A couple of months ago, a friend of mine, the excellent romantic comedy author Audrey Davis, told me she’d recently done a blog tour and that I should consider doing one. I was familiar with the concept of a blog tour, but I assumed you had to do them when your book is first published, so I thought I’d missed the boat for Sarah’s Shadow. But as Audrey explained, you can always do a retrospective blog tour for a book that’s been out a while. She also informed me that you don’t have to arrange the blog tour yourself as there are people that can organise them for you.
So, I took Audrey’s advice and I’ve just completed a successful joint blog tour with fellow Full Media author Marion Adams and her multi-award-winning debut Go To Sleep! In fact, I enjoyed the experience so much I decided to write a blog about it. Here are seven reasons why all authors should do a blog tour!
1. Increased Exposure
A blog tour is a great way to give yourself and your book a sustained period of online exposure. Our tour had three slots a day for two weeks, so on each day both Marion and I featured on up to three different blogs. We received 30 book reviews each in total, and those reviews were popping up on the various blogs each day of the tour, so you get a nice steady trickle of reviews over a period of your choosing (blog tours tend to be one or two weeks long).
The bloggers are very proactive in sharing the blogs on Twitter and Facebook, too, so your social media activity will likely see a spike. Our blog tour started on 16 May. I had 8K Twitter impressions in the first half of May (before the tour) and 23K impressions in the second half (during the tour).
Of course, exposure isn’t just about what happens during or straight after a marketing campaign. Another benefit of a book review on a blog is that you can use that review in your marketing materials. For example, one of my favourite reviews from the tour was this one from Ginger Mom Reads, which contains this lovely quote: “I will say that this is one of my favorite books of 2018.” You can bet I’ll be using this on flyers, my website, maybe even my book cover in the future!
2. Minimal effort
The aspect of our tour that really surprised us was how incredibly easy it was to sort out! This was because a lovely lady called Rachel Gilbey (of Rachel’s Random Resources) did it all for us! All we had to do was pay Rachel for the tour and then send her all the relevant info: our book blurbs, our ‘About the Author’ text, our cover images, etc. She then contacted her network of book bloggers and within a day or two the whole tour was booked up! We were amazed (not to mention flattered) by how quickly it ‘sold out’. If only everything in the world of author marketing was this simple! I should also point out that Rachel designs the blog tour banners herself, too. Here’s ours:
3. Low cost
Compared to some other forms of book marketing such as AMS and Facebook ads, blog tours are inexpensive. Our two-week tour cost £70, which isn’t bad for 30 book reviews each (especially when you consider that, for example, Kirkus Reviews charge over £300 for one review).
Of course, a book blog tour could, in theory, cost you nothing at all if you have a book blogger network in place and the time to set up one yourself, but personally I’d rather leave it to an expert like Rachel, especially now that I can see how efficient she is.
4. Amazon and Goodreads reviews
As I’ve stated already, a blog tour will provide you with a lot of reviews across a range of different book blogs, each with its readership. But an added bonus with a blog tour is that some of your book bloggers (not all) will cross-post the review on Amazon and/or Goodreads.
I’ve stated in a previous post why authors need Amazon reviews, but when you pick some up from your blog tour there’s another advantage: some of those bloggers are likely to be Top 1000 or Top 500 Amazon reviewers, which lends further credibility to the review and maybe influences your Amazon rankings a little, who knows? Either way, those Amazon reviews are not to be sniffed at.
5. Great for SEO
An aspect of marketing that is perhaps overlooked by a lot of authors is search engine optimisation, and I’m talking about Google here, not Amazon. Each book review that you pick up on a blog tour will contain hyperlinks that point to your Amazon listings, which is obviously great, but they should also be linking to your own website.
When I set up my first website back in 2004, a long time before I became an author, the key aspect of SEO was building backlinks. The more backlinks you could get on other websites that pointed to your website, the better. Things have changed slightly since then – social media is an influencing factor now, and quality content probably has the biggest influence of all – but links do still carry some SEO weight, especially if they’re from relevant websites.
So, if you do embark on a blog tour, make sure you capitalise on this aspect and include a link to your own website in your About the Author blurb, not just a link to your Amazon page. Who knows, perhaps one day your author website might rank highly on Google for certain keywords and you’ll be able to sell books on your own website rather than just on Amazon et al.
6. Build relationships with BOOK BLoggers
The book blogging community is very valuable to authors. Whatever genre you write, there will be book fans in the blogosphere who will read your work and review it (obviously there’s no guarantee they’ll love it), and a blog tour is a fantastic way to build relationships with these people. I’ve followed, retweeted and messaged most of the bloggers on my tour and I plan to send them more books in the future. They seem to genuinely want to receive them, too. A win-win!
7. Blog tours can be retrospective
While it’s probably best to do a blog tour around the time of your book launch so that you create a buzz and get some early momentum going, all is not lost if you do a retrospective tour. In fact, it might be just the thing to breathe some life into your marketing campaign.
Go To Sleep! and Sarah’s Shadow were published in 2017 so we were a bit late to the blog tour party ourselves, but we both feel that we definitely got our money’s worth – and we’ll definitely be using Rachel’s service again when our next books come out!
The tour was great for all the reasons above and both Marion and I were left feeling very warm and fuzzy inside. Thank you to all the bloggers who took part!
To any blog tour virgins reading this, I hope you found the article helpful. And if you have done a blog tour already, let me know in the comments if you think I’ve missed any pertinent points.