Are Blog Tours Really Worth It?

Covered wagon via cameraphoneToday is the last day of my two-month long blog tour for The Doctor’s Lady. (And the last wagon is pulling in over at Bridgette Booth’s blog today! You won’t want to miss it! Readers are voting for the place they would like to see me donate my books.)

Just to clarify—my blog tour is one that I put together on my own. I didn’t hire an outside publicity team. And my publisher wasn’t involved either. The bulk of the planning rested upon my shoulders.

What I Did For My Blog Tour:

A couple of months before the release of my book, I had a blog post that asked for volunteers. I didn’t have any special requirements—like needing massive followings or page views. I was open to anyone hosting me, whether having one follower or one thousand.

For those who expressed an interest, I sent them an initial email listing 4 possibilities for what they could do:

• Interview me using a list of 20 Q&A that I’d already written up (and attached to the email, along with my author photo and book cover)
• Provide up to 5 of their own questions
• Write a book review on their blog
• Come up with something unique that they wanted to do

I asked them to pick a date sometime in Sept. or Oct. (and I kept a running sign-up list on my Events Page for participants to look at). I gave each blog tour host a free influencer copy of The Doctor’s Lady (via my publisher). And then I also offered to provide an autographed book (via me) for their blog stop if they wanted to do a giveaway.

I had a wonderful response of people who were willing to be a part of the tour (THANK YOU!!). I ended up visiting about 50 blogs.

Each week, I sent out a reminder email to whoever was scheduled. In the email, I provided information about my trailer, my contest (while it was running), and then offered to answer one unique or fun question that could help in the promotion of their particular day.

I also helped spread the word for each stop. Of course, I had the running list of my blog tour on my Events Page. But underneath each blog post, I listed where I currently was visiting along with the teaser promotion question. I also tried to share about each blog tour stop on Twitter as well as Facebook.

In addition to helping with the promotion, I made a point of swinging by each blog at least once (and if I had time, I tried to swing by more) so that I could visit with readers.

My Impressions of the Blog Tour:

The biggest pro? I really enjoyed getting to know the participants of my tour a little better. I became more grateful for the willing and generous help that so many people gave without any thought of return. My hope was that the blog tour could be a mutually beneficial experience—participants shared the news of my book to their followers and helped spread the book buzz, but then I also helped to promote and drive new traffic to their blogs.

The biggest con? The tour was a LOT of work. A LOT. In my already tight schedule, I felt slightly overwhelmed at times trying to keep up with all the work involved crafting interviews and guest posts, writing emails, mailing giveaways, etc. Plus, I continued writing my own blog posts (for this blog) three times a week.

Did the blog tour help sell more books? My honest answer is—I don’t know. It definitely helped spread the word. If each of the 50 blogs had an average of 100 visitors who saw my book cover and read even a sentence or two, that’s 5000 people. Granted some blogs may have had less, others more, and even some overlap.

I get comments from people like, “I’ve been seeing your book all over the place” or “I’ve been hearing such good things about your books everywhere.” And blog tour hosts are reporting back about how they’re sharing my book with real life friends too. The snowball effect of word-of-mouth promotion is hard to measure, but initial feedback has been positive.

So was the blog tour really worth it? Yes. I believe that the tour accomplished what I’d hoped—and that was to build buzz surrounding the release of the book. I think having it spread over 6 to 8 weeks helped keep the initial momentum of the release going and kept the book in the spotlight. Having the tour in conjunction with my big Trailblazer Contest as well as a giveaway for The Preacher’s Bride on Kindle also helped increase the buzz.

My final thoughts? If I do another blog tour in the future, I’m still trying to decide what I would do the same and what I would do differently. Therefore, I would love your feedback!

If you participated in my blog tour (and even if you didn’t), what advice would you have for me (or anyone) to help make a blog tour work better? What do you like or not like about blog tours?

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