Blog tours are a great way to drum up early excitement about your book’s release or to generate a new buzz on your book’s birthday. But what are the benefits of a blog tour, and how can you organise one?
What is a blog tour?
A blog tour is a virtual tour over a set amount of time, usually a week or two, in which your book will be featured on certain blogs, typically two per day. The dates and unique material for each blogger whether their review, a guest post you have written, an extract, or an interview they have sent you, are agreed in advance and will also include information about you and your books.
What are the benefits of a blog tour?
Online exposure is the main benefit of organising a blog tour to promote your book. Each blogger will reach a different audience than, say, a local newspaper review, and bloggers typically have a reach that stretches much further, more often than not, internationally. A blog tour is also a great option for authors who want to avoid travelling to bookstores or who are uncomfortable with public speaking.
How can an author ensure their blog tour is a success?
The first step of a successful blog tour is to make sure review copies will be available to the bloggers you’re working with, whether physical copies or e-books. You don’t want to reach out to bloggers and have them express interest and then be unable to provide them with a review copy shortly after.
Next, it’s important to stay organised. Create a document where you keep track of the blogs you’ve reached out to, who has and hasn’t expressed interest, and on which dates they’re planning to post.
Once you have the right number of bloggers, you know who is posting what and when, you need to create a banner with all that information on ready to share on social media and for the bloggers to use in their post. You will need to create a media kit which includes the following:
- a copy of the book (although this should ideally be sent at least six weeks before the tour)
- author biography
- book cover
- author image
- book blurb
- tour banner
- buying links
- giveaway information and links
Once you have all of this, and anything else they may need for their post, send it all at once and with plenty of time for them to prepare their post – I’d recommend at least three weeks before the tour. Bloggers are busy people with lives too so making things as easy as possible for them is an absolute must, and they’ll be more likely to work with you again on future books if you do. Remember, they are working for free, preparing a blog takes upwards of two hours depending on the content, and lots of bloggers schedule their posts in advance. Do not send it the night before they are due to post and expect it get posted on time.
On the day, check their blog directly – not their social media pages – and the share the post from there once it is live. By this point you should know the blogger pretty well and will have an idea what time their posts typically go live, most will be first thing in the morning. Once you’ve shared it, make you sure you check in throughout the day to respond to any comments their followers have left.
If the post isn’t up by lunchtime and they usually post in the morning, drop them a polite email asking what time it will be up so you don’t miss it and have a chance to share it. All sorts of things can hold up a post so be kind. If the blogger is reviewing your book, please don’t pester them to post that review on Amazon while they’re eating their breakfast. As I mentioned before, posts are typically prepared and scheduled in advance so give them time to do what they do. I know some people will copy all their reviews from the last week over to Amazon and Good reads on a Sunday when they have the time to commit to it. Pestering them as soon as their post is live is not good and will make that blogger less likely to be involved with you in the future.
How can an author find bloggers for their tour?
Do your research. There’s a vast world of bloggers out there looking for their next great read. You can start by asking fellow-author friends for a list of blogs they have featured on and reaching out online for recommendations. Meanwhile, search for blogs that are relevant to the topic of your book, or those who often write about books in your genre and make a list. Join Facebook groups and talk to them beforehand – build up a rapport before you jump in asking for help.
You can find more advice on approaching bloggers here.
What is the best timing for a blog tour?
Reach out to your target bloggers at least six weeks prior to publication. It’s ideal for blogs to feature a book right around its publication date, specifically the week before and the week after, to generate buzz.
If you’re organising a tour for a book you have already published, the same ‘rule’ applies, bloggers are very busy people and will need as much notice as possible.
What are some best practices when preparing for a blog tour?
- Establish a rapport/relationship with someone before asking them to review your book or host you on their site or blog. You can begin by commenting on blogs and becoming part of that community.
- Be specific about exactly what you would like to provide or do (guest post, interview, exclusive excerpt, etc.).
- Offer a giveaway to go along with the post. It’s not needed, but bloggers love being able to offer prizes to their audience, and it increases their traffic.
- If they say yes, get your material to them on time and thank them again for the opportunity.
- Include everything they will need for their post: your book cover image, author photo, author bio, and buying links.
- Tweet about the appearance once it’s live and @mention the blog/blogger.
- Don’t over commit yourself – blog tours are a huge commitment and you need to be available to interact with the blogger and their readers on the day. Most bloggers will post early in the morning but check their post throughout the day so that you can respond to any comments their readers have made.
- Bloggers aren’t paid for this and things can happen in their personal lives that may change their availability, if this happens, be understanding. Bloggers don’t commit to things and then intentionally let people down, if they are unable to help you at the last minute, they will be as upset as you are.
How do you measure the success of a blog tour?
Success is subjective and depends on your goals. Consider quality vs. quantity. One great guest post on a blog with influence can help the community get to know more about you while the quantity of posts helps spread general awareness of your book. Both are useful for building your profile. Focusing only on the blogs perceived to be the “biggest” and with the highest traffic may keep you from finding your most loyal fans. But again, don’t over commit yourself.
You can track blog and media coverage of your tour through Google Alerts or by calculating social media impressions. But if you want to make inroads with in-depth guest pieces, you should measure your success by the level of engagement readers have with your piece – through comments, social promotion, and other online conversations.
Bloggers don’t typically have lots of statistics on their blogs, remember, this is their hobby, not their job, so please don’t start out by asking them to provide you with lots of facts and figures before you decide if they will be “good enough” for your tour. Anyone prepared to feature you on their blog is good enough.
This may all sound very daunting and, to be honest, it is. As a blogger who used to organise tours, I can tell you they are hard work to set up. Luckily for you there are people who can help you.
Yes, they charge, but this will be money well spent. All these ladies offer a great range of services, click on their links to find out more. I have taken part in blog tours organised by all of them and they are great to work with.
They will do all the work for you, including the initial approach to genre-appropriate bloggers on their lists, organising their dates and content, making the banner, advertising the tour in the run up, and sharing the posts throughout the tour, all you have to do is provide them with all the info they need and be around during the tour to share the posts.
Sarah Hardy over at Book on the Brightside Publicity and Promo
Emma Welton over at damppebbles (crime fiction only)
Rachel Gilbey over at Rachel’s Random Resources
Jenny Marston over at Neverland Blog Tours
JB over at Brook Cottage Books
Kelly Lacey over at Love Books Group
Anne Cater over at Random Things Through My Letterbox
Professional, kind, and knowledgeable, you will be in safe hands with any of these ladies.
**It is the responsibility of the author to check the previous work and references of the companies and service providers listed. I will not be held responsible for any issues that arise if you choose to work with one of these service providers and things don’t work out.**