Alan Orloff is my guest today. He's a fellow Midnight Ink alumnus whose debut novel came out exactly one month before mine. Naturally I've been watching his progress, asking questions along the way. Alan is the author of DIAMONDS FOR THE DEAD. Here's what I had to say about it at Amazon:
Josh Handleman's search for his father's diamonds---and killer as well---is set against the backdrop of a homecoming. Author Alan Orloff deftly creates tension between characters who once were close friends, but haven't seen one another in years.
The protagonist is sympathetic and easy to identify with, the scenes are vivid, and conflicts abound. As in all good mysteries, the perpetrator is well integrated and doesn't reveal himself until the end. Orloff employs subtle cliffhangers to excellent effect.
I enjoyed the writing from the beginning, and after I'd sampled a couple of chapters I was unable to put the novel down.
Alan's next novel, KILLER ROUTINE, will be published in the spring of 2011. It's the first in a new "Last Laff Mystery" series featuring Channing Hayes, a stand-up comic with a tragic past.
Alan is here today to share lessons he learned on his blog tour:
During the month of April, I embarked on my DIAMONDS FOR THE DEAD WORLD BLOG TOUR. All from the comfort of my spare bedroom. Was it fun? Yes. Was it a fair amount of work? Yes. Was it successful? Hmmm.
Here are some observations. If you're planning your own blog tour, you might be interested.
My goals: To gain exposure for me and my debut mystery, DIAMONDS FOR THE DEAD, by guest blogging on a variety of other bloggers' blogs.
The plan: I aimed for three guest blogs per week, and I decided to link to these guest blogs from my blog. In other words, I wouldn't actually be blogging separately on my own blog. (I do like the word “blog.”)
The unwitting stooges: I asked my blogging friends if they'd like to host me and got a very nice response. I also put a note on my blog asking if others would like to host me. This generated a few additional invitations.
What worked well:
Writing blogs ahead of time. I tried to have the blogs done well in advance so my hosts would have plenty of time to get them posted. This also reduced my stress--no eleventh-hour frenzies!
Asking my friends who blog to host me. What are friends for?
Not writing separate posts for my own blog. If I had done this, I wouldn't have gotten much writing done. And, no matter how much promotion I'm doing, I need to keep my eye on the prize--getting my next manuscript written.
Including headshot, cover art, and bio. Everyone likes the visuals (thank goodness for Photoshop!).
Scheduling the tour, and posting it on my blog and my publisher's author page. Somehow it got transmitted to my Amazon author page and then to various other sites, all by cybermagic, which helped spread the word.
Using Twitter to publicize each stop on the tour. Of course, it would have been better if I had more Twitter followers!
Using Facebook to publicize each stop on the tour. Many peoples loves their Facebooks.
The duration. One month seemed to work well.
What could be improved next time:
My reach. Because I blogged at a lot of friends' blogs, I already knew many of the blog readers. So I think I'd try to blog at a wider range of blogs next time.
Variety. Many of my guest posts were on crime fiction blogs. Next time, I think I'd try to appear on a wider variety of blogs--different genres, not all writing-related, maybe more review sites, etc.
Creative promotions. I should have held a contest. I should have given away some books. I should have done some more, uh, creative things. Maybe given away a diamond (like my host the creative Mr. Parrish). Next go round, I'll have to think of something really good.
All in all, I was pretty pleased with my blog tour.
Hey, does Oprah have a blog?
Thanks, Alan. If there's one thing on this list I would emphasize, it's writing guest posts in advance; mine are all being written in the eleventh hour, and it's stressful. In a month or so I'll be posting my own lessons learned on Alan's blog. Meanwhile if you're looking for a fresh, entertaining read involving unique characters, pick up DIAMONDS FOR THE DEAD. Fellow writers looking for new blogging buddies would do well to drop Alan a line. He is, as I like to say, one of us.