The Ins and Outs of Blog Tours…Are They Worth The Effort?

39416633_sBlog tours can be extremely time consuming … time that we, as writers, could be using in more creative ways. Still, a well-organized tour can reap some distinct benefits if properly managed.

There are two types of blog tours. Those run by a tour company and those you put together yourself. Both require input and that pesky, aforementioned, organization. I’ve done both types on a number of occasions and I have to say, I am pro-tour company. Despite the cost, the hours of hands-on preparation required of a self-made tour also comes at a price.

Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of both types.

The Self-Driven Tour

This type takes the most time and effort on the part of the author. You make contact with the bloggers, either through previous experience or by putting out feelers among your many followers, FB friends and Yahoo groups. If you’re lucky, you can schedule a solid two weeks of posts around your release date. Depending on the blogger’s request, you can do anything from a character interview, to a guest post, to a simple spotlight. There is no initial cash outlay. And, if you want to, you can arrange your own Rafflecopter draw and offer a second draw for those who host your tour.

On tour days, you will need to promote your tour via social media, as well as monitor each the site for comments and respond.

36752572_sPros: Author control of the site with whom you blog, minimal cash outlay. Tour can start and stop at your convenience.

Cons: Extreme amount of time required to organize. Follow up, if required, also takes additional time and effort. Graphics (e.g., tour banner) and media kit are the author’s responsibility.

The Company Tour

This type of tour requires an upfront cash outlay ranging anywhere from $50 to $150 depending on the type of tour you select. Once you’ve selected your tour type and filled out the online paperwork, you will receive a confirmation (usually in the form of a bill for services). The moment the bill is paid, the tour company will go to work. They put your tour up on their list and their affiliate bloggers can either sign up or pass, depending on the details of your book (e.g., genre, heat level). The tour company will give you a minimum guarantee but, most often, you will easily exceed the minimum number of stops.

The blog post types are determined by the type of tour you’ve chosen. If you elect a “spotlight-only” tour, you’ll not need to do anything other than provide a general media kit (most of which you’ve already supplied when signing up for the tour). There are also excerpt tours, review tours, and full-on variety tours. With the variety tour, the blog host will give you options of an interview, character interview, guest post or spotlight.

The tour company will provide you with a tour banner/graphics to use in promoting your tour. Once the tour starts, they will also follow-up on any issues (e.g., missing posts). They will also organize a Rafflecopter draw for you, although you will be responsible to provide the prize.

On tour days, you will need to promote your tour via social media, as well as monitor each the site for comments and respond.

39257925_sPros: Bloggers are found for you. Graphics supplied. Additional social media presence. Less amount of time taken from writing.

Cons: Initial cash outlay. No control over sites chosen. Depending on lead time required, tour may not start on the day of release.

Tour Results

I just recently completed a Book-Blast tour, a one-day, 25-stop spotlight. I booked the tour through a company and, other than the twenty minutes it took me to complete the form, my time was my own until the day of the tour. At that point … I became a slave to social media! As hectic as the tour was, I can honestly say it made a distinct difference in my sales rank (at least on Amazon). My book landed at its highest in the mid-20K range overall, and in the top 100 for its specific genre. I was very pleased.

I also gained 42 new Facebook followers and 52 new Twitter followers. And, because I was running another Rafflecopter draw on my blog for a different book, I was able to direct all my new followers there. The entries on that draw doubled within an hour of my note on Facebook.

I have an upcoming Review tour in a couple of weeks. I’ve never done one of these, so I am a bit anxious to see how it works and whether or not it results in a bump in sales. I will report back on the results in a future post.

Obviously, the choice to tour or not tour, self-drive or hire a tour company rests with the author. I’m a firm believer in conserving my writing time whenever possible so I opt to hire someone to do the leg work.

I would be happy to answer any specific questions you may have related to tours, either in the comments below or via email at romwriter96@gmail.com. If you send an email, please put “tour info” in the ‘regarding’ line.

Addendum: After receiving a number of email, I realized there was an important bit of insight I’d not added and that was which books work best for which tours. So, here goes:

Historical romance: These books do best with the type of tour where you can do guest posts. With a guest post you can share insight into your research and use your knowledge to impress/gain new readers.

Erotic romance: The Book Blast tour is the perfect place for an erotic romance. A book blast allows you to reach a lot of specific genre readers in a short period of time. Plus, you are encouraged to post an excerpt that hints at the higher level of sexy! A spotlight would work well for this genre as well and, rather than a one-day free for all, the tour would spread over a week or two.

Contemporary romance: These books hold no secrets. Research is minimal, level of heat can range from non-existent to hot (but not explicit enough to be called erotic). These books fare best with the either a spotlight or a standard variety-type tour, depending on how much work you want to put into the planning process.

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About Nancy Fraser

Like most authors, Nancy began writing at an early age, usually on the walls and with crayons or, heaven forbid, permanent markers. Her love of writing often made her the English teacher’s pet, which, of course, resulted in a whole lot of teasing. Still, it was worth it. When not writing (which is almost never), Nancy dotes on her five beautiful grandchildren and looks forward to traveling and reading when time permits. Nancy lives in Atlantic Canada where she enjoys the relaxed pace and colorful people.
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8 Responses to The Ins and Outs of Blog Tours…Are They Worth The Effort?

  1. Enjoyed your post very much as I am in the middle of one tour and just finished another. All tour companies are not alike.

    • Nancy Fraser says:

      That is so true, Petie. I’ve worked with a few of them and have a handful of horror stories as well. I had one stop on a publisher-sponsored tour where the blogger edited my post almost to the point I didn’t recognize it. She wanted it to fit in with the clip art she wanted to use.

  2. Karen Rossi says:

    This is great info, Nancy! Thank you so much for shedding light on the mysteries of blog tours. Particularly helpful is the comparison between tour companies and self conducted tours.

  3. This is great information. I had never heard of a blog tour, so your post was very enlightening!

    • Nancy Fraser says:

      Thank you. If you’d like to see how one works, check out my personal blog page at http://nancyfraser.ca/wordpress/?p=946 You can click on any of the 25 links and it will take you to that part of the tour. Basically, the information is the same on all the stops, except the excerpt changes every few blogs.

  4. Very informative. It certainly sounds like a well connected professional tour is worth the money.

    • Nancy Fraser says:

      Carole, yes they are very much worth the price. Between our writing, family and other obligations, we writers have so little time. Any kind of help we can purchase relatively inexpensively is good.

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