Will a Blog Tour Work for Your Book?

Karen Wojcik  BernerGuest post
By Karen Wojcik Berner

Over the last few years, I’ve promoted my books with blog tours – six of them, to be exact – and let me tell you, each was completely different in both style and reach. Never done a blog tour?  They’re the virtual equivalent of the traditional book tour, except authors “visit” book blogs instead of stores to promote their novels. They are great for boosting your book’s visibility as well as for getting reviews. In fact, I just completed two consecutive blog tours to promote my latest novel, A Groovy Kind of Love. If you’re considering a blog tour, here are some things I’ve learned along the way that you might find helpful.

Which Company Should You Use?

There are many promotional book tour companies. Do your homework. Research the sites to ensure their credibility. Check into them on sites like Preditors and Editors. Tour services usually have on-going book tour pages. Look at those. Do they promote books in your genre? How many people follow  the blogs on their tour stops? What is their Alexa rating or number of social media followers? It will do you no good to be on blogs that a) cater to the wrong genres or b) have no audience.

What Kind of Tours Are Best?

Book tours can range from $50 to in the thousands depending on what you choose. I’ve done each price level at least once and found that the mid-to lower-price levels worked better for my novels. The higher-priced, supposedly high-exposure tours that targeted book sellers, librarians, and book clubs didn’t really do much for me. I think those markets are looking for authors with name recognition, something many of us indies don’t quite have yet.

Determine what kind of book tour you’d like and for how long. Ten days? Two weeks? A month? Just reviews? Spotlights? Cover reveal? Do you want to write guest posts and do interviews?

There are various packages offered:  just reviews, or spotlights, with or without book excerpts, or high-traffic industry newsletters. Be careful which choice you make. One tour I did a few years back was all guest posts and interviews with original content at each stop. I ended up writing twelve different posts in two weeks. On the upside, I got to add all of those to my clip list on my website. Thank goodness I worked in magazines before I had children and was used to deadlines! If you have trouble writing a ton of blog posts, opt for spotlights or reviews only.

Giveaways: Yea or Nay?

Blog tour coordinators can organize a giveaway to run in conjunction with your tour to drum up more interest. Let’s face it. Everyone loves something for free. Although the tour hosts usually handle the giveaways, sometimes it’s up to you to decide what the prize will be. It’s been my experience that you should offer something like a gift card for Amazon or Barnes and Noble, rather than copies of the book you’re plugging. Seems to me, book giveaways discourage people from buying your new novel in hopes of winning it for free. By giving an Amazon gift card, you’re encouraging them to buy books with their winnings, maybe even yours.

Giveaways also provide a chance to build your newsletter subscriber list, as well as social media followers by giving extra entries to those who follow you on Twitter, for example, or subscribe to your newsletter. My newsletter subscriber list significantly increased after the tours and less than 1% unsubscribed after the giveaway was over.

The Benefits of Hiring a Company

Hiring a blog tour company meant I didn’t have to research all the blogs. The tour company paired me with ones they thought would work best for my books. They set up the schedule. You get Twitter and social media mentions every day of the tour, and you’re not the one doing it first. All you have to do is hit “retweet.” The Google search profile increases daily for your new book.

Negatives?

Remember, book tours don’t always translate into immediate sales. They are all about exposure, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see an immediate spike in sales.

Ready for a Tour?

Before you go on tour, make sure your website, blog, etc., are all up to date with the latest information on you and your new book. Don’t forget to change the “Coming Soon” over your new release to “Now Available.” You’d be surprised how many people don’t remember that. Add fresh blog content. Make sure to put a Goodreads link so people can easily add your book to their To-Read list. Also, confirm that all of your purchase links work.

If you don’t have a mobile version of your website and/or blog, create one. Some sites, like Blogger, automatically convert to mobile versions. Some don’t. IPage is my website provider, and it has a handy tool to create the mobile site. It takes an hour or less and is definitely worth it.

Don’t forget to visit the various tour stops on the day your book is featured to thank the host for having you and to respond to any comments. It’s a great way to connect with readers.

Bottom Line

Blog tours are valuable aspects of your overall marketing plan. Choosing the correct one can raise your online profile, garner reviews, and gain new readers, including the book bloggers themselves. I met some of my biggest supporters through these tours and some wonderful new friends as well.


Karen Wojcik Berner writes contemporary women’s fiction, including the Amazon best-selling series, the Bibliophiles. An award-winning journalist, her work has appeared in countless magazines, newspapers, and blogs. To learn more about Karen, please visit her website and her Author Central page.

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37 thoughts on “Will a Blog Tour Work for Your Book?”

  1. I participated in a blog tour a few years ago and swore never to do it again. I may reconsider but as you say, it depends on how it is run. It can be a valuable tool, but unless it it is run well it takes a great deal of time. Unless all participants fulfill their commitments it can also be very disappointing.

    1. I understand your disappointment, Yvonne. I did a lot of research before I picked the various companies I’ve worked with and still a few tour stops didn’t come through. The tour companies added others to compensate, though.

  2. Welcome to IU, Karen. Excellent post. It also gave me an idea of a future post for me, blog tours from the perspective of the blogger. There are plenty of both positives and negatives.(I already have one on my list to discuss guest posts for blog tours.) One of the biggest advantages is the blogger can get content that takes them very little work other than the time to build the post. That’s the case with guest posts and cover reveals although I’ve never seen the appeal of the cover reveal. Maybe someone can enlighten me. 🙂

    From the author’s perspective, there are many blogs I see that the vast majority of their content is in conjunction with blog tours. A tour can be the best way (almost only way) to get coverage for your book at some blogs.

    1. Thanks, Al. That’s a great idea. I’d like to read about them from the blogger perspective. And you’re right, if you want your books featured on some of the high-profile blogs, tours are the only way.

      1. Heidi,

        Assuming they run in the order I’ve turned them in (normal, but subject to change) I have a wrap up of the production process survey coming up next, then a post on doing good guest posts for blog tours, and then the post on tours from the blogger’s perspective coming in that order. Keep your eyes peeled for it. 🙂

        Al

  3. I did blog tours for my first two books, but I no longer do them. I used two different companies (who I researched carefully) and got about two=thirds of what they “guaranteed.” I suppose any exposure is valuable, but when I consider the time and money invested in doing one of these, I think I’ll spend mine elsewhere.

    One good thing that can come out of them, though, is reviews, if you choose to do a review tour. If you are having a difficult time getting reviews to launch your title, getting half a dozen or so reviews from blogs can be really helpful.

    Thanks for the good article and overview, Karen. 🙂

    1. My pleasure, Shawn. I agree about reviews. I think they are the best things to come from tours. Most reviewers also post on Amazon, Goodreads, and other sites, which is another benefit.

  4. I did a blog tour for one of my book releases, but I organized it all by myself. It took a massive amount of work: lining up other bloggers to take part, divvying up the posts, writing the posts, then of course all the promo. I made mine a “movable feast” of sorts, with different ghost foods (my book was a ghost novel) on different blogs: appetizers, main dishes, desserts, drinks, and links to all the recipes. It was a lot of fun and I had good responses, but it was a huge amount of work. If I did another one, I would probably consider a blog tour company just so I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel again. Thanks for a great post.

  5. Very informative! Thank you for sharing 🙂
    I was trying to think of various ways to get the word out when I finally launch. I was planning on doing a give away. Thank you for the advice concerning giving out a paper back copy of my book. That was on the list of ideas-but not any more.
    If you happen to know, I was curious as to how to regulate a ‘sweepstakes’. I would like to do a combination of prizes, but want entries to be based upon purchasing my novel for 99 cents and posting a review. Once I have a certain number of these, then I will award prizes. Can it work like this? Or is there no way to ensure a purchase and review have occurred before that entry is valid?
    Thanks,
    Lance

      1. Wow! That was very prompt! Thank you for your reply
        🙂
        I will follow that link and check out the other articles. Sorry if I got a little off topic with my inquiry.
        Thanks again,
        Lance

          1. And for what it;s worth, Lance, the biggest issue with your idea is that you’d have to manually verify although unless Amazon changes how this works (I’ve seen signs this might be happening) review with the verified purchase flag could do the trick. That’s assuming the purchase and the review have to be at Amazon though. Otherwise you almost have to have them email a receipt to enter.

            When I do giveaways I like the Rafflecopter app. It has some downsides, but not many and IMO is better than any alternative. A lot of the blog tour companies that do giveaways in conjunction with the tour use it. And, I did a post on it. 🙂

            http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2013/04/17/give-it-away/

          2. I think the other problem with that is Amazon may consider it as “receiving something of value in exchange for a review” and that may violate their guidelines.

        1. Lance, I think the only way you could run a giveaway like what you’re envisioning is if you match sales with reviews yourself, then put all the entries in a hat and pick a winner. I don’t think Rafflecopter has that kind of functionality. Good luck!

          1. Karen, thank you for your response to my question. I appreciate your insight. Still, though that may create a little extra work for me, I believe that it would be worth doing.
            Thanks again 🙂

  6. Big Al, I followed your link to your Rafflecopter article. Very cool! I will have to go back and reread your instructions again.

    Thanks you guys! I am so glad I signed up with Indies Unlimited 🙂

  7. Great information — thank you. I haven’t tried one of these yet. It seems like a lot of time and money for very uncertain return (I’ve certainly watched other authors’ experiences with interest). Part of the reason: I can’t stand ugly homemade advertising graphics, and those are common in a lot of these tours (not that I never commit my own bad design from time to time in a misguided attempt to save money). The bit about building your email list is definitely enticing me, though.

  8. I know authors who have benefited from blog tours. Although I’m not one of them, I would recommend that authors consider trying a few to see what happens.

    Thanks for the educational post, Karen!

  9. Great article, Karen. I appreciate you sharing your knowledge with the rest of us. Actually, I wish I could afford to hire you to do all my marketing. You know your sh#t! LOL!
    Keep on writing

  10. Better yet, rather that plunk down some $$$ and take your chances with a blog tour company, quit posting promo posts in writers groups on facebook and set up your own blog tour. There are lots of places to find book blog links. Research the blogs yourself, and pick the ones that you think will best fit your book. Yeah, this will take time, but it is doable.

    Keep in mind — most all book bloggers are inundated with book review requests.

    My thought on giveaways – they’re nice to do, maybe once in a while; but they mostly seem to attract people who surf from giveaway to giveaway, and I question how much they do to promote your book. You want to build a fan base. That doesn’t happen overnight. Try to find a blogger who likes your books and will be willing to review future books you publish.

    There’s no quick, one for all, solution to promoting your book. It’s lots of time and hard work, and managing your time well. Figure out what will work best for you and your books.

    And don’t just throw a new release out there. If you want your new release to make a big a splash as possible, plan to give yourself about 2-3 months prep time before the actual release date of your book.

  11. I’m a big fan of blog tours and find that it’s the fastest way to get mentions of your name and latest book title up on the internet. If you have hosts who want an interesting article on a topic related to the book (for me it is getting kids to enjoy reading), even better. I have tried more than a few and found that only one company let me down – it sounded too good to be true … and it was. But the others did a fantastic job and I have begun marketing my second MG book, and will be going back to the companies I trust. I write MG adventures, and believe me, it’s not easy to find tours that do kids books.

    1. I’m so glad you found a company that works for you, Fiona. I agree. They are the easiest way to get Internet traffic for your new release. Thanks for stopping by.

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