October 5, 2011

Guest Post: Jean Henry Mead

Filed under: The Writing Life — jenny @ 8:56 am

Murder of the Interstate

I’m very pleased to welcome Jean Henry Mead back to the blog. Jean’s Made It Moment appears here. Today she shares some of the ins and outs of a topic that is increasingly relevant to authors as book tours become less common. You know the kind: you’re flown from city to city, wined and dined before the readers line up, ten deep to meet you. Oh? That doesn’t always happen? Well, as many of you know, I am a big fan of F2F book events, and plan to take the whole show on the road not too too long from now. But the power of a virtual tour shouldn’t be missed, and here Jean tell us why.

Jean Henry Mead

Virtual Touring

Virtual tours are great fun if you have time to prepare for them, but they can be a burden if you happen to be a procrastinator. I’ve taken part in three, the last one ending in August,with a dozen authors participating in a 12-week tour. My last two tours overlapped in May, which kept me so busy that I didn’t have time to do much writing.

The best part of virtual touring is meeting new readers and responding to those who have been reading your books all along. It’s an opportunity to learn what readers like about your work as well as what they would like to see in the future. Several of my tour visitors said they enjoy the humor of my mystery/suspense series, another said that her husband grabbed the book before she had a chance to read it. Still another thanked me for writing about women of the boomer generation. Their comments made all the work preparing for the tour worthwhile.

Long before you schedule your tour, you should regularly visit popular sites with large visitor numbers. While there, leave comments to introduce yourself to the host and her visitors—for at least two months. Then, when you ask the blog owner to host your tour, she’ll be much more receptive. A successful blog tour is planned months in advance, never at the last moment, and reminding blog hosts a few days before the tour begins of the dates you’ve previously agree upon is a good idea.

Articles written for each blog host should be varied or you run the risk of boring your visitors and losing them. You also need to be on hand each day to respond periodically to comments. That can present a problem for writers with a full time job.

When planning a group tour, make sure all the writers are compatible and that everyone’s going to take the tour seriously. That means getting articles in on time and creating the most attractive presentations possible for your fellow guest bloggers. That doesn’t always happen and can create anxiety among tour group members.

Another problem is writers dropping out in the middle of the tour for various reasons. Summer tours present problems of their own. Two of us had vacations scheduled during my last tour but we managed to maintain contact on laptops from RV parks. It’s not easy unless you’re committed to the team effort. So make sure you know who you’re going into partnership with because unknown writers can let the other members down.

Above all, go into your virtual tour with determination to do the best you’re capable of accomplishing as well as with consideration for your hosts. Have fun on your virtual tour and be sure to thank your hosts as well as your guests when you leave.

I’m looking forward to my Christmas tour, The Mystery We Write Blog Tour, will take place from November 25 through December 9, with 14 authors blogging at different sites each day. We’re already busy writing articles and answering interview questions well ahead of the holiday season. The tour has been well organized by Anne K. Albert, and my tour schedule is up at: http://jeansblogtour.blogspot.com. We’ll be giving away 14 mystery novels to blog visitors who leave comments at the various sites.

Jean Henry Mead writes mystery/suspense and western historical novels. She’s also an award-winning photojournalist published domestically as well as abroad. Among her writing industry jobs were editor of In Wyoming magazine as well as two small literary presses. She served as historian for Press Women, president of Wyoming Writers, national publicity director and secretary-treasurer for Western Writers of America, and is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Women Writing the West, Western Writers of America, Wyoming Writers, and Author’s Guild. She also has two blog sites: Mysterious Writers and Writers of the West and blogs regularly at Murderous Musings and Make Mine Mystery.


  1. That is good advice to those of us who have never planned such an event! It is obviously a committment!

    Comment by Connie J Jasperson — October 5, 2011 @ 9:51 am

  2. Thank you for hosting me again on your terrific site, Jenny. Your support of fellow writers is certainly appreciated.

    Comment by Jean Henry Mead — October 5, 2011 @ 10:58 am

  3. Thank you, Connie. It’s actually not as daunting as it may seem. Preparing well in advance is the key to touring success.

    Comment by Jean Henry Mead — October 5, 2011 @ 11:41 am

  4. I’m excited. I’m going to be on the mystery tour Jean wrote about–and participated in the first one too. The vacation thing was a problem for me, we were at a campground during part of the tour. The only place I could get Internet service was in a lodge near the entrance and it meant hauling my laptop down there a couple of times a day. What a pain! I did it though. For a tour to be successful, the ones on tour must promote and pay attention to people’s questions and comments.


    Comment by Marilyn Meredith — October 5, 2011 @ 11:44 am

  5. I couldn’t agree with you more, Marilyn. I had the same problem in an RV park, but it was worth the effort and commitment to the tour. Best of luck with your current tour. I look forward to taking part in the Christmas Mystery We Writer tour with you and my other favorite authors.

    Comment by Jean Henry Mead — October 5, 2011 @ 11:49 am

  6. Virtual tours are a lot of fun and a lot of work. I was exhausted at the end of mine, but I never even thought of pulling out half way through. These are great tip, Jean.

    Comment by Kelly Hashway — October 5, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

  7. Great post, Jean. thanks for getting the buzz buzzing! I’m thoroughly enjoying being part of this tour, and feel as if I’ve made friends with my fellow tourists.

    Comment by john m. daniel — October 5, 2011 @ 12:25 pm

  8. Oh Jean, looking forward to our Mystery We Write Blog Tour! It’s my first, and think it’s going to be a great adventure. Great post!


    Comment by M.M. Gornell — October 5, 2011 @ 1:04 pm

  9. Thanks, Kelly. I echo what you said about about exhaustion. Imagine touring on two at the same time. (I won’t do that again.) ::)

    Comment by Jean Henry Mead — October 5, 2011 @ 1:08 pm

  10. John, it’s great to have you join us on the upcoming Christmas tour. I also look forward to reading your new release, Behind the Redwood Door.

    Comment by Jean Henry Mead — October 5, 2011 @ 1:10 pm

  11. Thank you, Madeline. I’m also looking forward to the Christmas book tour. I’m sure it’s going to be a lot of fun. :)

    Comment by Jean Henry Mead — October 5, 2011 @ 3:58 pm

  12. I think you covered just about everything. Excellent blog, and anyone thinking about joining a tour should think long and hard before committing to it. That last tour was a lot of fun though. Thanks for sharing some valuable information.

    Comment by Marja McGraw — October 5, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

  13. Thanks, Marja. It was fun and I enjoyed getting to know you and your Bogie books.

    Comment by Jean Henry Mead — October 5, 2011 @ 5:55 pm

  14. Great post Jean and thank you Jenny for hosting such great information. I’m in the same tour as Jean and very excited but busy writing so as not to be the last one finished. The tours are a lot more work than I thought but I’ve met some great authors and enjoy getting to know them better. The only thing that would make it better is if on day 15 we could all get together in person and toast our success.
    W.S. Gager on Writing

    Comment by W.S, Gager — October 5, 2011 @ 10:42 pm

  15. Great information in this post. “Blog Tour” is on my list of things to do, but it hasn’t made it close enough to the top quite yet (next Summer break, maybe? :)

    I think part of it, though, also has to do with what Jean said about getting to know people first. I guess I still come from a generation where you get to know someone a little before asking them for a favor. I’m the same way with asking for book reviews, especially considering the hosts/reviewers usually are doing it for free out of the kindness of their hearts.

    Paul D. Dail
    http://www.pauldail.com- A horror writer’s not necessarily horrific blog

    Comment by Paul Dail — October 6, 2011 @ 10:42 am

  16. Thanks, Wendy. That’s one of the best things about blog touring in a group. The sharing of information and getting to know your blog partners better.

    Comment by Jean Henry Mead — October 6, 2011 @ 12:28 pm

  17. I appreciate your comments, Paul, and your kind words. Best of luck with your own blog touring. I’m sure you’ll find it an exciting experience and well worth your time.

    Comment by Jean Henry Mead — October 6, 2011 @ 12:30 pm

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