Posted by: Trudie Trewin | April 22, 2010

A puggle party!

Catriona Hoy is visiting my blog today for a wrap party! It’s the end of her blog tour to celebrate the release of her gorgeous new picture book, Puggle.

Puggle is based on fact and follows the journey of an orphaned baby echidna, cared for by wildlife carers until it is ready to be released back into the wild. Cat’s story, coupled with Andrew Plant’s wonderful illustrations, gives an endearing ‘puggle’s-eye’ view into the work involved in caring for injured and orphaned wildlife.

Since this is Cat’s first blog tour (and my first time hosting a tour), I thought I’d pick her brains to find out a bit more about touring in cybercpace….

Congratulations on finishing your first blog tour, Cat! Before we get the wrap party underway, can you tell me what made you decide to do a blog tour?

Thanks for having me over for the last day of Puggle’s Blog Tour. It’s been an eye opening experience, that’s for sure.

At the end of last year, I was lucky enough to attend Hodder’s christmas party in London. Just for a moment I felt glamourous and then intimidated and crept around the edges for a bit until I met my editor and illustrator. There was a general speech and one fo the comments that stuck in my head was that authors needed to get more involved in  their own publicity. We all have to have web pages, we should be blogging, tweeting. Eek, I thought I was doing okay with just having a website. I’d also previously attended a workshop run by Candy Gourlay at the SCBWI conference in Bologna in 2008. Candy was a fantastic speaker and is definitely a master (mistress?) of the web world. She showed us examples  of different author’s websites and those of publishers; some good, some bad. She said that these days people didn’t want to see static websites, they wanted to interact with the author.

I felt I was falling behind, so one of my resolutions this year was to upgrade my blog and actually put something on there and then join twitter. I still feel I’m a complete novice but I have a lot of writing friends who are very generous with their time and advice. Blogging was something I’d avoided, I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to read what I’d have to say.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I’d heard about blog touring but wasn’t sure how it all worked. I decided to just jump in at the deep end and start one up for Puggle. I joined a group called aussieblogtours run by Sally Murphy, which had lots of useful advice. It’s been a steep learning curve but thoroughly worth it.

Did it involve a lot of work?

My family would say a resounding YES! The advantage of a blog tour is that you have the questions several days beforehand and can think about your answers. The downside was that with 11 dates on my tour, there were 11 sets of in depth and challenging questions. This took quite a bit of time but most of it was done in the week before.

I must say I was really surprised at the variety of questions. Everyone took a different angle and we could negotiate questions beforehand. I tried to make sure I didn’t repeat myself too much but inevitably I’m sure I did. Once the tour was underway, I was still answering questions but getting up early to advertise on facebook, twitter and various internet groups I belong too. Along the way, my daughter learnt to make her own sandwiches before school which is, I guess an advantage!

I set up a database in aussieblogtours, where people could enter the date that they wanted, plus what tack they would take. I had some other people who wanted to be involved, so I added them on that database as well.

What was the hardest part of planning the tour?

The hardest part was getting the database set up…no it wasn’t LOL. I think it was a yahoo problem but the amazing Sally Murphy jumped in and set it up for me. In all seriousness, the tour went very well with little planning from me. I have learnt some things and I’d do some things differently next time.

One thing I’d do would be to leave a comment at each blog so that I would be notified of other follow up comments, rather than going back and searching. It was only when Kathryn Apel assured that me that there were quite a few number of hits on her website that day and comments that I realised I should check. See, I’m such a novice, probably everyone else knew that already.

In planning a tour, the hardest part would be question selection but everyone else was much better at this than me.

Next time, I think I’d also in my ‘ads’ find a little snippet to make people keep reading. I got better at this as we went along, helped out by those fantastic blogger hosts.

The other difficult thing is how to make sure everyone can read the book, especially if they are not in libraries. I’m a little reluctant to ask for huge amounts of review copies. Initially the print run was all taken up by retailers and I coudn’t get hold of any copies for myself for a trip I was taking up to country Victoria. I’m hoping this is an indication that sales will go well but as we know, it’s all under sales or return during that first year.

What (apart from all the free champagne at this wrap party) did you find most enjoyable about doing the tour?

Once I got into the swing of things I actually loved answering the questions. They were all interesting and some quite challenging. Along the way I learnt more about the way in which I write. I’ve never sat down and analysed it in such detail before. It was also fascinating to see that other people were reading what I’d written and some people left lovely comments. I was really blown away by the effort people put in to asking their questions

It’s made me make a mental note to write comments on people’s blogs and blog tours when I read them. One reader commented they wished there was a ‘like’ button as in facebook and I think that would be a great idea.

Did the tour live up to your expectations… would you do it all again?

I’d definitely do it again. It exceeded my expectations as I must admit I went into it a bit doubtful about how it would all go. I didn’t realise the blogging world was so huge. There are a lot of people out there who are genuinely interested in and passionate about children’s books. It’s a whole new way to reach the right audience for your book. It’s also there as a permanent record, so people who want to find out about Puggle can do so at any time. I’ll be posting links on my website.

I’ve got a long list of things to do. One of them is to work out how to get stats on my website. I’m on Blogger and I don’t know how to do this but it seems to be quite simple over at wordpress. I’ve also got a long overdue revamp of my website for now.

Thanks for all that insight into blog tours, Cat. I hope it helps others like myself, who are new to this form of promotion. It’s certainly tweaked my interest – perhaps a Wibbly Wobbly tour might be in order!

Thanks for having me over for a chat Trudie and yes, by all means jump in and do your own blog tour. Now, where’s that champagne…I really need to put my foot up for a few days.

As you can see, Cat is only putting one foot up – obviously she’s the sort of person who finds it hard to relax completely! Probably hard at work on the next project already – good news for her fans!

So… time for the wrap party! Grab a glass of champagne, sit back, and if you’ve missed any of Cat’s tour, you can catch up here:

April 12 http://scribblygum.wordpress.com/
April 13 http://deescribewriting.wordpress.com/
April 14 http://sallymurphy.blogspot.com/
April 15 http://www.letshavewords.blogspot.com/
April 16 http://orangedale.livejournal.com/
April 17 http://sherylgwyther.wordpress.com/
April 18 http://sandyfussell.blogspot.com/
April 19 http://katswhiskers.wordpress.com/
April 20 http://belka37.blogspot.com/
April 21 http://angelasunde.blogspot.com/

Happy Puggling!

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Responses

  1. Hi Trudie, thanks for having me over. I am relieved it’s all over though. I think I’ve gotten behind in my marking and my masseause says my back is a mess! Who invented laptops???

    Over and definitely out for now!

    Cat

    • Lovely to have you here, Cat, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Now sit back and let that masseause loose! (I have no idea how to spell that word – I just copied yours, so I hope you’re right!)

  2. Oh – cyber champagne. My favourite (no hangover).
    Here’s to you, Cat, for succesfully running your blog tour, and to you, Trudie, for hosting the wind-up bash.

    • Thanks Sally! Yep I’ll take a cyber hangover rather than the other sort any day!

  3. Excellent questions, Trudie. I enjoyed hearing about the reasons why you’ve got into blog touring, Cat.
    ‘Puggle’ has probably reached into computers way beyond where you had imagined the book would.
    Congratulations!

    • lol – it sounds like you picked up on my insecurities about not being able to ask thought provoking, interesting questions, Sheryl!! Thanks for the confidence booster! Cheersx

  4. I really enjoyed hearing about your blog tour journey, Cat.

    Blog tours are so much fun aren’t they?

    • Thanks for stopping by Dee!


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