Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Guest Blogger: The Poor Girl's Guide to PR

A buncha months back, I was interviewed by Aliza Sherman Risdahl for her new book, The Everything Blogging Book. In the small world of the small world, it turned out that Pilar and I have a friend in common, Tery Spataro of Daily Eats. So, when Aliza sent out a request for a virtual book tour because she was unable to go out on a real one (pregnancy can do that), I said "sure, send me a post that is on PR for the book, a photo, and we're good to go."

So, here it is ...

Okay, so I'm not (too) poor but I'm not rich either. I'm on a budget. And like anyone on a budget, public relations sometimes seems to be a challenge. But not if you get creative.

My new (6th) book is out this month - "The Everything Blogging Book" - and because it was a "work-for-hire" project instead of a regular book deal like my previous books, there is no budget for promoting the book other than their already established formula.

That means:

1. No book tour
2. No promotional materials
3. No financial support if I do anything to promote the book

I can live with this because I've had to personally promote my previous books after the first few weeks of publication anyway - that is just how the book publishing industry works. Books are promoted for a few weeks and unless something totally unusual happens (accidentally get on Oprah, for instance), most book publisher publicists move on to the next book without looking back.

So what does a gal with a book do to get the word about about her book? Well, since the book is about blogging, someone suggested that I do a "virtual book tour" to promote my book on other blogs and Web sites. I wish I could claim this idea as my own, but I'm woman enough to admit it came from another. Unfortunately now I cannot remember who or I'd give them kudos and credit.

"The Everything Blogging Book" is not rocket science explained. It is an easy-to-understand guide to using and creating blogs for personal and professional gain. It is part of "The Everything" series of how-to books by Adams Media.

The audience for the book is anyone who doesn't really yet get the blogging thing but it may also be a fast, fun read for someone with more blogging experience. I've included quotes from a variety of bloggers throughout the book to add their diverse voices. I also
mention a ton of blogs throughout the text so it is a great way to find new and unexpected blogs.

How did I do "The Tour"?

I love blogs and I love email. Setting up the tour consisted of the following:

1. Email everyone I mentioned in my blog book and ask them if they'd like to be a part of the tour. Also invite other bloggers and Web publishers to be a part of it.
2. Either participate in a Q&A composed by the blogger or write a guest blog post, tailored specifically for the host blog.

Over the course of August, I will add new virtual book tour "appearances" to my official book blog at http://everythingblogbook.typepad.com where I also archive links to each participating blog. And I'm promoting the tour on my other blogs/sites where appropriate.

I also did a quickie press release through PRWeb to announce the tour.

Total Cost for this:
$40 for PRWeb ... and a few hours of my time.

Total Value:
Priceless

Have I changed the world with this virtual blog book tour? Of course not. I'm sure I'm not the first to do this and not the last. Have I sold more books because of it? Well, that remains to be seen but ultimately, I had to determine my major goal for this tactic. It was
not to sell more books because frankly, on a work for hire book project, you rarely see royalties.

My main motivation for getting out there to promote the book was to get back out there. I've been on a bit of a hiatus, I'm living in Alaska so am far removed from most things, and I wanted to let people know I'm still alive and kicking, still doing some Internet stuff. So the tour will certainly help me accomplish this more modest goal.

I love the Internet. I love blogging. And I couldn't think of a better way to promote a book, get exposure and make connections than hop, skip and jump to blogs around the world!

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