Do blog tours and extended promotions actually turn followers off?

12 August 2013 by 55 Comments
Me so sleepy

Wake me up when they stop tweeting, k?

We’ve done a few events and blog tours here at IB in the past. Blog tours, if you’re not familiar with them, is the digital equivalent of hopping city-to-city to promote one’s book; instead of physically traveling, you’re being promoted/reviewed/guest posting on different blogs. The idea is sound enough: by reaching out to many bloggers for an organized “event,” you’re helping drive traffic to them from the host blog while also making various audiences aware of the author’s work. In theory, it’s a good idea. I’ve found, however, that it doesn’t quite work out in practice . . . which is one of the reasons that our participation in blog tours has tapered somewhat.

What I find about extended events and blog tours is this: after the first couple of days, reader participation drops way off. (That’s not your fault, my loves. Your free time is your free time, and if readership is falling off, we’re the ones doing something wrong.) So what you’ve got after that is a one-sided deal for the blogs filling in the rest of the week: their readership is seeing the promotional post–and possibly not appreciating it if they think it sounds too promotional–but the blogger isn’t getting the promotion or traffic that was sort of the quid-pro-quo. The odds of every blog participant being a passionate fan of the work from the get-go are fairly nil; most of us end up in this sort of event because we’ve been e-mailed by another blogger that we know, because they know that our audience is compatible with the work, or they just need someone to fill a space, etc, etc. We agree to participate because it provides content and maybe traffic.

By now, you might be seeing the problem here–the big, gaping hole in this plot: everyone supposedly benefits in this scenario, except for the blog readers. What’s in it for the readers? Honestly, not a whole fuck of a lot most of the time; the content is largely author- or book-centric, and even reviews are a bit tainted by the fact that they’re included in a promotional tour. I’ve always left the tour graphic off when our leg of the tour has been a review, so that it seems honest and fair (because we don’t write promotional reviews, EVER, not even for a favor, not even for a blog tour), but . . . the stink of promotion was still upon it, and I’ve always felt uncomfortable about it. As soon as all of this dawned on me, I decided not to accept any future invitations for blog tours; I fulfilled our previous obligations and then cut that cord. I answer to you guys, and you guys shrugged your shoulders at blog tours and said, “meh.”

But, this post isn’t just about how the concept of blog tours falls short. It’s about reader fatigue, which can happen even if people are really into your event.

We actually just finished up an event here at le blog: Cunt Week, a celebration of the snatch. Based on the number of “WOOHOOOOOOOO” type comments on Amy’s initial post, I think it’s safe to say that people kind of liked Cunt Week. By the end of the week, though, people weren’t as excited about Cunt Week as they were when it started. We ended the week with another hilarious post from Amy, but it got only a fraction of the traffic and comments as the first post. The same thing happened when we did Stephen King Week last year; after mid-week, readership began to flag. (Flagg? Sorry, TERRIBLE PUN.) People LOVE Stephen King, and we had a variety of content, but the event just . . . . wound down.

Spent.

Spent.

I don’t have any statistics on it, but through observation, I’ve gotten the feeling that a week of posts on a topic is too much for many readers. It’s more than they want to process on a topic in a given week, even if it’s something they’re into–I can imagine you can triple the fatigue effect for something that they’re not into. At that point, it probably becomes a bit spammy.

And yes, I’m well well well WELL aware that I have both participated in and organized blog tours in the past. This is not a condemnation of people who participate in blog tours. It’s my assertion that they don’t work like they’re supposed to, and we should re-think the paradigm. It’s an admission that I was doing something and it wasn’t working for my readers. My readers have been kind enough not to tell me directly that it’s not working, but they didn’t have to–I could see the results myself. (Don’t worry guys. I got your back.)

So. Why doesn’t it work?

  • Blog tours are rarely blog-reader-centric. They’re not designed around content that readers seek out, they’re designed around supposedly “fun” content meant to promote the book in question. And (some of) we organizers do try our best to make the content fun, but it’s often not the content that readers want. So they don’t click through.
  • Blog tours/extended events last way too long/have too much content all in a row. People get fatigued and may even feel spammed.
  • Promotional events break what usually works with bloggers and audiences. Bloggers often act as a bridge between authors and readers because bloggers build up trust with their audiences by making good and honest recommendations; therefore, agreeing to help promote something puts that trust relationship in shady territory. Even if I’m good friends with the blogger who organized it, that umbrella of trust doesn’t necessarily extend over them–so why should my readers believe that this work is quality unless I’m saying, “Hey, I read this, and it was BANGIN'” outside being part of a promotional event?
  • The bloggers don’t even get the traffic bump, really, especially if they’re at the end of the week. The author’s fans and organizer’s fans don’t know me from Eve; they don’t trust me and have little reason to come visit my blog even if linkage abounds. Linking to a blog is only half the transaction; the other half requires click-through and there’s little incentive to do so. Meanwhile, the blog’s regular readers have already sniffed out “promotion” and are probably skipping right over the post, so nobody’s really reading the content except for the other blog tour participants and the people who are incredibly loyal to the blogger and will comment on everything because they’re the best.

The practice is, at best, flawed.

I think the blog as promotional tool doesn’t really fit well anyway, just because of the nature of blogging, but there definitely are some improvements I can suggest for people who might be planning promotion events:

  • Spread content out over a longer period of time (say, one post per week for a month, rather than five posts back to back to back). I think this would work well not just with blog tours and promotional events, but any blog events that center around one topic. Space it out; give people breathing room.
  • Focus not on promoting the book but on introducing blog readers to why they will dig the author in question. The author or organizer needs to be putting out content that people want to read on blogs. Something funny, or informative, or whatever. A guest post that someone might write for that blog if they weren’t promoting a book, because many people probably won’t have heard of the book yet and won’t click through to posts specifically related to the book unless the post looks enticing.
  • Do a giveaway. Make it easy to enter and don’t force the participation issue. Optimally, I’d say do the giveaway on a blog where the blogger actually reviewed the book; those readers would probably be the most interested to win the book. I wouldn’t do a giveaway on a blog where the blogger didn’t actually read the book.
  • Try not to over-saturate your social media with the singular event topic. This will help combat reader fatigue.

Now for the real question: how do you guys feel about blog tours/promotional events? Have any of them ever worked for you? Do you tune them out, or do you enjoy them? Please give me ALL OF YOUR FEELS in the comments!

Susie

Susie is the Bitch-in-Chief at IB and is also a contributor at Book Riot. She's an ice cream connoisseur, an art fanatic, a cat-mommy of three, and a wife. She runs the @thebooksluts Twitter account and may be slightly addicted.

55 thoughts on “Do blog tours and extended promotions actually turn followers off?

  1. I haven’t taken part in any, as a blogger. As a reader, maybe. But it’s random. Sometimes I know the author, sometimes I follow links from other blogs. But I don’t think I ever read all posts.

  2. I didn’t see a traffic bump when I’ve participated in tours as a blogger, and no sales bump when I did blog tours as an author. It takes a lot of work for people to actually sit up and pay attention to tour content, and unfortunately many people turn to tours as a way to cut corners or ease their promotional workload. They don’t want to do all the work involved in making something great. The one positive result of tours that I did experience is that the number of people adding my book on Goodreads went up during an organized cover reveal. But Goodreads adds don’t necessarily translate directly into sales.

    • (nods) as someone who keeps an objective eye on things (not having written a book myself), it just doesn’t seem to bring in the buzz that I think authors hope it will. I know my readers, and they’re not engaged when we do blog tours.

  3. Perhaps I’m not exactly impartial being that I write some of the posts for these events, but I actually enjoy reading the posts. At the same time, though, I understand how too much of a good thing can cause readers to take it for granted or to burn out their enthusiasm. It seems like the suggestion to space it out over a month rather than flood your blog in a week is a good one.

    I guess a good example of this is whenever someone decides out of the blue to host a game night, we always have a blast. It’s so much fun that someone plans one for the following week. But the one the next week isn’t as much fun, and only half the people who were there the previous week show up. If someone still plans one for week three, it usually cancels because nobody shows up.

    Blog events may not be exactly the same, but they do seem to run out of gas in a similar way. People like variety, and sometimes it’s exhausting to read every single post when they’re coming at a high volume, even if you do love the blog.

  4. I’ve done the blog tour thing and will be doing another this week. I’m both an author and reviewer. Like you, I did get a little interest in the beginning but it does eventually die off.

    I guess it all comes down to goals, when speaking of success. If you want views, you’ll be better off writing about the latest cat memes or celeb scandal. For me, it’s more about long term results. Your online reputation will rest upon your body of work. If you have nothing out there, how will people know you exist? This is why blog tours are good for authors, however for bloggers, it may serve them well to limit tours to a few times a year.

    By the way, I loved “Cunt Week” and think that author was way out of line. Good for you, confronting that troll and entertaining your readers in the process.

    • This is why blog tours are good for authors, however for bloggers, it may serve them well to limit tours to a few times a year.

      I feel this is the crux of the issue. If it’s not good for bloggers or good for blog readers . . . it’s also not really that good for the author, either, in the long run. I feel there are a lot of ways to write engaging content without pulling out the cat memes or celebrity scandals ^_^ and that’s what it’s really about: content that will actually engage readers (part of which we measure in views and comments, which is why I brought that up), which will then actually cause some of them to look you up or put you on their to-read list.

  5. I really haven’t seen very many promotional blog tours, but the few I have seen normally fail to interest me. They feel so contrived, like a Hollywood interview, and I too can smell the unmistakable scent of promotional content upon them. Since I read exclusively for pleasure, people butting into my mental reading space and saying “zomg BUY MAH BOOKZ!!” makes me draw back, even if they mean well.

    On the flip side, I know the day is soon coming when I will be one of those aspiring authors desperately trying to drum up publicity for her little book. And I can definitely see the appeal of a blog tour, especially since I’m poor and have no car. (And who the hell would want me signing books for them anyway?) So I feel like I would be drawn to that, but also understand why others are pushed away by it. And those who *aren’t* pushed away might not even be my target audience. It’s a tough situation.

  6. I actually get all the posts as emails so I do actually read them all… And enjoy them quite a bit. Its just that I occasionally have nothing to comment or have no time to comment so I don’t bother actually opening the blog… Which might explain the readership views. The first article will always get the “WHAT A GREAT IDEA” comments that readers like me will submit, but the other articles in the week may not receive such love. Doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the posts! (But it does mean I should probably start expressing said enjoyment a little more.)

    • Definitely no need to interact unless you feel moved to do so! :D I don’t want people to feel like they need to comment or whatever.

  7. As someone still trying to figure out the how to effectively promote her work via Social Media, I really enjoyed this article. You gave some really excellent and concrete advise and more importantly some food for thought. So much of what I read is so generic that it doesn’t really give me a direct. This did. Thank you.

  8. Here’s the irony. I’m into blog tours for work I already know I love or am interested in. It’s not selling me anything I wasn’t already buying. If it’s something totally new, I will read the first post and then likely tune out any subsequent activity.

    This is where you call the firing squad and force me to read 50 Shades of Grey until my eyeballs melt.

    • This. Yes. You hit the nail on the head here.

      If I’m excited about something, I love to see it promoted, and I will devour the content. Well, some of it… because some promo posts are clearly just filler. (Cover reveal? Is this really a thing?) But if it’s actually interesting stuff, I’m all over it.

      For a book I’ve never heard of? I couldn’t care less. I mean, I don’t automatically skip a post if I see the words “blog tour.” But I don’t pay any more attention to it than I would any other post. I certainly don’t seek out the other “stops” on the tour.

      I’ve never taken part in a blog tour, and I wouldn’t host anything unless I were genuinely excited about the book. Of course, the books that I’m genuinely excited about usually have already been published and promoted.

      So it seems that whether I’m a reader or a blogger, blog tours and I just aren’t meant for each other.

        • I did sort of get into the new HP covers… but that’s not a typical circumstance. The ones that are just like… here’s a new book coming out… and here’s what it looks like! I just… some bloggers get so excited over them (or are really good at faking enthusiasm), and I’m just like, “Oh good, one less ugly placeholder cover on my GR shelf.”

  9. I don’t really get blog tours – I don’t know that I’ve ever followed a tour out of a blog that I already read regularly.

    I did click through and read everything for Cunt week, but it was getting a little fatiguing by the end of the week. Stephen King week was the same way – I would have liked SK week more if it had been SK month and the posts would have hit every Monday or something and then had regular content the rest of the time.

    I also get the blog by email and didn’t know that reading the email didn’t count towards your views until you said something about the review posts getting less traffic – now, I try to click through and read everything on the blog, even if I don’t comment.

    That’s the other thing with extended events – things like the rants are quick reads and I don’t have to devote a lot of thought to them. I also want to read them right away because the comments are awesome and I like to follow in real time. With the reviews and things like SK week, sometimes I just keep the email to remind myself to read it later when I have time for deep thought. But then, I usually don’t comment because it seems to be kind of late for commenting.

    • Thank you for your honest comment! I am looking at re-structuring these topical thingies so that they are more enjoyable for y’all!

      Also, if you’d rather read by email, PLEASE DO! I don’t get anything for views… and I figure if something is engaging enough, I’ll get feedback somehow :)

  10. I enthusiastically agree.

    As an author, I’d love to be featured on a bunch of blogs because it’s all about me me me. As a friend of authors, I will probably go to one or two of the author’s tour stops, just to support them. As a blog reader, I might skim the author’s post on a favorite site (like this one) but probably won’t really engage. I’ll treat it like those ads that pop up in Words With Friends. I’ll politely let it play itself out while doing something else, then get back to the game. I read your blog for what you have to say.

    Positivity is one of my top strengths, but on this topic (and most online book promotion trends) I lean cynical.

    • Ahhh, that is basically my thought. Hell, I barely even read the other posts when I’m PARTICIPATING in a blog tour, and that’s one of the first things that made the alarm bells go off in my brain.

  11. A blog tour isn’t about the readers, it is about the author or product. It is a disservice to readers to force feed them a “tour” that has been arranged by the agents of the author or product. It is advertising, but when money rarely changes hands it can be classified as “publicity” and made to look like actual coverage. The blog operator should either 1) charge and call it an ad (which readers understand as ‘keeping the lights on’) or 2) refuse to do it.

    In regards to periods of time dedicated to a certain theme, we’ve found on BR and FR that 1-day is enough.

  12. Since my reply to Heather’s comment only addressed the blog tour part of the discussion…

    When it comes to events like SK Week or Cunt Week… I can see the burnout being an issue. For me, personally, it’s not necessarily that I get burned out reading them, but it’s just hard to put together a week’s worth of content, all on the same subject, that I will be equally excited about. So I think that combines with the burnout…

    Like… if it’s a post I’m going to love, I’m going to love it no matter when in the week you post it. If it’s a post I only sort of relate to, I’m going to feel even more “meh” about it on Day 5 than I would on Day 2.

    I hope this makes sense. I’m really tired.

    So… I think the pressure is there to make the most of an event, but sometimes less is more. Unfortunately, Cunt Week just sounds so much better than Cunt Three-Days… so maybe a post every other day, so you can still stretch out your event for a week, but without overloading readers with content. Or, as has also been mentioned, make it a weekly feature that lasts a month (or whatever).

    • I’m definitely going to have to change something up with events. Although we didn’t REALLY plan this one in advance.. we just kind of jumped in between giggling ourselves half to death :D

  13. This is a great post and raises some important questions for any bloggers who might be considering hosting a tour. I think that the readership for the participating blogs increases while the tour host who does the promoting on a daily basis probably loses followers. I haven’t hosted one (but I’ve participated in one) and common sense would dictate that the tour host gets the shaft. Unless you’re a tour-centric blog, that is. Because that’s a whole new ball game!

    I’m also sending this to someone I know who was considering a tour, so thanks again!

    • I think the last few days of the tour, the blogs probably don’t see as much of a traffic bump, either. And I do bet the organizer loses followers. So I guess if you’re participating in a tour, try to get in the first couple of days, hee!

  14. As an author, I’ve been a guest on many blogs. I’m part of a group blog (glog), and I enjoy interacting with people. It is a way for me to get the word out that I have a new book, but I don’t use it exclusively for that.

    I’ve never done a blog tour. I’m not going to follow someone around to fifteen different blogs and find the red shoes for a change to win a gift certificate. Really? I thought that nonsense stopped when we were still in grade school.

    Maybe I’m getting cynical but I often feel as if most blogs are only reaching other authors and not readers. Yes, authors are readers. But most of the blogs are not reaching my readers. Therefore, I’ve done fewer and fewer of them as time has progressed. I’ve never seen an upturn in sales as a result of my being a guest on any blog. I’ve posted coupons on blogs for a free book and I might get a few takers. Yet, I’ve been told when I been a guest that the hit count was amazing. (Not even sure why that happens.)

    There’s no magic bullet. Word of mouth is still the best form of advertisement. It’s slow, but the readership that is gained is loyal. But if someone knows a way to reach the general reading public, I’d like to know about it.

    • Yeah, unfortunately, there really is no magic bullet, as you said. I think doing the guests posts is really good, though–you may not see IMMEDIATE results, but you may get those little pings in potential customers’ brains that push them to the book-buying side. “Oh, HEY! I remember this person, they wrote that post I really liked. Well.. the book looks good.. if I liked that post maybe I’ll like the book..” (I have actually bought books for that very reason.)

      • I have to admit – I’m a former Marine and can swear like a drunken sailor and it even gave me pause. Probably my own hangup though – I understand the point of taking back the word from people like Mitch, but I still have a hard time with it. In print anyway – I’ve been know to call fellow drivers cunts, even if they aren’t women.

        They have to really piss me off though – I usually stick with twat. My husband thinks that sounds even nastier, but it’s kind of British, so it doesn’t seem that bad. Last week, after I called some dummy a twat, he said “honey, why don’t you just call her a cunt?”. Which is probably why I married him, lol.

        • It’s weird, I’m far more likely to use “cunt” than “twat.” Twaaaaaaaat. idk, it just doesn’t do it for me. It kind of sounds like a noise one makes when one spits.

  15. I agree with a lot of this. I think that a great blog tour can’t come across as an author standing on a soapbox hawking his/her wares (or be that). But I think if each blog on the tour is treated for what it is, and the blog stop adapts to that, it can be great — just as a great book tour appearance has the author really engaging with the audience who showed up for the reading and creating an experience that is unique. Somehow tying the reading into where it is taking place, and who is there to hear it.
    For a blog tour, this might be the author doing a guest post that is just for that blog, about what that blog is normally all about — because that’s what the readers visit the site for. I mean, I don’t know if Stephen King or Margaret Atwood would drop by IB to rant about something in writing or publishing — but wouldn’t that be awesome? The writer blogging a unique post about something germane to the blog itself?
    One great experience I had was taking part in the blog tour for Dear Teen Me — the collection of essays written by authors to their teen selves. Hosts for the tour were given a lot of leeway in how they wanted to participate, but one of the options was to write a similar post to your own teen self, with just a link or snippet of text about the book at the end. I did that, and so did a number of other bloggers, and there were some really amazing, heart-breaking and funny posts by bloggers on their own sites — which was very much like the book itself, except these bloggers’ writing was not in the book. I actually started clicking through to read what other bloggers had written because it was all so different, but totally united by the concept of the book. Does this make sense? It was fun to do and fun to read the other posts in the tour.

  16. Great post, great comments…lots of food for thought here.

    I’ve participated in tours but I’ve never felt that I had to give a glowing review. If I didn’t like the book I say so. On the other hand, if I didn’t like the book I do feel almost guilty about it :/ That’s not cool.

    When I do participate in a tour I rarely check out the other reviews on the tour. For one thing, after I’ve read a few reviews of the same book my mind tends to zone out.

    Book Blasts! Cover Reveals!! Those? I don’t understand that shit at all.

  17. I’ve never participated in a blog tour because I felt too much pressure to like the book in question. I wanted to know if there was an opt out clause in case I thought the book sucked. While I don’t mind writing negative reviews, I would feel kind of slimy to throw one in during the middle of a promo blitz.

    • I would also feel pretty smarmy if I had to pan a book during a tour, which in turn, makes me feel smarmy because I feel like I need to be able to review it honestly. CONUNDRUM.

  18. I can’t comment on Blog Tours but I do get less enthusiastic as a theme is extended through a week. I loved the initial post on cunt week, I even commented and shared with a friend but then, even though I read one or two of the others, I didn’t really have anymore comments. By the end the bloom was off the rose and I just had reader’s fatigue. But that first one was a gem.

  19. First, the baby laughing and then immediately falling asleep is one of my favorites. I used to be like that (could just fall asleep in the middle of whatever). Oh, to still be able to do that. Sigh.

    Now, I agree with this. (However, for the record, I loved Cunt Week the whole way through. I thought it was maahvelous.) I review books for TLC Book Tours, but I feel like what they do is a bit different, so it works. And as far as people not trusting the reviews I do for those authors, I think it all comes down to building trust in your readers before you start doing those kinds of reviews. My readers *know* that I’m honest about the books I review–I have complained about book tour books more than once when I didn’t like them. BUT, I can imagine that when a whole slew of blogs are reviewing the same book in a particular month, readers probably don’t read the reviews that are posted towards the end of that month. There might be some book overload going on there.

    As far as the giveaway idea, I have to admit that I usually don’t enter giveaways that make me do a ton of work, like giving blood and my first-born child. If I have to do 50 THINGS to enter your giveaway, you’ve already lost me. It’s a book. It shouldn’t be that hard to enter–especially when you’re just going to draw names out of a hat, anyway.

    (“You” meaning ALL THE BLOGS, not…you.)

  20. I will follow long blog tours if its an author I like and whose book I haven’t read yet. But I do get annoyed going to site after site day after day. I will email myself a list of the sites witn days,and leave it unread in my box to remind me to enter something each day, but it bugs me to see ghat e,ail staying unread for a week or more. I think 3 or 4 days is the longest I can stay enthusiastic. Having to do multiple things to get a different # of entries is annoying too. Just give me one entry gratis or for leaving a comment, and that’s it.

  21. I have done them, but unless it’s someone I am already a huge fan of/care about, I won’t be doing them anymore.

    It’s too stressful and feels like shilling for little to no payout.

  22. When I do series on my blog, I don’t post parts of that series more than once a week. Right now, I’m doing this series called “The Religion of Writing;” it’s been going on for, probably, two months, but there has never been more than one post from it in any given week. That seems to work pretty well.

    I do participate in the a-to-z blog thing in April, but even that is fairly worthless after the first week. There’s a huge surge of excited people in that first week and a small surge right at the end, but it doesn’t do much more than that.

    I think the problem people make with blog tours is that they choose people who are all, basically, in the same blogging circle as they are, so they just get the same people seeing the same stuff over and over again. If you really want to do a blog tour, you need to go out and find blogs that you have previously been unconnected with. That’s the only way for new people to see what you’re doing. It also gives your regular followers the option of following along on the tour if they want to but not having to see it on all of the same blogs if they got everything they needed at the first stop.

  23. Hm, you know what’d be cool? If an author doing a blog tour for a new novel wrote a flash fiction piece set in the book’s “world” that would be tailored to each blog he/she visited. Blog readers would find something interesting to to read in keeping with the blog they already know and love, and people who liked the author’s work could hop over and read all the other flash fiction pieces… and maybe, if they liked them, the book as well.
    I realize this sounds ridiculously complicated, but then, aren’t blog tours that already? Also, if we are trying to put the blog readers first, that might be better than just a stop along the PR parade.

  24. I think you may be looking at this from too much of an all-or-nothing standpoint. It’s true that some blog tours may turn out meh- or too promotion-ey, but that doesn’t mean ALL blog tours or events are a bad idea.

    And as Pamela Aurelia said, the number of comments or hits on a post doesn’t necessarily reflect its success. I know it may seem like a drop from 200+ comments on the first day of Cunt Week to 30-some the next few days is a big deal, but that first day was special — you brought up a hot button issue and everyone wanted to talk about it (and to snark on Mitch, of course). It may be that after that, many people wanted to just sit back and enjoy the show. I mean, did you lose any followers by the end of the week? Did you get a surge in people hitting “unfollow”?

    I, for one, loved Cunt Week and Stephen King week. Even though I don’t read SK, I was interested enough to want to know what you guys thought of his work. It’s that personal angle, and your guys’ unique voice, that makes it work — that’s why I’ll read pretty much any of your book reviews, at least just to see your fun ratings.

    And as for the length of an event, I like the week length, because it gives me something to look forward to every day. I think, in fact, that stretching event posts to once a week or once a month would be what makes the event seem to drag on too long.

    Finally, remember that what makes a great post isn’t just a topic that you think will interest your readers. It also matters whether YOU, THE BLOGGER, are interested in the topic. That’s why we blog in the first place, isn’t it? If you’re really passionate about something and think it deserves a week-long discussion, go for it! Yes, it’s important to consider your readers, but if you get too concerned about things like the number of hits and comments you’re getting, that just turns the blog into a popularity contest. And that’s not what it should be.

    • Well, I didn’t mean to say that *every* blog tour was the same . . . just that, conceptually, I think the idea of a blog tour is a bit flawed. :)

      I’m not tied to comments/page views (since I don’t advertise, I don’t need to be!), but I do keep an eye just to see what’s working and what’s not, because blogging is a lot more fun when it’s interactive. When interaction falls off across the board at the end of a week, in views, shares, comments, everything, I know people are flagging :\ And I do tend to start losing followers. None of my core followers, I don’t think, but I’ve gotten clear indications that many people might not be crazy about the whole solid-week-of-themed-posts gig. :)

      • I do see what you mean. There has to be a balance between writing for yourself and writing for your readers. And I can see how the concept of a blog tour could seem flawed, if the main/most common goal of the event is just to promote.

        When I participated in the Guy Hasson tour, I was nervous at first that my review wouldn’t fit the “rules” (as I imagined them–no one actually ever told me what my review was supposed to be like, or what I wasn’t allowed to do) of a blog tour — i.e. to make the book sound good so people will want to read it. My review did have positive commentary about the book–I’d have pulled out of the tour if I didn’t like its subject at all–but also pointed out its flaws, one of the biggest being the frequency of proofreading errors. I wasn’t going to sweep that under the rug and pretend like the book was perfectly amaze-balls.

        In the end, after getting some advice from a fellow blogger (you know who you are ;-) ) I posted what I felt was an honest review, and nothing bad happened. I didn’t get called into a darkly lit office to speak with the president of the Blog Tourism Agency (who for some reason looks like Mr. Smithers from The Simpsons), who said with a menacingly quiet tone that he was not happy with my performance. Not. Happy.

        The author seemed cool about it, too; he even posted a link to my review on his own blog.

        So, I guess there’s an effective way to do blog tours (i.e. using them as a chance to discuss the book and its subject matter, themes, etc), and there’s a less effective, purely promotional way. The blog tour concept itself, though…I’m not sure whether I feel it’s good or bad in and of itself.

  25. THIS. EXACTLY THIS.
    I really do enjoy blog tours…. When it’s a book I’m interested in BUT. I agree. Sometimes blog tours are way too in-your-face, spamming Twitter & feeds, and if it’s something I’m NOT interested in, it’s like I can’t get away from it.
    I’ve made a note to step away from blog tours for now (unless it’s a book I really REALLY want to read)because I was accepting things that weren’t as interesting to me, forcing myself to finish a book, then having to promote and it feeling bad about it. The blog tour posts weren’t even being visited because I really do think people see it as HELLO I’M A PROMOTION and they’re not interested in that. People read blogs to get unique content, read reviews, and pick up on what a blogger REALLY wants to say. I always feel like I’m limited with what I can and can’t say on a tour because it’s directly affecting that author and/or tour hosts. Half the time I don’t even feel genuine when I’m doing blog tours and that just makes me feel icky!
    Great post. Maybe we really should re-think how blog tours run! I love your ideas on how to improve them.

  26. I know this is an old post, but I stumbled across it while investigating whether or not blog tours work. I have my first novel coming out in August and I’m looking at ways to promote it. But the first blog tour example I looked at just seemed to be the same post copied to multiple blog sites. And the blog sites were just pages and pages of identical templated book posts. When I finally found one that displayed the number of followers they only had 5.
    It basically looked like a bunch of book adverts on a page that no one would bother reading because it’s just a bunch of adverts.
    Having now read your post on the subject I’m convinced that it would be a waste of time.
    So far I’ve been writing my own blog to demonstrate my writing style and introduce themes in the novel and describe the characters etc. That seems like a better way to do it than to just post what amounts to an advertorial on multiple sites. I would imagine that if you’re doing a blog tour, the blog post should be written in the same style and tone as the blog you’re posting on, it would therefore be better to organise your own blog tour than to use an organiser that will just send one post to multiple bloggers to copy and paste.
    So thanks for a great, honest post.

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