Organising A Book Blog Tour - Alice Jolly

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.


JO said…
Do let us know how you get on - I lost the will to live when I tried to do this, and gave up. I'd far rather carry on writing stuff I love than all that marketing. It will be interesting to see if you feel it's worth the effort.
Mari Biella said…
The blog tour is yet another of those things I've never even got round to trying, Alice! Let us know how it goes.
Lydia Bennet said…
I did a kind of blog tour with my last crime novel and I think it did help to get it noticed and mentioned. What else can you do to publicise an ebook? I do live readings and signings for my paper books. Tweeting doesn't do anything for sales in my experience. Facebook has to be used carefully or people get fed up with those who constantly go on about their books. Now there are so many blogs, it's harder to get audiences for them, but still worth a go - you are making some interesting contacts with the book bloggers!
My publisher employed a freelance PR to organise a blog tour for my King Arthur's daughter series. The tour was a mixture of guest posts written by me, reviews (by the bloggers) and email interviews. The guest posts were the most time consuming, as these meant writing new material for each blog. The interviews were quite fun and took less time. The reviews were great and required little input from me since the publisher offered freebie review copies.

I gather mine was quite a small tour compared to some, but it still took a considerable chunk of my writing time/energy and a fair amount of organising (most of which my publisher handled). I don't know how effective it was in terms of sales, but the book's rankings definitely improved while the tour was happening.

Good luck with yours, if you do one. It's all visibility.
Umberto Tosi said…
I've guest blogged here and there - but not in the focused way of a "blog tour." I reached out to several bloggers last spring offering to write guest posts and/or give interviews about my literary historical novel, "Ophelia Rising." I offered them review copies as well, plus welcoming them to guest write at my blogs, if they liked.

Although each recipient seemed a good fit for my Ophelia novel, none of them even responded to my emails. Frankly, I thought it arrogant and rude of them not to even to drop me a one-line refusal if they weren't interested. It set me thinking what I may have done wrong in selecting and approaching them.

Although I chose bloggers I liked, I can't imagine any of them would be that swamped that they could not extend common professional courtesy to a fellow writer. In any event, your blog has heartened me to try again, Alice.

Like yourself, I'm still green when it comes to this phenomenon. I also noticed the paucity of literary blogs suitable to my work. I'll very be interested in hearing how you fare and if you have any tips. Thank you.
Fran B said…
It sounds extremely time-consuming. I'm trying to allocate a chunk of time each week to 'marketing'(and NO MORE than that) and a chunk to writing (more is permitted if the time is available).

One could easily do nothing but marketing (and eventually run out of things to sell?): there is an infinity of possibilities within social media outlets - and that's before I move out of my chair. It has to be contained. Down, boy!

Evaluating the effectiveness of marketing is another whole area that probably needs its own time-chunk and more skill and dedication that I currently (or will ever) possess.

And all I want to do is WRITE.
Alice said…
Thanks so much for the very interesting comments. I have just had a week away and time to do some real thinking. And my conclusion is the same as some others here. I just want to write. So I will put a little time into this but not much. I've promised myself to identify the best opportunities and prioritise them. And perhaps do one small publicity thing a day. Maybe just sending one e-mail. But not more. It is like a swamp in which you could easily drown. And I do think the jury is still out on whether any of this actually sells any books ....

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