Blog tours - any experiences or recommendations


#1

Hi,
my editor has threatened me with a reasonably final version of the manuscript :scream:, so I need to start on my marketing plan.
I’ve got a trad pub contract, so there is a publisher involved, but these days the work is shared.
Blog Tours are one thing I have on the radar. Anybody got experience/recommendations etc.? It would be most appreciated.


#2

I don’t have recommendations, per se, but my best friend does them every time she publishes. I’m pretty sure her publisher hooked her up with the bloggers initially. She writes Sci-Fi Romance, so she goes around to blogs that cater to that audience.

She writes posts about lots of things. Her characters. Weird real-life things that paralleled her book. Her writing process. How her book was shaped by real life. And so on. Each blog has a unique post, and each post has a pitch for her book (and the cover) at the end.

I wouldn’t do a blog tour until you have a cover and your book is available for pre-sale. You might need to start setting up dates now though.


#3

Thank you. Not planning anything right now, just trying to understand what that actually is, as I didnt have a clue. But that makes sense. I’ll start ont he Marketing plan, so I have an idea what to do when and I need to ramp up for when the cover is available. That’s when the fun start. Right now, I’m filling out my cover requirement sheet.
That IS actually fun


#4

This might help: http://authornews.penguinrandomhouse.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-organizing-a-blog-tour/

I like this from that article:

The first step of a successful blog tour is working with your publishing team to make sure review copies will be available to the bloggers you’re contacting, whether physical copies or through NetGalley. You don’t want to reach out to bloggers and have them express interest and then be unable to provide them with a review copy shortly after.


#5

There’s usually a few blog tours going on on Twitter. I think Netgalley let you wish to participate in blog tours for a book you’ve got accepted/read/rated. Don’t really know how this works since I haven’t participated myself.


#6

Blogger here! I haven’t worked on the other side as an author, but I have worked on the side of a blogger many, many times, and I’m about to start up my own blog touring site to connect authors and bloggers.

Anyways, I love participating in tours. I know I’ve generated a few sales for authors from my posts (because people have told me they’ve bought the books). From my experience as being a host on blog tours, the tours usually take place on week to the day of publication, with stops on each of those days.

Not all posts are the same, but there is usually a general publicity package the bloggers get. Purchase links, book blurb, book cover, and about the author. From there, bloggers can choose to participate in whatever way the publisher has available, from posting an excerpt, author Q&A, reviews (so, yes, ARCs should somehow be available), and more.

Some publishers work with companies to organize their tours (Like Chapter by Chapter or Rockstar Tours, to name a few), and other publishers organize the tours on their own.

Most bloggers share their posts on social media to have a higher reach, and some also review their copies on retailers.

Here’s an example of two blog tours I was recently on, both review oriented posts. The Dysasters and Wicked Saints.


#7

Thanks @MakaylaSophia, those are great tips. :heart:


#8

Ah great link, thank you!


#9

I checked into several different tour operators: there are a lot of then out there, some quite pricey, so you really need to check them out individually to ensure you’re not wasting your money. They should have a large enough following, and so should their bloggers. Otherwise, you gain little visibility.

The one I really liked from my initial research was xpresso but they are booked out way in advance, so you need to book them accordingly early. There are a lot of different options to choose from. As others pointed out, you need to align with your publisher to ensure you can make your cover and ARC copies available (most want digital today).

Here is an overview of some of the more popular booktour operators (some are also restricted to certain genres, so that’s another consideration):

https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2014/02/greg-strandberg/

NetGalley is another good way to get reviews (I bought space through several co-ops), but a word of caution: a lot of their reviewers are extremely picky and harsh. Getting three stars is within the norm and if your publisher or co-op doesn’t check if the reviewer is a good fit, it could be worse.

With Amazon’s purchasing thresholds, it has become increasingly difficult to get Amazon reviews and a lot only show up on Goodreads which most impulsive Amazon buyers don’t check. As to other platforms like Apple and Kobo, it’s even more difficult. Note: you should establish with your publisher if you will enroll in Kindle Unlimited which will restrict your book to Amazon as only distributor but will give you money through their lending library – that’s where I make most of my money)

Of course the golden goose of newsletters is still Bookbub, but unless your publisher has connections, it’s close to impossible to get a featured deal for a debut.


#10

Ah great, thank you! This was the bit I was least clear about and unfortunately also the bit where the publisher doesn’t have a lot of input. They do say, to check with the editor, but before I do that, I need to understand what I’m doing.
I have a much better idea already thanks to all this feedback.
One thing is very clear, the input I got is very helpful, detailed and well researched but for an author without at least a partial marketing mindset, the challenge will prove rather tough. Well, not for a WP author, because of the great community, no idea how the others do it.


#11

I think you should divide your marketing plan clearly into launch activity, short-term and long-term:

Launch strategy: create pre-launch buzz through social media, maybe a cover reveal. The person with all the tips is @NataliaBritt (if she is still around), You can check into ARC reviews through NetGalley and with your beta team.

Then for the launch itself, you can check into the booktours, run ads on FB, possibly Amazon and with some of the common promotional book newsletters (if I had the money, I would book the launch package with Kerry since she had phenomenal results) and if you have embraced FB by then, host a party or live stream.

Short-term: that’s usually considered the first 30-90 days where you need to focus on ads to find new readers and try to become more visible. There is a lot of competition out there, so you need to find a way to stand out.

Long-term: ad routine, building your social media platforms (FB group, Instagram, Twitter), and building your mailing list. From time to time, special price promotions and giveaways. Later, determine how you can leverage book I to support launch of book II.

For now, I would try to learn how to set-up ads on FB and Amazon, play around with banners and ad copies (get feedback from beta readers and other authors), research how to reach your target groups with the ads and determine what your budget might be. Big thing is that you have a detailed plan broken down to weeks or even days of what you are planning to do and how much money is involved. Organization is key (and let me know if I can help you with anything).


#12

Thank you, and I will definitely take you up on your offer. Marketing or communication plans as such are no issue, have done that all my life. Just will have to be specific in a field where I do not know all the works. Well, there are tutorials out there and helpful people to answer questions, so I wasn’t all that daunted when reading the package.


#13

Eh…I don’t know much about blog tours, but if you want to gab about your book on my blog with a guest post, I’d be happy to allow it.


#14

Hi, I’ll take you up on your offer! :hugs: I still have neither a date, nor a cover, but once I do, I’ll let you know


#15

I’m still around. I’m just coming down from the release madness and diving into my next book that’s set up for summer. I think maybe it’s time we make a separate thread for self-publishing tips only since trad and self are two completely different animals.

Someone mentioned that a little while ago. If anyone wants those self-pub tips in a separate thread, let me know.

Keep in mind I’m not a pro at this. I only have one book out. :sweat_smile:


#16

I had a featured new release. I applied just for the heck of it and BB responded a couple of days later with the yes for the USA market. However, mine was a full-priced release. I do not intend to release at a lower price. What BB looks at is what retailers you are on. If you are KU, it’s much harder. I was wide release and I already had editorial reviews on BB and probably around 40 or so on Goodreads. Fewer reviews = less chances. The deal paid for itself + I made 40% or so on top of it and I had people buying on Apple and Barnes and Noble for the rest of the week. Overall it was good. I would try to do a 99 cents one when I have at least one more book out. Just want to compare the numbers.

Basically: it doesn’t hurt to try and apply. Who knows. :thinking:


#17

Blog tour. Don’t set your expectations too high if you are going to hire a PR company. However, if you are through a publisher, you should have them set that up for you. If your publisher doesn’t handle at least that, then you don’t need a publisher at all. I expect if someone takes a chunk of your royalties, they need to at least handle that for you.

Let’s say they don’t.

  1. You need to set up Instagram, Facebook, BookBub, Goodreads and Facebook fan group at the very least. I also have Twitter and Pinterest. Instagram is where you go and like stuff and chat/comment with book bloggers.

Facebook is pretty effective too.

  1. Takeovers. They are gold for new authors. Don’t over do it.

  2. If you are talking about blog tour for release blitz only and without ARC reviews, it can be easier.

  3. Find your bloggers/readers. Go on Goodreads, find books similar to yours, scan all the bloggers, check their sites, see if they are accepting any requests and who they are. Email.

Downside. There is no shortcut. It will be a lot of researching, typing, emailing, and very little response. I did blog tour via PR and I hassled myself. I had a little street team too and I out of 50 blogs I contacted myself, I got 2 nos and 1 yes to review. When I realized, this wasn’t going to move anywhere, I stopped emailing. I did tons of giveaway instead and asked the winners to leave me a review. It all snowballed and people pulled in.

The honest truth: it’s time-consuming, nerve-wracking, it eats your sanity. You’re going to freak out at 4 and 3 star reviews and will no eat for a week if you get a troll leaving 2 stars (I’ve got Harry Potter fans giving me lowe ratings, haha. I write realistic fiction and contemporary romance. Young Adults or safe readers are not my target market)

BUT! I’m making some money. It’s not a lot, but I seel books every day.

Someone likes my scribbles.

Done with one, move on to the second one and keep at it. Don’t spend much on advertising until you have 3 books out.

Any questions just hit me up. :hugs:

P.S. I like the marketing side. I do my own graphics too. I don’t mind social media. It’s not for everyone, but it’s all doable.

Good luck.


#18

This is cool. But what does it even mean?


#19

Thanks, some excellent points in there that match my - what? Expectations, suspicions etc? Indie presses don’t do too much in terms of blog tours. I got the marketing baseline, but I still need to discuss with them. I had only a very fuzzy understanding of blog tours, that’s why I had to ask.
Will ask the same about podcasts soon, that too is fuzzy.


#20

It’s when you take over another author’s profile on FB to engage with their followers.