Confident Reads (9)- Book Tours, What Are They & Do They Sell Books?

Hello everyone! Confident Reads is a way to open communication between readers and indie authors.  This  is to help readers feel confident in the books they spend their money on, and for authors to feel confident in the book they publish.  You can find this feature each week (Wednesdays except in September when it will be Tuesdays) discussing a different subject regarding indie books and authors.

Last week I talked about websites and social networking sites that authors should have set up so they are accessible.  That sort of leads to what I’m going to talk about this week, book blog tours.  
What is a blog tour?
A blog tour is a way to promote a book (or books) through a series of regular stops at different blogs through a period of time.  A tour can last from 5 days to 30 days or even longer.  It can have one stop a day, or several stops a day.  A blog tour consists of reviews, author interviews, character interviews, guest posts, giveaways and other promotional posts.  

Putting together a blog tour takes time and commitment.  Most authors do not have the time to commit to putting their own tour together and hire someone to do it for them.  However the author is still needed to answer the interview questions, write up guest posts, etc.

A blog tour requires some money.  There are many different tour sites to choose from and they vary in cost. {I do blog tours as CBB Book Promotions, find the link at the top of my blog if you’re curious.}

Things to look for:

  • A site that promotes your genre of book.
  • A site that fits your budget (we gotta be honest, this is a biggie).
  • A site that you trust to do the best for you and your book. {Don’t be embarrassed to look for recommendations from other authors.}
  • A site that has graphics that appeal to you.  While this is not necessarily important, you do want to know that any tour banners and buttons they provide are going to represent your book in a positive way.  I’ve seen some sites that throw together a sloppy and hastily made button or banner and to me it makes your book look cheap and not worth my time.  Sorry, but graphics are important.

So my question is, do you all think blog tours are worth it?  They require time and money and quite a lot of work, so do they sell books?

My opinion, as a reader, a blogger and a tour host, is yes.  They do sell books.  Chances are slim that your sales will skyrocket you into being a best seller.  You probably won’t even notice a big difference in sales at first.  But people are seeing your book over and over again.  They are seeing reviews from readers, they are reading examples of your writing  through guest posts, interviews, excerpts, etc and they are getting to know you.  So while they may not rush out to buy your book right now, chances are good that now the book is on their radar they will buy the book eventually.  And not only that, they may be recommending the book to others.  Maybe they know sci fi isn’t their thing (for example) but their brother loves that kind of book, so they tell their brother to read the book.  The brother tells 5 co-workers, 5 co-workers tell 5 family members and on it goes.  One blog post could cultivate 100+ readers, it just takes time.

I can admit that sometimes I see a book on tour and this is what happens (or something similar).  The first stop I might dismiss it, thinking it’s not for me. Then I see it on another blog and I’m paying closer attention now and that bloggers review is pointing out some things that really appeal to me.  But I’m on a book buying ban, I’m determined not to buy it.  But then a couple days later I run across another tour stop and this one has a character interview.  And that character is hilarious!  I’m starting to feel very tempted to break that ban.  But no, I just add it to my wish list and wait.  But then over the next few days I see more reviews.  And suddenly, “oh heck, it’s only $2.99!” and there you go, I bought that darn book!  And then six months later I finally read the book (finally!) and I realize that it’s exactly the kind of book that my sisters would like.  So I text two sister in laws, two sisters and my mother and tell them all to buy the book.  6 months later they’ve read the book and have recommended it to friends and family.  So yes, it took a year, but me seeing that book on tour got me to buy it, then when I finally read it I recommended it to 5 people (and I’m not even mentioning the people who read my review) and they recommend it and well, you get the point.

It takes time, but a blog tour is worth the money.  Do not get impatient and frustrated.  It may seem like it’s not going anywhere, but it is, trust me.  It takes time.

I would like to know all of your thoughts regarding tours though.  This is only my own personal opinion.  Readers, do you buy books because you see them on tour?  Do you think tours are ‘worth it’? 
And have I forgotten anything in this post?  I’m sure I have as I had oodles of interruptions.  Please let me know what I should add.

This week I’m recommending Glimmers by Barbara Brooke.  I’m actually booking the tour for this book and that is why I read it.  But I was so surprised by how much I enjoyed it!  While it’s technically women’s fiction it has a very strong YA vibe to it because the lady ‘glimmers’ into the past and others bodies (it’s hard to describe and I’m not doing it justice here…) and two of the three who she ends up in are young adults.  And she is them, so it’s like reading a YA book for much of the time.  It’s a fun read and is clean so young adults can read it.  Here, go check out my review on goodreads, I haven’t reviewed it on the blog yet.

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  1. There is definitely a correlation between the number of times I see posts about a book and the likelihood of me picking it up. I’m most likely to look for it at the library, since I purchase very few books. It’s definitely more likely to get put on my wishlist though, which is pretty much the only thing that I get for holiday and birthday presents :)

    I’ve never been a big fan of posting content that is pre-made on my own blog, though. I think that is what turns me off from blog tours so often, since I want to read and write my own review, not post the same author interview or guest post that everyone else is posting, ya know?

  2. I definitely think Blog Tours help spread the word, I can’t even count how many books I have discovered (and bought) fro either seeing them or participating in them.

    This is a great post and so true. I think if authors take the time (and the money) to promote their book and get it out there, it is worth it.

    Really, it only takes a couple of really enthusiastic bloggers/reviewers to help spread the word about a good boo like wild fire.

    If anyone is looking for a good adult contemporary romance, I read two fabulous ones this week (both are adult with adult situations) Down To You by M. Leighton and Fall Guy by Liz Reinhardt. I highly recommend them both.

  3. I agree completely Candace! There have been times when I’ve seen an early stop on a tour, commented, but left that blog thinking that book wasn’t a must-have for me. Then several other bloggers I know and whose opinions I trust knowing we have similar tastes in books have stops on the tour, and each time I visit I’m closer to seeing what the book is all about:) Love it!

  4. Aboutthestory, I agree about unique content. Most all the time the content you post for tours is unique. Once in awhile an author that is big (well known) will have one interview that goes up on various blogs. I don’t care for that so much but I guess its understandable that they do that. But most of the time all content for tours is one of a kind for your blog.

  5. I think blog tour is a great way to let people know about the book. I bought quite a few books that I might have overlooked if there weren’t any blog tours for them. To me, I’ll definitely buy the book if the author interview is flavorful. I also appreciate exclusive excerpts because then I can tell my friends to look them up. As you can tell, I LOVE blog tours :)

  6. I really do like blog tours. I think it’s important to do different things so each stop isn’t the same thing over and over, especially for the bloggers/readers that keep seeing the various stops. But regardless, it’s nice to learn a lot about book and it does make me want to buy certain titles when I keep hearing various things about it and it sounds like something I’d enjoy.

  7. I think blog tours are totally worth it. I don’t know how many books I’ve added to my TBR list because of a review or something I read on someone’s blog.

    As you said though, it does take time. My TBR list has over 1,000 books on it and is constantly growing. Obviously, I cannot read all of these books at once but I will get through the list eventually.

  8. Yes depending on how they are done. It feels like these days I am getting bombarded to do cover reveals and such and then all the blogs are posting something on the same day, which kind of bugs me…I feel like it is crammed down my throat. I personally have a strict policy of only promoting books I have read. I don’t want to plaster a book all over my blog and then find out after the fact the book stinks or is offensive. I am in a sense advertising a book and I want to make sure my name goes on something I approve.

    • Yes, I agree about how it can end up being TOO much. I think sometimes I get sick of seeing the same book over and over. But if it’s all unique content (not 50 blogs revealing the same cover., for example) I’m good with it.
      I think it’s a good policy to only feature books you’ve read. I started being more like that and only Confident Reads guests are ones I may not have read, but that’s more about publishing experiences and not so much about their book(s). However I still carefully select them and its not just anyone off the street. Its also not as part of a blog tour.
      As for the only promoting stuff you approve – I’m definitely with you. That’s why I will only do promotions with CBB Book Promotions for books I have read and enjoyed. This way bloggers know they can I’m not promoting anything too poorly edited, etc.

  9. I totally agree that blog tours are great promotions for books! What I like is that they are spread out over a period of time. Sometimes when a new book is published there will be literally dozens of reviews of it on my reader the day of release. It gets my attention but rarely do I take the time to read EVERY review that day. But a tour is more subtle. I notice a review one day, and then maybe I notice another a day or so later, then another. By this time my curiosity gets the better of me and I want to see what’s up w/ this book I’m seeing around.

    AND when you add in fun things like author interviews; chracter interviews (those are SO much fun); guest posts; and let’s be honest, GIVEAWAYS; all in addition to reviews, that one book has now sort of taken on a life of it’s own and the odds of me buying it increase significantly.

    So yes! Blog tours definitely attract my attention as a reader and make me notice books that I might not have otherwise:)

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