by Our Special Guests
One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do? Maybe not all the time, but when it comes to promotion, it can be. At least, that’s how Jess Lourey and I (Shannon Baker) felt three years ago when we discovered we both had books launching on the same day. We were at a big conference and may or may not have been sitting in the bar, kind of kvetching about promotion and marketing and how hard it all can be, when we had this light-bulb moment that it might not be so tough if we did it together.
That’s when the Lourey-Baker Double-Booked Blog Tour was born.
Our third annual two-fer
This year is the third annual tour and it’s turned promotion from something I dread into something I look forward to. I wasn’t sure I’d have a book launching this year and I’d decided book or not, I’d go on the virtual road trip with Jess anyway, because it’s so much fun.
I’m so glad to hear that, Shannon, especially considering the topics I proposed this year! It’s not everyone who’d agree to write half of an article titled, “Two Middle-aged Introverts Write a Sex Scene.” And truly, of all the marketing adventures I’ve tried, blog tours with you is the only one I look forward to. With me in Minnesota and you in Arizona, it feels like we’re pen pals.
Same! Speaking of readers, our tour is value-added for them. Whatever topic we’re discussing, Jess and I have different experiences and have acquired our own perspectives and hacks. Readers not only get the best of two brains, but with our different delivery styles, it comes at them in (what we hope) is an entertaining and conversational way. I know when we’re putting together our posts, Jess often has me laughing out loud.
Haha! I love “the best of two brains.” In fact, I now declare that the tagline for our tour. And truly, your contribution to the “Sex Scene” blog post still has me laughing. I feel like you and I bring out the best (by which I mean the worst, in the best way) in each other. Blogging with you makes me braver, and a better writer, and smarter.
Our method is to divide and conquer. We both have contacts and ideas where we’d like to stop on our tour and both pitch and start to fill in our calendar. This is the stage that brought us the name of our tour. The first year, we ended up scheduling two blogs on one day and inspiration struck.
Exactly. So, we brainstorm article ideas, pool our contacts, divide ‘em up, and each reach out to our assigned sites. Half the work and twice the fun. And I think the fact that we get to pitch ourselves as a pair—21 books between us—makes us an easier sell when it comes to reaching out to new blogs who’ve never hosted us before. Shannon, how do you think our blogging prowess has changed in between the first year and the third?
We’ve learned a few things along the way. For instance, for the first Annual Double-Booked Tour, we had over twenty stops. We started in April booking and writing for our tour in September, had all our posts finished and turned in by the end of June. I found setting up and writing the blogs took a lot of angst and time. I worried about holding my end of the deal, since Jess is such a rock star!
We might have been overachievers that first year. We saw a real drop-off in participation by the end of the tour. We chalked it up to Blog Fatigue by our readers. So now we have about half of the stops. We chose based on number of commenters and the reach of the blogs. This year, because of avalanches in our lives both personal and professional, we got a late start booking and writing. But it’s still working because we’ve developed our partnership. It’s definitely gotten easier, but no less fun.
Divide the work and multiply the results
Agreed. Also, I love your suggestion that we use this tour to build our newsletter list, which is so important to writers. Honestly, our collaboration has been a blessing to me. There’s so much I’ve learned about marketing, and writing, and being a human being. I’d read your posts even if I wasn’t on tour with you, and so to get a front-row seat is fantastic. Plus, through alchemy, it makes the same amount of work seem much, much less. Why is it so much easier to write half of twelve articles than it is to write six full articles? I dunno, but it is.
Why it works
Joining forces provides more fun for readers, who, in turn, might remember us and try our books. It’s made a huge difference in attitude and execution for me. (BTW, you’re welcome for the earworm at the beginning of this piece courtesy of Three Dog Night.)
So, look around at the writers you know. Select one or more of them, looking for emotional/sense of humor compatibility, relatively close upcoming release dates, and audience reach. Propose setting up a blog tour with them, and once they agree, schedule the requisite tattoo session (Double-booked FOREVER!!!). Then, sit back and reap the rewards of one of the best marketing choices you’ve ever made!
Have you ever done duet events? Let’s talk about what you learned—or what you’d like to know—on Career Authors Facebook Page!
Shannon Baker is the author of the Kate Fox mystery series set in rural Nebraska cattle country, and the Nora Abbott mystery series, a fast-paced mix of Hopi Indian mysticism, environmental issues, and murder. Now a resident of Tucson, Baker spent 20 years in the Nebraska Sandhills, where cattle outnumber people by more than 50:1. She is proud to have been chosen Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ 2014 and 2017 Writer of the Year. Shannon Baker’s newsletter: when you sign up you’ll receive a free Kate short story. Visit Shannon at www.Shannon-Baker.com. Bitter Rain is an August release.
Jess Lourey (rhymes with “dowry”) is an Amazon-bestselling Anthony, Lefty, and Agatha-nominated author known for her critically-acclaimed Mira James Mysteries, which have earned multiple starred reviews from Library Journal and Booklist, the latter calling her writing “a splendid mix of humor and suspense.” She is a tenured professor of creative writing and sociology, a recipient of The Loft’s Excellence in Teaching fellowship, a regular Psychology Today blogger, and a sought-after workshop leader and keynote speaker who delivered the 2016 “Rewrite Your Life” TEDx Talk. Mercy’s Chase, the second in the feminist thriller series Lee Child calls “highly recommended,” releases September 8. Jess Lourey’s newsletter: when you sign up, you’ll automatically receive a free copy of May Day, the first in Jess’ comic caper mysteries.