WHAT ON EARTH IS A BLOG TOUR?
My thoughts exactly! I had visions of trudging across the country, becoming familiar with motorway service station sandwiches and breakfast buffets. And any way, isn’t this sort of book promotion the preserve of the major publishers? Turns out I was wrong. Not only did I not have to leave the comfort of my home – good thing too, seeing how we are mid pandemic – but a blog tour is available to all, whether you are traditionally published, hybrid or self published. It’s your chance to throw the spotlight on your own book baby.
I was introduced to the concept back in early Spring, when a friend suggested I emailed Anne Cater, who has been running blog tours for many years. A respected book reviewer, she also arranges blog tour through Random Things Tours, finding reviewers for up-coming novels, not just for the big publishers, but also self-publishers and independents like us. We began a communication and she informed me of the structure, ten or so reviews over the space of about a week. The fee for her knowledge and expertise was £100. Reviewers are not paid. They blog because the love reading and books.
Random Thing Tours have a wealth of reviewers to call upon, some specialise in specific genres, while others are more general. By mid June I had my list of reviewers and paperbacks were sent out to those who requested one, and a MOBI file for those who prefer to read on a kindle. The cost of the books and postage and packaging is down to the author/publisher. For me, that came to about £40. In early July I began to post the Random Things Blog Tour image on social media and I also made a book trailer to highlight the tour. (See blog post ‘And…ACTION’)
Wednesday 15th July was my red letter day. I was as nervous as a new girl on the first day of school but didn’t have to wait long before my first review was posted and… it was a five star review!!! The relief was so real that I felt like crying. In fact the reviewer was incredibly generous with his praise, thank you Rajiv Reviews!
My friends over at #VWG promptly tweeted and retweeted as did Random Things Tours. I kept my fingers crossed that the likes would soon be matched with sales. Sadly, it was not to be.
The following days, the reviews rolled in, all praising the book which was such a boon to counter my imposter syndrome. We put the digital e-book on special offer of 99p to coincide with the remainder of the tour, and we finally started to see some sales. Eleven e-books were sold at 99p and a further three at £1.99, after the offer ended. I also sold a couple of paperbacks, however, it will be a while before I see if any sales happened through independent bookshops. So altogether, excluding the bookshops, PgUp made approximately £20 during the blog tour event, about 15% of the outlay. However, we are yet to find out if this blog tour will have a lasting effect with increased sales.
Why bother, you might ask?
Reviews are crucial to a book when you are an independent without the clout of a major publishing company. ‘The Third Magpie’ received ten fantastic reviews, most of whom have posted a rating and a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. I would love to say that everyone who reads my novel leaves a review, but as many in the writing/publishing world know, if you get a ten percent conversion you are doing well. A blog tour is a way of generating genuine reviews. They may be on the reviewer’s site, in which case it is up to you to point readers to the website, or they may be on one of the major online platforms. You are not guaranteeing yourself a host of five star reviews, these are fair comments, and, as with all thing creative, reviewing is subjective. It may not be to one reviewers taste, or it might be their favourite read of the year.
We are new, both in terms of a debut novel and setting up a publishing imprint. By experimenting with different marketing techniques we can try to discover what works and what doesn’t for that genre of novel, and also, what might we do next time to maximise visibility and increase sales? The reviews from this tour are real and can be used in the future to help with marketing. I have put links to all eleven below, so you can take a look at a selection of bloggers websites.
As we progress through our first year, there will be much to learn, which we hope to share in our blogs.
Many thanks to all the reviewers and to Random Things Tour