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After BLOG TOUR DE TROOPS – Veterans Day 2011 November 21, 2011

Posted by shannonmuir in marketing, Writing, analysis, fiction, ebooks, indie publishing, indie, Kindle, promotion, blog tour, NOOK.
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Over Veterans Day weekend, I participated in my first blog tour ever – as one of 50 authors in the Blog Tour De Troops for Veterans Day put on by the Indie Book Collective. For those readers not familiar with a blog tour, the various authors link in a daily chain within their blog posts which is intended to be a traffic driver. In this case, the blog posts we put up also were expected to have a Veterans theme – either a gratitude post, or a veterans interview. As the daughter of someone who served twenty four years in the Navy, though admittedly a non-combat veteran, I felt that for me to do a simple gratitude piece would be – and this might sound odd – disrespectful.  I was born midway through my dad’s active duty service so the first 12 years of my life were spent as a Navy dependent. I felt this gave me a responsibility to bring something to the table.  Though never having done one of these tours before, I didn’t know what was expected and had to work quick and fast, and am glad I turned out something of quality on such absolutely short notice. I knew what content I wanted to do – an interview with my father focusing on veterans’ education, since he works on staff for the Information Technology department at a community college where he’s been for two decades – and the result of our efforts can be read here (though please note I am no longer giving away copies of the book for responses. Commenting would get you a free copy of my ebook, THE HEART’S DUTY (primarily available on Kindle and NOOK), plus another free copy donated to troops via a Smashwords coupon.

My actual “day” (first day on the tour) was Saturday. I was supposed to be on the go for small parts of the day and planned to use my Blackberry to read and respond to comments and then send coupons in batches. The weather conspired to not make this the case; we had rain so bad that night I slept little and was WIDE AWAKE at around 4am when the first comments started rolling in – which was 7am Eastern time, I live on the West Coast. They kept coming. I wanted to go to sleep though I appreciated the posts! This is why you’d see me several times during the day on Twitter apologizing for response time – I needed to take naps throughout the day. As soon as I woke up though, comments were made and coupons went out.  Heavy rains kept me in all day. I prided myself on returning coupons and responses same day for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday save a couple technical issues where some Monday posts didn’t appear until moderation until days after (but I did give coupons based on timestamps). I’m not a bulk mail kind of gal. Not everyone does it this way.

In all I had over 80 comments to my blog. About 7 people asked their copies be donated to the troops too, which was kind of cool, but understandable also as I believe the majority of these folks were men for whom the book wouldn’t have interested them. Why do I point this out? On Saturday alone my blog got 400 (yes that is 4 and two zeroes) hits – with a sharp decline in hits the other two days, and as I did my commenting through the  WordPress dashboard, most of these hits were not me. In all three days I was part of the tour I only gave away 80 books. I’m not a strong mathematician but this should be pretty obvious. Many read and few commented.

My personal hope is that a lot of people read, and took to heart, the information that my father and I set out to convey – and from the responses I did get I am inclined to believe so. This is all right by me, because first and foremost this event is about the troops. It is not about myself or my book – if I went in with that attitude, I’d be sorely disappointed. Having said that, I know many other sites that gave away more books during this tour. With the right title I believe it can be successful. I do not believe mine was a fit for the audience. Though my commenters largely were women, I do wonder how many of the blog readers – since it was a Veterans Day tour – were men.

I know many people who gave away many more copies than I, and I believe placement on a properly focused blog tour can be successful for a writer. Mine just isn’t as glowing a story to tell, and I learned a lot. Yet there are women troops out there, maybe some looking for a romantic read, and about 80 of them will get the chance to choose a title they’ve never seen before. In terms of my own financial investment – the signup did cost to underwrite promotion and giveaways and the like – I figure I paid for essentially the profits I would have made in the amount of copies I gave away, which is pretty equitable.

Maybe my primary goal was not to give away books but awareness and hope. I’m cool with that.

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