How to set up a blog tour

blog tour pic

{Note: I posted this blog post about how to set up a blog tour years ago, on the release of MISTRESS OF THE SUN, but much of it holds true today. See note at the end for an update.}

I’ve been asked about my Blog Tour twice in two days: How did it go? Who organized it (and how)? Who pays? So I thought I’d post about it here.

First of all, I’d say it went really, really well. A Blog Tour gets your book a lot of visibility and reviews.

I’ve never heard of a publisher organizing one, but it’s possible. [See my note below.] I’ve only heard of authors organizing a Blog Tour, and paying for the lion’s share of it. There are Internet sites that will do this—TLC Book Tours ( is one—or you can do it yourself, or hire an assistant or publicist to help set it up. I hired an assistant—my “VA,” or Virtual Assistant—but it was a lot of work, even then. My costs were low, under $500 for an extensive tour, but I think $2000 is more in range. (I’m no expert on this.)

The basic process

The process of setting up a blog tour, in a nutshell, is to contact suitable blogs, and ask if they would be interested in being part of the tour. If so, a book (or two) is sent to them (to give away in a lottery, and to review). They will then invite you to write a guest post or be interviewed. A schedule is made up, so that over the course of a month, your book is featured two or three times a week on different book blogs.

Making a list of book bloggers

The first thing to do is to make up a list of possible blogs. This takes a little research. My VA and I Google-searched for book blogs, and, in particular, looked for blogs that favored historical fiction. You need to look for “high-traffic” blogs, blogs that have a number of followers. I looked over the blogs other authors have included on their blog tours (just as others will do for my own).

Then the bloggers are approached, and if they are keen, arrangements are made for a date and an understanding of what, exactly, will be done. Books need to be sent to them well in advance: my U.S. publisher took care of this, which was great. My VA took care of all the correspondence and scheduling.

Some hold that a review should be required (and ideally, as well, that the review be posted not only on the blog but on, other book sites and a link posted to social networking sites such as Twitter, etc.).

Book give-aways are also great: they create so much interest.

Writing the guest posts and answering interview questions

The interviews and guest posts entail a lot of writing, however, and of the two, interviews are less time-consuming. My feeling, at the time, was that a Blog Tour was every bit as consuming as a Book Tour coast-to-coast, but that’s likely an exaggeration.

And then it’s simply a matter of keeping on top of it: sending in your posts and/or interview answers on time, and then sending out follow-up thank-you letters. Book bloggers are amazing: they work hard for free, and deserve lots of applause.

If you Google “blog tour” you will find lots of guides.

An update

In the years since I wrote this post, things have changed, but only a bit.

My publishers did send out review copies of my new novel, THE SHADOW QUEEN, to many book bloggers this time, so I think that’s something publishers simply do now. With fewer and fewer print reviewers, book bloggers have become all-important.

What helps is if the person setting up your blog tour has a relationship with the bloggers—this is what you are paying for, that contact. My VA, Diane Saarinen of the Saima Agency, was excellent at setting up a blog tour. (Unfortunately, she has now retired.) I also used France Book Tours, which was excellent value. If you are publishing a France-related book, I recommend them.

What also helps—in terms of both time and money—is to see if you can arrange for your publisher to send the bloggers the books.

V is for Virtual Tour provides an informative description of a virtual (i.e. blog) tour from The Publishing Bones.

Good luck! Let me know if this has been helpful, or if you have any suggestions or questions.

Website woes


I don’t think there are many things more trying than renovating a website … a house, perhaps. In anticipation of the release of the paperback editions of Mistress of the Sun, I’ve been giving my somewhat complex website an up-date.

Or, rather, I’ve been telling others what I want done. This is strenuous when it’s a matter of “a little bit bigger,” “no smaller,” “no, a bit to the right.” If only I could do it myself! It’s both expensive (very!) and trying. Which is why I’m this minute downloading a trial of DreamWeaver software.

I’m fussy about the appearance of my site … and lucky, too, to have had Karen Templer (now of fame) and her then-business-partner Mignon design the original. Their web design company was called Quiet Space: which gives you an idea of their aesthetic. They were literary—rare in the tech world—as well as artists.

But the world moves on, not always quietly, and changes must be made. And so … will I wade into the horrors of HTML? When I should be researching and paying bills and answering emails and … ? I doubt it!




I’m at home (ahhhh) and unpacking, making lists—lists and lists and lists. First item: do not get overwhelmed!

I did fairly well with all that moving: I left behind four things.

One, my wireless mouse. Too bad, but at least it’s replaceable.

Two, my Body Shop face cleanser, which I learned I can travel without.

Three and four, books I was reading and very much enjoying. The first, Conceit by Mary Novik, has been generously resent to me compliments of the author. Thank you, Mary! It’s a story told from the point-of-view of John Donne‘s daughter, every sentence a joy, and I’m eager to dive back into it.

The other book lost was Ghostwalk by UK writer Rebecca Stott—another stunning historical novel—which I left on the airplane on the very last leg of this long journey. I’m upset by this loss! This book was signed to me by Rebecca, with whom I read in Kansas City—is not replaceable. So, I add to the top of the list: see if I can track it down.

And, also on the list: prepare to have my MacBook Pro replaced. Apple has seen the light.



A French friend confessed recently that he was surprised how bad my French was. (As am I: I have been studying that language forever.) A day or two later, I was translating some sentences into Spanish. Only by the third sentence did I realize that I was translating into French. I am continually mangling the two.

I find learning languages challenging, and this winter has been particularly rigorous because I’ve had to learn Net-ease and rudimentary HTML. Promoting a book requires “getting out there,” and these days, out there is here, on the Net, which has a language of its own.