Monday, February 24, 2014

Markenting Advice from Jan Shapin

A Snug Life Somewhere is about Penny Joe Copper, daughter of a roustabout shingle weaver, who is caught up in a 1916 union tragedy known as the "Everett Massacre." Her brother Horace is killed, as is the cousin of a radical organizer, Gabe.

When her love affair with Marcel, a music student seven years her junior, is thwarted, she is pulled into Gabe’s campaign to avenge the “Everett Martyrs.”

Author Jan Shapin, busy promoting her newest title, offers advice on how to use a blog tour to promote your book.

         Try a virtual book tour.

By Jan Shapin

I struggle with ways to get my books noticed. Print book reviews are going the way of the buggy whip. Those few outlets remaining are captive of the large publishing houses. A few book outlets like Midwest Book Review review unknown authors and books published by small presses, but even those are on-line reviews that themselves struggle to get noticed. Fans posting on Amazon help, but are suspect as the work of friends.

So where to get independent reviews that bolster your credentials? Something that has worked for me is the Virtual Book Tour. There are several companies out there, often specializing in genres, and what the book tour operator does (for a fee) is to put together a tour of your book with writing blogs that are affiliated with them. Those blogs are a mixed bag – some almost professional, some librarians moonlighting, some women blogging while the kids are at school. But all of the reviewers like to read and have other readers who follow their blogs. They are fiercely iindependent and do it for love not money.

My first experience with a virtual book tour came with A Desire Path, my first novel published by Write Words, Inc. I had in hand a strong review by Midwest Book Review but didn’t know where to go next. On impulse I started checking out virtual book tours and chose one that had good vibes –TLC Book Tour. I sent a query and got back a prompt response. The price would be $549 for a minimum of 10 book reviewers on a tour spread out over three weeks. I would be responsible for sending out a copy of the book to each blogger and checking in when the reviews were posed and adding a comment.

The response was decidedly mixed. Some loved the book, some were respectful but not enthusiastic, a few didn’t review or did not finish. I used the rave reviews on my web site ( and encouraged those reviewers to post on Amazon and GoodReads. What I got out of the experience was not only some excellent reviews but also important feedback that matched how my friends reacted to A Desire Path. Some loved it, some yawned, some didn’t finish.

This February began my second TLC Book Tour with A Snug Life Somewhere (republished by Write Words, Inc.). The results to date have been fantastic! Most of the reviewers were lavish in their praise. I am using those reviews in concert with a book giveaway and ad campaign on Goodreads that is really generating interest—well over one hundred readers adding the book to their “To Read” shelf. The work isn’t done—I’ll still have to figure out how to get those readers to purchase, but the TLC Book Tour was the engine starting in motion a chain of interest hopefully leading to a solid word-of-mouth campaign for the book.

My TLC Book Tour is ongoing through March 5. You can check out the reviews and find out more about TLC on the following link:

Jan Shapin, Author                       


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