The Truth about Blog Tours
They seem to be all the rage lately – blog tours. Authors either make one from scratch themselves, or they use the help from a Blog Tour Agency. The few very lucky ones get their publishers to get the tour together – in this article I’m going to leave this group alone. This is purely about homemade tours or those mediated by freelancers/bloggers.
There seem to be quite some misconceptions about blog tours and book blogs in general. The post that sparked this article is this one by the author Lev Raphael. Raphael booked a blog tour of fourteen stops at an unnamed blog tour agency. Here are his experiences:
One blogger never ran a review, re-scheduled, then still didn’t run it. Nine other reviews did run, ranging from good to excellent. But some were cursory, and a number of them were by bloggers who apparently didn’t believe in proofreading, and weren’t very good writers to begin with. I found the latter aspect of the tour dispiriting. After all the work I’d put into the book, I was being reviewed by people whose writing skills were subpar?
Worst of all, I saw no bump in sales over the previous month whatsoever.
To me, this in a few sentences shows what people assume wrongly about blog tours.
Blog tours are not about selling your book – they are about gaining name recognition
Unless you are doing a tour where you are selling your book for $0.99 on Kindle, I don’t think you will sell any books directly because of the tour. Those thousand online readers you reach just aren’t going to buy a book just because you write one interview or guest post. You don’t buy a car just because you see it driving by once either. You will wait until you see it around more, until you read reviews on it from bloggers you trust, or until you bonded with the author online. This one momentary flash that a blog tour is, is just the beginning of the process. You might get them interested. They might start to follow your blog. And if you stay in touch with them, they might become the most loyal readers you can wish for.
But just because you took the time to write a few posts doesn’t mean people will buy your book.
Blog tours aren’t on the same level as flesh and bone tours
They just aren’t the same. If we compare a blog tour with a real author tour:
- A blog tour will cost you about $50-$200. A real tour will cost at least $1000 with hotels, travelling costs, food…
- A blog tour takes about 5-6 hours of work, writing a few interviews and guest posts. Maybe you’re OCD about your posts and will proofread them ten times. Let’s say, it will take about 10 hours max. A real tour takes days if not weeks of your time, in which you can do little else between signing, appearances and travelling.
- On the internet people don’t feel obliged to buy what you are selling. In the flesh people often find that author behind the big stack of books a bit lonely, and will buy a book out of pity or politeness.
To compare a blog tour to a real tour, you should at least put in the same amount of money and time. And I’m sure a blog tour with a $1000 budget and 50 hours of work actually would lead to tons of sales. Case in point: publisher-led blog tours.
The thing is that blog tours are meant for selfpublishing authors with little resources that want to get a foot down in the blogging community. It would be quite weird if Dan Brown all of a sudden decided to do a blog tour.
We are not industry professionals and we do not get PAID
We do this all because of our love for books. Yes, maybe some are in it because you can get to read for free, but if that’s your goal, you will probably be done with blogging within a few months. The amount of work you have to put into maintaining a healthy blog isn’t worth the few ARCs you receive. It is worth it if you do really love blogging, love interacting with fellow readers and authors.
But we’re people, and we are volunteering to read your work. And that means that when life gets in the way, we will pay attention to our lives, and not to that pesky little guest post we were supposed to post. It is up to the touring agency to make up for the blogger that didn’t follow through. If it’s a good agency, they will make up for the one that didn’t get posted with one at a later dates. I know some very good ones that always keep some extra bloggers ready for posting just in case something like this happens.
Never, ever, EVER call our reviews subpar
This one should speak for itself.
The moment you publish a book, it’s in the hands of the readers. You don’t decide who gets to read it and who doesn’t. You don’t get to decide who gets to review it and who doesn’t either.
You should be glad your book gets reviewed at all, and don’t backlash at bloggers because we apparently don’t write as good as a writer that had thirty years to perfect his craft. We are students, stay-at-home-moms, people with day-jobs, we range from the completely uneducated to PHD-students, we come from every crevice on the entire planet. And some of us use nice grammatically correct sentences, and some of us like the freedom of not giving a shit. And just because we don’t write nice Oxford English, doesn’t mean we didn’t love the book or will recommend it to our friends.
However, by calling reviews subpar, I will make sure to avoid any books by that writer. Even though the reviews might not be that good – I don’t care. You don’t say something like that about people that you picked, you researched, and you are not paying a single dime.