Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Blog Tours: What’s the Point?

Besides writing this blog, I enjoy doing occasional guest blog posts for other authors. In the last couple of weeks, I talked about critique groups versus professional editors in an “Editor Spotlight” on Karen Elliott’s blog The Word Shark. I also talked about proper pacing in a guest post for Adventures in YA and Children’s Publishing.

But I’ve never done a “blog tour.” This is becoming increasingly popular for authors who have a new book out. They set up a month of guest posts on other blogs, trying to do at least one guest spot every day. Each post should be different and entertaining. Doesn’t that sound exhausting?

It may be a good way to spread the word about your new book. It no doubt makes authors feel like they are doing something definite to launch the title. But does it increase sales?

That’s hard to say. Apparently, it takes about seven times seeing something before someone is likely to take action on it, so blasting your name across multiple blogs in a month may help reach that critical mass. Plus, you hopefully extend your reach to a wider audience, since the blogs don’t all have the same followers.

These are good things, but I’m not sure it’s necessary to do all the posts close together. If people don’t hear your name for a year, they may forget it, so you want to stay active in the blogosphere. But if they hear it every day for a week, they may get tired of it. If they hear your name every few weeks, that’s a good reminder, and the passage of time may mean that potential buyer will find it easier to take action. You’re more likely to hit them at a moment when they have money, are planning a shopping trip, feel like reading your type of book, etc.

Besides, by spreading out your publicity, you won’t exhaust yourself as much. At least that’s my plan. I post here once or twice a week; I guest on other blogs at random intervals, when the opportunity arises. I also invite authors to do guest posts here, so long as they talk about the craft of writing or their publishing journey, to keep things in line with my blog topic. (Click on the link to “Guest Posts” for examples.)

What do you think? Do you get more excited if you see an author as a guest on several of your favorite blogs? Or is it tiresome? Have you tried a blog tour, and if so, was it worthwhile?

Please note, blogger hasn’t been letting me comment on my own posts lately, so forgive me if I don’t respond to comments directly in the thread, but I will be reading.

* [I'm adding this note here because I can't comment.] Thanks for your comments. I listened in on a webinar yesterday by Danny Iny of Firepole Marketing about driving traffic to your blog, and he reinforced the idea that regular – but not daily – guest posts are valuable. (Though he was looking at traffic coming back to your own blog, not at book sales.) He showed a graph of visitors to his blog after he did a guest post elsewhere. A single post creates an upswing in visitors, but that peak then rapidly declines. But if you have other guest posts (or other online mentions in the news, etc.) you keep bumping the number of visitors back up. I don’t think the graph showed how often you have to post to have the best effect, but my impression was every week or few weeks works at least as well as every day.

He also mentioned three reasons for guest blogging – driving traffic to your own blog, building credibility (e.g. presenting yourself as an expert by posting on large, respected blogs), or building relationships. Figuring out what you’re trying to accomplish can help you decide if it’s worth doing a guest post and what kind of sites to target. For example, if your goal is to drive traffic to your own blog, you wouldn’t  waste time doing a post for someone who only has 50 followers – but you might if, for some reason, you want to build a relationship with that blogger.

As I said, he was focused simply on blog traffic – he makes money training other bloggers – so it may be different if your goal is to sell books, to recruit editorial clients, or whatever. But it’s still worth figuring out your goal and the best way to achieve it. (And as a side note, I picked up one editorial client from my guest post on Karen Elliot’s editing/proofreading blog.)


  1. I don't see the point of some blog tours. Perhaps they work for some writers. I do think that having guests on your blog and being a guest on others' blogs is a great way to fly. Not just to talk about yourself, your book, your blog, but to share what you know to help others. I like to have guests that offer helpful content (like you, Chris!), and then I list all the links and the books of the writer. I do not read most interview blogs, nor do I read blogs that talk only of that writer's book(s). I agree that a blog tour, if you have one, should be spaced out.

  2. I agree, spacing out a blog tour sounds better!

    I haven't done a blog tour as yet, so I can't really say. Although I have the re-edited version of The Greek Seaman book going up next week, I haven't placed any blog tour requests in, as yet.

    Once in a while I have a random guest on my blog. All they have to do is request one by e-mail. I enjoy reading their content and through it get to know an author better. It doesn't have to be when they have a new book out. I give the authors the same questions, and its wonderful how each author answers them so differently. I place an excerpt up from their books with links and cover. From the connection I also find I want to read these books myself.

    Have a great day Chris!