

Greg informs about seven eBook Tour Sites, gives prices, information and his opinion to them. I think it’s worth checking them out. He as well links their names to their websites. (For copyright reasons I cannot do this below.)

1. YA Bound Book Tours
2. Xpresso Book Tours
3. Enchanted Book Promotions
4. Bewitching Book Tours
5. Goddess Fish Promotions
6. Sage’s Blog Tours
7. Rockstar Book Tours

If you like to read his opinion about these Sites, please check them out on his article by clicking here.

Finally, after hours and hours of research, I found an excellent post, provided by Mixtus Media on

How To Set Up A Successful Blog Tour + A FREE Guide

They not only provide us with an 11-step-guide on how to organize a Blog Tour, they as well provide us with a free Blog Tour Worksheet.

STEP 1: IDENTIFY YOUR IDEAL READER
STEP 2: RESEARCH
STEP 3: CREATE A LIST
STEP 4: DETERMINE YOUR RESOURCES
STEP 5: FIGURE OUT YOUR TIMEFRAME
STEP 6: CONTACT BLOGGERS
STEP 7: Stay ORGANIZED
STEP 8: CONSIDER GIVEAWAYS
STEP 9: ANNOUNCE THE TOUR
STEP 10: FOLLOW THROUGH WITH THE DELIVERY
STEP 11: FOLLOW UP

Each step is carefully described. To download the Worksheet, which I did, you are first subscribing to their newsletter. But I doubt that’s a problem. They do have more interesting information on their blog. (I didn’t have problems to download their worksheet, just in case your virus program is sensitive. Mine is, and it has carefully scanned the file and found nothing.)

After all the information I had found on Blog Tours I would love to hear from experienced writers how they had found it to organize their blog tours. Is it easy, is it hard? Do you mind providing us with some extra tips, tricks, and hints?

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Romance, Seduction, Taste – A Sexy Male Protagonist

I’m a writer of paranormal romance, working on the sixth book in my series, currently, even though the first book still needs to be published.

Now lately I have realized that my romantic male protagonists  are very attractive – all of them. (Of course, I measure my taste here, so please don’t hold it against me).

Then I started thinking: I’m an avid reader and occasionally read the one or other steamy hot romance novella. And I never even once read a description of an unattractive protagonist. They all were described as extremely good looking, and of course, they need to be. Otherwise, the entire book would be kind of weird.

A quick example. The Twilight Series. Edward Cullen was described as beautiful, breathtaking, Angel and so on. Would this series have been only half as successful if the protagonists had been merely mediocre or even having some obvious flaws?

Now, let’s be honest, which one below here is the ‘better’ Edward Cullen?

 

Picture courtesy of: https://comicvine.gamespot.com

picture courtesy of http://www.pinterest.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I don’t want to be unfair here. To each her own, right? What I find attractive is not necessarily attractive to another woman.

But what all these men in books have in common is the fact that they are well groomed. It’s always refreshing to read about a man who showers. And who knows that a nose hair trimmer is not only good to foam up milk for the cappuccino. (Not to talk about the fact that a nose hair is only a nose hair as long as it’s inside the nose. When it grows out, it’s a mustache).

Men should, in fact, be trimmed. It’s every woman’s personal taste to find a man with either more or less hair attractive. Let’s see. I consider armpit hair that can be plaited not particularly sexy. But hey… if it can’t be trimmed, for whatever reason, at least the guy should use conditioner. But that’s only a detail.
Having a look at a hairy chest, who can say which one of these would I consider my protagonist?

 

picture courtesy of http://www.google.com

picture courtesy of http://www.google.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In my case, it would be the right one – probably because that sexy hairline from the belly button down South would drive me crazy. But not the too much hairy chest, just the right amount. I wouldn’t be too happy caressing my man’s chest and finding dried ice cream from the last beach trip, croissant crumbs or Lego stones in there… Trim or waxing once in a while wouldn’t do any damage. At least some guys knew then what we women are going through to be beautiful for them.

Or what about a trim in the ‘Southern Region’? And I don’t mean the thighs or feet. I’m more talking about the – uhm – bell tower. I think to keep it carefully trimmed, and in order, isn’t asked too much, is it?

I mean, rainforest aside, it doesn’t need to look like a bare-nosed wombat. Just sexy and clean.

I mean, after all, I knew one man, Holy Smokes when he took his undies off I thought he was smuggling a beaver!

 

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Okay. I think I have been pretty open about my imagination of sexy protagonists. But now I’m curious. I’m sure there are characters on the evil side, the bad ones. Do we always describe them as unattractive? What are the features to ‘make’ them unattractive or the antagonist? How are you doing this in your book?
Thank you for your advice.

The Oddity Of Fairy Tales

Lately, I was invited to dinner at a friends’ house. Dinner was at 8 pm, and before dinner, she made sure her kids were in bed. She’s an amazing mother and told me, after their good night story they fell asleep quite quickly.

When I hear “good night story,” all alarms are ringing and shrilling in my head, remembering the stories I heard when I was a kid. So I asked her if she tells her kids Grimm’s fairy tales. Her facial expression was priceless. She swallowed her food and asked back: “Do I look sadistic?” I had to laugh… To us, this subject was over and out.

But in my head, I tried to recap what I remember from the fairy tales our parents read to us when we were little.

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The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids

Picture courtesy of: http://www.goethezeitportal.de

The wolf not only threatens the seven little goats but also eats six of them alive since the youngest could get away and tell their mother what happened. The mother grieved but then got the wolf who was too full to do much. While he was sleeping she cut his stomach open and let her six kids out (who were alive!), filled his belly with stones, stitched him up and he drowned when he wanted to drink. – What a happy end.

Holy Smokes: One wolf, swallowing six young goats – whole?

He doesn’t wake up when he’s cut open? And wolves are dangerous. I know, it’s a fairy tale and no reality show.

But hell we were scared to death from wolves. (And for some reason I don’t like goats either – I think they’re kind of dumb, standing there in a row waiting until the wolf swallowed the brother is a little weird). I can’t help myself, to me this doesn’t make sense.

 

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Little Red Riding Hood

Picture courtesy of: http://www.google.com

The girl’s grandmother lives in the woods, right? And she’s sick. What daughter leaves her sick mother in some wooden box out in the forest? And not only that: She sends her young daughter all by herself to visit her grandmother and bring her food! And a wolf eats an entire grandmother. Hungry Beast.
A mother who knows this is a deep dark forest, and there are all kinds of animals and seriously? You are sending your kid out there, all by yourself?

Are you out of your mind?

Worse is that there are mothers telling their kids this fairy tale. Why? In preparation of sending them around, all by themselves? GREAT!

 

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Hansel and Gretel

Picture courtesy of: http://www.goethezeitportal.de

Dear parents, think about it – do you ever want to tell your kids that you could be too poor to feed them? With this fairy tale, you more or less inform them that, in case money gets rare it could happen you’ll take them into the deepest forest and leave them there!

Additionally, you do tell them that there are really, REALLY ugly old women practicing black magic and threaten to stuff them in preparation to enjoy them as a meal! (I wonder why only the boys, but that’s a detail).

Be prepared that kids think about all kinds of things and the thought will occur that you might not wait until money is rare but try to get rid of them the next chance.

What should I say? At least this time there’s no wolf involved.

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Little Brother and Little Sister

Picture courtesy of: http://www.goethezeitportal.de

This is probably one of the weirdest fairy tales existing. Siblings who escape from their stepmother and ugly step-sister because they are fed poorly. They run away and go into hiding. Unfortunately, the stepmother has overheard their plans of running away and, being a witch, has bewitched all water holes in the forest. Soon the brother drinks from one and turns into a deer. You get the feeling they’re like six and seven years old when they take off.

But with what happens then I have to admit, I must have been wrong.

The king goes hunting and when the deer/brother hears that he wants to go out. (why in all the world is this dummy going outside in hunting season?) – However, the third day the wounded brother runs back to the hut they’re hiding, followed by the king, who sees the sister, falls in love within a Nano-second and gets married to her.

And then, two sentences later she all of a sudden becomes a mother, then ill, and then stepmother and stepsister become involved again somehow – until the happy end.

Which means, when the siblings took off, they must have been far over 17. And they can’t feed themselves? In the woods, they live off nuts and berries, and there it works? And she says yes to a man who just walked in the door for the first time? She must have been really hungry.

I wouldn’t want to tell this fairy tale to a child. It’s odd and confusing and doesn’t make the slightest sense.

But again: At least this time there’s no wolf involved.

 

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Sleeping Beauty

Picture courtesy of: http://www.google.com

A young princess who had a bad fairy wishing her that she’d die when turning sixteen, by stinging herself on a golden spindle. Three other fairies, the good ones, can turn death into a 100-year-sleep. That spell can only be broken by either the 100 years or a kiss of true love.

So far so good.

Now: be realistic, a spindle belongs to a spinning wheel. When in all the world does a princess EVER get close to a spinning wheel? She’s a princess; she’s got nothing to do there. For a while I considered my mother planned to sell me as a slave to a wool company. But at the time I grew up machines had largely replaced the common spinning wheel I doubt I was in real danger.

I was told that this poor girl, turning sixteen, fell asleep for – forever. And the castle was closed down and locked in by thorn bushes. Many men have cut and stung themselves to death by trying to get through and to the princess.

No wonder I’m completely screwed up when it comes to men! When hearing this fairy tale, I must have gotten the impression a man would give his life to get to a woman. I could think a guy would really fighting his way through thorn bushes but losing his life trying. And then I thought a man is walking into a room seeing a woman sleeping there and kissing her awake could really offer her a kiss of true love!? No wonder I got a completely surrealistic ‘enemy-image.’

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Cinderella

Picture courtesy of: http://www.google.com

Even when I was little, I had problems to believe parts of that story. A fairy? Birds? Doves? A tree? Gold and silver? And how on Earth can anyone walk in a glass shoe?

To match the shoe, both stepsisters cut parts of their feet off. I mean: can anyone really be this hell-bent on getting a prince? (Let’s say: remember Prince Charles? Thinking about him really make me feel the need of cutting of something – but I guarantee, that aren’t parts of me.) And how can any mother tell her little daughter that there are women cutting parts of their own body off to get married? Would I consider this teaching your little girl the total self-abandonment?

I’m not really sure where this story came from, but it seemed around the time brothers Grimm were alive, women did whatever necessary to lay hands on a man.

A very similar fairy tale exists in the Czech Republic, Tři oříšky pro Popelku (Three hazelnuts for Cinderella), written originally by Božena Němcová. In the 70s this fairy tale was turned into a movie, and I like it by far better than the Grimm-version. And just in case you’re curious: It does exist in English and does not scare children to death. Just click here

 

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Snow White

Picture courtesy of: http://www.goethezeitportal.de

A poor princess girl, treated badly? – Check. A bad, horrible stepmother being a terrible witch and queen? – Check. Magic? – Check. A prince trying to save the princess? – Check. All there for a horribly great fairy tale. I just think there are a few odd things in this story. Let’s start with the name of the main character. Who in all the world names her daughter “Snow White”? That’s not a name; it’s a color.

Second: The description of the princess: skin as white as snow, hair as black as ebony, lips as red as rose. This description scared me as a child already! It’s unnatural. Nowadays I suspect the girl must have been a vampire. But that’s only a detail. (The story does not say she sparkled in the sun though.)
Third: You tell your kid about that poisonous fruit, and you guarantee your daughter or son are making sure they steer clear of apples from that moment on. – Hey – you never know, right?

And last but not least: Are you going to tell your child it’s not only ‘okay’ to run off from home, but then you move in with seven single guys? Nice role model, I have to say.

 

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I know there are so many more fairy tales. But I figure I just picked the best known here not to end up writing a 6 feet blog post.

Are there any oddities in fairy tales you know – or heard as a child? Please, share them with us.

In Need Of A New Computer

 

 

It’s been seven years that I welcomed my desktop to my home… In all these years it has been a loyal and trustworthy accomplice to me in everything I had planned. But I feel it’s getting tired. Even though I can hear it works hard to fulfill my every need it has significantly slowed down.

I would say – another six months and my faithful friend is going to be retired. (or falling into a coma whichever comes first).

To me, this means I need to think about a successor for my dear electronic brother.

After thinking for quite some time and considering the move I have in mind, amongst other things, I decided for a laptop instead of a desktop. Well, that decision was easy, compared to deciding on a model.
The questions I had to ask myself to find THE laptop have been numerous, and I’m still not convinced I thought about everything. Finally, I found a page http://youthvillage.co.ke/top-10-best-laptops/ where they listed the ten best laptops. I was still not sure if one of these would be right for me.

 

I admit I’m lost. I feel overwhelmed with the sheer choices and possibilities. I’m a writer – and I work on a computer daily… but I’m still only a user, not an IT-expert.

After going on with research, I found a website with the best laptops for writers. http://www.144hzmonitors.com/best-laptop-for-writers/ Here they give me a table with the best laptops for writers.

 

 

To be honest: It doesn’t help. I’m still no expert and what they list here doesn’t tell me a lot. Yes, some things help – but some of the more detailed descriptions leave me more confused than ever.

I don’t know which one I should pick. I only know I won’t buy an Apple product. After this decision, it still leaves me with five laptops and just as lost as I was before.

 

Is there anyone who can give me a recommendation? Is someone using one of these laptops and can give me a review? Or is there any other suggestion or advice I can follow? I’d appreciate every help I can get.

 

 

Introducing A Great Place To Write I

Picture courtesy of Café Coco

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I know this coffee house for years. Unfortunately lately I haven’t had much opportunity to spend time there. I’m just simply too busy.

But I have to say, I loved to go to Café Coco, order my coffee, something small and light from their menu and write.

The coffee house has a patio and a veranda outside, a bar inside and the coffee it serves is excellent. I always enjoyed the atmosphere in the old house and was usually very busy writing. Maybe it was the time within the old walls that tickled my creativity.

Additionally I kept meeting nice people, artists, writers, students… there was usually a lot of fun during the hours I was there.

Café Coco can be found at 210 Louise Ave, Nashville, TN 37203, within spitting distance of the Vanderbilt University.

Café Coco offers a diversified menu, online ordering, catering as well as live music. If you like to find out more, go to: http://cafecoco.com/

If you ever have the chance to spend some time there and write, please let me know how you liked it. I’d be curious.

 

What Happens To My Characters I introduced?

So far I introduced three of my characters to the public.

November 13, 2015, a short article on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ was published. It looked like an entry of a demon called ‘Ethel.’ Ethel is hard to describe, very hard. I think it might be a good idea to refresh the memory here.

December 4, 2015, I was introduced to the followers of The Story Reading Ape, and the introduction is still in his “Hall of Fame.” Thank you, Furry Friend. Since I’m not yet published, I decided to interview one of my characters instead: Simin Arnatt, a woman guarding many secrets. If you like, please re-read the interview here.

December 15, 2016, I published an interview with one more of my characters, a shadow named Rapha Golden. It seemed that interview was quite successful. Rapha can charm a woman into ecstasy, I know. Just in case you don’t believe me, check it out here.

I ensure you, none of these characters are wasted or created only for P.R. purposes. They are in fact characters showing up in on of my books. (In my case, novellas).

When I published the interview with Simin Arnatt, I knew she would be one of my protagonists. I did not whatsoever know that the shadow Rapha Golden would become a bigger character than I had expected him to be. They both are currently woven into a story of passion, jealousy, and cruelness and I’m not sure yet how this will end. But I’m soon going to find out.

The big secret is Ethel. I’m currently working on the fourth, the fifth and the sixth novella in the series – and Ethel still hasn’t shown up. I regret this very much, and I hope this character, which I somehow got a liking of, will fit in somewhere soon.

I know, Ethel is my character, my creature, my possession and I could build more strength, but then it wouldn’t be Ethel anymore. Ethel is weak, a bit helpless, a bit evil, a bit of everything – but just “a bit.” Ethel isn’t a protagonist, not the main character. I figure I’ll wait and find out where to create a spot for Ethel.

Have you ever created a character you liked and then found out that you don’t know what to do with this character? Or that the character you created is the worst opponent you could have made and you hate him? Please, let us hear it.

 

 

 

How To Deal With Impatience When It Comes To Writing?

For years already I know that ‘patience’ and myself aren’t on friendly terms. If I want something, I want it now; not sometime in the future, but right now, as in ‘this instant.’ So, me being a writer hasn’t changed me significantly. Sometimes I want too much, too early. The process of writing (or typing into the computer) cannot be accelerated. It still means, to write one letter after the next, one word after the next, one paragraph and then chapter after the next one. I understood that pretty quickly, and that’s not mainly what bugs me.

But being a writer, even deciding to self-publish, means to call on other people’s services. We’re talking about cover designers (even though, mine is faster than lighting!!), editors (and mine is an angel and works with all her heart to make this book look good!!), copyright lawyers, author support service people and so on… Each one of them works with all their knowledge and ability, with all their heart and soul to make my first book a success.

But to me, all I can think of is there are so many people involved in my book – and there’s so much work ahead of me that still needs to be done, that every single delay, like financial straits, is driving me up the walls.

I want to see this book published – and not around Christmas – but now. Now as in ‘tomorrow.’
But: of course, to the same time, I want my book to be perfect. I don’t want anything hasty and sloppy, just because I’m swinging a whip. I want all my supporters and helpers to work at their own pace because I know, they’re excellent in what they’re doing! I’m not impatient with them – I’m impatient with myself, wanting too much too fast – and knowing about it.

My head knows very well tomorrow and the day after won’t be possible – but that little devil on my left shoulder permanently drizzles its poison into my ear and makes my brain fuzzy.
So for the past few months, I have been trying to calm myself down and try to practice patience. How to do that? There are so many different things that are suggested, and I think I tried them all.
Toni Bernhard J.D. writes that she can turn impatience into patience by distracting herself. For example, being stuck in traffic, she starts concentrating on models, colors, and drivers of the other cars. It helps her keep her mind and eyes off the clock.

This, I decided was a good start, but I figured it would be asked to much to listen to the radio to find out where there’s a traffic jam, only to find out how to distract myself… in particular since I’m not in a hurry anyway.

So I tried to distract and calm me with other things. Going for forest walks and swimming helps me a lot, in particular, to focus on myself and my way of dealing with things. Writing lists on what still has to be done, what the delay is and when that particular problem with my delay will be solved. To see it in written form helps me to see more clearly and not listen to my little devil.

I’ve been doing so much research on the things that need to be done before flawlessly publishing a book, that I have been prepared for this and accepted it. Which means, any hold-up is only caused by the weakest link in the chain: myself (or whatever ghost is hunting me currently) Everyone else does a fantastic job with their part of work on my book.

I want it done right, and I won’t let any little devil torpedo my dream, only because I permit my impatience coming the better of me.

This is a wonderful opportunity to say ‘Thank you’ to all the people working on this book currently: my cover designer, my editor, and my lawyer. You’re doing such an amazing job!! Thanks so much!!

Are you never impatient? What it is that causes it, in terms of writing? And how do you deal with it? Please let us know, we’re curious.

 

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