5 Tips for A Successful Book Blog Tour
A book blog tour is a virtual tour in which book bloggers present your latest work with their readers, giving you an extra burst of hype every time you want it and bringing more fans onto your network. These virtual tours are fun and celebratory, but launching a virtual tour yourself comes with a lot of work and needs careful attention to work effectively.
If you want to run a book blog tour, you have to find the bloggers, contact them, offer whatever they’re looking for, and stay on track with a set schedule (most tours last two to six weeks). Of course, there are paid tour companies to help you out, but some of these services are scams or have few genuine interactions. Paid companies also won't take the time to match you to custom blogs as well as you could arrange for yourself, making the process a risk and likely not worth the expense invested.
The best tours are often the ones that you put together yourself. When you pinpoint the right bloggers, send them custom submissions and share your book with book blogs that will rave over it, you'll walk away with a far more positive tour experience and a longer list of readers who are actively excited about your latest release.
Here are five tips to increase your odds of bloggers taking you in and to simplify the book blog tour process so that you can spend your time relaxing and socializing with readers instead of screaming at the computer and pulling your hair out.
There are more blogs out there than you could dream of submitting to, so don’t waste your time on any that won’t care about your book. You want to look into other factors as well, since many reviewers will take time away from reviewing or go on hiatus to pursue other interests. If it looks like a blogger isn’t right for you, don’t waste your time.
When researching to see if a blog would be a good fit for your tour, the top places to look include:
Previous blog posts
Social media presence
Listed submission requirements or preferences
Amount of recent activity
Individual bloggers (on blogs with multiple reviewers)
Reviewers are human. Reviewers also like to know that you’re human, too, and spamming everyone with the exact same message will make your entire submission fall flat.
For most tours, you will need to pitch a broad range of book reviewers, and staying fresh every time can be a challenge. Easy ways to personalize your submission are to follow all submission guidelines carefully, respond to something that you like about the blog or reviewer, or react to a recent post.
This is very much like the process of pitching an agent for traditional and hybrid authors, and many of the steps are identical. The good news is that reviewers read books more for fun than as a profession, and they say yes much more readily to submissions that catch their attention.
This is a good time to refresh your skill with spreadsheets. Keep track of every blog you contact, every response you get, and the dates that you set for the posts themselves. Your cheat sheet will give you an easy glimpse of how well set up your tour is, how many reviews and how much publicity you will get, and what dates you want to focus on filling in.
This will come in handy as you get closer to your tour dates and will want to know who to follow back on and how busy you can expect to be on various dates. Keep in mind that you want to give bloggers several months to prepare for your tour. Depending on their backlog, you might need to postpone a date with someone or change the planned range of your tour.
By the time you’ve prepared an ARC to give out to reviewers and bloggers, it can be tempting to rush through your pre-release campaign and get your book into readers’ hands as quickly as possible. But that’s not always a good idea.
Allowing book bloggers extra time to read your book will ensure you both more and higher quality reviews and give you a better tour experience overall. You can use the extra time to prepare for your release, selling pre-release copies and building hype on your end.
Once your slots are filled and your tour is in place, share the schedule! Not only are book blog tours great for finding new readers, but they give you an easy venue to promote your book and hype up your current readers so that you can drive excitement.
Your tour can make for an exciting newsletter and several social media posts, and the bloggers you work with will enjoy the extra bump in traffic and engagement.
Have you run your own book blog tour before? Please tell us your experiences and best tips in the comments below, or join the Pen and Glory Facebook group for further discussion.