Behind the Scenes of a Blog Tour

Whether you’re a repeat customer or interested in partnering with JustRead Publicity Tours, LLC (lovingly referred to as JustRead or JR by those of us who refer to it daily) or simply a curious reader, I hope you’ll enjoy this behind the scenes peek at the planning and execution of one of our many campaigns. If you haven’t met us yet, JustRead provides a variety of publicity services including our example for today, tried and true blog tours. I’ll be referring to “you” as an author below and linking a few examples so if you’re a reader or publisher, it’s time to play pretend!

Hi, author friend! The first step to partnering with JustRead is filling out a Campaign Inquiry Form on our website. Once Carrie has a chance to review your information, she will send you date availability and pricing plus helpful suggestions to best meet the needs you indicate on the form. She’s such a sweetheart, she’ll even hold those dates for you for seven days while the two of you exchange any necessary emails to ensure we are all on the same page. We are big fans of open communication, it generally makes life less stressful.

Behind the Scenes of a Blog TourNote: Clearly specifying your book's genre (Christian fiction or wholesome “clean reads”), subgenre (historical, women’s fiction, romantic suspense, etc.), and ANY content warnings on the campaign inquiry form is critical for a successful campaign. 

(fair warning, I’ll be chasing rabbit trails and dropping little notes throughout this post)

Another note: If we do not have availability within your target timeframe or if we don’t think your book will be well received by our hosts or regular reader base (for whatever reason), we will refer you to another tour company that might better suit your specific needs.

Once you’re ready to go for it, Carrie will add your tour to our calendar, enter all the pertinent information in our task management software, send an invoice request to Annie and (voila!) the countdown to your blog tour begins! Annie will square away all the money math then shoot an email invoice to your inbox but be sure to read it or you’ll miss important things like payment methods and due dates as well as what we need from you and when we need it to make your blog tour a success!

Note: Send a high-resolution image of your cover to Carrie ASAP. This is task #00 for creating your tour and believe me, it feels good to check things off the ol’ to-do list.

When possible, we like to begin reader (or host) sign-ups for tours a couple of months before the start date and since 2020 has been plagued with every shipping delay imaginable, we have pushed that timeframe back even further, especially when print copies are involved (such as certain review or bookstagram tours). To kick-off sign-ups, I (Beth) will use that hi-res cover you already sent to Carrie (go, you!) and book information (from your campaign inquiry form mentioned above or email exchange with Carrie) to create your tour’s banner, host sign-up form (for reader contact information, date availability, post type preferences, etc.), host review link submission form (more about this one a bit later), and a “new tour” graphic. Either Rachel or Carrie will jump in at this point to proofread these forms before we send them out into the world.

Behind the Scenes of a Blog Tour Behind the Scenes of a Blog Tour Behind the Scenes of a Blog Tour 
Note: Creating banners is one of my favorite tasks. Sometimes I go through multiple drafts before I’m happy with the outcome (and I often drag Rachel and Carrie into the deliberations). 

Once the forms are double-checked, readers can sign up to be considered for a stop on your tour! My next task will be to spread the word by posting the new tour graphic to our Instagram (you can see them in our highlights) and Facebook stories, sending out a newsletter showcasing the banner of your tour (and other new tours for that two weeks), and featuring your tour banner (with other open tours) on the Current Sign-Ups page of our website during the sign-up period. Near the end of your sign-ups, Carrie (since we’re referring to a blog tour) will make sure we have plenty of qualified hosts for your tour.

Note: If we are short on time or would like to attract more hosts for a specific tour, we also share a “tour alert” graphic post on Instagram and Facebook, highlighting your cover, tour, and book blurb. This summer, our lovely intern Kayla has been tending to our new tour stories and tour alert posts among many other things and we so appreciate her!

Another note: Carrie also assigns our reviewer and “blind date with a book” tours and Rachel assigns our social media tours.

Behind the Scenes of a Blog Tour
When Carrie is ready to create your tour schedule, she will assign hosts to specific dates for author interview, guest post, review, and/or spotlight posts. She will check each blogger’s provided information including monthly views, preferences, and availability, plus past host performance to determine the best candidates for your tour. Carrie will then send each assigned reader a welcome email with the schedule specifying their assigned date and important reminders. Hosts assigned author interview or guest post spots on the tour have a few days to reply to the welcome email with their questions or topic suggestions and Carrie will email those to you along with any final details we need.

Note: If we have more readers than available spots, readers who are not assigned receive a “thank you for your interest” email. If you opt to include print copies for reviewers, Carrie will also send the mailing list at this time and a SHIP BY date.

Send Carrie your responses for author interview and author guest post spots and final details promptly because the last few weeks before your tour is when we will compile that information for hosts. I will build your blog landing post including giveaway graphic, Rafflecopter form, and linked tour schedule for the JustRead website plus assemble host assets such as post requirements and HTML for WordPress and Blogger. Rachel will proofread those before I send asset emails to the tour hosts and Carrie will email your author interview and guest posts to each assigned host one week before the first day of the tour.

Take a deep breath, it’s the morning of your long-awaited and highly anticipated blog tour organized by JustRead Publicity Tours! Are you excited?! We’re excited!

Note: As day breaks and the dew dries and my children and dog are pulling me in at least 5 different directions at once… I will (eventually) link your tour banner on our home page. However, if you’re an earlier riser and function-er than I am and you just can’t wait to see that post for yourself, simply click on Blog under Campaigns in the menu bar. (ta-dah!)

Your landing post on the JustRead website will go live at midnight EST (automatically be shared in JustRead’s Facebook and Twitter feeds) and that’s also when your giveaway begins! On the first morning, your book cover will be pinned to JustRead’s “Books to Read” Pinterest board and your giveaway graphic will be pinned to a “Book Giveaway” board. Hosts will have their posts published by noon EST (and shared on social media) and Rachel will visit each blog to make sure the post contains the correct information and leave a thank you (yet another task our intern Kayla has excelled in). By the conclusion of the giveaway, hosts will also submit the host review link submission form which Carrie will include along with the tour giveaway winner and link to an anonymous feedback survey in her wrap-up email to you.

Behind the Scenes of a Blog Tour
Ta-dah! That's how we do it, folks! Did you learn something new? Did I put you to sleep? 

As we draw the curtains on this exclusive sneak peek, we invite you to ask any general questions you may have in the comments below but please direct specific tour requests to the campaign inquiry form mentioned above or you may email me: beth @ justreadtours.com (with no spaces).

Let us know in the comments if you'd like to be entered in a random draw for the winner's choice of two books from the JustRead stash!

JustRead Publicity Tours, LLC is a full-service publicity tour company for published works in the Christian genre or books that are considered a “clean read”. For more information, check out our “About” page to see who we are or jump right into “Authors & Publishers” to learn more about our campaigns.