In a digital age, it should come as no surprise that in addition to designing, publishing and marketing their books electronically, authors can also take their book tours to an online interface. Imagine executing a series of tour stops right from the comfort of your own home. Sounds too good to be true right? While for some, the traditional, in-person events and signings work best, others may want to consider adding a blog tour to their marketing plan.
What is a blog tour?
An online book tour, commonly referred to as a blog tour, is a modernized way to connect with new readers without traveling from city to city. Blog tours usually occur over a two to four-week period where the author is featured on a different relevant blog each day for the duration of the tour.
The features of each stop on the tour can vary, but usually share information about the book and its availability and exclusive information about the author. Similar to having one on one conversations with the authors at events, the blog content is meant to incentivize readers to want to get more from the author, through buying their book.
The main idea behind organizing a book tour, is to capitalize on each blogger’s audience to gain exposure for the book in the early stages of its release. Online tours can be arranged at any time, but work most effectively with new releases. In comparison to in-person tours, where building a strong following and some momentum reinforces the value of holding events, blog tours are meant to help grow an audience for a new book.
Blog tours have been known to work best for genre fiction or YA books because it’s one of the best ways to engage with that audience.
How do you arrange a blog tour?
Online book tours are typically arranged about 6 weeks in advance of the tour’s start date, so it can be advantageous to begin planning prior to publication.
There are two ways an author can arrange a book tour: the Do-It-Yourself Method, or by paying a blog tour organizer.
If you’re wanting to arrange a blog tour at low cost, you’ll essentially be your own tour manager. First, you’ll need to compile a list of all relevant blogs you could approach to be on your tour. Remember – the list should be quite extensive, since many bloggers may not respond, and many may already be busy with other content.
Once your list has been compiled, send a pitch requesting they be a stop on the online book tour you’re organizing. The pitch should include core details about the book such as the synopsis, cover image, author bio, social media links and contact information, retail information and the book’s release date. In addition to that, it’s important to emphasize why the blogger’s audience would take interest in the book, and further why you think their blog would be a good fit for your tour.
Keep a calendar of the dates you’ve booked, and follow up with other bloggers to get an idea of how your tour is shaping up.
Once everything has been lined up, liaise with the contacts you’ve established in advance of the scheduled tour date to send them the content they’ll be posting on their blog for you. It helps to have content readily prepared (depending on what the blogger agrees to share,) however, each blogger will want fresh material from one another.
Alternatively, authors can hire a third-party organization to coordinate their tour. This allows them to focus on preparing the content, while the organizer worries about coordinating dates and tour stops. These organizations have already established contact with a wide variety of book bloggers, therefore this can be a better way to do a book tour, especially if it’s your first time.
There are many organizations to choose from, one example being Goddess Fish Promotions. Goddess Fish offers quite a few different tour options to consider, including an Excerpt Only Tour and a Standard Virtual Book Tour. Prices for tour organizers usually range from $50-250 USD. Here are some other blog tour organizations to consider.
Tips for executing a successful blog tour
- Read some of the blogger’s content and get a feel for their blog’s style before adding them to your list.
- Subscribe to the blog and follow the blogger on all applicable social media channels to show your genuine interest in their work.
- Engage with each blogger during their scheduled tour date.
- Share the link to each blog post the morning of, on all of your social media platforms and your website
- Be available for questions and comments throughout the day (both on your own channels, and on the blogger’s channels.)
- At the end of the day, thank the blogger for hosting you and thank their subscribers for their engagement/interest.
Even though blog tours can be arranged and executed from your couch, they still require a significant amount of prep work and engagement, whether you have the help of an organizer or not. So, if you’re looking to expand your target market, and you have a sizeable online audience, take a look at some current blog tours, read about what other independent authors have said, and consider whether it’s worth trying for your next book.