So just what is a blog tour? Got this snippet at http://atomrbookblogtours.com/what-is-a-book-blog-tour/
A book blog tour is a virtual tour to help an author promote their book without traveling. It’s the same concept as going to a store or event signings but instead of physical places, the author is going from blog to blog during the time frame of the tour. It’s just one form of PR that reaches all the readers/followers of the blogs who participate in the tour. Tour “stops” will be a combination of reviews and guest/promotional posts that make the tour interesting and hopefully encourage readers to buy/read the book.
There is also typically a tour giveaway that help draw readers to participate.
So with a couple of new releases, I decided instead of spending days and days sending out emails to blogs looking for spotlights/reviews (a tedious task that garners few results, most higher-traffic blogs are backlogged with requests) I would try blog tours again.
I picked three.
First up, NK Author Services for His Wicked Celtic Kiss
They offered half-price off tours to all Ellora's Cave authors for their non-EC books in support (nice idea).
So after I paid, I never heard from this tour company again. Did not receive schedule of stops or of who was even doing reviews on the book. No promo material or banners sent to me, I went to their Facebook page, no mention of my tour. At the blog Ebooks Galore, I did find a brief mention of my tour, (with missing graphics) but again, no schedule.
Did every scheduled stop post your material? ~ Finally sent an email and got a list of the stops. (Family emergency, understandable for the delay) Graphics were missing from many of the posts, I sent an email, told they were looking into it (hacked). Buy links, which I sent separately, were also missing from posts.
So out of 12 stops on the tour, 11 posted the material (such as it was) and 10 did reviews, though some had no ratings. Actually, not a bad turn out at all, but some of the posts were cut and paste jobs, with missing graphics and buy links- not a proper media/blog tour post you would expect.
Reviews posted at Amazon? So out of the 10 reviews done, 4 were posted at Amazon.
Did the blog tour company re-tweet or tweet your stops?—No, not that I saw, and only a few of the blogs did. A couple of postings at Facebook.
Would you use this service again? I don't think so. Even though most blogs posted, I was not completely satisfied with the quality of the posts as mentioned above. Also, not much communication, very little promo. But ultimately, this was very cheap, so what did I expect? However, since I do expect a little more for from a blog tour, (regardless of price) I'll be looking elsewhere for a tour in future.
Next: Love Bites and Silks for Wild Pitch
Disclosure: I am a blog tour host for this company. Never rec'd any items late, they are always on time sending out the promo materials for all the tours.
At least this tour company kept in contact after Gayl Taylor (the co-writer) and I paid. Information was laid out about how many stops, communication regarding giveaways and links helpful. They made a banner and a promo teaser to include with the media kit.
Only glitch was regarding review copies, (not the blog tours fault) but was quickly taken care off. Was sent a full schedule in plenty of time before the tour started.
Did every scheduled stop post your material? No. Out of 16 blog stops, 15 posted the material. Very good turn out though. Out of the 7 who said they would do a review, 5 actually did.
Was any reviews posted at Amazon? Out of 5 reviews done, 2 were posted at Amazon
Did the blog tour company re-tweet or tweet your blog stops?—Yes, and post on facebook, tagging us so we were aware of it. And Pinterest and Google Plus. Very good spread across social media. Also a lot of the blog tour hosts also promoted.
Would you use this service again? Yes. I definitely got my money's worth.
Next: Tasty Book Tours for His Wicked Celtic Kiss
Disclosure: I am a tour host for this company. Professional, open communication with newsletters and a Facebook group for the hosts. Lisa, who also owns Tasty, leaves a comment on every blog post, meaning she checks to see if they were posted.
They are extremely busy and the nearest tour I could book was in Feb 12-14 A book blast, more expensive than the previous two put together, but a much wider reach. It has been posted for bloggers to sign up, and outside of the book blasters, there are not many takers so far. Will see how this plays out. Check it out here, if you wish to sign up to review and host: CLICK HERE
I will do a follow-up and let you know how it went.
A few things you should know about a blog tour, the main function in my mind is to get your name out there to readers and bloggers who may not have heard of you before. You may sell a few books along the way, but not many, so don't expect it. Tours are for exposure. And hopefully a few reviews. A giveaway is a must, and don't do a giveaway on the book you are touring with. You want to get people interested enough to buy it.
Becoming a blog tour host may be a good idea if the tour company in question offers incentives to authors who become tour hosts (Love Bite and Silks does, so does Tasty Book Tours, either extra stops at no cost or a % off a tour)
Beware of deep discounts. You often get what you paid for. Big time. Lesson learned for me.
So, am I sold on book tours? Depends. My advice? I don't think it would pay for itself to do this with every release. Pick and choose. Depends what you want. Me? I wanted reviews and I wanted them posted at the almighty Amazon. Not an easy thing to get as not all bloggers post reviews on Amazon (and some with good reason) Thanks to those who did post their reviews at Amazon and other vendors. Appreciated!
I had a bit of royalty $$ in reserve to buy these tours. Not every author does. The bigger companies can charge over $100 dollars or more for a tour. Already you are starting out in the red if the book is your first release. Do your research, decide what you want out of the tour before booking. Remember you are dealing with humans and mistakes and glitches and miscommunication can happen. Good luck.