The topic of the week is apparently how blog tours are becoming less and less popular. Most of us authors who use blog tours are, unfortunately, already aware of that. There are lots of reasons blog tours are less popular. I’m not going to talk about that. There are about a gazillion blogs that cover that topic. I’m going to discuss the reason I continue to do blog tours.
First of all, I will respectfully disagree with those blogger-writers who argue that blog tours should be done on the off chance that someone influential will see it. I’m not spending a few hundred dollars on a tour on a one in a million chance. I might as well just buy some lottery tickets. Other bloggers argue that blog tours are not to sell books but to get your book and name out there on the off chance that someone will buy the book in the future. What?
I agree, again unfortunately, that blog tours do not sell many books. A year and a half ago, I would see a bit of a spike of sales with a blog tour. Now, I only see a spike on the release day when the pre-release purchases are sent out by Amazon. Despite getting less and less sales from blog tours, I continue to do them. Why, you ask. Let me tell you.
Social media following. I always do a giveaway with my blog tour. In order to enter the giveaway, readers need to follow my various social media accounts. I already see some of you shaking your head. Those accounts, you lament, are only for entering giveaways. I grant you there are many twitter accounts that are giveaway-only. But that’s not the majority. And I know this because I go through every single person who follows me on Twitter. (Now you also know why I take a writing break during a blog tour.)
Goodreads to-read. In addition to following my Facebook and Twitter account, there is a giveaway entry for marking my book ‘to-read’ on Goodreads. Who cares about that? I do and you should as well. Having a large number of readers mark your book ‘to-read’ adds legitimacy to your book. I’ve had several acquaintances ask me about my writing and then turn down their noses when I admitted to self-publishing. Until, that is, they checked me out online. With reviews on Amazon and the following of my books on Goodreads, they are forced to admit that I’m actually a ‘serious’ writer. In addition to adding legitimacy to your writing, having a big group of readers mark your book as ‘to-read’ can lead to sales. Let me explain. I admit that I always read the free sample from Amazon before buying an e-book. Sometimes, I’m still not sure after reading the sample. It’s happened way too often that the first 10% of a book is well-written and edited and then the whole thing just falls apart. No thanks. If I’m unsure after the sample, I’ll look at reviews on Goodreads. (I’ve already looked at Amazon reviews before even downloading the sample.) If there are five five-star reviews, I think Wow! Someone has nice friends and relatives. I much prefer to read a book with a whole range of reviews as well as a bunch of people who have marked it to-read.
Amazon following. You can also add an option to follow you as an author on Amazon as an entry to the giveaway. I love this option! Unlike other social media outlets, Amazon only sends out author updates when you release a new book. Instead of readers feeling spammed with yet another author newsletter or tweet about your book, it’s a one-off e-mail that your new book has arrived on virtual shelves. And that e-mail is from a reliable source. Even if you are an Amazon hater, you have to recognize the legitimacy of an e-mail from the company. And this increases the chance a reader will open the e-mail.
REVIEWS. This is my main reason for continuing blog tours. I have several faithful bloggers who will nearly always review my book as part of a blog tour. Additionally, you can book review only tours. These blog tour companies can reach hundreds of bloggers with a single e-mail. It would take me months (slight exaggeration) to find that many bloggers and write them personal e-mails. Plus, there’s a better chance that a blogger opens an e-mail from a blog tour company with whom they regularly work than one from a writer they don’t know from Adam.
Those are my main reasons for continuing with blog tours. I admit I have scaled down the number of tours I do per book launch. How about other writers? Are you still doing tours?