What I Learned from a Blog Tour

For those of you who don’t know what a book blog tour is, let me explain. This is especially important for all of my friends who are starting out as bloggers or self-published writers. A blog tour happens when different book bloggers feature a newly released book or a cover reveal of an upcoming book on their respective blogs.  Each blog featuring the book is considered a “tour stop” and can be used to publicize the book.

If you decide to take your book on a blog tour I suggest that you find a service that will put together a tour for you. You can try to do this on your own, but I don’t recommend it. Those who organize book tours typically have connections with bloggers and a background in marketing, public relations, publishing, or a related field.  Yes, I may be able to talk your ear off about the works of Miguel de Unamuno, but my degree in Spanish Literature does not a tour organizer make. Therefore, I used Xpresso Book Tours and found Giselle, the owner, to be extremely professional and organized.  I highly recommend her services.

So, the tour organizer will then post a blurb from your book, a picture of the cover, a fabulous photo of you, and a sign up list for the tour.  Bloggers can sign up to host your book and post either a review, a guest post, an excerpt, or an interview.  The book will be hosted on a different blog every day for a certain amount of time.  I chose a two week tour for Identified, so the book was on a different blog every day for two weeks (not including weekends).  You can see the tour schedule for Identified here and browse some of the reviews and guest posts.

Now that the Identified tour is over, I have learned a few things about my book, bloggers, and publicity. I would like to share a few of these lessons with you so that if you embark on your own blog tour you don’t burst into tears in a Wal-Mart or take your anger out on your child’s play kitchen.  (Not that I did that…)

First of all, bloggers come in all…well, I don’t want to say shapes and sizes because that’s weird.  But, they are a diverse group.  Not all of them are the nerdtastic teenagers you love to love.  Some of them are stay-at-home moms.  Some of them are medical professionals (i.e. doctors) who blog on the side. And yes, some of them are teenagers that spent their elementary and middle school years convincing their peers that they were Hermione Granger.

That being said, you must, MUST realize that not everyone is going to like your book.   And, even if they do like your book, they may not like all aspects of your book.  One blogger loved the cover of  Identified and another said that it made her almost not read the book.  Some found the first part boring, while others loved the detail.  A few of the bloggers really liked Maya, and listed her as their favorite character, while others absolutely hated her.   In fact, one added the book to her “Wanted to Kill MC” shelf on Goodreads.  Now, I know that me telling you this isn’t exactly the best publicity for Identified, but everyone is allowed his or her opinion.  And while Identified is (for the most part) enjoying good reviews, some people just don’t like it. This will always be the case, with everything everyone does anywhere. If you’re going to write a book, and take it on a book blog tour, realize that not everyone is going to give it five stars.

(Disclaimer: If you use Xpresso Reads Book Tours, bloggers are asked not to post a review if they gave the book less than three stars.  Xpresso Reads asks bloggers to wait until the tour is over.  I like this, because I’m trying to  publicize my book and get people to read itYou will still know if someone did not like it, but no one else will.  Well, at least not at the time of the book tour.)

Also, realize that publishing and marketing a book takes time.  Not everyone has an Amanda Hocking story.  (For those of you who don’t know who she is, click on the link.  Long story short, she was a millionaire before the age of 30 because of her self-published Tyrelle trilogy.)  While a blog tour definitely gets the word out about your book, it takes time for those bloggers to tell their friends, and for those friends to tell their friends, and so on and forth.  A blog tour is a wonderful start (and I heart you, Giselle!), but will by no means make you a millionaire.  Don’t quit your day job just yet.   (Although if I do become a millionaire, Giselle is getting some of the credit for that.)

Speaking of money, you need to be willing to spend some dinero on a blog tour. Again, don’t quit your day job.  I feel that the tour services I used were reasonably priced, but there is always more to spend money on. (Ok, Grammar Nazis, I did agonize over not ending that sentence with a preposition. Just leave it alone!)  With the Identified blog tour, I offered a giveaway of a paperback for the entire tour and a giveaway of a an  ebook per blog.  Yes, I have to pay for these books.  Amazon and CreateSpace don’t just give them to me for free.  I know that it  doesn’t seem like a lot of money to sponsor a giveaway, but you will at least spend some.  If you decide not to do a giveaway, good luck.  Unless you are already a celebrity, People. Don’t. Know. You.  (Trying to emphasize the point.)  For example, most are not going to look at my book and say, “Ooooh! Faith Rice-Mills!  I love her! I’ll read anything that she writes!”  They may say, “Who is this weirdo with the hyphen in the middle of her last name?”  On the other hand, if someone sees that I’m giving away a FREE book, they may take a look at it.  Then, they may even say, “Hey! I haven’t read anything about interdimensional travel in a while. I think I’ll enter this giveaway.”  As a result, they will read the book and (I hope) tell their friends, who will tell their friends…..

So, if you’ve recently started up a blog, and are thinking about participating in a book blog tour, I definitely recommend it.  For one thing, all of the bloggers that enjoyed Identified are going to get a signed ARC  of Burdened from me. And, if you’ve recently self-published, you should, without a doubt, take your book on a blog tour.  You may have written the next Harry Potter , but no one will know if you don’t get the word out there.

In my humble opinion, a book blog tour is a wonderful and worthwhile experience.  Even you cry at every Kelley Clarkson song,  and a negative review would possibly ruin your 2013, you should do this.  Even if you’re not that rolling in dollar bills (hello, teacher salary right here!), you should do this.

It’s possible no one will know about your masterpiece (whether it be a blog or a book) if you don’t.

 

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About Faith Rice-Mills

Librarian. Writer. I teach my students, but they also teach me. Married to my best friend from high school. Mommy to the most cutie patootie I've ever seen (AB, we call her. Though the husband likes to say "little monkey"). Owner of Simon and Fitzgerald (Not Paul and F. Scott, my dogs). My parent's daughter, in every sense of the word. Siblings-Yes! They are some of my best friends. Afraid of snakes, elevators and cotton balls. Love having coffee with my best friend. Yoga=yes please! Developing a sense of style. Interested in playing with verb tenses. Oh! And point of view! Would love a delicious chicken fried steak followed by a chocolate chip cookie. Love my red pants, my pearl necklace, and my sparkly gold shoes. Wish I was fluent in Buffyspeak and that Harry Potter was my friend. And so that's me...
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