Lately I’ve seen a few discussions on Goodreads about blog tours, mainly from people looking to start blog tour companies. First off, I think if someone is organized and connected enough, a blog tour company is a great business idea. Especially if that company can provide an impactful service for authors who aren’t connected enough or who just don’t have the time to organize their own blog tour.
But for authors: are paid blog tours worth it? I can tell you from personal experience that my feelings about them are mixed (I had a few of them last year when I released my first novel). I won’t disparage anybody here, but let’s just say that there are blog tour organizers who aren’t able to deliver what they promise and who also don’t have the best followup skills (but that’s a story for another blog post).
What types of things should an author consider when looking at blog tour companies? There are several things that come to mind:
Price. I’ve seen tours range from $50 to $800. What is “reasonable”? Well, I think that depends on an author’s budget, but also consider this: what kind of return are you getting on your investment? If you don’t get at least a few sales during your tour, increased page views, etc., then you might decide that it’s not worth it to book a blog tour for your next release and just roll up your sleeves and do your own marketing.
What’s being offered? I think the main thing that authors want from blog tours is reviews, so how many will you get?
Number of tour stops (The more the better.)
Amount of traffic/page views/comments for participating blogs. I don’t mean to suggest that participating blogs need to have thousands of readers, but if nobody is reading that blog, then you’ve pretty much wasted your money. My personal thoughts? Even if that blog only reaches one person who bought your book, depending on how much you paid for the tour, that might still be worth it: if that person likes your book they will tell their friends, and their friends will tell their friends, and so forth.
Another thing that might help an author decide is the “success” of a company’s past clients: how many reviews do their books have? If a blog tour promises 5 reviews but the book has zero (or only a couple) reviews, that might be something to consider. Side note: blog tour organizers are normally up front about reviews: they can’t promise that reviewers will post them, but if very few reviews are consistent across the board for their past clients, that says something about their blog tour hosts (and not something good).
Does the blog tour organizer have a decent social media following? If they don’t, then you might want to have a conversation with them about how they are going to reach bloggers and help you spread the word about your book (or pick somebody else).
I think that blog tours are a great way for authors to get exposure for their books. Blog tour companies are good for authors who are short on time but I strongly believe that a well connected author can successfully organize their own blog tours. Heck, even an author who isn’t so connected: all you really have to do is gather a list of bloggers, tell them who you are, don’t be spammy, and pitch them your blog tour idea. I also think that an author should consider what a blog tour company can offer them and weigh that against what they can do for themselves. If there’s not much of a difference, then it might be worth it to save that money you were going to spend on a blog tour and use it towards something else (like towards the cost of a good book cover for your next novel).
What about others? What’s been your experience with paid blog tours? Do you recommend them? Any horror stories? (I hope not!) I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Also, for anybody looking for a blog tour company, I had a very fun (and from what I could see, successful) blog tour with Chick Lit Plus. The organizer, Samantha March, was by far the most organized and professional blog tour organizer I’ve come across. Her followup skills were impeccable and she let me know what to expect pretty much everyday.
Here’s a couple of other companies I’ve come across in my search that seem to be pretty reputable:
Pump up Your Book. Their prices are waaay out of my range but during my research I discovered that indie author K.L. Brady used them for her debut novel, The Bum Magnet. She eventually ended up getting a traditional book deal (probably not as a direct result of the blog tour, but definitely something to consider).
As always, before booking a blog tour with anyone, do your research!