Book marketing can be incredibly daunting, especially when you're the writer, publisher, and marketer. Wearing all the hats is difficult enough when it comes to "indie" publishing, so why not look for ways to make the process less stressful?
When I wrote my first novel I had no idea that blog tours existed. As you can imagine, writing a first book while learning about book marketing was a lot. These days social media adds yet another wrinkle as authors struggle with trying to post on a multitude of platforms.
So, here are my tips for using blog tours when you want to get your book out there.
1. You can let someone else handle the work – if you hire a blog tour company they're the ones that take care of scheduling. They already have a listing of blogs at their disposal, which saves you time.
2. The blogs are specialized to your genre – the tour companies I've used can gear your tour to blogs that want to promote the type of books you write.
3. They can design marketing materials for you – often the tour banner and other promotional images are included in the price of the tour. Sure, I've created a lot of graphics on Canva, but it takes time to do even if you use templates.
4. You can pick the type of tour – for instance, if you want to do one book blast, or do weekly stops, that's up to you.
5. It's a good way to connect with bloggers – when I've done tours I've often maintained relationships with the bloggers after the tour has finished.
6. Doing it yourself can be tough – sure you can set up your own blog promos, but sometimes you find that bloggers who used to feature books are no longer active or on hiatus. Doing a tour with a company usually ensures that the blogs are active and available to post.
7. Social media alone doesn't work - as we all know by now, social media has it's own challenges. Algorithms limit the visibility of posts (unless you pay) so unless you post multiple times per day you may not be seen. Being promoted on a blog gives you the chance to be seen by their regular visitors (and their social media followers) which increases your reach.
8. You can share information about yourself –you can introduce yourself to new readers by sharing interviews and guest posts.
9. Keep the focus on marketing – sure we all want to sell books, but in my experience, book tours are more for marketing than selling. Blog commenters like to interact with authors and that's a great way to make those connections – and let them know about your other books!
10. Keep reviews optional – I host blog tours on my site but I don't host the review-only tours. Why? Because unfortunately I don’t have time to read and review all of those books (in addition to managing real-life responsibilities). My TBR list is challenging enough! Often a blogger will review a book if they want, so it's not to say you won't ever get a review. But, for me, being featured on the blogger's site is more important. You may not get a lot of reviews up front, but you never know who will see your book and want to read it (and ultimately review it).