Good morning and welcome to another edition of the Round Table Chat. Today, I’m deviating from the normal writer chat to introduce you to a woman from Kolkata, India who created the b00k r3vi3w Tours to help authors with exposure. Please help me to welcome Debdatta Sahay.
Hello Debdatta, it’s so nice to finally meet you. Can I offer you an espresso, a latte, coffee, tea.
Debdatta – It’s a pleasure to be here after following your chats diligently for quite some time. A latte would be great, thanks!
Annamaria – Why, thank you, I didn’t realize you followed the Round Table. For this morning I’ve baked some blueberry scones and Tiramisu. Can I offer you a slice of Tiramisu and a scone?
Debdatta–Ah! Now you are simply spoiling me J I will take you up on the offer for the scones though.
Annamaria – Tell me, in your opinion, do you think the Round Table Chats help to get the word out about authors?
Debdatta–From what I have seen so far, creative ways to portray a book/character/author work much better than traditional interviews and guest posts. Round Table Chat is such a unique concept that it obviously attracts more attention with its more personal touch and in-depth information. I have loved the concept ever since I read your chats with Rachelle Ayalla and Andrea Buginsky. It is an awesome feature to include in tours too J
Annamaria – Speaking of tours, what made you start b00k r3vi3w Tours?
Debdatta– I have been blogging for quite sometime now… First it was just a personal blog that I updated sporadically. It was when I discovered the book blogging world that I started afresh with b00k r3vi3ws [www.b00kr3vi3ws.in]. That was in February 2012. From the beginning itself I have been watching the other Tour Blogs closely and have wanted to do something of the sorts. But being newly married with a full time demanding job, reading and blogging @ b00k r3vi3ws, I just didn’t have it in me to take on the responsibility. It was only when I quit my job that I had enough time on my hand to take this seriously and start up b00k r3vi3w Tours. I am still learning the ropes here, but I hope to help Indie Authors as much as I can. You tell me Annamaria, you have been part of b00k r3vi3w Tours from almost the beginning… any suggestions for me there?
Annamaria – One of the things you should consider adding to your tours is a calendar. When you have all the dates filled in for a particular blog tour and you know the address of the websites you need to make sure all hosts send you the link to their post so before the tour starts every host will have the calendar with links, making the tour more accessible to the readers who want to follow the entire event.
When I post for you, all I know is what I’m posting for this author. Therefore, my readers can only see the one tour stop. They cannot follow the tour. Also, before the tour starts all participants should have an announcement about the upcoming tour with the complete tour schedule.
Sorry for going off only little tirade, but I also want to see your business thrive. My ideas aren’t always the best, but are given whole-heartedly to help you.
How did you start recruiting authors?
Debdatta–The calendar is a brilliant idea! I could only think of including the Linky Tool to make each live post available on all the stops. I just need to figure out how to work it though J Thanks… I started promoting my blog at the social networking sites in order to recruit bloggers. At the same time I also offered free tour for the first three authors to sign up. I knew that there was a chance of me slipping up and making a mistake in my first tour and so it didn’t feel right that I should charge for it. I also helped out with a friend’s book. That’s how it started and once I started touring, enquiries came in and I got a few recommendations too.
Annamaria – I always feel cheated when posting a tour stop because I never know where they’ve been and where the next stop will be. Moving along, what are some of the things you offer in a blog tour?
Debdatta–I have started with all the basic packages – Book Blast, Release Day Blitz, Cover Reveal and Book Tour. I also do Review Only Tours but that is for limited genres at the moment. I also have Scavenger Hunt on the table. Besides, I am always open to tailoring everything according to the author’s wishes.
Annamaria – Please excuse my ignorance but what’s a Scavenger Hunt? I mean, I know what it is but how does it apply to books and marketing?
Debdatta–I am currently in process of organizing one and it may take some time to come up for sign ups though! What we are doing is that we will be putting up different posts written by the author (guest posts/trivia about the book/Character sketches/Fun facts) and they will be up on specific dates. There will be various questions in the rafflecopter whose answers will be hidden within these posts. People will have to go from post to post to find each answer… Think that will be fun?
Annamaria – I think it will be fun especially for those who enjoy a good scavenger hunt. Sounds like something I will enjoy. Will the readers be told what all the sites are in advance or will each site direct them to the new blog to visit for clues?
Debdatta–It will depend on what the authors would like to have. Personally, I think going from one site to other might be more fun… the anticipation of it especially if each post is put up on individual dates.
Annamaria – To make it fun it has to have an element of mystery and anticipation, but that’s how I would enjoy it.
I know you’ve been doing this for a short time, but what, in your opinion, gives the author the most exposure?
Debdatta–I think it has to be the reviews… More reviews on Blogs, Goodreads and amazon are bound to help the authors. People are so divided on positive and negative reviews… But I think any and all reviews help as long as they don’t get too personal. I for one read all sorts of reviews before making a purchase decision… Afterall, ‘One man’s meat is another man’s poison’.
What’s your take on it?
Annamaria – Yes, you are very right, reviews are the most helpful of all things since it is reviews that sell a book. Do you personally read books to write reviews? Or do you read for your enjoyment only? And, what genre do you enjoy reading?
Debdatta – My parents are the biggest read addicts and book hoarders I know. I grew up listening to mystery stories and historical fictions instead of usual fairy tales and with a personal library at home. So it is safe to say that I never really had a chance to not like books 😉 I have been reading as long as I have known how to read but really got hooked to reading with Satyajit Ray (He is an Indian Regional writer who tells awesome stories in my mother tongue Bengali) and Agatha Christie stories. It is such an addiction for me that if I don’t read at least one book a day I feel the day was a waste 😛 I read almost all genres except non-fiction and erotica… But since Agatha Christie and Satyajit Ray got me hooked – Mysteries are my first love! I will pick up a gripping mystery over almost anything and ‘The Emperor’s Ring’ by Satyajit Ray and ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’ by Agatha Christie are to be blamed for it! What was the first book that you remember reading that shaped your reading preferences?
Annamaria – I was in Italy at the time and I still have that first book that got me to love reading. It was Le Disavventure di un Angelo in Castigo by Maria Teresa Ratti. It loosely translates to The Misadventures of a Punished Angel. That is the book that got me started and I’ve never stopped. My preferences shift from time to time. I grew up reading the classics, moved to fantasy, then sci-fi, now I’m really into young adult, and that’s what I primarily write, and I’m an Indie Author.
When you schedule tours for authors, does it matter if they are Indie or traditionally published? Do you put together tours for authors who use small presses?
Debdatta – Not really… I will work for anyone who’d trust me with their books. Recently, a medium sized Indian publishing house approached me to promote their books and I have agreed. But the bottom line for me is that books are just books and they all need to be talked about whether traditionally published or self published. Would you believe if I told you I didn’t know about self-publishing industry until I joined the blogosphere? I never really paid attention to the publisher names before. Since joining the blogosphere, I have discovered the Indie Authors and while I think we all should do a little more to promote Indie Authors because there are some really good works being done here that do not get as much recognition, I am always happy to talk about any sort of books.
I have to tell you I am intrigued by ‘A Simple Matter of Justice’… ‘Spirit Hawks’??
Annamaria – I’m very surprised you’ve read my short story. I had a lot of fun writing it. Most of my writing reflects my frustrations with justice; hence I write to create a justice system that placates my hunger for true justice.
You are right a book is a book, but most of all a good book should always be recognized no matter how it’s been published.
So you have publishing houses approaching you to help market books. Do you get a lot of Indie Authors asking for your help?
Debdatta – Yes, it is mostly Indie Authors… I guess, going traditional way, especially with big publishing house has its advantages for authors. But then again I know authors who are Indie by choice and I respect them more.
Annamaria – If it’s okay to ask, who are some of the Indie Authors that have used your services?
Debdatta – My last tour was with Norm Hamilton for a Dystopian Novel. I am currently working on my second tour with Author Rachelle Ayala (who incidentally also happens to be one of my favourite authors). I have also, worked with S.M. Boyce, Elizabeth McKenna, Simi K. Rao, Andrea Buginsky, Michelle Congdon, Sarka Jonae Miller, Norm Hamilton and Zoe Cannon.
Annamaria – Great! So you are setting up the tour for Taming Romeo? How wonderful! Well, let me tell you right now that I’m doing a Round Table Chat with Rachelle, which will probably be great for her tour stop at my blog. I’d never want to miss this tour.
What do you think about a Round Table Chat as part of her tour?
Debdatta – It would be awesome… Are you serious? Hold on lemme reach out to Ms. Ayala right away and see whether she can manage to find some time in her schedule for it [Off typing away on gmail…] Now we wait for her response. By the way, did you check out the ‘Spread Some Indie Love Blog Hop’ http://www.b00kr3vi3ws.in/2014/02/SpreadSomeIndieLoveHop.html on my blog?
Annamaria – I had taken a look at it, but have not had the time to join in the fun. I’m hoping that soon I can join in. Although, if I’m too busy, do you think Kendíka can join in the fun? She’s the main character in White Swans and has her own blog, http://annamariasbooks.com.
Debdatta – Of course! Any time… I did not know that Kendíka has her own blog! Will surely check it out right away.
Annamaria – On a more personal note, are you married?
Debdatta – Yep. Been married for two years now to a man I have known for over ten years. J I am living my happily-ever-after right now J
Annamaria – Who ever said fairytales don’t come alive?
In your opinion, are there benefits for authors to host other authors’ blog tours?
Debdatta – Of course… I think it can be beneficial at both ends. When an author is hosting another author on their blog, they are taking a step to introduce another author to their fan base. For bookworms, this is a recommendation that they cannot simply overlook. Also, for the duration of the tour the touring author’s fans follow the tour they discover another author while dropping by the host’s blog. I know for one, I never let go of a chance to discover new books.
Annamaria – That’s good to hear. I’ve always tried to host authors’ blog tours hoping to increase their visibility, but never thought it would help me along the way.
As encouragement to authors, can you tell us who are the next authors’ tours you have scheduled so we can get to know who they are and possibly follow the tours?
Debdatta – I have In Pursuit of a Lesser Offence by Sujata Parashar, which is a chic-lit. I’m touring right now. Then we will have Rachelle Ayala’s latest steamy romance Taming Romeo Tour in the second half of March. First half of April goes to The Crossover Year by Bhargavi Balachandran – another chic lit. And second half of April is booked for Braxton A. Cosby’s YA/Sci-fi Novel ProtoStar.
Annamaria – How far in advance should an author contact you if they want you to schedule their blog tour?
Debdatta – For Review Tours I would prefer having the authors get in touch 4-8 weeks advance. Getting reviewers on board is harder and also we have to give ample time to them to read and review. For Scavenger Hunts it takes about the same amount of time because in this case the author needs time to come up with multiple posts. For Cover Reveal and Book Blasts I prefer 2-3 weeks time but can get it done within 10-14 days.
Annamaria – I know some of the authors that have gone through Book R3vi3ws and have been very satisfied with the services you provide. I know, for myself, I’ll be knocking at your door when I’m ready to release my first full-length novel.
Don’t forget, if you need help organizing a book tour, a blast, a cover reveal, give Book R3vi3ws a try.
I’m so glad we had the opportunity to chat, Debdatta, and I do hope you’ll come back to chat with me soon.
Debdatta – Thank You for having me Annamaria. Believe me the pleasure was all mine. Looking forward to ‘working’ with you soon. All the best for all your endeavors.
At 30 something years young, I am a daughter, a wife, a sister, a friend and a shameless book hoarder from the City of Joy (Kolkata) in India. Until recently I was also a Human Resource Professional. I quit my job so that I can read more and also have more time to experiment in the kitchen. Unlike my Blogging personality, I am quite an introvert who would rather spend her time in fictional world (which has coffee!) rather than go out or interact with people. And yes, I do feel that Book stores should have shopping carts and I plan to start a movement to make that happen once I finish reading ‘just one more chapter’.