Category Archives: Promo Tip

Plan a Blog Tour – My Five Tries to Learn How

Plan a blog tour? For way too long, I had no idea I was supposed to do such a thing, or what it might be. I stumbled upon the yahoo self-publish group and began lurking there. I was amazed and grateful for how much information writers share with each other. As a writer of small town romantic suspense, this site was an internship on my laptop, especially the internship in book marketing I desperately needed.

Still, nobody said, “Plan a blog tour,” in those particular words. I did find out about guest blogpost spots and that I needed to acquire some, which brought up a scary question. Why would anyone want me on their blog? Nobody knew who I was. I hadn’t written a novel in sixteen years, and this was the first book in my first series. The Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series. By now, I know I should tell you the title.

Back then, all I knew was that I could barely find the nerve to ask for posting spots. I was nowhere near the Plan a Blog Tour stage. I’d still never heard those words, but I was aware of how to say “Please.” I did a lot of that until, lo and behold, I had seven appointments with guest post destiny. Too bad I had almost no clue what to post.

On my own blog, I mostly scavenged my many years as a workshop leader for material on how to write novels and get them published. I might have done more of the same in my new guest role if a kindly author I met at a conference hadn’t taken pity on me and said, “You want readers to get to know you and your work.” I responded with something like, “Exactly,” so I wouldn’t come across as a total airhead. What I really wanted to do was kiss the pointy toes of her chic pumps in gratitude, but she’d already disappeared, probably in search of more savvy company.

Meanwhile, in her well-shod wake she’d left a valuable suggestion. I should write about my work, which I took very literally to mean my work process. “I can do that,” I told myself, then set out to write posts about how I wrote. My favorite result was “The Struggle to Escape Chapter Twenty-Nine,” which appeared on Elizabeth Meyette’s blog.

The title basically tells the tale. I was quite far along into the book, and I got stuck. I can be funny, so I peppered the post with humorous bits, but I came closest to what I now consider the Plan a Blog Tour lynchpin when I brought my hero into the post. His name was Matt Kalli, and he said, directly to me, “You have to make something happen here.”

I understood he was referring to Chapter Twenty-Nine of his story, A Wrong Way Home. I didn’t hear him also prodding me to make something happen in Plan a Blog Tour terms. Consequently, with Book 2, A Year of Summer Shadows, I continued to wander pretty much clue-free through the blogosphere. Until Maria Ferrer, a publishing maven who always steers me right, gave me some good guidance by getting me to post an actual excerpt from my book on her blog.

Unfortunately, Maria’s sage advice was forgotten by Book 3. A Vacancy at the Inn is a Christmas story, and Christmas is a heartwarming time. Therefore, I wrote heartwarming guest post recollections from my personal life, about my brother Michael making holiday gifts from found fragments, me discovering Grandma’s recipe for Dandelion Wine, and so on. Barbara White Daille’s blog featured “The Best New Year’s Ever,” about a triumphal moment in my breast cancer journey, but I wasn’t yet traveling the Plan a Blog Tour trail.

Finally, in the middle of guest posting for Book 4, A Villain for Vanessa, I was taught the most powerful Plan a Blog Tour lesson of all. “It’s about the book, stupid.” Kayelle Allen, the amazing founder of MFRW (Marketing for Romance Writers), is too gracious to use such harsh words, but her Romance Lives Forever blog made the truth vividly clear, even to dim-bulb me.

A survey of her site taught me how to Plan a Blog Tour by showing me the essence of what to post at every stop on my itinerary. Interviews about the book. Blurbs for the book. Anecdotes featuring the book. And excerpt, excerpts, excerpts from the book, which were the huge clue I should have retained from Maria Ferrer’s guidance two books ago. At last, my best writer brain was listening, and at longer last, I heard.

The blog tour now happening for Book 5, A Time of Fear & Loving – eleven guest posts from October 16th through 26th – is all about the book. Each post is an excerpt from the story with a provocative, attention-grabbing introduction. I am spotlighting each post across social media, like here on Facebook. Stop by and check out the evidence that, with a lot of help from my author friends, I have now learned how to Plan a Blog Tour.   Alice Orr –

– R|R

After blog touring, take the thrill ride that is Alice’s latest story, A Time of Fear & Loving – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 5. Available HERE. You can find all of Alice’s books HERE.


What About Guest Blogging? Should I Bother? @AliceOrr #blogging #IAN1

Ask Alice image 1I recently completed a month-long blog tour. Fifteen guest blog post stops, designed and scheduled by me. I’d previously decided to give up on guest blogging as an effective and worthwhile marketing technique. I’d done it for the three previous books in my indie published Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series, and I had no evidence of much response.

Then a colleague with lots more marketing experience than I possess threw my own long-time mantra back at me. “Do It Anyway!” she said. What were her top reasons for that advice? Being out there on social media. Possible name recognition and visibility. My recent blog tour has brought another reason even more front and center for me. Guest posting establishes relationships with bloggers.

The prevailing wisdom is that we should research our particular writing niche in search of the bloggers with the largest number of Followers and guest post with them. Which makes a lot of sense, if you’re already at least somewhat established in that publishing niche of yours. If you’re not, the reality is this. Many of those most-followed blogger types aren’t interested in featuring as-yet-unknown or beginning writers.

My response to this reality would be another resounding “Do It Anyway!” Because why? Because the future lies ahead, and we have no idea what it may hold.  For example, on this fourth tour I pretty much accidentally tumbled onto a blog site with 3.5 million followers and a generous host. She not only featured me as a guest author on her blog, she also recommended me to another blogger with a similarly large following.

The result? I’ve received more attention on social media, especially Twitter, for my new book A Villain for Vanessa, than for any of the previous books in the series. Plus I learned things I need to know. Like about Triberr and how it works and what I should do about it. Like about how to vary my posts so that they’re not just an excerpt from the book/the cover art/the story summary/my bio/my photo/my social media links/my buy links. The same old same old format.

Another plus is those relationships I mentioned. Not just relationships with the big-influencer bloggers, but with every blogger who hosted me, no matter what his/her Follower stats might be. Every one of them has done me the huge favor of featuring me and my work on their blog site. Every one of those relationships deserves to be nurtured. I’ve already begun nurturing.

How am I doing that? I follow their blogs. I comment on the posts I find there. I promote these bloggers’ new books across my social media network. I’m even buying those new titles and reviewing them on Amazon and Goodreads. You may think this is a lot of work, but nurturing relationships has always required effort. Consider it an investment in your future.

Taking my first steps on this pay-it-forward-with-mutual-support path has taught me another important lesson as well. I am simply having fun. [This post is adapted from a comment I made recently on the ALLi Blog.]


A Villain for Vanessa – Riverton Romantic Suspense Book 4 and my other books are available from Amazon HERE and from most other online book retailers at their websites.

Alice Orr –

How to Make Giveaways the Best Fun Ever

Coconut Body LotionQuestion: Can you tell us what it’s like to run a non-book giveaway?

Answer: It’s great. I’m in the middle of my second one now.

The first was a replica of the coffee mug sitting next to me this morning. Brown letters on ivory ceramic spell out, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.” The mug was given to me by my grandchildren so it is precious and personal. The words are precious and personal too. I smile each time I read them.

This time, I wanted a gift from my new story A Villain for Vanessa – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 4. There’s emphasis on a jacket, but I can’t afford several of those. How about the lighthouse? If somebody sent me a miniature lighthouse I’d think, “One more trinket to dust,” and take it to the neighborhood thrift store that benefits at-risk children.

Back when I was publishing Harlequin Intrigue novels, I had a perfect solution for the giveaway dilemma. I’d embed an item in the story, and give away a replica of it at book signings after publication. My last Intrigue plot is a good example.

Dear Santa’s hero and heroine Vic and Katherine try to save two very at-risk children, Coyote and Sprite, from serious danger during the holiday season. In a poignant yuletide scene, Sprite hangs a sparkling glass angel ornament on an evergreen tree.

I don’t remember how many crystal angels I ordered, but they were everywhere in our house. Plus spools of red ribbon printed with the title and small, clear bags covered in snowflake images. We sat on the floor. My husband Jonathan bagged the angels. I tied ribbons.

I led lots of writing workshops back then. I trundled those packets with me each time, for the book signings after my presentation. More than once, an airport security person stared askance at the x-ray machine. “Angels,” I would say, and they’d let me through.

More recently, I was wishing I’d included Vanessa’s version of a crystal angel in her story, when a solution occurred to me. Much of the book happens at a spa. I’d give away something associated with that setting. That was when the real fun began. Shopping!

I spent happy hours online playing with possibilities. Everything from way-to-pricey items to way-too-chintzy ones. All the while I was circling, more or less deliberately, toward the ideal destination for me. Things that make you smell good and feel better.

I settled on Oahu Coconut Sunset Shea and Vitamin E Body Lotion from Bath and Body Works, a great match for my spa fantasy.

I placed the order, smiling almost as wide as I do when I read my grandkids’ mug. I love giving presents. Don’t you? Soon I’ll be giving presents to contest winners. I can hardly wait for the July 11th drawing. That will be the best fun of all.

 Alice Orr 


Email “I’ll meet you at the spa,” to to be entered in the Spa Lotion Giveaway Contest.  A Villain for Vanessa and my other books are available from Amazon HERE and most other online book retailers at their websites.