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?


  1. I was a part of your blog tours...and I really can't think of anything I felt should be changed. It all went wonderfully on my end, though I am sure (as you mentioned) things were crazy for you!

    I am still in love with The Doctor's Lady, and love to spread the word every chance I get--from sharing about the book via the web to letting a friend borrow my copy. (Ohh, its so hard to let that copy leave my library at times!)


  2. It does seem like a TON of work. I'm not sure how I feel about blog tours yet. I think you did yours very well. I'm still forming an opinion on how or if I'd do one.

  3. Thank you for the feedback, Katie and Katie! Sorry, just had to do that. :-)

  4. Great post. With three books releasing in the spring, you've reminded me I need to get working! Thanks, Jody. I've organized blog tours and once paid for one. I think it is just as effective when you do them yourself.

  5. What if you looked at all the work to be done for a blog tour in comparison to a physical tour—where you'd have to leave home & your family, travel through different time zones to various book stores to promote your book? Instead, with a blog tour, you can be in your pj's while you answer questions and "meet" potential readers all over the world. Not saying in years past every author traveled to promote their books, but still... it's an alternative perspective to consider.

    I obviously have zero blog tour experience under my belt, but one thing as a fan I could suggest is that if you took, say, one or even two weeks off from your own blog posts for part of the tour... I can't imagine that your regular readership would suffer. We're a pretty loyal group. ;-) You could re-post something from the archives and disable comments so that you could focus on your tour. ?? Just a thought.

  6. I was also part of the tour, and I thought your entire setup was perfect, Jody! Everything was laid out up front with what the expectations were, and I think with most book bloggers, so long as they know the work required on their end, are pretty agreeable. :o)

    Barb made a really good point about your current blog posts during a tour, esp. in regards to turning off the comments here. Laura Frantz did that for her latest book, The Colonel's Lady. She'd have a short blog post about something, then mention that she would love to visit w/readers at the blogs featuring her that week, and turn off the comments. May not work for you, but it was effective on my end (had a lot of referral visits from her method when I hosted her one week). :o)

  7. Thanks for this post, Jody. As always, you provide a "down-to-earth" view of an author's life. I think you were also successful by sharing reminders of each blog stop on Twitter and Facebook. My wife and I enjoyed "following" your tour.

  8. Hi everyone!

    I appreciate the suggestions! I hadn't considered not doing my blog simply because there are so many who read my blog who aren't interested in my books (and thus wouldn't follow the tour). I understand that and respect it. So I didn't want to drop the ball completely with my blog. But I really like the idea of perhaps using some older posts as a way to keep the momentum going on my blog while I visit at others. I'll definitely keep that in mind for the future!

  9. Jody, I think your blog tour was quite effective. I visited a number of the posts and saw some different names at each of them. While many of the bloggers asked similar questions, I appreciated those who asked you a unique question at the end of the post so I could learn something new about you.

  10. I love blog tours because I'm in the blogging world. ;-)

    But I gotta admit I'm not crazy about "canned" interviews. It's easier on the author and I'm all for that, but they start to sound the same after a while. However I loved that you were open to original comments from your hosts.

    What I love, is finding a book I've seen "all over the place." I came across a book in the book store recently by a publisher easily recognized by many and I had no idea the book was coming out. There just wasn't a lot of promotion.

    So I think in that respect blog tours are great for getting the name and face of the book and author out there. :)

  11. As one of your hosts, I think you did an amazing job organizing your tour. To make it easier on you, what if you not only used some older posts on your blog during the tour, but also had some guest posters on your blog. Those would free up time before and during the tour. Also, since you can estimate the size of the tour now, you may be able to plan some posts ahead of time. Give your hosts a choice of an interview with your questions and answers or a specific post that you've already written.

  12. This is so helpful! I'm still working on my MS, but I've definitely thought about blog tours in the future, and wondered how I would go about doing this. So this post has answered a lot of my questions. Thank you for that!

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  13. Hi Jody! I thought your blog tour was great. It really showed your own initiative and drive to promote your book. It sounds like you were really well-organized too.

    Because of your great promotion, I am currently reading my copy of The Doctor's Lady (and loving it!)! So it at least worked to hook one reader, and I'm sure many more! ;)

  14. My thoughts are that with all the work you put into this, you may not see immediate results, but your first two books had beautiful and distinguishable artwork on the covers. If you continue with the same type of artwork, your books will be recognized by the cover art. The next book may strike a chord in someone who saw the last cover and that could make them pick it up and want to read the first two.

    I have a degree in art and am drawn to the pictures and covers. I know not everyone thinks like me, but for what it's worth, from childhood, the most memorable books were the ones with the great pictures and the covers that compel me. I often walk the aisles at the book store and the ones that jump out at me are the ones I pick from to read.

    It might not seem like it's working at the time, but I believe that all the effort you put into something accumulates and builds. Just as when you start a blog and your first week you have 10 visitors, but a year later you have hundreds per day. It builds and builds. Keep up the good work.

  15. Jody, I loved your blog tour! And all of your hard work gave other intangibles besides sales numbers--1. You're the kind of author a publisher dreams about. They want authors actively promoting their books. 2. By providing links an giveaways, you helped many bloggers attract new readers to their sites. 3. You can honestly say you couldn't have done more to promote your book.
    I know all of this will come back to you ten-fold. Congrats!!

  16. I am really appreciating everyone's feedback today! Thank you all SO much!! I think that so much of what we do as writers (especially early in our careers) is an investment. Like several of you said, we won't always see the immediate payback, but hopefully every little bit that we do will bring about returns in the long run.

  17. Hi Jody! Well since I'm hosting you today (!) at my blog I guess I don't have the complete feel for the blog tour, but I'll tell you that I'm getting lots of positive responses (both publicly and privately) about your visit.

    What I have noticed from the comments is that your level of effort and persistence is making your name and books familiar to readers on the fringes of the blog world and social media. So in my opinion, that's an effective campaign. Hard to measure, though!

    I think I'd second the idea of doing re-runs at least 1 or 2 times a week on your blog, so your work schedule is a bit lighter.

    Thanks again for going along with the donation idea!! You're so generous!! :)

  18. Thanks for sharing your experience, Jody. I can see how overwhelming it must have been because you were everywhere (not in a bad way, mind you). But you handled it all with such grace. I'm sure it will pay off for you, even if you might not immediately see the results. Many of us have appreciated your transparency in the process as well. It's been extremely helpful!

  19. It really does seem like a tonne of work. I would definitely try and coincide it with a blogfest or #writecampaign challenge next time, but that's hard when you have to pick a date. I'll have a think and get back to you Jody. I do hope all your hard work pays off, you deserve it.

  20. Hi Jody! I think your blog tours are successful, even if you don't see immediate results in sales. They help people connect with you as a person, and that's one of those intangibles that's hard to measure. I loved being a part of yours! :)

  21. Hi Jody. The thought of a two month blog tour is simply exhausting! I admire the hard work you've put in, and I think you're right in believing a blog tour is worth it not to sell books but to create awareness. I wish I could be as diligent as you :)

  22. Hi Jody, I'm one of those blog readers who read all the great reviews about your new book and went out and bought it! I'm half way through and its soooo good!
    God Bless and keep up the great writing. :)

  23. I live in a very small place and writers never come here so I think a virtual tour is a great idea!

    I hope you don't mind but I've included you in a writing related tag on my blog. Hope you'll come check it out!

  24. Jody, this is very timely for me because I'm currently planning my own blog tour for my January release. Two months of touring makes my head hurt, so I'm so impressed that you managed that PLUS kept up three posts a week over here.

    My issue is that I'm going to have tighter book deadlines for my next books and I'm a "slow" writer, so I need to maximize my writing time in the coming months. So I want my blog tour to be like a surgical strike where I get in front of mostly new people each time.

    I also did a sign up on my blog a while back and have had so many people generously offer to host me, but I know I can't possibly visit all of those and get anything else done. Plus, a lot of those sites have the same audience as mine, so I'd be speaking to the same people over and over, which is probably not so effective.

    And, of course, none of knows how effective these tours are in the first place. Though I suspect, like you do, anything that builds buzz is a good thing. Thanks for sharing the behind the scenes tour info with us!

  25. Kathy, Thank you for sharing that you bought my book as a result of the buzz! That's always so encouraging to hear. And I'm glad you're enjoying it so far!

    Emily, Thanks for including me in your post! I'm honored!

    Roni, I was pleasantly surprised by the scope of my blog tour. I think there was some readership overlap between blogs that hosted me. But even so, I think there were new readers at every stop that caught the buzz. I think in order to move outside our circles, we probably have to get help from a publicist who can track down "other" blogs that we don't normally associate with or even know about.

  26. Thanks for the info! I totally think blog tours are worth it and plan to have one of my own. :-) Any advice you have is much appreciated.

    Oh, and I got a copy from your pub but I don't think I was on the tour. LOL But I reviewed it and like what has been mentioned already, just seeing the same book over and over can influence a reader (and me, lol) to buy it.

  27. I loved being a part of your blog tour, Jody. Most days I followed you around the blogosphere, too, which wasn't the point, of course, but even with all the repetition of questions I enjoyed gleaning new tidbits about your writing life.

    I think you did a remarkable job of coordinating the tour and balancing all the extra work it involved. Over 50 blog stops was monumental! The biggest question may be do *you* feel it was time well invested?

    Would it have been just as successful it you had spaced out fewer interviews and perhaps interspersed them with other kinds of effort from your chosen influencers? From my own experience, I didn't have to put out that much effort for the interview -- basically just provide the blog space. I would have been happy to take my giveaway copy and try to do more with it... visit local bookstores and the library, introduce it to local churches, etc. Now that I've given it away, however, all I accomplished was to create a guaranteed new reader, but that's a good thing, too. :)

  28. Like Jody, I've found blog tours to be very effective. As a debut author, I had NO name recognition. But by the time my second book came out, I started seeing the "I see her books everywhere" comments. That creates that word-of-mouth buzz that's worth the extra time.

    One thing I did with my third book that helped with the time commitment was doing my interviews months in advance. My book released in August, but I started filling out the Q&As in the spring, one or two each week. Then I wasn't so swamped when the release hit.

  29. I think you did an excellent job in organizing the blog tour. Very impressed with the way you marketed it.

  30. Hi Jody .. sounds like you had all takes covered, especially if this was your first blog tour. I can imagine the work - and have seen you around for a while - and now am following and commenting occasionally!

    I guess the next thing - perhaps is to get a few bloggers to do a pre-Christmas promotional guest blog .. re various authors' books .. it's the future memory joggers around the net .. Doesn't help having NANOWRIMO is in November ...

    Good luck - and I'm sure I'll be buying a copy sometime .. cheers Hilary

  31. From my point of view (as a blog tour participant) your tour was a success. I had plenty of questions to choose from, and enough variety that I was able to adapt them to my own writing style.

    I picked up a few new blog followers (yay!) and my own followers got an introduction to your work. People were excited about winning a copy of your book. Now if I mention you in a post, I can link back to the interview.

    What would I change? If I ever get to do my own tour, I'd probably write EVEN MORE MATERIAL and throw in a lot of funny questions. Did you give me a list of your top-ranking blog posts, with links? I'd like to include those too.

    The combo of blog tour, competition and Kindle giveaway was also well thought out. I will totally rip that off when my turn comes.

  32. Hi Jane,

    GREAT idea about including more questions, with more funny ones! Now that everyone already knows all the regular stuff about me from this tour, I'll have to dig deeper for the next one and the funny questions might be a nice addition!

    I appreciate your feedback! And thanks again for your help! :-)

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