What is a blog tour and are they effective?
A blog tour is a new age alternative to a traditional book tour, taking place over a set amount of time, usually a week or two. During the tour your title will be sent out to bloggers to read and review across various websites and blogs. The book will be featured on a different blog over a number of days. Each blogger will produce their own individual piece about the book; it could be a review, an interview, a guest post written by the author, an extract from the book or a competition. This can be confused with a “blog blitz,” which features various blogs all posting the exact same content at the same time.
A blog tour should consist of original content, with a focus on higher trafficked sites. Bloggers tend to be active on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram to share their articles, which means your book will be much more visible on social media during your blog tour.
The sort of books typically receiving the best responses are genre fiction and YA novels because their readers tend to be more active online. The romance community, in particular, focuses heavily on online publicity, as there aren’t many traditional outlets - print or digital - that cover a wide variety of romance subgenres.
If authors think about blog tours as a way to sell books, they’ll end up very disappointed. You’ll likely sell a few copies, but blog tours are more about exposure. The more people exposed to your book, the more likely you’ll sell titles moving forward. It’s about building momentum and an online presence. Furthermore, a blog tour is also a great option for authors who want to avoid travelling to bookstores or are uncomfortable with public speaking.
Interestingly, one may assume that bloggers are told that they must only post four and five-star reviews during a blog tour; however @annecater of Random Things claims “Whilst of course, higher starred reviews are favourable, constructive critical reviews are welcomed too.” Moreover, blog tours are not exclusive to new releases, there are many examples of tours being organised for books that have been published for a while. There are many reasons for this; the book may be re-packaged with a new cover, or published by a different publisher. The author may have had some success with a more recent book and would like to draw attention to their back catalogue.
We have a very exciting example of a blog tour coming by author Christina James. The tour starts on 17th November 2022 and run through to 30th November (see details below).
Tricks to make blog tours more effective
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.
Blogs love exclusive content. If you’re interested in providing guest posts, interviews, exclusive excerpts, personal essays, content, images, and so forth, tell your publicist.
Authors may go about finding bloggers to host their blog by navigating through the swathes of bloggers looking for their next great read, or alternatively by asking their publicist or fellow authors for recommendations on blogs they have featured on themselves. Also, an author may opt to use a service which puts you in touch with hundreds of bloggers relevant to your genre by sending out your book blurb to see who’s interested in providing a review for you, ensuring the best quality review
Timing is crucial! Reaching out six weeks prior to publication has proven effective. It’s ideal for blogs to cover a book right around its publication date, specifically the week before and the week after publication, to generate buzz.
An author may offer a giveaway to go along with the post. It’s not required, but bloggers love being able to offer prizes to their audience, and it increases their traffic
It seems there is a minimum expected takeaway of a blog tour; if the standard well regarded blogger has minimum 10,000 subscribers, of which at least 20% view the blog, multiply that by the number of bloggers participating on your tour and you will find a substantial audience has been reached.
For an author it is an incredibly cheap (often free of charge) way of getting exposure for your title, you hardly need to lift a finger to put it into action!