A book blog tour “allows authors to professionally promote their work without rearranging their schedule. Each tour stop enables authors to gain new readers and social media fans while reaching a worldwide audience.” (from Sage’s Blog Tours)
Book blog tours work for both authors and bloggers, albeit for different reasons. It gives bloggers, at a minimum, a topic/reason to post for a particular day. (This can be handy, especially if the creative well is bone dry.) It also introduces us to books (especially from indie authors) that we might not have come across otherwise. It does not, however, increase our page views or anything like that (at least not if the site is a daily poster as-is.)
There are some cons to participating in book blog tours, though. They can be seen as ‘filler content’. (I address that in the next paragraph.) Most blog tour companies seem to require ‘top post’ for the material, which means you cannot post anything else for the entire day. While it’s easy to understand why tour companies request this, it’s still difficult to give up various posting slots solely to book promotion. And you run the risk of having your site not stand out to potential new readers because they may have already seen the content somewhere else.
Sci-Fi & Scary is signed up with a few virtual book tours with blog tour companies, but we really only actively accept requests from one. That being Sage’s Blog Tours. There are several reasons for this but, in essence, it’s because the way Sage does her tours works out well for us. She works with content that most other book tour companies don’t seem to touch (science fiction and horror of the non-YA variety). Also, other than the graphics, we’re not given cut-and-paste material to use for interviews or prepared guest posts from the authors. (This isn’t an across the board thing with all other blog tour companies, just something I’ve noticed more from several.) Instead, we have a lot more control – we write our own interview questions, we have our own guidelines for guest posts, etc. There has been one case where I (Lilyn) received a guest post and got back in touch with Sage saying “I can’t accept this.” Within the day, I had something that I was willing to put up on Sci-Fi & Scary instead. That means a lot. Also, Sage doesn’t require ‘top post’ (although she mostly does get it from us.)
But I’ve always kind of wondered exactly how much work goes into doing a book blog tour. So, when I saw the issue raised on a forum about an author feeling ‘scammed’ because they hadn’t made any sales from the book tour that they had paid for, I went to Sage and asked her how things worked. She laid everything out for me in a post that I could share with everyone.
(I apologize for the rather lengthy introduction. I meant to do a separate discussion piece, but never found the time.)
So here you have it, straight from Sage’s mouth: Doing a Book Blog Tour from Start to Finish
Doing a Book Blog Tour from the Organizer’s Perspective
Since 2012, I have been coordinating blog tours through my online business, Sage’s Blog Tours. In that time, I have created a smooth system that I use to plan blog tours for authors. I can personalize this system to work best for each author and their blog tour. Below are the general steps:
1.) Get to know the book – You can’t plan a blog tour for a book without knowing at least the basics. I request materials from the author, and I use this information to figure out the book’s target audience. This allows me to choose bloggers who would be best suited to participate in the blog tour. The more informative I can be for potential bloggers, the better.
2.) Organize materials – I create media kits for each author using the information they send me and set up a feature page on the Sage’s Blog Tours’ website. While I do this, my graphic designer begins creating a custom tour banner for the author.
3.) Reach out to bloggers – I have built a large database of book bloggers over the past five years, so for each blog tour, I contact the book bloggers who are interested in the genre that the author is promoting. This way I know the author is reaching their preferred audience. If not, the blog tour wouldn’t be as beneficial for them.
4.) Set up a schedule – I create a tour schedule and keep it updated with the book bloggers who have signed up to participate in the blog tour. Once the tour is filled, I share this tour schedule with the author so they can follow along, as well as keep it updated on their feature page located on my website.
5.) Follow the tour – I make sure to follow along with the tour, so I can check to see if each blogger posted their feature and that the information posted is correct. I also share every stop on tour with the author, and on all of our social media pages – Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
6.) After the tour – The tour is over, but my work isn’t done! I contact each blogger who hosted a review during the tour to ask if they would share their review on Amazon and Goodreads. If there was a giveaway, I collect the winner’s info and send it to the author or distribute the prize if the author has asked me to do so.
A successful blog tour happens with the partnership of the tour coordinator, the author, and the bloggers. When all of those above are on the same page and have good communication, the blog tour is sure to be an excellent experience!
Sage’s Blog Tours “is a full-service publicity company that works with authors of all genres. We offer services to help promote your work in an affordable, fun, and successful way. Sage’s Blog Tours schedules blog tours with reviews of your work, interviews, and guests posts.
Our in-house graphic designer is exceptional at designing promotional tools for your online tour and in-person events. ”
It’s important to note, also, that Sage very clearly states in her FAQs about Book Blog Tours that sales are not guaranteed, and authors do need to be an active participant in promoting the tour stops as well.
Find Sage on Twitter: @SagesBlogTours