Hello everyone, I’m pleased to welcome Laura A. Grace, owner of God’s Grace Blog Tours. Laura’s passion for supporting authors has inspired me many times. Her vision reminds me that authors need readers and fans to help get their stories out into the world.
For those of you who’ve never seen one, a blog tour is organized to promote an author’s new book release. Bloggers sign up to promote the book in different ways–they might write a review of the book or host the author for an interview or a guest post. It’s lots of fun for bloggers, readers, and authors alike.
Sheri Yutzy: Hi Laura, welcome to Made to Create! Tell us about the inception of God’s Grace Blog Tours. What was the seed of your obsession with supporting your favorite authors?
Laura A. Grace: Hi Sheri! I am so incredibly excited to be here! 😀 Ooo that’s a really good question! In middle school, I discovered Nancy Drew and Winnie-the-Pooh. That sort of lead to this binge-reading high schooler who a few years later discovered book blogging was a real thing.
I was mind blown! I launched my first blog, Crafty Booksheeps, in 2011 and discovered book reviewer programs that would send you a book in exchange for an honest review. As my blog grew, I was eligible to participate in blog tours with a blog tour company.
During that time, I gained a lot of experience as a reviewer, but I avidly watched how the tours were conducted for the next year or two. The more I participated in the tours, a desire to be a blog tour coordinator grew, especially when I got a lot of positive feedback from my two friends I did a tour for. When I thought of taking the idea more seriously, I did some research, but quickly became very frustrated as I saw blog tour prices that I felt weren’t fair as well as that there was no guarantee a Christian author could even book a blog tour. I desperately wanted to change that, but sadly didn’t do anything with the idea to start an affordable blog tour service for Christian authors.
However, I’m so grateful that God did see my desire to help Christian authors at that time and watered the seed to let it bloom until a reality last year. I’ll be honest though: I didn’t plan for it. It literally happened all within a week from the idea to the launch of God’s Grace Blog Tours! Everything was so fast, but it was very God-led and felt a deep urgency that not only was this something I needed to do, but wanted to do as well. It’s humbling and amazing that this past January I was able to celebrate the one-year anniversary of something I thought would always be a buried dream.
SY: You’re pretty much the ultimate fan girl. 🙂 But there are so many books being written. What keeps you excited about the next new story?
LG: Haha! I take that as a compliment as my job is a “professional fangirl.” Hehe! Thank you! I think it’s a two-fold answer on what gets me excited for the next new story.
The first being if I love the author and their books. I am a hardcore fan for Desiree Williams’ books (as well as multiple authors, but her Heart Song trilogy was the first series I fangirled over) and will devour anything she writes. If I know she’s writing a book, I’m automatically pumped to read it, regardless if it was something completely different than any of the previous genres she has written.
The other half of my answer being that something gets me pumped up to share a story an author has invested so much of their time, creativity, and energy to share with the world. I am passionate about helping an author spread the message on their hearts to others as I believe what they are wanting to share is important. If I can help through book blogging and BookTube, then I will do all I can to help spread the word in an exciting way that leaves me squealing. (Hopefully others will want to as well. winks)
SY: Since you love stories so much, have you written any of your own?
LG: Not yet, but I am an aspiring self-publish author. J I’ve recently met with my author coach about establishing a writer’s presence after struggling with the idea of writing for over a year. I’m currently working on an urban fantasy called Unicorn Keeper that involves so many things I love: books, fantasy creatures, and hope. It’s been a fun and self-healing adventure to say the least and greatly look forward to continue writing this year.
I also greatly look forward to working on a non-fiction piece about how to coordinate a blog tour and why I feel it’s so essential every author has one.
SY: The name of your website, Unicorn Quester, is so magical. Where did it come from?
What a fun question! Before it was a website, I had been blogging under HOPE through the Pages with very similar posts, and though I loved my blog, I started to grow discontent with it. I was unsure why, but kept praying on what to do.
When my friend and author coach Janeen Ippolito shared this picture (see below) on her Facebook page, I couldn’t get it out of my head that reviews could supposedly help get an author get a free unicorn.
I didn’t know seeing that picture would fuel a night of brainstorming until midnight with my close writing friend J.A. Patterson about different website names having the word “unicorn,” logo ideas, and taglines. It was an extremely fun time and I will always be grateful for J.A. who took the time to listen about why I was feeling discontent and how I felt I needed to rebrand with the foundation being along the lines of unicorns.
I guess you could say the rest is history as we decided on a name, my author coach who helped with the tagline, and a logo and website designer who made everything pretty, all within last summer. 🙂
SY: I love that! What great reasons to leave reviews for authors. 🙂 What is your all time favorite fictional world? What would you most like to do there?
LG: Oh. Man. My favorite fictional world? I feel it changes so often! However, if I had to choose one right now, it would most likely be the land of Faerie from Sarah Delena White’s Halayda. I absolutely loved this story and was completely fascinated by the world Sylvie experiences.
If I were able to visit, I would like to see everything alongside Sylvie and Taylan as well as their faithful friends. (Because I could imagine being a mortal traveling in Faerie would not be very safe.) Plus, being with Sylvie and Taylan would be one the coolest experiences ever! 😀
SY: What’s your dream for Unicorn Quester in ten years?
LG: This is a very thought-provoking question and one I had to think hard about. Deep down, I would love to be a continued voice for self-published authors to readers at large. If the chance arose that I could speak at a conference or writer’s workshop about marketing via book blogging and blog tours, that would be incredible.
It’s also my hope that Unicorn Quester would still have an active presence online through other extended fun ways that spotlight self-published and indie authors. There is a special beauty in supporting authors you love and want to see succeed by sharing in other creative and engaging that are outside of writing reviews. (Not saying that’s not important because I still want authors to get free unicorns. winks)
Plus, I hope it always keeps me on my toes with my reading game. At this point, I’m quite sure I’ll never be able to read all the books on my TBR pile, but I won’t stop trying and sharing all the great books. 😉
Laura A. Grace has a thrilling obsession with supporting her favorite authors. From hosting blog tours to throwing virtual parties, she’s always seeking new ways to spread the book love. More than once her handsome ninja husband has heard the squeals of a late-night fangirl as she reads a new plot twist or hears from her author friends. She and her family live in North Carolina, where they wield plastic lightsabers and keep an eye out for wandering unicorns.
God’s Grace Blog Tours: http://unicornquester.com/gods-grace-blog-tours/