Penny Warner's most recent release is How to Host a Killer Party, the first in the Party Planning mystery series that will include party planning tips in each book. Mixing fun and fundraising for charities seemed like the perfect job for Presley Parker when she’s suddenly downsized from her position teaching abnormal psychological at the university. Pres is psyched about her first big gig—hosting a “surprise” wedding for the San Francisco Mayor at notorious Alcatraz prison.
But the party’s over when the bride bolts faster than an escaping prisoner, and is later found dead floating in the bay, a victim of poisoned chocolates. When Presley becomes prime suspect, she looks to her quirky Treasure Island co-workers for help, but it’s the attractive, mysterious crime scene cleaner Brad Matthews who helps tidy up her tarnished reputation. If she doesn’t solve this mystery, she’ll be exchanging her party dress for prison stripes.
Doesn't that sound like a fun read? Now, here's Penny's guest post:
Thanks to Beth Groundwater, I’m on a blog tour. Two months ago I’d never heard of a blog tour, not until I read about Beth’s tour. Now I’m just wrapping up the last one and looking forward to more in the future.
Apparently blog tours are becoming standing operating procedure when you have a new book out. For past books, I used to cold call some bookstores, ask if I could come and talk about my book, and then try to find my way home from Sacramento, Fresno, or Palo Alto when my GPS died.
On a regular book tour, I have to wear clothes, bring bribes in the form of cookies and bookmarks, and sit at a table watching readers buy Stephanie Meyer’s books by the arm load. A regular book tour is expensive, too, what with the cost of gas, cookies, and clothes, not to mention time consuming—an hour plus drive, a two-hour “event,” and an additional two hours driving back after getting lost. I’m exhausted by the time I get home, my cheeks are cramped from all that smiling (and sitting, if you get my drift), and from hauling full cartons of books.
Now it’s perfectly clear to me why blog tours are the way to go. Making an appearance as a guest on popular blog sites related to my genre—like Beth’s—sounded perfect for me. No traveling, no hauling books, no cookies. I don’t even have to wear clothes if I don’t want to. After reading Beth’s helpful information about setting up a blog tour, I sent out a dozen queries to my favorite sites a few weeks before my book was to debut and asked if I might “stop by.” To my amazement, they all responded positively to my request, and I found myself with blog stops every other day for nearly a month!
Along with my queries, I sent a list of possible topics related to my new book, such as “How to Plan a Killer Party” and “How to Survive a Book Tour.” Some sites had specific topics for me to choose from, some chose from my list, while others just wanted Q & A interviews. The rest said I could write whatever I wanted. How cool was that.
While Beth recommended I stockpile articles ahead of time, I’m more of a deadline writer. I jotted the dozen or so dates on the calendar, then took it one day at a time, writing the articles and getting them into the sites a few days before they were scheduled to run.
Sure, it was a lot of work. But I wrote the articles while sitting on my couch listening to music. I never got lost while traveling the entire country. I got to eat all my own cookies. And I could wear my PJs (or not) all day long if I wanted to. When my articles were “up,” I dropped by the sites throughout the day to see if there were comments, and responded to each of them, feeling as if I’d made some new friends.
Best of all, going on a blog tour was lots of fun. It’s definitely the way to go. In fact, thanks to Beth, I may never leave home again…
Thanks, Penny! Okay, readers, fire away! What do you want to know about Penny? Do you have a party coming up that you could use some help planning? Now's your chance for free advice! :) Got anything else to say or ask?