It’s funny, when you’re in an industry for awhile, you assume everyone knows exactly what you’re talking about. You throw around lingo and people look at you like you’re crazy.
I’ve been doing blog tours for five years, so when I posted in a launch team group about looking for bloggers to participate in the Blog Tour, I was really surprised when people didn’t know what that was.
Well, obviously they don’t! They don’t market books for a living.
What is a Blog Tour?
A blog tour is a virtual book tour!
It’s an inexpensive way for an author to reach a wider audience through a network of bloggers. They don’t have to be book review bloggers either, although those are good to have in the mix!
Ideally, you set up a schedule leading up to, during, and after launch so that your book is constantly being talked about to different audiences. I like to set mine up with a large amount of posts going live on launch day and the 3-4 days following, and then sprinkle them out over the next 2 or so months to keep the discussion going.
How do I set it Up?
The first thing you have to do is know who your target audience is and find bloggers who talk on that topic. As a mom blogger who publishes books on parenting, I’ve made a lot of connections in this particular arena, so I’ve been building a database of mom bloggers for years. Now, every time I go to publish a new parenting book, I simply email that list and ask them if they’d like to participate.
So, step 1 – find the bloggers! Google is your friend. (FYI, it’s called a blog tour, but you can use Instagrammers/Book Grammers too)
Step 2 – Create a form for them to fill out if they want to participate. This will help you GREATLY when keeping everything organized. View this google form for an example of how we set up our most recent blog tour.
Step 3 – Send an email to them asking them if they’d be interested in receiving a free ecopy of your book (you can send print copies to those who insist, but always start by offering the ecopy). Let them know what you’re looking for:
- a blog post during launch week if possible, with links to your Amazon page or if Amazon is not your strategy, the URL you want to direct them to
- a giveaway if they want – you’ll send the winner a print book, be sure to request that a LIKE/FOLLOW on the social media platform you are trying to grow is one of the requirements – but just ONE, so pick the one that means the most
- social media shout outs
- Include a link to the form so that they can go ahead and sign up
Step 4 – prepare all materials for them
- promo images
- sales links
- social media info
- advanced review copy
Will I Sell a Lot of Books if I do a Blog Tour?
While blog tours are not usually great at increasing sales, they are great for increasing your author platform, growing your audience, getting your book in front of an audience you wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach.
But keep your expectations in check.
Lots of people will enter the giveaway and hopefully lots of people will share the info, follow you on social media, and participate in the activities. But they may NOT buy the book. At least not immediately. But you can develop a relationship with these new fans and they may buy later or help you along in other ways.
Overall, it’s one of the greatest free* marketing activities you can do to gain exposure for your book.
*some larger bloggers and social media influencers do expect payment for this. Consider the size of their audience. If it’s the RIGHT target audience for your book, it might be worth paying an Instagrammer with 15,000 followers to show your book some love.
Can I do one after I’ve already published my book?
Why not? There’s nothing saying a virtual tour has to happen at launch time. If you’ve already missed that boat, it’s not too late to set one up and give it a try.
Need help managing your blog tour? We’d love to help. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for info.
Want to schedule a 30-minute consulting call to work on marketing or platform development?
Publishing Timeline and Checklist
All the details to make sure you don't miss key steps when publishing and launching your book!