Friday, January 20, 2012

Tip #20: How NOT to do a Blog Tour

When I first got published, I was with two small publishers. Most…well, all of the marketing fell on my shoulders. So I set out searching for bloggers and asking for interviews so that I could do my own blog tour. It was a good idea and it works for many people but here is the big mistake I made. I sent print books to about 40 or 50 bloggers. I also wrote different blog posts for about 20 to 25 bloggers. It was expensive and exhausting. And for all that time, money, and effort, I only got about 10 reviews for Priscilla the Great. The biggest mistake was sending books to blogs that did not have very large followings. I was spending money to beg for a review to a blog that only had 33 people following. Now that might be a little unfair. Every follower is important. What if one of those 33 followers happened to know just the right person to pitch my book to that would send sales through the roof. You never know. I just think you have better odds of success if you target blogs with large followings.

Personally, I don’t think blog tours are very effective, especially for my genre. I think the majority of people who read middle grade book blogs are teachers, librarians, and other book bloggers. I don’t think middle school kids are reading blogs so I don’t think I’m reaching my audience with a blog tour. Now those teachers and librarians can definitely reach my audience for me, but even in that case they would be encouraging their students to check the book out for the library instead of buying it. Blog tours may work better for genres where the audience have more buying power. I’m still not convinced of that either because when I did my tour for my older books, I still didn’t see much of an increase in sales.

There are positive things about blog tours. If done properly, you can reach thousands of people without leaving the comfort of your bed. If done properly, you can reach thousands of people without spending a lot of money. So how do you do it properly?

o Look for blogs that will accept eBooks. That way you can give them a couple of your book without have to mail it.

o Look for an ARC blog tour service. This is when you send one copy of your book to a blogger and when they finish reading it, they pass it on to the next blogger. One copy of your book could get passed around to five or six bloggers.

o Look for FREE or cheap blog tour services. These services will plan your tour for you. This will save you the time and hassle of trying to contact each blog individually. Be careful because there are some companies that will charge you a ridiculous amount. I think $200 is out of the question for a blog tour, unless they can give you statistics as to how effective their tour is. I, personally, wouldn’t pay for such a service and if I did, it wouldn’t be more than $50-$100.

o Target blogs with 1000+ followers. The problem with this is that those bloggers probably have a long backlist. If you want bloggers with 1000+ followers to review your book, you’re going to have to give them about three months to get around to reading your book. On the other hand, you can target blogs with 50-100 followers and they may have a shorter lead time.

o To be effective, I truly believe that a blog tour needs to visit at least 50 (1000+ follower) blogs in about a two week period or more than 100 blogs with less followers. If that’s too much for you to coordinate, hire someone else to do it.

1 comment:

  1. Blog tours, IMHO, really don't generae sales like everyone thinks they do. I have to disagree with some of your points about doing blog tours, especially your last point. In order for that to happen, a person would have to spend all day going back and forth between blogs and answersing comments and what not at an average of 5 blogs a day. I don't know about you, but some of us have full-time jobs and families to take care (I know you have family and are in school but not sure you are working also) and in reality unless you work at home, I'm lucky to be one of those who does work at home, but I still have a job to do, most work places won't let you spend the sevveral hours a day on the internet just blogging about your books. I would say for a novice writer who is considering doing book tours, that perhaps one a day over the course of a 2-week period of time might be more realistic. You could spend your evening time responding to blog comments and socializing.

    It is difficult to really find blogs that have 1000+ followers unless you are looking at the big names in the industry. I feel very lucky if I leave a comment on a blog that has over 200 followers. I've been blogging for a long time now and still only have under 100 followers and it seems no matter what I do - offer freebies of my books, et cetera - the followers just aren't there. I don't know what else to do to entice followers/readers. I've been trying some of the things you have suggested to no avail.

    I keep hoping for a big break and that one of these days I will have mega sales and lots of readers/folllowers.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on blog tours - E :)

    Elysabeth Eldering
    Author of Finally Home, a YA paranormal mystery
    "The Proposal" (an April Fools Day story), a humorous romance ebook
    "The Tulip Kiss", a paranormal romance ebook
    "Bride-and-Seek", a paranormal romance ebook
    "Butterfly Halves", a YA fantasy ebook


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