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What’s your take on blog tours?

Blog tours are nothing new, but I confess I’m not quite sure exactly what’s involved, or for that matter, the desired result. To me, there are three objectives: sell books, raise your online profile, and of course, have fun.

Being for the most part a personal decision by the blogger concerned, the 'having fun' part is easiest to accomplish (unless you’re a natural curmudgeon, like a certain old gran of my acquaintance).

Oddly enough, the most obvious of the three, selling books, strikes me as being the hardest to achieve. Sure, some people will make an impulse purchase based on the cover pic and blurb that goes along with a guest post, but it's by no means guaranteed.

It's much easier to gauge the benefits to be had from putting yourself in front of folks who don’t yet know you exist. Assuming you write something of interest, I can certainly see how a percentage of new readers might check out your own blog or website and subsequently stick around.

So what do you write about? Do you go for the interesting subject or a promotion-related post? Do folks interview you or the characters in your book? I'm leaning towards a combination of all these things. Only time will tell which ones were most effective.


How about you?

What’s your take on blog tours?



ETA: As you may have already guessed, I’m in the process of setting up a blog tour to help promote next month’s paperback release of Fur-Face. If you’d like to have me as a guest, please let me know: jon@acatofninetales.com.


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Comments

( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
saetter
Sep. 21st, 2011 03:29 pm (UTC)
Blog tours are a great way to cross pollinate blog audiences and get exposure, but I've never bought a book because of one. Then again, I follow author/writer blogs to talk shop more than find out new reading material, though when I have a hole in my reading list, I do try to fill it with authors (new and established) I follow. Usually that's more of a quiet thanks, rather than because I've discovered a new novel. I get my reading recommendations from reader forums more than blogs.

So, maybe a better marketing tool to reach readers would be a forum tour? (with the permission of the forum owners, of course)
jongibbs
Sep. 21st, 2011 04:09 pm (UTC)
Interesting suggestion. Thanks, Stuart :)
celestialgldfsh
Sep. 21st, 2011 03:58 pm (UTC)
I like blog tours because I'm curious about the stories behind the book. Even if someone doesn't buy the book, it increases name recognition and draws more traffic. Everything builds up.

That said, I'll send you an email.
jongibbs
Sep. 21st, 2011 04:08 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Beth :)
(Deleted comment)
jongibbs
Sep. 21st, 2011 04:35 pm (UTC)
Re: Yay for tours!
Thanks, Jen. I'll be sure to take you up on that :)
clarionj
Sep. 21st, 2011 04:42 pm (UTC)
I'm still in the questioning stage. I do think it gives you the chance to gain new readers of your own blog, whether or not they buy the book immediately. My problem with most of the online promotion I've been involved in and researching is that we're nearly all writers sharing our books with each other rather than reaching a real reader fan base for our particular book (which is why I like the forum idea saetter mentions).

And writers are involved in so much of this that we're overwhelmed with trying to support too many new friends and fellow writers! I bought far too much at the start, and I reviewed what I could, but since I wasn't technically a fan of that kind of work, I wasn't as helpful to the author as I could be by spreading the joy word-of-mouth as a true fan might.

So, my main problem is I'm not sure it's the ideal market. The good side though is meeting new writers and friends.
jongibbs
Sep. 21st, 2011 05:01 pm (UTC)
'The good side though is meeting new writers and friends.'

Indeed it is, Pat :)
bogwitch64
Sep. 21st, 2011 07:35 pm (UTC)
I honestly don't think blog tours do overly much for sales, but as others have said, you get to meet a bunch of new people, broaden your horizons. I'm really not sure, though.
bogwitch64
Sep. 21st, 2011 07:35 pm (UTC)
Oh, and it goes without saying that you are welcome on my blog.
jongibbs
Sep. 21st, 2011 08:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Terri :)
(Deleted comment)
jongibbs
Sep. 21st, 2011 08:21 pm (UTC)
Adverts are an expensive luxury.
(Deleted comment)
jongibbs
Sep. 22nd, 2011 10:38 am (UTC)
Thanks for the kind words, Jenn :)
tracy_d74
Sep. 22nd, 2011 05:06 am (UTC)
I supposed I'm a sucker. I have definitely purchased a book I've seen on a friend's blog as part of a tour. If the interview is interesting and the story is interesting...I will get it. And sometimes it may be a book that I am debating--"read or not to read"--and I see the interview and it tips the scale in favor of read. Sure there are times I don't buy anything. I think every sale counts. And I think getting to meet new people is always a GREAT thing.
jongibbs
Sep. 22nd, 2011 10:39 am (UTC)
'...getting to meet new people is always a GREAT thing.'

Yes indeed :)

darke_conteur
Sep. 22nd, 2011 06:38 pm (UTC)
Blog tours do seem to be growing in popularity. I've got one coming up myself.

I think the key is to have a plan ahead of time. Figure out exactly what it is you want to accomplish, but not book-wise. How do you want to come across to the new readers? What 'message' (if any) do you want them to take away from your posts? Talking about your book is fine, but banging readers over the head with your book, doesn't do anyone any good, and when it comes down to it, it's not the book you're trying to sell, it's you. It's your name the reader remembers, your name they go looking for when they're in a bookstore or online. If they don't like your posts, they're not going to remember your name.

I also think it's a good idea to have a small amount of 'stops' the first few tours. It becomes difficult to come up with new material after a while, and re-posting something you did earlier might come off as a little lame. I try to keep mine around ten. You should also find out if the guest blogger has any prerequisites too, ie length of post (word count), or maybe they only do interviews and you have a genre piece ready. I only do guest blogs on Monday and Friday as those are the only days I talk about writing. You should have some kind of back-up plan ready just in case.

Have I made this more difficult than it needed to be? Oh, and I have plenty of Monday's and Friday's open after the middle of October, if you want to stop by. :D
jongibbs
Sep. 22nd, 2011 09:07 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Jannette :)
dqg_neal
Sep. 22nd, 2011 08:48 pm (UTC)
I don't have much of an opinion on blog tours at the moment. I keep falling behind. But then again that is why let other people do publicity.

1) Raise Your Presence:
No one asks me to do blog tours. *pout*
Obviously you need some presence to start.

2) Sell books:
I dislike selling books. Prefer to sell myself. But then again we have laws about that sort of thing in the US.. so customers tend to buy books to stay on the safe side. *grin*


I tend to agree with the cross-pollination. Which usually means the best place to do blog tours is with other writers that have a similar fan base.





jongibbs
Sep. 22nd, 2011 09:08 pm (UTC)
There's certainly lots to think about. Thanks for the input, Neal :)
phoenixfirewolf
Sep. 23rd, 2011 04:45 pm (UTC)
I think a combination of the above is good. You don't want to over promote, but you want people to know what you're up to... obviously.

Even if you just do a fun post or something about writing, or any of your normal witty posts and then tag on info at the end about why you're visiting that blog, that's sometimes enough.

I've bought books based on blog tours. I have a couple in my to buy soon list too. They do work. A little bit here, a little bit there :)
jongibbs
Sep. 23rd, 2011 11:19 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the input, Julie :)
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )

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