In today’s digital book world, the tired old book tour has been replaced with the digital blog book tour where authors will “travel” from blog to blog doing interviews, blog take overs, guest blog articles, and also have their latest book/story reviewed by blogs. Depending on what type of tour you are doing, how many blogs you plan to hit and the length of time you will ‘traveling,’ a blog tour of just a few blogs over the course of a month can create hours of work and dozens of headaches. And with the amount of SPAs (self-published authors) hitting the publication scene each day, there simply are not enough book bloggers and reviewers to go around. This has created a major problem for authors who are looking to get bloggers to sign on for their blog tours. Bloggers have become so overwhelmed with the requests for reviews and tour stops that many bloggers have to turn down more and more authors. The whole overabundance of authors and books has created the perfect formula for blog tours to fail for most authors.
There are many reasons why blog book tours fail. Here, I will cover my own experiences, why the tours failed, and the major problems with blog tours and why they fail for 99% of authors.
Book tour blogs and book review blogs do NOT attract readers, they only attract writers, and if you are not being seen by readers, then you are wasting your time. The first obvious flaw of doing blog book tours is that the only blogs who are going to be willing to sign on for the tour are blogs who routinely host these types of tours, who do book reviews, cover reveals, and basically cater to promoting authors. Blogs of this type rarely attract anything but other writers, not readers. Why? Because these blogs are owned by people who do this in their spare time for nothing more than a free copy of a book and little else. They are not professionals, they are not getting paid to do this, and are basically doing it to keep a steady stream of free books coming to them. Their blog consists of little else than a quick review and a cover reveal with no real quality content. The reviews are almost always good because in order to keep their free books coming, they cannot do anything to get on the bad sides of authors, so they rarely attract readers because readers quickly realize the blog exists ONLY to promote SPAs and that the reviews are very biased to keep writers happy. So if you are not being promoted on sites that cater to readers, then you are defeating the whole purpose of doing a blog tour.
So exactly which types of blogs do you want promoting your work? First, you want blogs that cater to readers, not writers. Most blogs that cater to readers are going to be those who do book reviews of works that they purchased on their own and who give honest reviews of the work. Blogs who do this rarely do review requests, and if they do accept your review request, then you better BE PREPARED for BRUTAL HONESTY. Those few blogs who attract readers are not going to baby your ego and they do not take kindly to authors who demand nothing less than a 4 star review.
These types of blogs attract readers because they give HONEST reviews, not paid endorsements for authors. It is why their opinion of your work is worth 500 fake reviews by bloggers who agreed to give you a glowing review in exchange for a free copy of your book. When these types of blogs, online magazines and other sites review your work, it is an honor and can make or break your career. If you are going to ask for reviews, your best bet is get it in front of one or two bloggers that attract a large number of readers each day. Otherwise, you will discover a blog post about your book drowning on a blog with 15 to 20 other posts done that same day, all about other authors, their books, their reviews, and their cover reveals.
Blog tours that are filled with blogs ‘reviewing’ your book can create several dozen 4 and 5 star reviews fresh out of the gate, but readers have learned to spot these types of paid/fake reviews and may not be willing to read your work because of it. With so many authors paying for reviews by either out right buying them or trading books for reviews, more and more readers are beginning to boycott any author who actively engages in trading books for reviews to ANYONE. Readers want unbiased reviews by other readers, and authors that are seen constantly being reviewed by review blog sites are soon blacklisted by readers. So while you may be racking up on paid reviews, your sales and thus your rankings on Amazon will plummet because of it.
In essence, unless your work is being seen by the right high traffic, high profile blogs that are well respected and attracting tons of reader traffic, you are wasting valuable time and energy on other blogs. Instead of spending months of coordinating blogs and dates, begging bloggers to review your work, and creating tour packets and sign up sheets, your time would be better spent researching online magazines and high profile review blogs and approaching those sites with requests to review your work. Small time blogs with low traffic cannot help promote your work and will not further your writing career. However, the correct high profile and high traffic websites CAN help get the word out about your book.
In writing, as in any business, you must surround yourself with the correct type and quality of professionals. If you were a musician, you couldn’t spend all your time hanging out with other unsigned musicians and expect to get a record deal, so why would you spend your time getting your work reviewed by bloggers who can’t connect you to publishers and other readers? It’s the same principle, yet authors seem to have a hard time grasping this concept. STOP wasting time with low profile bloggers who are only reviewing free copies of books during their spare time and START looking for high profile bloggers who do this for a living. If your work isn’t being reviewed by someone who can help you, then you are doing yourself a great injustice by not striving to connect with those who can help you further your career.