Lots of you are clicking on that, and I can’t help but think it’s because you want more information on how you can use this unique eBook marketing technique to both increase your audience exposure, and eBook sales as a result.
That said, there’s not a whole lot known about eBook blog tours. Sure, you can find helpful books, like that I wrote called Tour Your Book which details 50 sites, and you can even read a large excerpt from that on a guest post I did on The Book Designer called the 7 Top eBook Blog Tour Sites.
But really, what should you expect when you actually do decide to take the plunge and pay for an eBook blog tour? What should your expectations be?
I wrote about this a lot in my book, and I’ll give you a bit of a rundown here today. Really, there are just three reasons to do blog tours, the way I see it at least:
- Sell Books;
- Get Reviews;
- Gain Fans.
I’m sure there are other great reasons, but those three pretty much encapsulate it. Now, before you get reviews or fans you’ve got to sell them your book, you’ve got to make those sales. To do that you need exposure, and that’s what eBook blog tours give you.
Let’s answer four common questions about eBook blog tour sites.
So Why Do Blog Tour Host Sites Do It?
Probably because they're getting money, site traffic, gift cards, or some other benefit. And because of that they'll help you.
Usually tour sites will set up some kind of raffle, many times using Rafflecopter, to generate interest, excitement, and buzz amongst their users. Prizes are often in the form of an Amazon gift card, typically $25, but sometimes they’re more extravagant. Hey, if you can get a tour service giving away an iPad you’ll probably get a lot of eyes on your book.
Other times the prize might be nothing more than a copy of your book. How you set this up depends on the tour site you’re going through, and could be anything from you sending different formatted copies of the book (.mobi, .epub), or even gifting it on Amazon. (I did a tour for The Hirelings awhile back and never delivered the free copy, mainly because no one asked. Yes, eBook blog tour can diminish your confidence as well).
A lot of times these giveaways will be rather hands-off for you, and many times these inducements are to get people to leave reviews for your book, either the site bloggers or readers that win the prize. Other times there are no reviews or giveaways of your book involved at all. It really depends on the site and the service you choose.
How Much Work Is Involved?
The flip side of this is promoting too much. Don’t send out messages on Facebook or Twitter every fifteen minutes hoping people will respond favorably. I see this a lot in my Google+ groups, where the same book will appear ten times or so.
The line between getting the word out and beating something to death isn’t that fine, and you should be able to tell the difference. Remember, one of the reasons you hired a service was so that they could do a lot of the marketing footwork work for you.
What Time Frames Are There?
Typically this is 3 to 6 weeks, although sometimes longer (6 to 8 weeks is what I did for one of my blog tours earlier this year). Some sites do only require a few days or a week, but they’re not as common.
So that really puts an onus on you to know when your release date will be. For many this means coordinating with editors, cover artists, and other outsourcing professionals. For some it could mean a lot of sleepless nights as they try to do everything themselves. And for others it might be nothing because they’re touring a book that’s been out for awhile.
Typically cover reveals are a service that can be done on shorter notice, but remember that many sites want covers that haven’t been shown anywhere else yet, including your own site. These services are also cheaper, and quite a few authors have reported getting good results, sometimes even better than actual tours!
What Should My Expectations Be?
For instance, if you choose a package that gives you 5 to 7 stops over a week you can’t expect to get blockbuster sales. After all, that’s why sites charge hundreds of dollars for larger packages that go over a longer period of time for sustained visibility.
Perhaps you’re trying to cut costs by going with a cheaper service, or maybe even with a site that doesn’t really focus on your genre. In that case you have to expect you that you very well may get nothing at all from your blog tour.
I’ve done quite a few ‘cheaper’ promotion services from sites that don’t really have the reach, or perhaps the audience for my book. As a result I spent money and got nothing in return.
Or did I? Self-publishing is a tricky game, and who’s to say that someone seeing that ad on a ‘cheaper’ site didn’t remember the book, put it on some ‘to-read’ list, and then purchase it weeks or even months down the road?
That’s a great way to think, but it might not be the most realistic. Concrete, measurable results that come in the form of immediate sales and/or reviews during or after a promotional campaign are what we usually equate with success.
There are many eBook blog tour sites that offer services claiming just that. But as I say in my book, and as nearly every site does, results will vary and ultimately it’s you that has to be the judge of whether a service is worth your time, attention and perhaps most important of all, your money.