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Today I’m excited to have H.B. Bolton here to share about her new book, TRICKSTER’S TOTEM, which was released April 15, 2013. She’s here today to share her advice on how to best promote middle grade books online. And I have a fantastic giveaway for you.

Here’s a description of TRICKSTER’S TOTEM:

Life has returned to normal for fourteen-year-old Evan and his older sister, Claire. That is until Dunkle, a clever but stinky little imp, pays an unexpected visit to their school. He has come to take the siblings back to Sagaas, the mythical realm of the gods. Once again, a Relic from the ancient Mysticus Orb has fallen into the wrong hands. Only Evan and Claire, with their unique mystical abilities, can help find it.

Through the power of the Trickster’s Totem, a coyote trickster has escaped. His laughter echoes throughout the realm, as he spreads mischief and mayhem. He burns an entire crop of popcorn, carves his grinning image into sacred artifacts, and things really get interesting when he shape-shifts into Evan’s friends.

Claire and Evan must capture the Trickster, retrieve the Totem, and be careful not to become sidetracked by robotic Steampunk animals, “sweet” pixie-like Pains, and a problematic mermaid … all while dodging Mothman-like aces. Most surprising, Evan discovers the true reason dragons exist in the Native American Spirit World.

Book Links:

And here’s a description of THE SERPENT RING:

Evan and Claire Jones are typical teenagers, forced to go with their parents to yet another boring
museum ... that is, until something extraordinary happens to make their day a little more than interesting. After following a strange little creature into a closed exhibit, Evan and his older sister, Claire, discover the Serpent’s Ring, one of the magical relics formed from the shattered Mysticus Orb. Purely by accident, they have awakened its powers and opened a portal to Sagaas, land of ancient gods.

Before the siblings can comprehend what has happened, the Serpent’s Ring is wrenched from Evan’s hand by an enormous fish and flown back to Aegir, the Norse god of the sea. Evan and Claire, accompanied by a band of unlikely heroes, must retrieve the Serpent’s Ring before Aegir uses its immense powers to flood all the lands on Earth.

The Serpent’s Ring is FREE for Kindle May 28th-June 1st.

Book Links: 

Don’t they sound fantastic? So here’s H.B. to share her advice.

“What I find works reaching out to the blogging community to market my books and spread the word about them, especially for middle grade ones.”

Bloggers have taken over the Web, and I want to befriend them all! Seriously, I have a ton of respect for the people behind the scenes of a successful blog. In fact, most of my reading time is spent on different blog sites. I enjoy discovering what captivates readers, as well as what turns them sour. I like keeping current with the world of books, and knowing which ones to buy for not only myself, but for my children. I can tell a lot about a book’s sensibility by knowing the sensibility of the blogger.

By reaching out to the blogging community, I’m able to interact with a wider audience, introduce my stories to new readers, and share information with those interested in listening. This is my third time touring the blogosphere, but it would have been difficult to manage without the help of one amazing book blogger. Truthfully, I was fortunate to have met Candace at Candace’s Book Blog last fall. She organizes the dates for my tour stops, lets me know where to send book copies, offers ideas for my posts and, best of all, she has given me street cred in the blogging community (I say this as a joke, but I really do mean it). It can be difficult to catch the attention of a book blogger, but it can be done. Today I’m going to share the dos and don’ts when approaching a book blogger.

What works:
1. Peruse the home page. Pay attention to the overall style of the site: font, colors and designs, not to mention the list of books along the sidebar. These things are a reflection of the blogger’s personal style. By doing this, you’ll have a good idea whether your novel will be a good fit.
2. Read the review policy. It’s obvious when an author neglects this step, especially when the blogger clearly states that she is closed to submissions, and you send your query anyway. Something to consider is that many bloggers who are temporarily closed to submissions are still willing to work with the author — that is, if the author is willing to work with them. Offer to write a guest post or give away signed copies of your book. Be creative.
3. Write a compelling and informative query letter. Include information such as how you discovered the blog site, why you’re contacting her, and a brief synopsis of your book (one to two paragraphs). I like to attach my book cover and a mobi or ePub file of the formatted novel. You’ll know what to send because you’ll have read the review policy.

What doesn’t work:
1. Don’t make the mistake of sending a mass e-mail. Each blog site is unique and your e-mail should be as well.
2. Please take the time to know the blogger’s name. Seriously, don’t simply address her with a “Dear Madame.” It makes you look ill informed and just plain lazy.
3. If you don’t receive a reply then, most likely, it’s a pass. Don’t take it personally and don’t be pushy. Take a deep breath and move on to another site.

Bonus tip:
Honest flattery never hurts, with the key word being “honest.” Such as: I’ve been following Literary Rambles for about a year, and I especially enjoy Tip Tuesday. Thanks for the excellent advice you’ve given to authors, and I appreciate having the opportunity to be a part of your blog.

Thanks for sharing your great tips, H.B. And so glad you like our blog.

Author Bio:
A magical part of H.B. Bolton’s childhood was being swept into worlds of enchanting characters, fantastical creatures and extraordinary powers—simply by picking up a book. As a mother and a teacher, she was compelled to create imaginary worlds of her own in order to share them, not just with her children, but with all children. H.B. Bolton lives in Florida with her supportive husband and two highly spirited children. Shh, can you keep a secret? Not only does she write books for the young-at-heart, adventurous sort who yearn to dive into a good young-adult fantasy story, she also writes spellbinding, heart pounding women's fiction. These particular books are written under the name Barbara Brooke, but that's another story, altogether.

Books by H.B. Bolton:
The Serpent's Ring (Relics of Mysticus, Book One)
Breaking Down (a short story)
Hungry (a short story)
Coming May 1, 2013
The Trickster's Totem (Relics of Mysticus, Book Two)

Author links:
Website | Facebook | Twitter  | Goodreads | Pinterest | Amazon Author's Link
As H.B. said, this blog tour is being organized by Candace at Candace’s Book Blog. I follow her and
really recommend her blog.

You can find the whole Blog Tour HERE.

So I have two giveaways today. First, H.B. is offering a print copy of THE SERPENT’S RING or THE TRICKSTER’S TOTEM winner’s choice to one winner in US or Canada or an e-book giveaway to an international winner.

To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by midnight on June 8th. I’ll announce the winner on June 10th.
If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. International entries are welcome.

And here’s the Tour wide GIVEAWAY:

One person wins $25 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
2 people win paperback sets of both books (US)
10 people win ebooks of both books. (INT)
To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form

Rafflecopter Code:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here’s what’s coming up:

On Monday, I have a interview with Merrie Haskell and a giveaway of her new book, HANDBOOK FOR DRAGON SLAYERS, a story about a runaway princess who learns about dragons, danger, and duty. I loved Merrie's first book, THE PRINCESS CURSE, and can't wait to read this new book of hers.

The following Monday I’m interviewing Dianne Salerni and giving away an ARC of her new book, THE CAGED GRAVES. It’s a historical novel filled with mystery, paranormal elements, and romance that I really enjoyed. Dianne’s one of my writing heroes and I’m thrilled to interview her.

On Wednesday that week, I’m interviewing Marissa Burt and giving away a signed copy of STORY’S END, the second book in her middle grade fantasy series. I loved that Una goes into the world of Story, where fairytales are created. And it’s a fast paced story filled with escalating problems for Una and her friends. Marissa does a good jog explaining things so you’d understand the story even if you hadn’t read the first book.

The Monday after that, I’ll be interviewing Elana Johnson about her new book, ABANDON, the final book in her series. Elana totally blew me away by telling this story from Jag’s and Zenn’s point of view. I can’t believe I love it as much as SURRENDER, the second book in the series, which is one of the best sequels I’ve read. Elana is going to share her reflections on her first three years as a published author. And her publisher, Simon Pulse, has donated a copy of POSSESSION, SURRENDER, and ABANDON for a giveaway.

And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you next Monday!


Patchi said...

I think my sons will love these books!

Reader said...

Great interview and great looking books. I like the concept.


mshatch said...

Both books sound like something my niece would love. And I can't wait for next week and The Caged Graves :)

Donna K. Weaver said...

These books sound so much fun. Great advice, too.

Unknown said...

Thanks for inviting me to be a part of your blog. I subscribed over a year ago and always enjoy your interviews and tips :)

Robin said...

I'm not to the book promotion side yet, but I'm bookmarking this post for when I am. The books look amazing-I'm always looking for great MG reads.

Lydia Kang said...

They look like great fantasy books. Thanks Natalie!

Candace said...

This is the perfect post for this blog since you feature stuff for readers and authors both. I'm blushing furiously at her kind comments about me, I'm so glad she's happy with what I've done 'introducing' her books to the blogging community. Getting a middle grade book out there can be very challenging since not many people accept them.
These are fantastic tips and she's right on the money too! I guess as a tour coordinator I'm one of the few that takes the time to personally invite people to tours instead of sending out a mass email. I think this way I get the very best blogs on my tours!
Thanks so much for hosting a tour stop!

Tressa @ Wishful Endings said...

I've seen some buzz for The Serpent's Ring. My son is the perfect age for these books. It is so true what she says about contacting bloggers. Huge pet peeve when I get a request and it isn't even close to a good fit for my blog.

Tressa @ Tressa's Wishful Endings

Nas said...

These look like great fantasy books. Thanks Natalie for posting about these!


Leigh Covington said...

So many great books! I want them all! In fact I think I need a copy for home and a copy for my classroom! Thanks for sharing!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Good tips! This fall I'm launching on my third tour and I've learned a lot along the way. (I set my own tour dates and pass along review requests to my publisher.) Having a relationship with the blog owner makes a big difference. If you're already following and commenting, then that person knows you and you're not just an anonymous author.

The Pen and Ink Blogspot said...

Woo hoo! Just went and got my free Kindle copy. The last two times I did that, I ended up buying the sequel. Thanks for the interview.

Stina said...

So what you're telling us is that the querying never ends, even after you land an agent and book deal. Lovely. :D

Great post, HB!

CG @ Paper Fury said...

Great tips there! And sounds like a super cool book!

LTM said...

These seem and look like truly amazing and lovely fantasy novels! I bet the kids gobble them up!

Best of luck to you, HB! <3

Emily R. King said...

Yay for MG! Great querying advice. And this book sounds fab. I'm going to add it to my Goodreads TBR. Congrats, HB!

Anonymous said...

H.B.'s books look like fantastic reads.

That's a great list of do's and don't's. Bloggers are valuable people to know. Sometimes I'm surprised by the emails I get from complete strangers who are pushy about being featured on my blog. The whole point about social media is being social and building connections.

Unknown said...

Love those covers! If I were a tween, I'd be running to pick these up at the bookstore on the basis of the exciting covers alone. Wishing HB much success! :-)

Creepy Query Girl said...

what gorgeous looking books and neat storylines! Congrats and great advice when it comes to fraternizing with the blogosphere.

Julie Musil said...

Great advice. Getting personal (in a good way) is worth the time.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Both the books: The Serpent's Ring and Trickster's Totem sound super cool. I love her advice: blogs are where we are promoting our books nowadays.

Stephanie Garber said...

Those books both look and sound awesome! And great advice about how to reach out to bloggers. Thanks for sharing!

Jess said...

Wow, the books sound great and I love her advice! Thanks for such an informative post!

kathrynjankowski said...

Thanks for tips!

Martina Boone said...

It does look like a fantastic series, so thanks for sharing it. I especially want to thank you for the informative post on book bloggers. I only "met" Candace recently, but I've been reading religiously because the books she does share are always good. I think that's a great indicator too.

Joni said...

Good tips to keep in mind. Thanks!
And I've been looking forward to Caged Graves- can't wait! ^.^
Thank you for the giveaway!

Gina Gao said...

This sounds great! I'm really excited to check out her books. Great tips.