Yesterday my second full length novel was finally published. It has been a busy and exciting time in the run-up. The writing of the book was finished a long time ago - I long for those days! Now I am in the throes of the far less appealing marketing stage. Wouldn’t it be fun if we could just spend all our time writing, and not worry about getting our books sold and read? Sadly, that is not the way of things.

My first book came out during lockdown. I was vaguely aware at the time of something called a book tour – where authors travel from place to place and talk to enthusiastic gatherings about their new release. I was frankly grateful that Covid just made all that getting out there impossible. But how to get my book talked about, seen, bought even?

I was fortunate enough to be a part of a writers group who introduced me to the idea of a blog tour. This simple idea relies on recruiting bloggers and book reviewers who are willing to read and review your book on their blogs. I planned that blog tour to run on consecutive days for the ten days prior to the release of my first book. It was wonderful, and I was so glad I had done it.

So this time around, even though restrictions have lifted and I suppose theoretically I could have embarked on a book tour, I chose to replicate the blog tour idea again. Much less exhausting – apparently! Again it has been a great experience.

There are individuals out there who can take on the responsibility of organising a blog tour for your book, for a reasonable fee. I chose to do mine myself, as I am actually quite an organised person generally. And I had the time and contacts. In fact all but one of the people I personally approached to take part agreed straight away. The one who didn’t only turned me down because of other commitments.

I then ensured they received a pre-publication copy of The Pilgrim; some preferred this in PDF, some had printed copies. All they were required to do was to pick a date to publish their blog review, and agree to promote the blog on their social media platforms on said date. I then could promote their blogs on my Social media too. In many ways it is a win, win. I get publicity for my new release, and they get traffic to their websites (hopefully!) Some chose to do a straight book review, others gave me some interview questions to answer, and one asked me to write a guest blog on a specific theme. This ensured variety of content.

So what benefits has the Blog Tour brought me?

1.     EXPOSURE – to a much wider online audience than I have access to individually

2.     EXCITEMENT – it has generated an air of excitement and expectation pre-release of the book

3.     ENCOURAGEMENT – I have been reassured (and relieved!) by the positive comments I have received – on writing style, setting, story and characterisation – and most importantly how the book has personally impacted those reading it

4.     ENGAGEMENT -  I have definitely had more website hits and have made a few sales in the period that the blog tour has run, but whether they are directly related it is hard to say.

Was it worth it? Undoubtedly. Would I encourage others to have a go? Definitely – but choose your moment. Pre-release or peri-release is great. Or if you are re-issuing your work maybe.

I will leave you with a few quotes from my blog reviews. At this point you can stop reading, and I won’t be offended. It is a bit self-promotional, but maybe you’ll forgive me. It might just encourage you to step out on your own blog tour. If just to reassure yourself you can actually write!

‘The writing is exquisite, allowing the author to establish a real sense of time and place. The character of Hywel is extremely well drawn and I felt I was right there beside him on his pilgrimage.’

‘I read The Pilgrim from cover to cover the day I received it.’         

‘it is the kind of book you will come back to, maybe as a devotional or just to read the wisdom in the pages.’          

‘The Pilgrim is a delightful piece of work...The author drew me into Hal/Hywel's world from the very beginning. I was thoroughly engrossed by the story and this only increased the further into the book. By the end, I could not put the book down, I so much wanted to know what happened that I read long into the night with tears streaming down my cheeks.’

‘I was immediately drawn into this story of pilgrimage through the lives of these authentic characters who became quite real and dear to me.’

‘What a beautiful book this is. From the very beginning, right through to the end, Joy Margetts’ story held me captivated. I felt I was in medieval Wales, and tried to delay reaching the end, as it became almost like a retreat-in-daily-life, just reading this book!’

Joy Margetts has loved writing for as long as she can remember. A retired nurse, mother of two, and a new grandparent, she also has a lifelong interest in history. She makes her home on the beautiful North Wales coast.

Her debut novel 'The Healing', a work of historic fiction, was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. Joy has also self published a short novella, 'The Beloved' as both a companion to 'The Healing', and as an easy to read standalone story, which is available on Amazon Kindle.

Her second full - length novel, 'The Pilgrim', was  published by Instant Apostle on 22nd July 2022

More information on Joy and her writing, and her personal blog, can be found here



Peter Leyland said…
That sounds great Joy. Well done for setting it up. It works really well as an AuthorsElectric blog and it's good to get some review comments in too. We need to hold our light up, I think
Joy Margetts said…
Thank you Peter! It is uncomfortable holding our lights up. But a blog tour, and a launch, well they are a good excuse to do so. I do feel like hiding away for a couple of weeks now though!
This is interesting - I haven't even considered a blog tour (and probably wouldn't be organised enough for one!) but it's good to see how it works and read about the advantages.
Joy Margetts said…
Thanks Cecilia! I'm sure you could manage a blog tour. It can be as few as 4 or 5 bloggers to keep it simple.
Blog tours are fun and can work well. I did one for Templar when they first published my King Arthur's daughter books, working with a variety of lovely bloggers who all had different approaches to the books.

And years later, long after the initial flare of publicity passes, you'll often find the posts are still there... so you can always link to them from your website for newer readers who might have missed the tour first time around!
Griselda Heppel said…
Blog tours are a brilliant idea and I'm very impressed you managed to organise one. I tried contacting a few book bloggers last year when I brought out The Fall of a Sparrow but mostly received no reply, they must get so many of these requests. If you're not already well-known, my guess is you'd have to be a book review blogger yourself in order to have something to offer? Maybe I just didn't try hard enough.

Anyway, congratulations on your new book!

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