A little about blog tours

As most of you know, we just finished up our Story Empire – Something Wicked, blog tour. This was a massive effort on our part, and many of you came along for the ride. Whether you followed in part, or made the whole route, we’re eternally grateful.

What some of you don’t know, is I made it a part of a longer tour for my story, Viral Blues. I published this one on Friday the 13th of September, for some extra juju. It has a Halloween theme, after all. Since that time, I’ve been all over the blog world with it.

Blog tours have always been a good sales tool for me, and this time was no different. I changed it up a bit, because I’m constantly experimenting. Normally, I wind up hitting two blogs per day for around two weeks. This generally works pretty well, but leaves my brain in recovery mode for months. This time I tried to hit one or two blogs per week and draw it out. The concentrated focus was for the Something Wicked tour, right before Halloween.

My results were… questionable. I found no more, or less, success than other tours I’ve conducted. If I experiment again, maybe I’ll spread even farther. Maybe a couple of stops per month for several months. That idea is still fermenting.

Like a good guest, I tried to return to all the posts and participate in the comment threads. I do this for three days in hopes of communicating with everyone. When I go back, I also use the sharing buttons again. Twitter will let you recycle from the site every day.

Hint: If you want to tweet more than that, you have to change the tweet in some way. I tag on my Twitter handle, both before and after the host’s. That gives me three different times I can share it per day. The original, me + them, them + me.

I also hosted multiple authors during my tour. October is a good time for book releases. When I host, I share the post to all my social media locations. Again, the twitter trick works by adding on the guest’s handle.

Hosting is a good way to grow your blog followers. Generally, a guest post is interesting, and interesting content is what it’s all about. Interaction is also paramount. A simple exchange of words can get people to follow you.

Make it easy for people to leave comments and share your posts. This helps both you, and your potential guest. There are multiple blogging platforms, but WordPress seems to be the most popular. Dig deep down into the innards of your site and make it simple for people to participate.

I’ve been to sites where I have to log in and enter my email address before commenting. As a guest, you can bet I’m going to do it. As a casual reader – not so much. I’ve even been to sites where I have to solve a Captcha before I can comment. I’m just not going to dedicate time to identifying highway signs. I’ll bet many of you feel the same way.

All of this stuff is changeable at your site. Askismet is great at catching spam, so let it do its job. I’ve only had one slip past, and it was easily deleted. I’ve been blogging for years, so the odds are pretty slim. The increase in communication is well worth the risk. It also makes things easier for my guests. Happy guests have a way of becoming hosts one day. I intend to keep writing books and am always looking for someplace new to spread the word. By making my space available, and a good experience, maybe those people will be there for me one day. That’s how it’s worked in the past.

I’ve rambled on for a while now, so a summation is in order:

Blog tours are great. They spread the word, they sell books, and are a good way to make new friends.

Being a guest involves a certain amount of participation. It’s your post, so this ought to be obvious. You’ll meet new people, maybe your next fan. Be nice to them.

Hosting is also great. Opening your site up gives you a break from having to come up with a post on occasion. Welcoming in your fellow authors gives them a place to promote, and God knows there aren’t enough free options available. You might also be grooming the future generation of hosts the next time you need to step out with a new publication.

In the spirit of interaction, let’s have some here today. What do you think about blog tours? Would you consider opening up your site to guests? Is there a specific reason you want people to log in before commenting on your site?

54 thoughts on “A little about blog tours

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed the “Something Wicked” blog tour with you guys. Each post was different and fun! You’ve made some great points about commenting here. When I have a guest or I am promoting someone, I think it’s rude for them not to take time to respond to people’s comments. I’ve had some people who would just go in one time and say, “Thank you, everyone, for your comments.” Sorry, but that’s not engaging. I agree with sites that require you to jump through hoops to leave a comment. I usually move in. Thanks for sharing, Craig!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have never done a blog tour, Craig, although I have plans to do so next year. I also have plans for an audiobook. I write posts for certain lovely bloggers like you who are happy to help share and promote. I agree they do work well which is why I am planning the tour.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m not sure how many sales I make on a blog tour, but I do notice my KU pages read have climbed across the board with all of my books, so that’s a win! I’m terrible at asking for help, so I generally go with a tour company, which has the added benefit of introducing me to many new bloggers (and their readers).
    I love guest hosting and try to stick to one or two posts a day. You can contact me via my blog and we’ll set something up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I enjoy tours both as host and when writers I know are on them. I too do a three-day watch so that comments are taken care of and answered. I don’t necessarily like to be in a second-tier status, in other words, be an afterthought of an author who thinks other blogs have better followings. I have started to turn those requests down. There is no reason my readers need to hear old news from me. Good post, Craig.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I think blog tours are a great tool for authors (even if I don’t use the option as much as I possibly should). As for commenting: I try and make my commenting options as user-friendly as possible, but am limited with how Blogger works. I do enable all the options it will let me though, in hopes one of them will work for whoever is trying to comment.

    Since my best blog traffic happens when pet themed posts appear on my blog, I started offering the option for authors and bloggers to have their pets interviewed on my blog this year. In fact, your Frankie was my first guest, as you may remember, Craig. I plan to continue making that offer. Anyone who sees this comment is welcome to pop over to my blog and figure out how they can be part of that.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’ve done a few different types of blog tours, both paid and on my own. Kensington did one for two weeks where they offered only the same three contents over and over, and the more repetition, the less anyone bothered with the posts. Offering fresh content brought more readers, but that’s a lot of work (as you know). I’ve been a total slacker for my Muddy River series and just slapped the poor things up with only one paid advertisement each for the first three on Booksy, and it shows. If you want people to find your work, you have to let them know it’s out there. My best results were when I did two blogs a day for 6 or 7 days. When I spread them out, I got fewer results the longer the tour went. But it’s all a crap shoot. What works one time doesn’t always ;work the next time you give it a go.I enjoyed the StoryEmpire week long tours, but I have to say, it was a lot of work for the READERS to try to read and comment on three to five posts a day. It took a bit of time.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fair point about the readers. Success is kind of a moving target, and what worked last winter isn’t guaranteed to perform the same this winter. We have to be “out there” but where is that sweet spot? I always had more success with fresh content posts than the cover and blurb kind, so I’ll try to stick with that.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Good post, Craig. Blog tours can be both satisfying and exhausting. I tend to think spacing out the guest posts over a period of several weeks works best. The interactions on our blogs last week seem to slow down toward the end.

    On that note, I post book reviews on Tuesdays, but it’s also a date that is open to guest bloggers on my site. I’m happy to help promote others. I can also accomodate people on Thursdays.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Interesting post, Craig, and while I’ve never done a “full” blog tour, I’ve visited with other bloggers from time to time and benefited from it each time. Online marketing is not one of my strong points, though I do very well with local events and talks. I’m hoping to improve my online efforts with my newest book, which I should be releasing in a few weeks. (I have a local Book Release Open House planned at one of my favorite venues on Jan 11, so I BETTER have this one out by then. Otherwise–awkward!)

    I’m wondering if a much shorter “tour” (mini-tour?) would still be worth the effort. In the past, I’ve only made official visits to 2 or 3 blogs, but I’m thinking for this one, I’d like to visit maybe 8 or 10. What are your thoughts on that?

    As for guests on my own blog, I’m very happy to share promos, new releases, cover reveals and the like on The Write Stuff. I normally (been a wee bit under the weather for the last 3 weeks) run #ShareAReviewDay every Tuesday, wherein folks are encouraged to send me their latest or favorite reviews (full instructions on my page), and in the past, I’ve run #ExcerptWeek several times a year. Participation from my fellow writers is definitely encouraged, and if I’m not inundated with requests, writers can share more than one excerpt during the week. Same basic rules as for #ShareAReviewDay, but only with (surprise!) excerpts. 😀 (I’m hoping you’ll soon be a guest in any capacity that suits you, though I might need another week or so to recover from my fall. Apparently concussions can cause residual issues for up to SIX WEEKS! Who knew?)

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, and especially for reminding folks they should respond to comments when they are guests on someone’s blog. I’m always surprised when now and then, I have a guest that doesn’t bother. What a negative message to potential new readers. Meanwhile, continued success with your latest book. It’s on my TBR pile, but I want to read The Hat, etc, first, so I’ll recognize all the players. 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think you might benefit from a bit longer tour. When you feel better send me something and I will gladly host it for you. I have a new book coming this weekend or thereabouts. I’ll be sure to add you to the list. I’d like to hit fresh places with this book, so as to not wear out my welcome at my usual haunts.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think I’d have to do it a blog or two at a time, but I could certainly extend it longer, I think. As for you, let me know what you want and when, and we’ll set it up. I’m flexible as long as I have everything I need to assemble the post. 🙂 Thanks, Craig.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve used touring companies for blog tours and have also organized my own. In both case the results have varied, sometimes I get good results and other times it’s kind of so-so. But I do think tours are a good way to get the word out about new releases and I enjoy interacting with others in the comments.

    My blog is always open on Thursdays for guest promos. In the past I would promote anyone who asked. Now I prefer to have some type of interaction with that person first. I like to know the people I’m promoting, but I am always meeting new people by connecting through blogging. I like those more personal connections.

    Liked by 4 people

    • That’s part of the beauty. The host gets fresh traffic out of the deal, and some of those hit the follow button. My silly interview series grew my blog by leaps and bounds, and it’s different enough to stand out along a tour.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Okay, so I’ve gone in and have removed all login requirements for comments, so we’ll see what happens, lol. I’m not sure if that means you have to login with your WP username or can just hit the ‘comment’ button. I’m off to write a brief post to get feedback, lol. Thanks, Craig 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  11. My site is one where you have to log in, and I don’t know how to get around that. I’ll have to do some Googling and dedicate some time (lol, what’s that?) to getting that sorted out. It does cut the spam right back, though.
    My blog is always open to other authors. In fact, I love hosting. As with Jessica, my audience is pretty limited, and that hasn’t changed from when I was a regular poster to now when I post little. It’s an interesting one. I have heard that self hosting isn’t as good as the free hosting because WP will promote your site for you if you’re on the free? Mmm
    I’ve tried both the drawn out and the condensed tours, and on the whole, I think the condensed get the better results, although that way is exhausting (but fun!).

    Thanks for an interesting post, Craig 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Didn’t mean to nudge anyone in particular, but if you get it sorted you might get more comments. I don’t shy away from smaller blogs. Sometimes I make more sales on them, because the audience is fresh. Maybe it’s getting outside the USA, but you saw the places I visited and we all tend to follow each other. That’s how tour fatigue sets in with some followers. In a perfect world we would reach new people on every stop.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Blog tours have always been a big promo tool, but I have found it difficult to find volunteers at times. I’ve done some where it’s the same post for every visit and others where it’s a unique one each time. Depends on how much time I can put into it on my end. Never drew it out for more than a month and a half though because I didn’t want it to get overexposed. Still, it could probably work if you aren’t showing up daily.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. My own blog tour has just finished. I am both exhausted and elated, but it has been worth every frayed nerve! I am still learning all the finer points of marketing, but the good part about blogging, is there are so many helpful people out there. If you need anything, all you have to do is ask!
    And BTW, our door is always open to return the favour!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I usually visit some smaller blogs on each tour. Many times they involve a whole different group of people than the circle I run in. The goal is to reach those people, because the writing crowd is usually aware after one post. Hosting is also a good way to boost your blog numbers.

      Liked by 2 people

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