Thursday, March 14, 2013

Planning a Virtual Tour is like Planning a Wedding (and a Giveaway!)

 As I mentioned in January, I’m getting MARRIED in the Fall! And with all of this wedding stuff (seriously, why didn’t you guys tell me this was going to be a second full time job?), I couldn’t help but see the resemblances between planning a wedding and planning out virtual tours for my romance authors!

1. You have to start early. Almost 10 months before my wedding date, I was signing a contract ensuring I had a great venue for my wedding; around 9 months before I booked a photographer; and at 8 months prior I had a DJ. Different bloggers and review sites have different timelines they follow when booking guest blogs or interviews, but they all like to do things EARLY. There are dates I book for virtual tours almost a year in advance, but then there are others that I can work within 2-3 months.

2. You have to think about other people. Yes I know, everyone says that your wedding is all about you. That’s a LIE. Yes, your wedding should be reflective of your personality. But you have to remember that your BFF from high school has just become a vegan. And your great-uncle better sit right up front or next to a speaker during the ceremony because he’s going deaf. On a virtual tour, you do need to think about the blog that’s hosting you, as well as what readers want to know about. This is a big reason why I ask for topic suggestions from the blogs I work with, so that blogger and their readers are getting something interesting, but quite a few places still say “topic of your choice.”

3. You have to look good. My dress appointment is coming up, and I AM TERRIFIED. For one, I think all wedding dresses are ugly, and the last thing I want is to look like every other bride out there. I also abhor trying on clothes. But then I remembered: this is for a specific, albeit important, event with a very specific kind of look and I’m going to find something that works. For virtual tours, you really need to make sure you re-read your posts before you send them to me or to a blogger—typos are just like fashion faux pas… everyone notices them, and they will talk about you!

4. You have to smile and be gracious. Yep, I’m one of those brides… I’m having two bridal showers. And as much as I don’t want to come across as “that bride,” I know that the two people throwing these showers are doing so out of the goodness of their hearts, and they are both being super generous and nice and supporting me before my big day. On a virtual tour, most bloggers are choosing who they want to showcase on their blogs—I know I don’t have to remind all of you just how many authors there are in the game right now. The field is oversaturated, and the blogs, no matter how big or small, are taking time out of their schedules to help you promote your books. So say thank you. More than once!

5. You need your best friends by your side. I cannot even begin to tell you how lucky I am with my bridal party. They are AWESOME and so low key and nice and sassy when I need them to be. I know they are going to be amazing at the bridal showers, the bachelorette party will be insane (in the best possible way) and my wedding day will be all the better because they are there. As you know, authors and publicists, authors and other authors, authors and bloggers, authors and review publications/websites are all working together to spread the word about a book, and many of you know that it is NOT easy. Making key connections, and reciprocating where necessary goes a long way—something as simple as re-tweeting or sharing on Facebook, or hosting another author on your blog, or doing a giveaway on a blog even when it isn’t your publication month.
Ok, I know most of these are a stretch, but you get the idea. Planning really helps, whether it’s a wedding or a virtual tour :-)

GIVEAWAY: in the comments, share a memorable wedding moment—either from your own or from a wedding you’ve attended. To two commenters I have a fun giveaway: The Newlywed Cookbook by Robin Miller (I promise you’ll like it, even if you aren’t a newlywed)! Please be sure to leave an email address so I can easily reach you. I’ll announce the winners tomorrow afternoon (US and Canada addresses only).


  1. LOL! Every time a book comes out is like getting married AND having a baby! No wonder it's so stressful! Hope your wedding is the best ever!

  2. My wedding was a very small home wedding with only close family of maybe 25 people, the memorable moment for me was when my groom showed up 10 minutes before the service was to about close call, and we have been happily married for 19 years

  3. As fantastically organized as you are with all of us, that wedding should come off without a single hitch. Loved the comparison and you are so right! A LOT goes on BEFORE the big day, be it wedding or launch. Thanks again for all you do...and bless your heart, keeping all of our boats running smoothly plus planning a wedding! You will deserve a fantabulous honeymoon!

  4. Congrats!! Hope your honeymoon is a fantasy come true! My kids each were married in the last two years, so it seemed like one wedding after another! Because it was! :) The main thing to remember is to have fun. :) My daughter had fun, but she was so stressed, she broke out in hives. :(

  5. I was really lucky in that my mom has a good friend who is a wedding planner. She handled a lot of the details for me, and I just had to make final decisions. I highly recommend having someone help you at least on the day of the event. You want to enjoy yourself, not be worrying about if everything is going okay.

  6. Excellent analogy, but I'd add one more: Compared to the effort of the marriage, the wedding can be very small and still do its job. Similarly, compared to writing a terrific book, the blog tour effort can be quite modest, and still leave you plenty of time to work on all those wonderful sequels.

  7. Cheyrl-haha, a wedding and a baby! We certainly keep busy.

    Heidi-sounds like a lovely time!

    Carolyn-I hope so! I think I'll probably drive everyone insane... which let's face it,when else will I be able to do?

    Terry-thanks! We're going to Cancun!

    Shana-I have a wedding coordinator and a friend who has stepped up to be the go-to girl the day of :) but you know me, i like to be involved... hopefully I can hand everything over to them!

    Grace-I so wish I could have a small wedding, but both of our families are HUGE! Even if we just invited family, we'd still have over 100 guests. but you are right about a strategically planned blog tour that makes more impact!

  8. Congratulations on your wedding, Danielle--hope it's a great one!

  9. This was too funny! And how can you think all wedding dresses are ugly? I've never seen an ugly one! I'm so excited for you and can't wait to see the pictures. You are going to be a gorgeous bride!

  10. I was abroad when I married and my family had made the effort to fly out to be with me and to celebrate with me. My husband-to-be and I housed them in our one bedroom apt. They insisted that my beloved and I keep our small bedroom. My brother decided to haul out a small mattress to sleep out on the balcony, my sister and her boyfriend took over the modest-sized living room that doubled as our informal dining area. And since the apt was carpeted throughout and there was a door to the room, my mom decided to sleep in the kitchen. The only space not used for sleeping was the bathroom since it was more like a closet in size with a small shower.

    They stayed with us for two weeks.

    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

  11. Let's just say I've been to more than one wedding that looked more like an episode of "Tattoo Nightmares." And that was just the bride.


  12. The night before my wedding I told my future husband not to forget to put gas in our new sports car. Of course he didn't listen. He and the best man ended up pushing it to a gas station in their tuxes. They didn't think about the gas and the attendant said he didn't know how to work on foreign cars. They were saved by a little kid shouting out "hey, mister, does it have gas?" Duh. He was half an hour late and when he walked in he booms out to his mother that he ran out of gas! The entire church was laughing as I finally walked down the aisle. He still doesn't listen to me (sigh).

  13. Congratulations!!! I'm sure the wedding is going to be spectacular. Hopefully, you don't have to deal with too many bridezillas - or would that be authorzillas? - in your work. :)

    I feel like my wedding is full of funny stories, some of which seemed like disasters the day of our wedding. Now they are the things that made the day I married my best friend special.

    Probably the cutest story involves the teeny, tiny girls who were the flower girls. They were supposed to walk down the aisle and then the aunt of one of the girls was going to get them when they reached the front and get them into a seat. Well, she decided the best bet was to lure them to her and the oldest little girl exclaimed "COOKIES!!!" and took off running for her aunt. Let's just say the upstaged the bride. LOL

  14. Excellent post! And so true. The only consolation with the book tour prep is that unlike prepping for my wedding, I don't have to torture-diet so I can fit in THE DRESS.

  15. Congrats on your upcoming wedding. It's important to remember to enjoy the day and not obsess over everything because there is ALWAYS going to be something that goes wrong, you just want to try to minimize the number of things. One of my future brothers-in-law couldn't believe it when I handed him a typed list of what he was supposed to do...but I had one for everyone in the party, lol. Most of the things went smoothly except that they couldn't get the exit music to play and my groom's mom was late (the avoidance of which is why we tried to get her to stay at the hotel overnight)...oh well.

  16. Thank you for your comments, everyone! I really enjoyed reading everyone's wedding moments.

    Our winners are
    Heidi Pearson

    I'll email you both shortly.

    Have a great weekend,

  17. Thanks so much for the prize and again, congrats on your upcoming wedding!

  18. thank you and have a great wedding hope you have a long and happy life together :)