Tag Archives | blog tours

Results of the reverse blog tour.

Publishing is changing fast and so is the way we market books! I chose to do a reverse blog tour.

Many writers who choose to publish independently are faced with choosing marketing strategies. Do you do the blog tour or not do the blog tour? Because there are a lot of opinions out there.

It’s a given that if you publish traditionally and are starting out that a blog tour is a must because sales in the first few weeks are crucial. A burst of sales is terrific for any book but with self publishing we have time for a story to build and spread. Blog tours are optional. Marketing is even optional – if you want to risk it.

Here are the different scenarios I’ve seen:

  1. Author rarely blogs or promotes. Book takes off.
  2. Author works her butt off to market and promote and it pays off with decent sales but as soon as the marketing stops, the sales decrease dramatically. It never took off.
  3. Author completes every marketing act known to mankind and never reaches the desired sales count. (Not to say that it won’t happen later.)

These factors got me thinking while I looked at my goals. I wanted to complete the first draft of the sequel to A Spy Like Me before summer vacation started. I realized that blog tours were a lot of work and it was all about me and my book. AND a blog tour and all the work involved don’t always translate over to sales.

But I really wanted to do something to celebrate my debut release.

So I decided on the reverse blog tour. I wanted to celebrate my genre, promote my brand and build awareness of A Spy Like Me. So I asked a mix of authors and bloggers to guest post for three weeks.


  1. I had fun because I wanted to do it.
  2. My blog hits definitely went up.
  3. I helped celebrate and promote authors and bloggers I like.
  4. I introduced new authors and books to readers.
  5. I introduced readers to A Spy Like Me.

Goals accomplished.

Not to say I won’t do a traditional blog tour in the future. In fact, this fall when How To Survive Ancient Spells and Crazy Kings releases, I plan on organizing one.

What marketing strategies do you see that work or don’t work? How might you change it up?

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A strong heroine, race cars and first love = Driven by Lisa Nowak.

The last thing on 16-year-old Jess DeLand’s wish list is a boyfriend. She’d have to be crazy to think any guy would look twice at her. Besides, there are more important things to hope for, like a job working on cars and an end to her mom’s drinking. Foster care is a constant threat, and Jess is willing to sacrifice anything to stay out of the system. When luck hands her the chance to work on a race car, she finds herself rushing full throttle into a world of opportunities—including a boy who doesn’t mind the grease under her fingernails. The question is, can a girl who keeps herself locked up tighter than Richard Petty’s racing secrets open up enough to risk friendship and her first romance?


“The first romance is captured beautifully—just the right combination of natural and awkward, of eager and scared.”

~ Bob Martin, writing professor, Pacific Northwest College of Art


In addition to being a YA author, Lisa Nowak is a retired amateur stock car racer, an accomplished cat whisperer, and a professional smartass. She writes coming-of-age books about kids in hard luck situations who learn to appreciate their own value after finding mentors who love them for who they are. She enjoys dark chocolate and stout beer and constantly works toward employing wei wu wei in her life, all the while realizing that the struggle itself is an oxymoron.
Lisa has no spare time, but if she did she’d use it to tend to her expansive perennial garden, watch medical dramas, take long walks after dark, and teach her cats to play poker. For those of you who might be wondering, she is not, and has never been, a diaper-wearing astronaut. She lives in Milwaukie, Oregon, with her husband, four feline companions, and two giant sequoias.

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One author’s take on branding. (RISING by Laura Josephsen)

Thanks for having me on your blog, Laura!

My blog topic for today is how this new book is different from my last book published, Confessions from the Realm of the Underworld (Also Known as High School), but it made me think about writers taking on all sorts of different stories.

Confessions is Young Adult, contemporary, modern-day setting, and a very “normal life” story. It was kind of my oddball novel in that respect; I typically veer more toward speculative fiction. It was about family and friendship and set in high school.

Rising Book 1: Resistance is adult speculative fiction. It’s set in a fantasy world, but it’s science based and therefore more accurately sci-fi, and it’s adventure/friendship/gradual romance.

Confessions is one of the lightest and most fun books I’ve ever written. It had a snarky voice and was super easy to write. It dealt with characters having to make some tough decisions, yes, but the ultimate tone of it was very lighthearted.

Resistance is the darkest book I’ve ever written. It was emotionally exhausting in a lot of ways, and it cost me a lot to write it—I had to delve into deeper places and push myself outside my comfort zones.

I’ve talked before on my blog about branding—should an author have a brand or not—and something that’s stuck with me is when someone told me that maybe it’s not genre or age group that needs to define a author—maybe it’s an overall theme that the author consistently writes. That struck a chord with me because I feel like that’s how I write—whether I’m writing YA or adult, speculative fiction or not, inspirational or contemporary, I always go toward themes of light and life and hope. My characters might go through terrible things that sometimes I don’t even want to think about, but the journey is in seeing how they deal with these things, how they overcome them and find the light at the end of their tunnel.

We all have stories that we love and stories we dislike. As completely different as Confessions and Resistance are, my hope for both books is that something in the words I write might speak to someone…it might just be in wildly different ways.

All Alphonse wants is a quiet summer at home before his final months at university. What he gets is a half-dead stranger on his doorstep and the task of delivering a package to the leader of his home country. Not long after he boards a train toward the capital, he’s attacked by knights, elite soldiers of the neighboring king.

Alphonse is temporarily rescued by Mairwyn, a mechanic with a haunted past and a deep hatred of knights. Together, they attempt to carry out Alphonse’s urgent errand, only to learn that if they fail, countless people will die.

And even if they succeed, they may not be able to prevent the war that lurks on the horizon.

Laura Josephsen lives with her family in Tennessee. She is a co-author of the Restoration series and the author of Confessions from the Realm of the Underworld (Also Known as High School). She likes music, reading, socks, rainy days, chocolate, coffee, and sci-fi and fantasy tales.


I haven’t had the honor of reading the Rising yet, but I read Confessions from the Realm of the Underworld (Otherwise known as High School) and I really enjoyed it. I have no doubt this next one will be just as good. Thanks everyone! If you have any questions for Laura Josephsen – ask away!

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It’s a Little Haywire by Elle Strauss – the story behind the story!

Elle Stauss, the author of YA time travel Clockwise, brings us her first middle grade, It’s a Little Haywire. I loved it and immediately thought of Because of Winn-Dixie as a comparison title. It’s that good.

Owen True is eleven and eleven twelfths and has been “exiled” to the small crazy town of Hayward, WA, aka, Haywire, while his mother is on her honeymoon. All he has to whittle away the time is the company of Gramps, his black lab Daisy, and his Haywire friends, Mason and Mikala Sweet. They don’t look so hot this year, in fact, the whole town has gone to pot since the mill shut down.

Owen has his first encounter with a real life homeless man who ends up needing Owen’s help in more ways than one. But how does a rich city kid help the small town’s suffering citizens?

And what is Owen to make of the fog train and its scary, otherworldy occupants that appears out of thin air on the old tracks behind Gramps’ house? Do they have the answer Owen is looking for?

And now I’ll hand over the blog to Elle!

The Story Behind the Story

It’s a Little Haywire is actually a major re-write of one of the first stories I’d ever written, way back in the day when I thought I’d like to try my hand at writing. The execution of the story was terrible, but the main idea had potential.

It came to me one night as I was falling asleep. I’d heard a train whistle, much like I had when I was child visiting the small town where my grandparents lived. I must’ve dipped into a slight dream state, because we didn’t live near train tracks at that time.

But that was the seed of the idea for the mystery train.

My oldest son was ten when our family spent some time in Germany and he wrote my parents emails about his adventures. I came across the letters last year and discovered the voice of my main character, Owen, in the voice of my son. My parents were visiting during this time, and my dad’s the guy who has a song for every situation. Suddenly, I had the two main characters and the story just clicked together. (So, yeah, that part at the beginning where I say characters resembling real people is just a coincidence–not really true in this case J.)

Both sets of my grandparents came from the same small town in Saskatchewan, Canada. I visited there every summer and clearly remember how long and stretched out the days felt and I spent a lot of time helping out in massive gardens.

You never know what life experiences will trigger creativity!

Of course, people having to deal with hardship due to tough economical times is something many people can relate to right now. I imagined how a recession situation would effect a small town like my fictional Hayward, WA, and combined with the above, turned it into IT’S A LITTLE HAYWIRE.

And right now it’s FREE on Amazon. Just for today and tomorrow!



Twitter: @elle_strauss

Facebook : Elle Strauss – Author

Thanks Elle for stopping by with It’s A Little Haywire!

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Marketing, publishers, and today’s author.

Marketing was always this mysterious word, something that NY publishers provided but I never really could define.

I pictured staff sitting around a table, slurping warm coffee, while brainstorming magnificently stupendous creative tie-ins and ideas surrounding certain titles.

But due to my current venture in self-publishing or what S.R. Johannes has termed the Entrepreneurial Author, which I love by the way, I’ve been thinking about marketing. And how some books with NY publishers get great marketing and others don’t. And how that pertains to me.

Lightning struck and I figured out what marketing by the big guys is all about.

The answer is easy.

Are you ready?

I mean, it’s really rather simple. I should’ve figured this out earlier. All of you probably already knew this.


That’s the definition of marketing by the big publishers. And with money comes time investment and greater exposure.

So what does that mean exactly?

At the basic level it might mean a few arcs and a small social media campaign through the publisher’s network.

But most of it will be up to the author.

But if you look at the books that get the red carpet marketing treatment there are tons of arcs, extensive social media, lead titles at conferences, paid ads with Goodreads and Facebook, book tours, a terrific cover, a website, a trailer, an author interview vlog, a huge print run, television marketing, and being featured on the publisher’s sites; for example, Harper Collin’s Epicreads.com and Inkpop. And don’t forget the 12 copy floor display in bookstores.

Not bad.

Money in the right places create buzz.

But what about the whole branding thing and what does money have to do with that when most readers don’t care who publishes a book?

Readers might not recognize the brand of a NY publisher. But the gatekeepers do. Kirkus, libraries, schools, most book bloggers…etc.

See what I mean? Money.

And this kind of marketing works. Usually. If the books live up to the buzz.

Come back on Friday and we’ll talk. Come with your ideas to share too!

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