Nov 3, 2010

A long time ago, the LNS Royal Blog Tour was born


Story Written by Lucia Kaiser, President of The RBT


the Annual Fall Royal Blog Tour begins here between November 5th and 8th, 2010.

Once upon a time, Her Highness, Sherrill Graff, Queen Mother of Late Night Stampers, asked her subjects how they could get more people to visit blogs. Since I was in LNS at the personal invitation of the Queen Mother, I wanted to contribute; so I offered a suggestion that wasn't exactly original - a blog hop. Queen Sherrill liked the idea, and the Queen Mother being the Queen Mother, she immediately put me in charge of constructing it!

Since I had never been on a blog hop, let alone constructed one, I now had to come up with a plan. Since I have a business education, and I’ve run small businesses for more than one venture, how difficult could it be? After all, most blog hops I’d seen had three or four blogs tied together. Even if we had as many as 12, I didn’t see it as a major undertaking.

When I started letting folks on LNS know we were going to do a blog tour (I decided to make it a little different by calling it a tour), I expected about 12 people to sign up. Wrong! Many people contacted me; the only way to answer everyone was to email the group. Of course, that clogged the board up, so Sherrill had to ask me to send emails to the group once a week. I protested; how was I going to answer all these people? Her solution was to open a Yahoo group just for the blog tour – which, by the way, I hadn’t completely constructed yet!

So there I was, trying to figure out how to structure a vehicle that would carry this unexpectedly large group of people along a blog tour route. I don’t want to disillusion anyone, but honestly, I was making it up as I went along. I was working by myself, surrounded by Excel spreadsheets and black coffee. Then I got an email from Diane McCornack offering her help. As much as I hate to impose on anyone, I was so desperate for help I accepted her offer. I told her my ideas, and she jumped right in to make my thoughts a reality. Soon after, Marie Aviza and Marisol Gutierrez emailed me, offering their help; they too jumped into the fray with zeal. Soon, we were working together to create what would become the Royal Blog Tour.

Meanwhile, my husband decided we needed a nickname and dubbed us the Queens (my husband's nickname for me is Queenie. Apparently he thinks I’m spoiled – by him). My three helpers thought it was a terrific nickname, and Marie immediately set out to find a crown for our logo. I opened a Yahoo group just for our little committee of four, and we called it the Blog Tour Queens. We were the only ones who considered ourselves royalty (plus my husband), but we were okay with that!

Those were our humble beginnings. We would bounce ideas off one another, each of us building on the others’ thoughts. We became exhausted trying to plug all the holes that would inevitably leak during a tour; people would drop out at the last minute, not have their projects ready, or not respond to our emails. That meant we had to scramble to fill their spots and deal with the frustrations of the other participants who didn’t know about the behind-the-scenes drama.

As difficult as it was sometimes, it helped build a bond among us, and we developed a rhythm that allowed us to work together seamlessly. To keep our frustrations in check over the latest snafu, we’d start our complaints with “I say this with love,” which we all learned from Diane. After a few times, one of us would only have to say the first few words of this phrase, and we’d all be roaring with laughter! I plan to teach this motto to every new member who joins our committee.

After the first tour, which turned out to be successful despite all our mistakes, people volunteered to help with the next tour. We asked newcomers to join the Blog Tour Queens Yahoo group and gave them their crowns. (I think some of them joined to get the crowns, but I’m not naming names! LOL) Of course, everyone had ideas of how we could have done it better, but we original four sat back and smiled wisely. Ah, these green recruits! Wait until they get their baptism of fire! But we listened, because a less jaded viewpoint might yield blog tour fruit.

Each tour taught us better ways of doing things, and our organizational structure began to grow. The idea of making the all things royal came out of my husband’s nickname for us. The “Queens” and “Princesses” became part of the Royal Blog Tour; and oh, how they all loved their crowns. A girl never outgrows her dream of being a princess, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

Today, our committee is about 40 strong. We have a President, Treasurer, and Secretary. There are eight department heads (one of whom heads two departments!) with staff reporting to them. To see a list of those serving on the current committee, please see our “About Us” on this website.

Sadly, the original four are no longer. Only two of us remain, Marisol and I. Diane and Marie worked so many long hours on the tour; they literally burned out from all those days and nights constructing and coordinating the tours. They ended their tenure with our last 2009 tour, which boasted an all time high of 84 blogs! In the end, Diane and Marie’s many responsibilities outside of RBT had to take precedence over the tour. But the fruits of their labor can be seen in what we are today - a regal structure that sprang from those humble beginnings.

Marisol and I miss them dearly. Those first few tours were hard work and a lot of frustration. We emailed or talked on the phone to each other, we dealt with all the problems, and we formed a solid bond built of laughter, sweat, and tears; all of which yielded the sweetest of friendships. We still call them our dear friends to this day. Thank you Royal Blog Tour for giving us such a wonderful gift in their friendship.
So now the Royal Blog Tour must go on without the “Fabulous Foursome,” as Marisol called us. Diane and Marie, I will never forget when I was alone, each of you, along with Marisol, came quietly to stand by my side and support me. Marisol and I will try to represent the very best of everything you brought to the Royal Blog Tour. In our minds and hearts, you will always be the quintessential Royal Blog Tour Queens.

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