Book Blog Tours

The only way an author is ever going to sell any great number of books is if people know about those books in the first place and that raises the twin terrors of sales and marketing. Most authors have very little knowledge and even less experience of either, and a lot of time and money can be wasted as they try and come up to speed.

The best form of advertising of course, has always been word of mouth, that personal referral, the “Oh you should read this! It’s great!” from someone you trust. In the book world, a key source of those credible, honest and uninfluenced reviews is the Book Blogger, but there’s often a lot more involved than just dropping them a line. These people are busy, often booked weeks, months, and in some cases well over a year in advance, so trying to organise something that’s going to really work for you can take a great deal of time and effort, time and effort you’d rather be putting into your writing. That’s where people like Rachel Gilbey come in, the Blog Tour Organiser.

Rachel has all the contacts that you don’t, and the organisational flair to put together a terrific book tour to support your book. Plus, she’s an absolute delight to work with, on every level that matters, personal as well as professional.

I can recommend Rachel’s blog tour service without any ifs or buts. She’s just fantastic.

The following is directly from her own website

Rachel – In her own words

My name is Rachel, and I have been book blogging for four years, over at Rachel’s Random Reads. I have set up Rachel’s Random Resources in order to help authors promote all of their wonderful books, through a variety of different methods. 

My aim is to connect authors with bloggers, and to help out with those tasks that you may not have the time or skills to do for yourself. Such as creating graphics for social media, to spreading the word about your new releases through blog tours or promotional blitzes, cover reveals and generally doing all the leg work so you don’t have to. 

For 2 years, I was working freelance to organise blog tours on a variety of scales and genres, for Authoright/Clink Street Publishing.
Let me share my love of books and the blogging community with you, as I help get your books more visible on social media and into the eyes of prospective readers. 


Book Cover Design

When someone’s looking to buy a book, their eyes are flicking lightning fast from one to the next, seeking out the tiny cues that say “This one?” There’s a lot more to cover design than a snappy title and a pretty picture, and to get it right you need to know what you’re doing. An author can spend anything between $5 to $5,000, and there are loads of people out there, all wanting your business, but how do you choose the one for you?

After a lot of research, I chose Peter and Caroline at Bespoke Covers. The quality and price looked good, and the audio file author references on their website placed them at the top of my list. Listening to Paul Teague’s interview with Peter about his work clinched it.

My own testimonial is that it’s a very easy collaboration. Peter really listens to your thoughts and feedback, but he also stands his ground when the author is pushing for something that isn’t going to be effective. It’s a hard thing to balance, given the amount of ego and investment an author has in their work, but the customer isn’t always right, and sometimes they need a gentle nudge in the right direction. What the author likes, and what the public respond to, are not necessarily the same thing, and Peter is very good at striking a balance.

Peter is highly unusual in that he doesn’t place a limit to the number of iterations. Almost everyone else restricts you to one or two. In fact, Peter doesn’t generally need more than two, but it really takes the pressure off when you know that you can go back if you have to. That makes the collaboration much easier than it otherwise would be, and allows the creativity to flow.

I’m more than happy to recommend Peter and Caroline’s service.

Click on the image below to go to the Bespoke Covers website.

Click on the image below to go to the Bespoke Covers blog. It’s an excellent author resource, going way beyond just cover design.

Click on the image below to go to Peter’s interview with Paul Teague about his work.

Building a website with WordPress and Elementor

Do you want to make your own website, but you have no idea where to even begin? Well, I have no hesitation in pointing you towards Tyler More’s most excellent WordPress videos. (Click on the image below to go to his YouTube video.)

WordPress is only one option for designing and developing websites. It just happens to be one of the easier ones, at least that’s what they tell you… It’s still a big, scary beast if you’re starting off knowing literally nothing at all, and that’s where Tyler’s excellent videos come in.

He starts right at the very beginning of the journey, on how to acquire a domain name and set up a hosting agreement with someone. After a short presentation about why he’s focusing on WordPress, to give the student some context, he moves onto the installation, accessing prebuilt templates and tools to cut down the amount of work needed (Themes and Plugins), before getting into the nitty gritty of editing the site to look the way you want. He teaches you how to use a very straight forward editor called Elementor, as well as using the core WordPress components.

How easy does he make it? Well, this website was built using Tyler’s videos as a guide, with only the occasional need to go hunting for more information where things had changed since Tyler recorded the video. And that brings me onto one of only two caveats about using his videos:

Caveat 1 – WordPress tools evolve so fast that the videos won’t 100% match what you see yourself.

This isn’t Tyler’s fault. In the two weeks it took me to create my first version of this site, WordPress was updated once, Elementor I think three times, my chosen theme four times, and there were quite a few plugin updates as well. With that rate of change, nobody can make a video that’s going to 100% match what you see on your own screen. You need to be prepared to have a bit of a play yourself when something doesn’t match, and maybe do a bit of additional research.

The only time this was a problem was when WordPress itself had a bug. My screen looked just like Tyler’s video, but it wasn’t doing for me what it was doing for him. I thought it was just a WordPress change but it turned out to be a bug. That wasn’t easy to fix because you don’t know what you don’t know when you’re a newbie, but everything else was fine.

Caveat 2 – Use Tyler’s Lesson list!

Expand Tyler’s description on the YouTube page and you’ll see a table of contents, where each lesson is labelled and the start time written next to it.

This video holds a huge amount of information and I guarantee you that you’re going to have to rewind a few times before you’ve learnt it all, especially if you’re following along. YouTube’s rewind isn’t exactly great at hitting exactly the bit you want, but just click on the time you want in Tyler’s lesson list and it will take you to the right spot.

It’s also a good way for people who already know about domains, hosting and installing WordPress, to be able to skip over all that and arrive at the bits they want.

Tyler has an excellent speaking voice, calm but engaging, and nice and clear. However, he starts off relatively brisk and then accelerates. By the time he gets to the end he’s absolutely flying along, and you do need to pay attention if you’re going keep up. The lesson list comes in real handy at that point!


Those two things apart, Tyler’s videos are superb.