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Last month I promised a report on the blog hop and mini-tour I’d planned for my latest release How To Woo… A Reluctant Bride. I ended up doing a second blog hop in January, so will include that also. This is by no means scientific, but just the results of my little experiment. Keep in mind that this was an attempt to revive a blog that had been essentially dormant for several years, so there was little or no base of support to draw from.

Note: I’m only going to discuss sales at Amazon.com since those were the only ones of any size.

The Secret Santa Blog Hop was first, from Mon. Dec. 17 through Thursday Dec. 20. My story was uploaded to Amazon on Dec. 11 and was live by Dec. 12, so the blog hop took place the following week. The grand prize for this blog hop was a Kindle Fire preloaded with a bunch of the participating authors books, including mine. The prize for commenting on my post was a $15.00 gift card, and over the course of the hop + tour, I also gave away two free e-books (winners choice). I got 25 entrants for the gift card. Not bad. The page views during the hop ranged from 66 the first day (some of them me until I figured out I could check comments from the Dashboard) to only 14 on the last day.

I checked my sales on Sunday and again on Thursday and saw I had picked up ten sales. Might have been more if I hadn’t offered e-book giveaways for the mini-blog tour. Someone, I’ve forgotten who, said not to do that. Offer something other than a book so they will buy yours. I think it’s good advice.

Starting on Thursday, Dec. 21, I blogged at several other sites including the main TRS (The Romance Studio) blog on Dec. 21. There were very few comments and I have no idea how many page hits were involved. However, by Monday, Dec. 2 4, I had sold another 15 copies. Again, not too bad when everyone is getting ready for the holidays. By Dec. 29 I was up to a total of 79 copies.

This month I participated in the Something New, Something Naughty Blog Hop from Thu. Jan.  10 through Sun. Jan. 13. Page views ranged from 26 to 42 and I had comments from 27 people. The grand prizes for this hop were gift certificates from EdensFantasy and two other gift cards of the winner’s choice. Again I did the $15.00 gift card giveaway.

I also guested at Louisa Bacio’s blog on Jan. 11 and she told me there were 138 page views. That’s awesome!

By the evening of Jan. 11, my sales for that month at Amazon were up to 102, in addition to the 79 in December. I realize that might not sound like a lot to some of you, but it was more than I expected, so I am happy.

My thoughts:

I liked the blog hop better as there was some camaraderie with the other writers involved and I only had to come up with one blog post for each tour. Writing blog posts can be time consuming. The mini-blog tour (3 days, 4 different blogs) was more stressful as each one had to be different. Next time I will try to plan further ahead to lessen the stress, but this was thrown together very last minute. 

Did the blog hop and mini-blog tour help?

I’ll never be certain, but I can’t imagine it hurt. The objective was to raise my visibility online and I do think that happened. Next time I may do a smaller amount on the gift card giveaway, but this is all a learning process. I’m not sure I recommend doing two blog hops so close together, but with a new release, and at this time of year, I think this was a good move. I would definitely blog hop again and I’m grateful to the writers who organized the hops, namely Tabitha Blake (Secret Santa) and Jennifer Wright and Lisabet Sarai (Something New, Something Naughty) as well as our own Louisa Bacio.

UPDATE: I forgot to add thanks to Tara Lain for her fabulous talk on blog tours at the November OCC meeting, and to my three Yahoo support groups where I learned about self-publishing and discovered organized blog tours: Indie Romance Ink, Authors Network and Marketing For Romance Writers. And a big thanks to Vivienne Westlake, author of A Marquess For Christmas, for doing an excerpt exchange.

Now I have to stop blogging for a bit and work on another story!

Has anyone else tried blog tours or hops? Any thoughts on their effectiveness? 

Linda Mac w/a Lyndi Lamont

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A Slice of Orange started in 2004 as a group of authors from Orange County, California. We have expanded to include authors from around the globe–from the UK, all across the US to New Zealand. Our authors include the multi-published and writers at the beginning of their publishing career. In addition to authors, we feature blog posts from editors, PR professionals, and cover designers. The bright segments of the writing and reading community that make up one perfect entity—A Slice of Orange.

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    A Slice of Orange started in 2004 as a group of authors from Orange County, California. We have expanded to include authors from around the globe–from the UK, all across the US to New Zealand. Our authors include the multi-published and writers at the beginning of their publishing career. In addition to authors, we feature blog posts from editors, PR professionals, and cover designers. The bright segments of the writing and reading community that make up one perfect entity—A Slice of Orange.
  • Anonymous says:

    I had a lot of fun with that big blog hop, but I did a new blog for each day. Cheating, of course, by making it about vanilla extract, which is one of the easing things to create but I used a lot of pictures. It seems I'm picking up a few more readers here and there in between pounding out new stories.
    Love your cover

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, Linda! Thank you for the mention. I find with blog tours and blog hops that it's hard to know whether they yield sales, but I find blog tours helpful as far as getting reviews.

    I do think it's good to do blogs periodically just for keeping your name in readers' minds, but I haven't noticed a heavy increase in traffic on my website when I have done other blogs (however, I have seen an increase in newsletter subscribers from blogs that do rafflecopter giveaways).

    Good luck with your new release!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Lyndi– Thanks for this great report. I love how when you self-pub you can watch the exact impact on sales each day! I think this speaks well for hops and tours! Well done. : )

  • Anonymous says:

    OOPS Linda! "Anonymous" is me! I checked the wrong box.

  • Anonymous says:

    Great blog, Linda. Thanks for sharing this information.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks, Marianne, I do think the cover is beautiful.

    Jina, I'm still figuring out the Twitter and don't do Facebook. I do think you're right that promo works but no one knows what will work and what won't. Apparently excerpt exchanges do work because the other authors involved are selling better than I, but we're all doing well.

    Louisa, thanks for the update!

    Linda aka Lyndi

  • Anonymous says:

    Last I looked, you were up to 170 pages views … not too bad, I'd say!

  • Anonymous says:

    Excellent report, Linda. I concur with your findings–blog tours can be exhausting, but rewarding as far as getting your name out there.

    Planning ahead is key. Getting the blog posts written and ready to go helps you focus on spending your time promoting.

    Did you tweet? Facebook your blog hop? "Engage" the reader with something other than promo, e.g. What you're doing for Christmas at that time; now–you could talk about Valentine's Day plans, etc.

    What works? I've often heard that 50 percent of what you do for advertsing works; the problem is, no one knows which 50 percent that is…

  • Linda, your cover is stunning. Also great information on your Blog Hop. I hope your sales continue!

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