Indie writers are swimming in a huge pool with little to no marketing or publicity experience and they almost always think they can handle it by themselves. Thrust their novel into superstardom on opening day with a little online elbow grease. But as the seasoned novelists know, it isn’t as easy as it may seem. I get emails everyday from frustrated authors who thought readers would notice them because their slew of good reviews and social interaction, but they are realizing quick, it’s hard work and it isn’t as easy as it sounds.
The number one question writers ask me is “Are blog tours worth it?” And my answer is always the same… yes and no. So today, since this topic garners so much intrigue, I am going to focus on these marketing tricks that every blogger and their grandmothers are offering. To make it easy, I will focus on the “yes” first and then I will go into the “no”.
YES: Blog tours seem to be all the rage. Bloggers all over the Internet have quickly become self-proclaimed PR experts (Which they are absolutely NOT), offering a wide variety of services to market your book, like book blasts, blog tours, book parties and cover reveals. They probably hosted a ton of them and realized they could organize one, charge the desperate author a pretty penny and make a large profit. And some of them are. If you are interested in doing a blog tour and I don’t discourage it, make sure you go to a company that has a reputable history with these marketing devices, have a GIANT blog list to pull from and have a large client roster (past success is key). Do not go to a blog tour host that just says they can do the work for you, offers you some jazzy badges to go with your tour, but has no info about the depth of their service and reach.
The outcome can be fruitful, especially if you plan it before the launch of your book. Make sure they give you plenty of reviews and the longer or more broad the tour, the better. Ask questions before purchasing and don’t be shy about making special requests. Give away copies of the books and ask if the tour company requires their reviewers to post on social sites and Amazon.
NO: The upside, if you choose a reputable company to market your book, is great, but not sustainable. Blog tours are instant gratification. A short-lived marketing tool that ends just as quickly as it began, so don’t think for one minute that the second the hoopla dies down (about a week post the on sale date) that your sales won’t teeter or tank. Beyond the transient effect, blog tours can yield little return for your novel. If the tour host doesn’t target your specific market, your book blast can fall on deaf ears. For instance, Tony’s Jedi-in-Training blog page, hosting your book Sappy Love Story For Prim Ladies will likely drive little, if any, business your way. And that’s not all, most blog tour hosting companies have no marketing experience outside their blog, which means they will not know the proper way to send out key messages.
Now I urge you to do your research first, no matter the choice you make. As you can read, I am both pro and anti tour, but only because there are too many tour companies out there trying to turn a profit on the dreams of inexperience writers. Conversely, just as many writers out there are uninformed or hold the belief that they know best, when in fact, they probably need help. As all things do, the ebb and flow will lead this fast rising fad down quickly. Blog tours will become less and less coveted because indie authors are becoming wiser, but the cream will always rise to the top.
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