Hopping Down the Blogging Trail
by HL Carpenter
by HL Carpenter
So you’re ready to market your book. What if you could get a bunch of other bloggers to help?
A blog hop is one way to do that.
What’s a blog hop? Think of it as a co-operative marketing effort. You write a post and offer prizes, such as signed copies of your book, and the link to your blog and prize shows up on the blogs of others who are also participating in the hop.
Here’s how a blog hop works. The hop host is the blogger who comes up with a theme and starts the hop off. For example, a recent hop was called “Is it Summer Yet?”. The hop ran during Memorial Day weekend, a US holiday that commemorates the sacrifice of military service members and marks the start of summer vacation season. The hop’s unifying question: What’s on your summer reading list?
After choosing a theme, the hop host writes a blog post explaining the rules and inviting bloggers to sign up for the hop. The host adds an image that ties the posts together, and creates a “Linky List” using a service such as LinkyTools.com to keep track of the participants. To join the hop, you visit the hop host’s blog and add your name to the list before the official start date of the hop. Then you download the Linky code and the image so you can include them in your post.
At this point, you’ll decide what you’re giving away. If you want your giveaway to be international, electronic files—an e-copy of your novel, for instance—make for easy delivery. Or you could offer a gift card or gift certificate to an online site, perhaps a site where your book is for sale.
You can give visitors a chance to win in several ways, including having them comment on your post and choosing a winner at random. Rafflecopter makes it easy to create a free widget that lists the gift, the dates of the giveaway, and how an entrant can earn a chance at the prize, such as tweeting the post or putting it on Facebook. You just add the Rafflecopter widget to the bottom of your post. (Bonus: At the end of the hop, you can use Rafflecopter to select a winner.)
Next, you put the blog hop image and the Linky List code in your post. When the hop start date arrives and your post goes live, the Linky List code shows up as a clickable list of everyone who is part of the hop. Because everyone uses the same Linky List code, the same list of participants appears across multiple blogs. Visitors to each individual blog can “hop” to any other blog using the links.
You—and all the other participants—benefit from having your link listed on multiple blogs. You can spread the cooperative effort even further by visiting, commenting on, and sharing the posts of the other participating bloggers.
Sounds good, you say. Where do you find hops to join? Start by searching Pinterest, Google+, and FaceBook for new, ongoing and open hops. Opportunities abound, if you’ll excuse the pun.
Here are tips on how to screen the opportunities you find.
Match the hop to your book. Think about your readers and make sure you’re comfortable letting them click through to other blogs on the list. Some hops have very general rules, meaning your children’s picture book giveaway could show up next to the link of an author of erotica.
Check the quality of the hop host’s site. Click around the host’s blog. Are there enough followers to warrant joining the hop? Is the host publicizing the hop adequately? Does the host have the right to use the blog hop image? Are the hop instructions clear? Is the host available to answer questions?
Consider the size of the hop. Having lots of other bloggers signed up for the hop can seem like a good thing. But your link may get lost in the crowd if the list is too long. We’ve participated in hops with over 100 blogs, and others with less than 30. For us, the sweet spot is between 30 and 50 other participants—long enough to offer a good selection of prizes to entice readers, and short enough to garner clicks no matter where you end up on the list.
Do you know other sites where hop-hopefuls can start the leap to cooperative marketing? Please share in the comments.
HL Carpenter is a mother/daughter writing team. The Carpenters write from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, they enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Learn more about HL Carpenter on their website.
Their latest novella is Taxing Pecksniffery, the story of Ichann Count. Ike is an expert at accounting warfare who spends her days crunching numbers at the Etherworld Tax Bureau and crushing on her really cute co-worker.
When the Water Tax Rebellion of 2176 geysers to the surface, Ike finds herself—and her really cute co-worker— drowning in trouble.
Can Ike save them both? Or will events continue to burble downhill?
The biggest surprise about the Shewawa Water Tax Rebellion of 2176 was that no one on Xerios saw it coming.
Oh, the Celestial Council knew cosmic numbers of Shewawans were swelling the ranks of the opposition. Who could miss that? Long before the proposed Water Tax had taken effect, news reports overflowed with stories of protestors and frivolous arguments—well, arguments the Council called frivolous. The protestors, as ever through recorded history, were deadly serious—so serious that when civilized avenues of protest failed, they turned to more forceful ways of expressing displeasure.
Tax accountants who’d been posted to Shewawa on standard duty tour understood the brewing danger. We encountered it every day, first hand. We sent urgent red-alert notices back to Xerios via the tax hotline, advising the Council’s Senior Tax Commissioner of the agitation boiling up all over the colony. The STC and the rest of the Council dismissed our warnings, refusing to believe a ragtag group of upstarts would challenge their authority to impose the Water Tax. So events continued to burble downhill, the way they do when no one has the courage to face the truth or the vision to chart a new course.
I never expected to get caught up in the rebellion. I was a Certified Etherworld Accountant, an expert at numbers warfare, not a Shewawantologist. Maybe I should have been less casual about the impact of the Water Tax, since I was part of what the protestors had begun to call the “oppressors.” But in some ways, I was as blind as the Council. As surely as my name is Ichann Count, I knew what was going to happen, even if I didn’t want to acknowledge my intuition or admit I thought the protestors had a point.
I considered myself an ordinary person, doing my ordinary job. Like a gazillion others across the Tri-Galaxies, I got up every morning, ate breakfast, brushed my teeth, and went to work. I spent my days crunching numbers at the Etherworld Tax Bureau with a hundred other CEAs and crushing on my cute cubicle-sharer, Fifo Ventry.
The Monday the Water Tax went into effect, I was doing both. I sat behind my light-beam privacy curtain, trying to ignore the office turmoil surrounding me. My co-workers abandoned their desks and gathered in uneasy clusters by the main conference room, sipping hot fragrant Starshine coffee and muttering to each other. We were all waiting for our boss to brief us on his morning’s skull sessions with the political factions on Xerios who wanted us to enforce the legislation and the Shewawan revolutionaries urging its repeal.
None of us expected the news to be good. We’d hoped to be back home in Xerios by now, but redeployment was doubtful. The Water Tax meant a ton more work and the Tax Bureau was already short-staffed.
Click here to buy Taxing Pecksniffery from Amazon