There’s nothing better than firing up your laptop and seeing your book baby in lights. To keep novels in the limelight, many authors use Virtual Book Tours, or simply, Blog Tours.
What is a blog tour? Quite simply, it’s a list of blogs where your book is featured over the course of a month or two. You can arrange one yourself by creating a schedule and filling the “stops” with bloggers. The tour stops can include anything from simple spotlights with a buy link to in-depth reviews, guest blogs, or interviews. Putting together your own tour is difficult, not only because it’s time-consuming, but because it’s hard to find willing bloggers.
Established tour companies have an array of bloggers at the ready. Pricing varies according to the length and type of tour. Many of them ask bloggers not to review if they do not like your book, but you should ask about this up front. Before booking with a host, you should follow a few of their tours to get a feel for how they operate. Is the home page frequently updated? Are there too many images, creating a slow-loading page that will chase readers away? Are there frequent no-shows on the tours? Do the reviews have a “canned” feel to them, like the reviewers only skimmed the books they are spotlighting? Do the bloggers have many subscribers? Do they cross-promote on Social Media?
Let’s ask our trusty Seasoned Authors how they feel about the matter.
Here’s the lineup this week. Please feel free to click on their names to learn more about them.
Collette Cameron is an Amazon bestselling (3 times Amazon Kindle top 100) and award-winning author of Regency and Scottish romance. If that’s not enough to convince you she knows what she’s doing, how about this? She won the 2013 Sneak Peek Contest, was a 2014 RONE Nominee, a double RONE Finalist in 2015, Aspen Gold Finalist 2015, and 2015 Wisconsin RWA Write Touch Reader’s Choice Winner. At this time, she has nine books under her belt with contracts for four more. She self-published a series, has four group projects already published and two more coming out in early 2016.
Tema Merback ‘s first book was a National Jewish Book Award Finalist entitled “In the Face of Evil,” the story of her mother’s survival of the Holocaust. It took her four years to write, but it was worth it, as it continues to be one of the highest rated books on Amazon and Goodreads. With her hot romance and suspense, she went the self-publishing route. She also writes under a nom de plume, Belle Ami.
Tina Susedik writes romantic mysteries, children’s books, and history books using her real name and erotic romance as Anita Kidesu. Her novel, “Riding for Love” was a finalist in the 2014 BTS awards. She has eleven books and two short stories in print, with two more on the horizon.
Catherine Castle writes sweet and inspirational romance. She has published one novel under the pen name of Catherine Castle and three as a coauthor with her husband. Her books consistently win awards, including the 2014 Beverly Hills Book Award Winner for Inspirational Romance, and a RONE in 2014 for inspirational romance. She was a finalist in the 2014 EPIC awards for an action/adventure romance and was a 2014 Carolyn Readers Choice Award finalist.
Ryan Jo Summers writes romance she calls “a mishmash of inspirational, time travel, shape shifting, paranormal, mystery, any and all combinations of the above.” She has three novels out now and another three coming in 2016. She blogs at http://www.summersrye.wordpress.com
Stacy Hoff writes contemporary romance. She has two anthology stories and three full-length novels to her credit, along with a 2015 “Rising Star” nomination from BTS emag’s Red Carpet Awards.
Jessica Jefferson is a bestselling author of historical romance. Her fifth novel is about to hit the market.
Samanthya Wyatt is a Golden Rose finalist. She writes both historical and contemporary romance, and has four books out at this time.
Petie McCarty is the author of five books, with the sixth coming in December. She writes contemporary paranormal romance for Desert Breeze and Soul Mate Publishing.
What do you think of blog tours?
Collette: I have a couple of companies I really like. Not only have the owners proven ethical and provided the service they promised, the price has been reasonable.
I’ve also dealt with other tour sites that have not come through, been quite expensive, pirated my books, and even had a host attack me when I didn’t comment the day I was hosted on their site. I’d had a neighbor of 24 years die and my mother-in-law had a stroke. Needless to say, I’ve not used that site since.
I also have an assistant who schedules me on blog sites I can’t get onto on my own.
Tema: I actually have never done one, but it seems like a great idea and many authors swear by them.
Tina: I’ve been part of some. I’ve also been part of Facebook parties, which, to me, are more personal. You get to interact with readers who are following the party. Both take a lot of time.
Catherine: I’ve done a few, but can’t say if they’ve been extremely helpful for selling books. I saw a small uptick in sales, but not a long lasting rise. Blog tours can be fun, though. But like any other marketing tool, they require time away from the book writing. It took weeks to write all the posts for my Goddess Fish tour. So, choose carefully. I think if I did another paid tour, I’d choose a tour that guaranteed reviews with my posts. It’s a sure return on your money.
Ryan Jo: I have never tried a blog tour. It is something on my wish list. I think I might save it for a release I feel especially moved about. ‘This’ is the one I want everyone in the world to see. Like everything else, you pay for the convenience of having the work mostly done for you compared to seeing up your own contacts and schedules. Is the reach and results any better? I’ve heard writers say yes and no.
Samanthya: I recently booked a promotional blog tour. Many believe a blog tour is the way to go. I’ve been a guest on author blog spots and I have hosted authors in my Teaser Tuesday Newsletter. I like helping other authors and I think it is good to support each other. Who knows what all works? Getting your name out there is important.
Petie: I LOVE them. I have had great luck with some of them — I have used three different tour companies in the last year. My best suggestion — do your homework on the tour company(s) before you sign on. Go to one of the recent tours listed on their web page and visit each of the blog sites on the tour list, paying particular attention to the number of subscribers and/or followers listed in the stats for each site. Check the number of web pages on the participating blog sites. Is it a regular blog with multiple pages or one with just a home page that only lists promos for a particular tour company? These are important issues for it’s not just the number of sites the tour company books for your blitz or your cover reveal or your review tour, but also the quality of the sites that will ensure your marketing success on the tour.
There you go, more great advice from our Seasoned Author Series. Have you used a tour company? Was your experience a positive one?
Up next week: RANK. Should you worry about it?