Until three weeks ago I had never heard of a book blog tour. I had also never looked at many book blogs. When I was raising the funding for my memoir 'Dead Babies And Seaside Towns' I had some great support from book blogger Isabel Costello at The Literary Sofa. I was also asked to write for various book blogs. But still the whole world of book blogs remained a bit of a mystery to me.
Then I realised that authors now often have a book blog tour and so I thought - why shouldn't I do that as well? It turns out that basically a book blog tour is a schedule of 'visits' which a book / author makes to a number of blogs. It is rather like the traditional book tour but instead of going to physical bookshops you are 'visiting' blogs. These visits might involve a review, an author interview, books being given away or an author Q & A / interview.
I asked a number of writer friends for advice. I soon realised that the problem for me is that not many book bloggers are interested in literary books. Hundreds focus on romantic novels or crime but most are interested in my kind of book. Not discouraged, I continued with my research. I looked at many blogs - taking note of how many people read those blogs, the kind of books they cover, the quality of the reviews etc. By this process I identified a handful of blogs which looked possible and began to get in touch with those bloggers.
So far the response has not been that good. However, the few people who have contacted me have been so full of warmth and enthusiasm that I already feel that the work I have put in so far has been more than repaid. You've got to love the world of book bloggers. Isn't it wonderful that people spend so much unpaid time supporting the world of writers and readers? Such enthusiasm is heart warming.
But I realise that I do need to take care with all this. What exactly is the value of a book blog tour? Or even a one off review on a book blog? The truth is that it is very hard to know. Is anyone reading all these blogs? Many of them are followed by several thousand people but do those people actually read any of the posts? And even if they do, will reading about my book on a blog encourage people to buy it?
The answer is, of course, that I don't know. I also need to look carefully at issues of time management. Is it better to spend time writing an unpaid blog post or should I just get on with writing my new book? All writers, I know, are facing these same problems. And these problems are not new. However, the internet has created hundreds of new marketing possibilities whose value can be hard to judge.
As always, I suppose that it is all a question of balance. And also of experimentation. I'm spending time now on trying to organise my book blog tour but I will be evaluating the process as I go and working out whether this is something I should do again. If others have experience of book blog tours, advice, or recommendations of bloggers I should approach, then do let me know.