Last year, Mud and I were asked by the lovely bloggers at the Smut Report if we could give an “inside view” of sorts on blog tours. Why are they important? What is the point of a blog tour?
While we hope we were able to give a few insightful answers, there was one we didn’t think we really answered below and that is that it’s a great way to introduce an author to a blogger. Authors are generally homebodies that just don’t see the glamour in the minutia of their work, writing one sentence twenty times “because it didn’t look right at first.” While authors are often readers that adore the authors of the books they love, they put this glass ceiling of their own making between them, separating themselves from the “real” authors.
Authors work hard on pieces that often start out as “side projects”—it takes time away from their sleep, their family, their work, their sanity, and to offer any more of themselves on something that maybe won’t work out, on a bad review, or a soured experience—a lot of times, they just can’t do it. They can’t make themselves pry more time away from their lives to offer themselves up to an email they might never hear back from and they can’t afford to pay for someone—a personal assistant or a promo company charging hourly wages—to do it for some indeterminable period of time.
A blog tour has a few really great aspects that makes them perfect, especially for indie authors: one, it has a flat rate; two, an expected timeline; and three, at the end the author can freak out at being so brave as to put their work out their into the world and then go back to the hermit lifestyle.
That, of course, isn’t all authors, but it’s a lot of them. Blog tours have formed so many blogger-author relationships that it’s almost always included in the checklist—edits, cover materials, and blog tour.
And that makes Mud and I, as blog tour organizers, really happy.
And another cool thing? Blog tours aren’t just an indie author thing. Big, NYT-bestselling authors do blog tours, just like small, self-published authors. Big and small publishing companies realize the value in blog tours, so by promoting, you’re joining the playing field of all authors, with sales big and small.
Now onto the questions we were asked below.
Q: What is the goal of the tour?
A: To legitimize the author.
Most book bloggers are like people watching those ASPCA commercials and adopting as many dogs/cats/turtles/hamsters/ponies that they can healthily care for. In other words, they’re angels that adopt authors, hug them to their chest, and say—“It’s okay. You’ve done all of this hard work and it’s worth sharing. I know you work hard, and I’m so glad I get to share in your stories.”
By sharing an author on your blog, other readers that love indie books can do an internet search and see that the author maybe has past works that they didn’t know about, that they’ve been on maybe a few blogs whose opinions they trust, and also, that the author maybe takes their career seriously. (Plus, if you’re a die-hard fan, you might find an old interview or blog post. Not that we’ve ever hunted down our favorite author’s old interviews while fangirling. *coughs and looks away guiltily.*)
Q: What if the blog that signed-up doesn’t post on the date they said they would? What happens then?
A: Fire and brimstone. A bed bug infestation. An eternally itchy butt crack. A really funky smell in your house that you can’t seem to track down, so that once a week, you hunt the house nose-first looking for that bag of potatoes you thought that you bought but never found.
Honestly, the worst thing that might happen is the blog tour organizer and the author might decide not to go on your blog anymore. That means no interviews, blog posts, or free advanced reader copies. And also, you’ll probably break their heart a little bit. And you leave a hole in the blog tour that the blog tour organizer and the author will have to try to fill.
Please don’t do it if you can help it. I mean, no one is going to penalize you for the fact that you broke your ankle or you were overwhelmed by work and life—we’re all human. But bloggers get a lot of trust from authors and their blog tour organizers that a lot of regular readers don’t. So, please be careful with it.
Q: How does scheduling work—including scheduling for ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) distribution?
A: A lot of forms ask you to pick a date or two to sign-up for. Some blogs only have room for one date, so that one date gets priority. Depending on how many sign-ups you have, a blog tour organizer likes to have at least one to three blogs a day for the duration of the tour.
As for ARC distribution, we like to send them out to blogs as soon as we have them.
Q: How do blog tour companies promote blogs?
A: Share. Share, share, share, share, share. On Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, their website. Back links on the websites, so that any die-hard readers can find it and go read it even months later.
Mud and I offer pretty full service promotions, so our work doesn’t really end at the blog tours, and generally, neither do bloggers.
I grew up in a house where fiction was valued as the be all and end all—this was back before the more affordable e-Books, when my mom would rush outside to get her thirty dollar book out of the mailbox, because no one really needed to know how many thirty dollar books she was buying.
My mom didn’t blog, she didn’t have a book group, she didn’t share anything with anyone, but she knew all of the book details—to this day, I have full 8×11 sheets of paper covered (on both sides) in ink of what books come out when—and honestly, she still does it to this day. The act of tracking down a book and knowing when it’s going to come out and what the author is up to—it’s this heady feeling of being in the know.
Book bloggers are basically readers that know they need to share this information with others. It’s about as compelling a need as writers have to write. It’s important that their work doesn’t die on some paper to be tossed into the trash years later.
Bloggers are the die-hard readers that are really the life blood of the industry. You’re the author paparazzi, the people in the know as to what books to be on the lookout for next, and the whole reason that bookstores and authors exist. Bloggers help the dream makers have lives they never thought they could dream of. And that is incredible.
From Mud and I, and on the behalf of all of our authors, thank you for your time, your effort, and the mega-phone you provide in getting these books out to the world. It’s more appreciated than you could ever know.
About Psst… Promotions and Let’s Talk Promotions:
A full-service promotional company, Psst…Promotions and Let’s Talk Promotions, do blog tours, press releases, help get books and into book stores and help authors set up book signings. Because we believe authors deserve that Cinderella moment when their book releases and we want to be the fairy god mother that helps get that done. Run by Mindy (Mud) Mymudes and Echo Shea.