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  1. #1

    Default Lessons 4 and 5: Blog Hops, Blog Tour Companies, and Rafflecopter

    Now and then, I like to participate in blog hops as a way to draw new traffic to my website. If you sign up for a blog hop, then your link is included in a list of participants and you agree to post about a certain topic on a certain day. You also typically give away a prize. Some authors give away a small gift card while others give away copies of their books, or invite an author friend to give away books. Some hops also ask you to contribute money to sponsor a large prize such as a Kindle.

    This is an example of one that I participated in sponsored by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
    http://stacyjuba.com/blog/2012/10/23...-spooktacular/

    Her schedule of upcoming hops is at: http://www.iamareader.com/giveaway-hops

    The Marketing for Romance Writers Yahoo group, a fantastic resource, also coordinates blog hops.
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Market...omanceWriters/

    Blog hops can be a great way to have new visitors stumble onto your site (and your books.)

    Plenty of blog tour companies are also looking for bloggers to run easy copy and paste blog posts about their giveaways, as well as excerpts, interviews, and guest posts by authors who hire them for promotional services. Sometimes they will offer you an opportunity to gain new Facebook or Twitter followers on their Rafflecopter form if you agree to promote their event. An example: http://stacyjuba.com/blog/2013/10/04...-through-1025/

    If you enjoy reviewing, you can also receive free review copies. Get on their email lists and you can sign up for the tours and book blasts that fit into your schedule. As far as mass copy and paste blog posts, one caution: write your own introduction and change some words here and there as 200 other blogs might be publishing the same exact post and search engines such as Google want to see fresh content.

    Here are a couple blog tour companies that I signed up to receive emails from:
    http://www.iamareader.com/
    http://www.novelpublicity.com/tour/

    There are also loads more.

    Do you know a good place to sign up for blog hops, and/or can you recommend a blog tour company that has a lot of opportunities for bloggers? Please share them!


    Lesson 5: Giveaways and Rafflecopter 101

    Another way to draw traffic to your blog is to host your own giveaways, or solicit a bunch of author friends to participate in a group giveaway.

    I find Rafflecopter the easiest way to run a giveaway, especially during a blog hop. You can set up an entry form individualized for your giveaway. That means you can offer extra entries for tasks such as following you on Facebook, Twitter, signing up for your newsletter, marking your book to read on Goodreads, sharing the giveaway on Twitter, etc. It's also easy to pick a winner.

    Still, it takes some time to set up the entry form so I just do this sparingly. If I'm giving away an especially nice prize during a blog hop, I might set one up as an alternative to having visitors leave their information in the comments. Many blog visitors prefer Rafflecopter as it's so easy to go down the list of tasks.
    http://www.rafflecopter.com/

    Here is a resource on where to promote your contest:
    http://www.ablogofgoodies.com/2009/0...giveaways.html

    What has been your experience with hosting giveaways on your blog and/or using Rafflecopter?
    Stacy Juba
    Mysteries, Romance and Children's Books
    http://stacyjuba.com/blog/
  2. Patricia_Green's Avatar
    Reading: Always reading romance of one sort or another.
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    Patricia_Green is offline
    #2

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    More good advice from you, Stacy. I've had excellent results touring with BTS http://booktrailershowcase.com/virtual-tours/ . They are not a free service, but they are hardworking and diligent. They flex with the subject matter as well, so they don't balk at my genre (erotic romance). I've done several tours with them. They also have blog hops for bloggers to participate in, and usually they give away a big prize and donated ebooks. I sound like an ad for BTS but i'm just a happy customer.

    One note about giveaways... It might not always be a good idea to give away one of your money-making books when doing a giveaway. If a reader thinks she's got a shot at winning that title, she will not rush out and impulse buy it. I have one self-published book that I frequently use for giveaways, and rarely give away the thing I'm trying to promote for that particular event. I will usually give away a book that's not selling as well. I have over 20 published books, so I'm blessed with choices.
  3. #3

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    That is great advice on the giveaways, Patricia. I totally agree. Sometimes during blog tours I see authors giving away copies of the book they're promoting and it seems as if it would make more sense to give away something else. It's nice to have a backlist to choose from. Thanks for the input on BTS.

    For anyone interested in serving as a host, here is an application to fill out and some more information.

    http://booktrailershowcase.com/virtu...-tour-hosting/
    Stacy Juba
    Mysteries, Romance and Children's Books
    http://stacyjuba.com/blog/
  4. kayelle_allen's Avatar
    Reading: Something erotic, vampirish, or a book with a guy in a kilt on the cover
    Just Finished Reading: A hot book! What else?
    TBR: GOBS
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    kayelle_allen is offline
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    I've stopped allowing Rafflecopter on my blog because of the changes coming from the FTC. Rafflecopter may update to meet the requirements, but they haven't yet. Here's the info I found that changed my mind.

    The Federal Trade Commission's statement on sweepstakes states: "Sweepstakes-type promotions that require a purchase by participants are illegal in the United States. Other agencies, including the United States Postal Service (USPS) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), also enforce federal laws governing contests and prize promotions. And each state has laws that may require promoters to make disclosures, seek licensing, or post a bond."
    http://business.ftc.gov/documents/bu...small-business
    Contest, Sweepstakes, and Lottery Definitions
    A Sweepstakes is a giveaway where winners are chosen at random. A Contest chooses a winner based on some merit: best photo, funniest tip, etc. A Lottery is a prize drawing where people pay money for a chance to win. Lotteries are even more highly regulated and brands (or bloggers) should never run a lottery without strong legal guidance. "Thus, most giveaways are actually sweepstakes: a winner is chosen at random based on an entry (like leaving a comment). ... Any prize over $600 is required to be reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)."
    "Next Crackdown on Bloggers: Sweepstakes and Contests"
    Stephanie Schwab of Crackerjack Marketing
    http://is.gd/contestcrackdowns
    She suggests followup reading: "Swag and Tax Question: An IRS Auditor
    Reveals the Facts" http://www.babble.com/mom/swag-and-taxes/
    Kayelle Allen

    Want the inside secrets? Read the Romance Lives Forever News
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  5. #5

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    Thanks for sharing, Kayelle, I just copied those links and will check those out!
    Stacy Juba
    Mysteries, Romance and Children's Books
    http://stacyjuba.com/blog/
  6. kayelle_allen's Avatar
    Reading: Something erotic, vampirish, or a book with a guy in a kilt on the cover
    Just Finished Reading: A hot book! What else?
    TBR: GOBS
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    At the keyboard!
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    kayelle_allen is offline
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    Those were a shock to me to read. I decided to change things quickly after reading them. It's not something most authors probably know anything about.
    Kayelle Allen

    Want the inside secrets? Read the Romance Lives Forever News
    The Author's Secret: eBook conversions, banners, and premade book covers
    Newest Books
    Keeper of My Pleasure Contemporary BDSM Romance
    Forbid My Heart: A Luc and Rah Story A Tarthian Empire Saga
    Follow me on
    Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Goodreads / Shelfari

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