Hi everyone and welcome! Today I'm lucky to have Lisa from Tasty Book Tours. As you may have seen, I've been signing up with Tasty Tours a lot lately and it's not only because I enjoy the authors that sign up with the company but because Lisa is so on top of everything and it makes my job as a host a lot easier.
If you haven't read my opinion post on Blog Tour Companies, you can check it out here. I was anxious to have someone who ran a blog tour company on the blog to get their side of things and couldn't be happier that Lisa is the first person to stop by!
Lisa Filipe is a Reader, Blogger, Reviewer and Aspiring Writer. She is the creator of the romance review blog, A Tasty Read Reviews(Adult Romance). Creating Tasty Book Tours is just another creative outlet for her to help upcoming and seasoned authors promote fabulous romances to fans, old and new.
If you would like to contact her, please email Tastybooktours at live.com
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Adria: Hi Lisa! Welcome to the blog! I know you’re super busy and I’m so excited that you took some time out to chat with me about books, blogs and virtual book tours.
Adria: First things first, in case people don’t know, what exactly is a virtual book tour and what does a blog tour company do?
Lisa: A Virtual Book Tour is a “Book Tour” where the author and release is hosted at blogs that cater to the Romance Reader (Genre Appropriate), including Promotional Stops, Author Interviews, Character Interviews, Guest Posts, Excerpt stops and Review Stops.
A Professional Tour Company takes all the stress off of the author when it comes to promoting their new release or a previous release, either indie or traditional publishing.
Once I confirm dates with an author for the tour to take place (normally starting the week of release), the author will fill out the Booking Form, and after that, unless the author agrees to participate in Interviews and Guest Post Stops, they can sit back and let me worry about the booking, the distributing of info and the communicating back and forth with the hosts. Leave time for the author to start on their next release, take a breath and save time trying to gather up bloggers to promote their release.
Adria: Can you tell me a little bit about you? How/When did you start blogging and what made you decide to open Tasty Book Tours?
Lisa: I was a HUGE reader while in Elementary and High School, reading every YA I could get my hands on, then when I entered college as an English Major, I just didn’t have the time to read in addition to the required reading for my classes.
Funny enough, it wasn’t until I met my future mother –in-law that I fell in LOVE with Romance again, and literally went to the library and read EVERY SINGLE Romance I could get my hands on. I was introduced to Rachel Gibson, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Susan Mallery…and probably every other author you can think of! This began the start of A Tasty Read Book Reviews! I started blogging and yes, I can admit, it became an obsession (meaning the husband threatened to burn the kindle a few times).
As an aspiring romance writer myself, I began to meet other authors/aspiring authors and bloggers, and after giving birth to my first daughter in late 2012, I wasn’t working for the first time since I was fifteen, and had an author friend who started a new career move, and had TWO New Releases coming but no time to promote the books, so began Tasty Book Tours.
Since I launched in Feb 2013, I have booked over 500+ Tours/Blast, and work with publishers such as Harper Collins (Avon), Random House (Loveswept) and Kensington.
Adria: I’m not ashamed to say it but I’ve seen a lot of tour companies come and go within months, for many reasons but Tasty Book Tours has been around since 2013, how have you managed to stay on top of things for so long?
Lisa: Who the heck knows…haha…it always makes me laugh when people tell me that they enjoy working with me, and authors recommend me to writer friends and on loops…I just feel like a chicken with my head cut off half the time.
But I will say that, before giving birth to my second daughter about six months ago, I was more organized then I am now, but I do try to stay on top of everything, answer my emails in a timely manner, as we deal with such time sensitive material, and I respect my hosts…they are the most important part of what keeps me successful…without them where would I be?
Adria: There’s been a bit of a back and forth between people who say that tour companies are useless and those like myself who believe that if run correctly, they can benefit all parties involved. Why do you think tour companies are necessary?
Lisa: Tour Companies are necessary…well…there are just SO MANY now a days, I feel as if everyone is starting a Tour Company and there is so much competition to book tour stops, I think it has become a bit overwhelming for many bloggers.
In my opinion, I think Tour Companies (or Virtual Assistants) are an indulgence that I would recommend to New Authors who need help getting their name in front of readers, or seasoned authors who just need that little push when they are so strapped with time, and need someone to do the “dirty” work for them.
If an author has a Street Team, or a Blogger who will host a Tour and Promote for them, as many indie authors do, then by all means, stick with what works, but it really comes down to getting your work in front of the readers, and I can’t tell you how many times I will be checking my morning posts and I come across another post at a blog I am checking with and I end up buying the book…It can be a hit or miss…you want to find a company which fits with your style, genre, etc, in order to have a successful run!
Adria: How much work do you put into Tasty Book Tours a week?
Lisa: I work every day…might be three to four hours in the morning between feeding the girls and naptime, where I check all the morning posts to make sure the hosts have posted the scheduled stops (and chasing them around if not…wet noodle spankings have been threatened), and then promoting each stop on Facebook /Twitter.
Answering emails from authors, hosts or publicists, scheduling New Tours, Newsletters, Setting Up Sign Ups (Thank God for Gaele with Bippity Boppity Book who sets the drafts for me and does other stuff to save me from pulling my hair out, and If I didn’t have Savannah from Good Books Good Coffee, who sets my links and is a fabulous assistant, and can’t forget Laura who does the banners….and to think..I used to do it ALL myself)
Adria: I know Gaele, she's pretty awesome but I didn't know she was helping you out. *waves* Hi Gaele!
Then I work in the evening when the kids are asleep from about 9pm to 1-2am…getting Tour Materials out to hosts, Updating Sign-ups, Reminders, Giveaway Winners, Emailing Galley Info, Invoicing…it never stops!
Adria: So far what has been the most challenging part of running a blog tour company and what has been the most rewarding?
Lisa: TIME…after having baby girl number two, it’s finding the time to keep up with the influx of work, etc, but I make it happen…I can sleep when I am dead.
Most Rewarding is the emails from the authors who had a great tour and got a few great reviews which just made their day…and getting to know so many awesome people, the authors, the bloggers/hosts and the publicists…I am blessed to have made it this long!
Adria: What do you look for in a blog tour host?
Lisa: Honestly with me EVERYONE gets Two Chances…I don’t care if you have one follower or six thousand (cause everyone has to start somewhere), but I also can’t work with hosts who sign up to host and then flake out, especially if you don’t email to let me know if there will be an issue. I will let it slide once, but the second time, I will remove you from the list of hosts. I certainly am not forcing anyone to host tours for Tasty and I never want anyone to feel as if they are drowning in tours and lose the enjoyment they once felt about reading.
I do appreciate those who take the time to set the post to look professional and pretty, not so much just copy and pasting the Media Kit so it comes out sloppy. I am not a huge fan of the HTML Doc, I do understand that it is helpful in alleviating time when it comes to setting up the posts, but in all my madness, if I can still take the time to host a stop at my personal blog and make it look pretty, I think other hosts should as well. I love the differences between the blogs and the individuality of the set ups, when you can see the bloggers personality shine through the page!
Adria: I hope you’re up for some fun questions now that the business side of the interview has been taken care of!
I’m assuming that once in a blue moon you have time to read, what romance authors do you enjoy on your spare time?
Lisa: Kristan Higgins (Yes, I strive to be as talented as she is one day), Candis Terry (Avon), Lauren Layne (A New MUST READ for me) Jamie Begley, Christy Reece, Laura Griffin, Madeline Sheehan, Marie Force, Bella Andre, and I just can’t name them all…
Adria: Last movie you saw in theaters?
Lisa: I want to say Breaking Dawn Part One
Adria: Original TV series or Reality Shows?
Lisa: I think the only shows I watch are Dancing with the Stars, and Son’s of Anarchy…and then I watch Disney and Nick Jr….so A LOT of Mickey Mouse Club House and Dora
Adria: Red wine or white wine?
Lisa: I wish…I don’t remember the last drink I had…I went from being pregnant to breast feeding to fitting in my skinny jeans and then back to pregnant…I don’t remember if I even got to drink a cold beer in that time frame!
Adria: Song you can’t get out of your head?
Lisa: You don’t want to know…I think it might be the “Backpack” song from Dora or “Get the Wiggles Out”
But, the last CD I listened to in the car was STAINED
Adria: Last question: E-Book or bound book?
Lisa: E-book…Sofia steals my paperbacks and I find them buried in her toybox.
Adria: Not too bad right? You survived the interview Lisa! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Lisa: Just a HUGE thank you for having me…truly honored!!
And a small piece of advice to all the authors who are looking for a company or aren’t sure what to do…go with someone that you vibe with from the first email…and if they don’t have the time to return your emails…then move on!!