Saturday, June 23, 2012

Pumping Up

Jeff asked me to share my experience of working with a paid publicist to promote  A DARKLY HIDDEN TRUTH, book 2 in my Monastery Murders, so here goes.

My friend, noir writer Vincent Zandri (http://www.vincentzandri.com/) told me about his great experience with Pump Up Your Book back in 2010 when we both returned to publishing after a 10-year hiatus, working for the same publisher and with the same agent. Vince rose to almost instant super stardom and credits a lot of his early success to the job pump up Your Book did helping him get the word out. He signed up for continuing tours with them. The fact that he writes amazing books, of course, has kept his meteor aloft.

I determined that when I could manage it I would do a Pump Up Your Books tour. It took me two years to get there, but in May I finally got to do so. Dorothy Thompson at Pump Up Your Book (http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/) offers 4 levels of tours:

Bronze, 10 - 12 stops over a one month period for $299

Silver, 15 - 20 stops over a one month period for $399

Gold, 30+ stops over a two month period for $599

Platinum, 45+ stops over a 3 month period which includes professional book trailer, reader and blogger incentives, AuthorVid, Goodreads Chat, banner advertisement in sidebar, personalized press releases, pre-buzz on minimum of 10 blogs and websites before your tour even starts and much much more for $1399. (http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/about-us/).

I chose the Silver.  It took Dorothy about a month to set up my tour which included guest spots on 25 blogs— more than she had guaranteed and many of them syndicated (interviews, book reviews and articles from me evenly balanced) an article in an online newspaper, a podcast radio interview and an author video.  You can see the schedule on my homepage: http://www.donnafletchercrow.com/ (scroll down a bit)
Dorothy is an absolute delight to work with and her bloggers were enthusiastic about my book, although the review copies (which I mailed out) are sent with the understanding that they will receive an honest review. And many of those bloggers have hundreds of followers.

I received what may be my all-time favorite review from one of these bloggers. You can see it here http://ning.it/Kkl2kN as a good example of the exposure my book received.
Each day of the tour I went to my tour stop, left a comment, got the permalink for that post and added it to the schedule on my website, then tweeted, facebooked, etc. To help get the word out. I tried to resist driving my friends crazy, so I didn’t promote everything to every contact list every day. Near the end we were in California visiting family and I failed to get a couple of the permalinks added, although I did visit the blogs those days.

Bottom line: Rankings for print book were two times better, sales rank for ebook was 4 times better. (A month on the ranks have returned to their earlier positions.)Did this pay for the tour? I won’t know until I see my royalty statement— and then I may not be sure.
Would I do it again? Yes. I am. My Arthurian epic GLASTONBURY, A Novel of The Holy Grail has just come out in ebook and I’ve signed on for a tour in September. (Dorothy offers returning tourees $100 off.)

Whether or not the experience paid off in sales I was very satisfied with it in terms of exposure and career-building. It was fun.

Donna Fletcher Crow is the author of 40 books, mostly novels dealing with British history.  The award-winning Glastonbury, A Novel of the Holy Grail, an Arthurian grail search epic covering 15 centuries of English history, is her best-known work.  She is also the author of The Monastery Murders: A Very Private Grave  and A Darkly Hidden Truth, as well as the Lord Danvers series of Victorian true-crime novels and the romantic suspense series The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries. Donna and her husband live in Boise, Idaho.  They have 4 adult children and 11 grandchildren. She is an enthusiastic gardener. To read more about all of Donna’s books  and see pictures from her garden and research trips go to: www.DonnaFletcherCrow.com.




7 comments:

  1. Thanks for letting me share, Jeff. I'm happy to answer questions anyone wants to leave.

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  2. Thanks for the interesting post!

    Best,

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  3. I've used Pump Up Your Promotions several times and did find that my numbers on Amazon did indeed go down during the tour.

    With this last book, No Bells, I put together my own tour, trying to find diversified blogs. I did pretty well, but learned some things alone the way. One, that a blog tour company definitely earns the money they charge.

    Marilyn

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  4. Sounds like a great tour experience. I've heard of Pump Up Your Promotions, but had not heard the details. Thank you for sharing

    P.S. I love the cover for Galstonbury!

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  5. Thank you, Helen. Oh, yes, Marilyn, no question that they earn their money. Trouble is, now I'm spoiled. I'll never want to do the incredible amount of work it takes to set up myown tour!

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  6. Nice to read how those tours work out on the other side, and how much they cost. I've only tried to tour with one book and did it on my own--tons of work, tons of time not doing anything else (like writing, keeping up with the internet, friends, family, housework etc.)

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  7. What an interesting experience you had, Donna. I am sure what a good blog guest you are, and also how appealing are your books, helped a LOT.

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