MKTG #14 – Book Blog Tours

Hello, SE’ers! It’s Jan again here to talk about another marketing tool. And it’s one I think most all of you are very familiar with.

Image courtesy Pixabay

First the question.

Are blog tours worth the effort?

I think the answer to that question will be as varied as the people answering, so I will throw out my answer.

With several successful blog tours under my belt, I say a resounding YES!

I’ve learned some things along the way that help make the tour more interesting for the readers, and more manageable for the author. Those tips are what I will share with you today.

  • Content – We’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it, Content is King. If every stop on your book blog tour is the same, it’s boring with a capital B! So each post needs to be unique, entertaining, and engaging.
  • Variety of Hosts – This one is as important as any. We all circulate in pretty much the same blog circles, so once we’ve seen a post, we’ve seen it. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy seeing new content in the same circles, but to expand the outreach (which, after all, is the goal), you need to reach outside your circle.
  • Short is best – This is something I’ve preached before and it comes from my own busy world. When I see a long blog post, I skim over it at best, and often, depending on the time crunch, pass it on by completely. For the simple reason that we are all super busy, short blog posts are better received than longer ones. (no more than 600-700 words)
  • Spread the posts out over a period of time – I had to learn this the hard way. With my first big tour, I did back-to-back posts seven days a week and I had a total of 32 posts. Needless to say, I was totally wrung out and exhausted by the end of that tour, so it was a hard lesson learned. My suggestion is that you do no more than three or four posts per week. Studies have shown the optimal days for blogging are Tues – Thurs. Weekends get the least amount of traffic as a lot of folks disconnect from SM on the weekends.
  • Include short excerpts in your posts – I enjoy sharing short snippets from the book that’s on tour and readers seem to enjoy them. It may take just one short excerpt to make a sale.
  • ALWAYS ALWAYS – include purchase links in your post. Don’t make your host or hostess have to go look it up. That being said, clean up your links. If you don’t know how to do that, ask me. Here’s a list to double-check before you send your posts out to hosts:
    • Clear images in either jpeg or png format (some hosts prefer jpeg as they are smaller)
    • Error-free content!!!! There is nothing that will kill a sale faster than a typo.
    • Purchase link or links (it’s best to create a Universal Link)
    • Social Media links
    • Author Bio (I use a bio box)
    • Book Trailer link (if you have one)
    • Start the post with a ‘Thank You’ to your host. Make it personal!
    • Use Canva or BookBrush to create some Memes to accompany your post. Again, it’s great if you can make it relevant to the subject of the post.
    • DON’T wait until the last minute to send the post to your host or hostess. Make sure you send it at least 7 days in advance to allow them time to get it uploaded to their site.

And those are just the basic steps to consider when creating the posts. Be prepared for a time investment. Of course, you can copy and paste the items of the post that are the same and that helps. It also helps to prevent the possibility of leaving something out (which I’ve done).

Once the post is live you MUST engage with the people who have bothered to share the post and leave comments. I cannot stress this enough.

This may be the single most important part of a successful blog tour! So don’t be lazy. Show your appreciation. Visit, share and comment!

Some folks who are on tour choose to reblog each guest post. I did that with my first big tour. On the last one, I created a static page on my blog and listed the link to each post as it went live. That worked best for me.

There are some paid tours that I’ll talk about in my next post. But for now, this includes the nuts and bolts of creating and managing a successful tour.

Now, it’s your turn! Have you done book blog tours? What are your thoughts on them?

If you have missed any of the posts from this Marketing Series, here are the links:

#MKTG Part 1 – OVERVIEW – BOOK MARKETING OPTIONS

#MKTG Part 2 – FACEBOOK ADS AND PASSION PAGES

#MKTG Part 3 – FACEBOOK ADS DETAILS

#MKTG Part 4 – TWITTER ADS

#MKTG Part 5 – INSTAGRAM

#MKTG Part 6 – PINTEREST

#MKTG Part 7 – IN-PERSON EVENTS

#MKTG Part 8 – GOODREADS

#MKTG Part 9 – AMAZON

#MKTG Part 10 – More AMAZON ADS

#MKTG Part 11 – AMAZON A+ CONTENT

#MKTG Part 12 – LinkedIn

#MKTG Part 13 – BOOKBub Ads

92 thoughts on “MKTG #14 – Book Blog Tours

  1. Pingback: MKTG #14 – Book Blog Tours – Zenify

  2. This is such a great post, Jan! Thank you for sharing your helpful tips!! Personally, I think blog tours are worth it. Whether you’re the author, the blogger, or the reader. It can be a wonderful experience for everyone-learning about the author and their books, but also getting feedback from readers and even learning about them too.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I loved this post. Blog tours are definitely a necessity, and you hit it with the frequency of the posts. Every day is too much. And the people that follow your circle of blogs must have the same reaction.

    I have hosted several authors on my site, and what bothers me most is the ones that don’t personally respond to the comments. I believe as the host, I should also respond to the comments as they are on my site for the blog tour.

    I would be interested on how to reach different blog circles. Any tips on this would be great.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You shared a common sentiment, Michele. Guests who don’t bother to show up to respond to comments are simply not invited back to my place. 🙂 It’s common courtesy. I’ve shared some ideas on how to reach different blog circles down further in the comments. One of those suggestions is paid blog tours, which I will cover in my next SE post. Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  4. I’m coming a bit late to this one, which is really sad because it’s such a vital one! Most of this has gone over my head – I really am that stupid. I don’t have a blog and I’m scared of Facebook because every time I’ve tried to post something on there I’ve managed to mess things up. I can comment on other people’s but that’s as far as I go. I’ve had some lovely reviews recently – some from the contributors to this blogpost – and don’t know if I’m allowed to post something about them on Facebook. Not waving but drowning…
    Many thanks for this series, Jan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment, Trish. No worries about not understanding or even wanting to tackle social media. It’s daunting, to say the least. You are most definitely allowed to post something on Facebook about reviews and/or reviewers. My advice to you is to pick one social media platform to utilize and don’t worry about the others. One step at a time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for the calm reassurance! My breathing rate is returning to something more like normal.

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  5. Love this post. I had to learn some of this the hard way. I can’t do back to back days anymore, because I check in for comments for several days after the post. I keep each post unique, and rather than making some cool artwork, I can fall back on Lisa Burton. Great tips today.

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    • You just listed another great reason for not doing back-to-back days, Craig. I should have included that in my tips, to always go back and check for more comments after the day of the post. Thank you for that! And Lisa Burton is a great marketing tool for you.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Reblogged this on PTL Perrin Writes… and commented:

    I’ve always approached marketing with fear and trepidation, and the idea of doing a blog tour gets me hyperventilating. Besides being an outstanding author, Jan Sikes is a master at doing blog tours! She makes it fun, and in this article, she shows how it’s done. As a bonus, she added links to her other marketing articles, all of which I plan to visit! Thanks for this, Jan!

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  7. Great advice, Jan! Every point you made was great, and I enjoyed your last blog tour very much. So, how DO you make a universal link? Inquiring minds want to know. 😉

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    • Thank you, Patty. Yes. I definitely use Universal links as it makes for a cleaner post. There are several sites you can use to make links and I’ve found all of them to work well.

      Like

  8. Your last tour was really fun, Jan, and I liked the way you set it up. I’ve done tours when launching a book, but more frequently, I’ve done nothing at all.
    My biggest challenge is asking for hosts. And the reason why is that it’s hard for me to reciprocate since I only post once a week. I feel guilty asking for something that I don’t feel like I can return. That said, I do make a point of buying, reading, and reviewing a book written by each of my tour hosts, as well as posting them on my blog. I would love any suggestions you might have!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great post and information, Jan. I agree if done right blogs can really help with marketing. I’ve seen different outcomes on different days for posts. Those sound like perfect days to do the tours if possible. I starting, and dreading a bit, to think about a blog tour soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I did a lot of blog tours for my first books, but I’ve slacked off lately. I want to do another one when I finish my WIP, but I’m planning on doing a paid one. I think it expands the readers I usually reach. Visiting friends’ blogs is wonderful, but the same people probably see what I post. A paid tour finds new audiences. AT least, that’s what I’m hoping. I like to use the Goodreads Giveaway to reach more people, too. I’ve gotten some wonderful reviews from doing that. You gave great tips on making the tour as successful as possible. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I think blog tours are necessary, and yes—as we’ve all experienced, they can be exhausting—but they’re also a lot of fun. I completely agree with everything you said, Jan. It’s important to have fresh content on each stop, you have to ENGAGE with people who leave you comments, and shorter posts are definitely the way to go.

    I normally make a companion post to place on my blog for each day that I’m touring. I close comments on it and it links to the host blog. I like your idea of making a static page for reuse and then adding the new content for that day’s host.

    Fab post today!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for adding your recommendation to this post, Mae. You’ve certainly had experience with blog tours, and you also make an excellent host! On my first big tour, your post got the most shares and comments. 🙂 So, thank you for that. I did the sharing of each post to my site with my first tour but really did like the static page best. I changed the intro each day to say something personal about the host, then added the link. That was easier for me. Thank you for your insight!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for saying that. It’s hard for me to participate right away, as I haven’t always read the book yet. My guests always seem to be very cooperative with the way I approach the “visits.” Those posts seem to be well received. Of course, I have to think about this from the other side, pretty soon. That’s a little scary – I was glad to see this post.

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  12. Blog tours are tiring, but they’re also a lot of fun. You’ve given some great advice, Jan. And there’s nothing worse than not responding to comments. If an author does that, it’s an immediate turn-off for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I’ve done a few blog tours and agree with everything you say. The thing most folks miss is cleaning up the links. The times I have to remove the Amazon tracking from the end if the sales page link. The point about universal links is a big one too, or you risk alienating authors outside your country of publishing.

    Other than the links stuff, my biggest peeve is when I go to the trouble to host, and my blog readers leave lovely comments, and the guest does a total no show or leaves one comment and that’s it. I don’t have those people back.

    Great post, Jan. Thanks for sharing 💕🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Exactly, Harmony. Both are great points. Cleaning up the links is super important and I often have to do that for guests. Maybe that would make a good SE post. 🙂 And, if a guest doesn’t bother to stop by, share on social media, answer comments, and engage with the followers, they won’t be hosted again by me. It’s a simple matter of good manners. Thank you for your comment!

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Yes, yes, a thousand times YES! I’ve had guests never return to comment, and it’s embarrassing. That’s most important to me. But all of your advice is spot-on. Great post, Jan.

    And if you happen to have tips on expanding our blog circle, I’d love to hear them.

    Liked by 4 people

      • Lol, Staci! Thank you for asking the question. And that seems to be the biggest dilemma about blog tours. Robbie had a great suggestion and I completely agree with her. There are many bloggers who are not authors and they blog varied content. Interacting with them would be a great way to expand your circle. Also, how many times have you visited someone’s site who has left a comment on one of your posts? I have to admit I am awful about doing that, but visiting other’s sites and leaving comments on their blogs is another way to expand the circle and move away from the beaten path. I’m open to any other suggestions, but those two are great ways. For me, on the last tour, I entered the circle of Wild Rose Press authors and found some new audiences there. Hope that helps.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I actually do visit the sites of people who comment. Not so much the ones who like then move on, though I do sometimes. The publishers I’m affiliated with don’t really have bloggers. Sigh. I’ll keep plugging away. Thanks, Jan.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Hi Jan, a good post about blog tours which are very popular. I would agree with your posts about content, keeping posts short, and not making the tour to long. I also like to make guest appearances on other blogs, especially bloggers who are not writing bloggers, but blog a more varied content. I always find I meet a lot of new bloggers and potential readers when I do that. BUT, you have to follow up on the comments and go to the commenter’s site and engage with them.

    Liked by 5 people

    • That is SO true, Robbie. Guest appearances on blogs that cover a variety of content are a great way to move away from the beaten path. Thank you for that suggestion. I appreciate your comment and YES you must follow up on comments and visit the commenter’s site as well.

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  16. This was insightful and I have seen a few book tours but never really understood how to join one or be part of the group that does them – and even after reading this awesome post – I still don’t know how (I have seen a paid tour ad a long time ago) but would love to know how you connect with folks to get in the tour circle?

    Liked by 6 people

    • Hi, Yvette. Thank you for your comment. The best way to expand your blogging circle is by following other blogs that you can relate to. Then when you are ready to do a tour, post a blog on your site, asking for hosts. You’ll be surprised at the response you’ll get. I appreciate you asking the question.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Oh I see…. thanks for explaining it – because I have seen Robbie and Miriam (and a few others) do the blog tour and was very curious.

        From your tips here in this post – I think son of it applies to posting in general – for example – the suggestion to aim for 600 to 700 words is helpful. There might be time for more (like feature articles or interviews) but long and heavy posts can pull from reader experience – with a blog tour or in general.

        Hope hit week is going well
        😊📚

        Liked by 1 person

      • You are right, Yvette, about the length of blog posts applying not only to tours but to any post. It’s a busy world, and most people don’t take the time to read super long posts. I’m glad you found some helpful information today! Best wishes!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes – and I learned from Trent M a fun tip for long posts – he will sometimes start the post “long post warning” – and I borrowed that and then invited folks to feel free to skim and go ! Because sometimes longer posts are needed and for the Handful that want all the extras – the content is there- and then others have full permission to skim (because as you noted here – many will do that anyway – just the way it is).

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      • Well one little note about the disclaimer – I’ve noticed that it can sometimes “prime” the reader – like I have seen someone add that at the start of a post and instantly in my mind I shift gears and expect lengthy – which is the point – but it almost pulled from enjoying the post – if that makes sense.
        So i guess disclaimers should be done with care –
        Anyhow – enjoyed this post so much

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