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.