Monday, March 1, 2010

On Blog Tours by D. B. Grady

Blog tours are all the rage in literary self-promotion, so I figured I'd take a stab at it. It has the virtues of everything I like in publicity -- it's free, involves writing, and reaches a lot of people. Like most rages in literary self-promotion, however, my expectations are kept in check. As the saying goes, half of all book publicity is a waste of time; the problem is nobody knows which half.

Instead of hiring a book blog tour organizer (it seems there's money to be made everywhere!) I decided to do it myself. I have a healthy following on Twitter, threw the subject out there expecting a few bites, and was overwhelmed by the response. (Illustrating the importance of a strong social networking presence as a launch platform for other ventures.)

Few of the people who responded write literary blogs. This has its positives and negatives. On one hand, readers read literary sites, and readers buy books. On the other, such readers are inundated with suggestions every day. So maybe by reaching out to a new audience, I might snag a few book sales I might otherwise have missed, or at the very least, get my name out there. Aside from my mom, I doubt D.B. Grady rolls off the tongue of most readers when they hit Barnes and Noble. My thinking is long-term, and long-tail.

The blog tour was proposed with the following conditions: I will write on any subject for any blog, regardless of readership. Some people get three hits a day. Some get thousands. But even on the smallest blog, Google registers keywords and links back to my website, and to Amazon, improving my search ranking. This is important because when someone types "science fiction" into Google, I'm likely to appear on page 4,000. (In other words, I may as well not even exist.) But if I'm on page 20, or page 2, I'm in the game.

The "any topic" idea appealed to people. It engaged them. In all honesty, the plan was to somehow link the topic back to my book, and end with a sales pitch. But people had fun with the topics idea. "I'd like you to write a concise analysis of flaws in recent theories of quantum physics, using real world examples, in 500 words." That's an exaggeration, but only by degrees.

It's not easy to bring a freewheeling essay on physics back to an anachronistic, hardboiled mystery set on Mars. (See what I did there?) And it goes without saying that I am completely ill-equipped to write on a great many topics suggested. But that's half the fun, isn't it?

On March 30th, I'll report my findings and bad lessons-learned on BWG president Jessica Ferguson's blog. With any luck, I'll be writing from my new beach house on Bora Bora. But even if I don't sell a single book, I'll have written a solid 20,000 words, made a few new friends, and lost 15 lbs. stressing over deadlines. Now can someone please explain this quantum physics thing to me?

Tomorrow at developer Robert Gremillion's blog, I'll be writing about what authors can learn from computer programmers. I hope to see you there!

D.B. Grady is the author of Red Planet Noir.
He can be found on the web at


  1. Informative, D.B. Will definitely ck out Jess' blog.

  2. Whoa, whoa, whoa--A healthy following on Twitter? Maybe a respectably large following, but healthy? I'm one of your Twitter followers, and I challenge your definition of the word "healthy".

    Seriously, I almost thoroughly enjoyed RED PLANET NOIR. Amazing, since I'm a cozy fan. The word "squeamish" is taken from what I do when I get to a violent bit. I don't merely scream, I squeam. It's like screaming, but more ladylike.

    Good luck on your tour and with your sales--you deserve the best!

  3. Sounds like fun. I'll be following and reading every day.

  4. Wonderful post - good luck with the tour.

    Can't wait to hear your results.

  5. D.B. i will have to find your book for my son..he is into the SCI-FI ..and if he likes it, it should do well...oh, he is 14 yrs goin on 16 or 17...i lose count.

    funny, another of my favorite writers is initialed db...don barone...not sure but that strikes me as almost odd..

  6. Can't believe it's Day 2 and I'm already a day behind on the tour....must catch up immediately!

    I also agree with Marian Allen, as one of your twitter followers I seriously challenge your definition of the word "healthy"

  7. So many kind comments here!

    Judith: Hopefully I'll have good news to report. We shall see!

    Marian: Thank you so much for the kind words. And if they're following me on Twitter, they might be unbalanced, and perhaps a little off, but they're clearly doing SOMETHING right. :)

    Angie: Thank you!

    Pam: Thanks! I just hope I get a good Internet connection from the islands. :)

    Jake: The easiest place to find my book is or I wrote the book for my inner fourteen year old -- I think your son will enjoy it. :)

    Laura: 2 days down, 23 to go. (I'm taking the weekends off.) So you've got plenty of time to catch up. Of course, I'm way behind in my writing. This is going to be a marathon!

    Thank you all, again, so much.

  8. Followed the link from Jessica's blog. Good luck with your blog tour!

    Cherrye at My Bella Vita