Author Topic: What exactly is a book tour?  (Read 1836 times)

sandree

What exactly is a book tour?
« on: November 03, 2019, 12:08:39 AM »
I have heard the term “book tour” and read a few websites who offer this. I’m not quite getting what all these terms mean. For instance what is a “takeover”? What exactly does this do for you? What is your part in the process?

Is this a good promotional option for a new release?

Are there particular book tours that you have used and feel we’re successful?

Thanks so much for helping out a social media lightweight!

Simon Haynes

Re: What exactly is a book tour?
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2019, 12:18:11 AM »
It's meant to be a win-win, because you write an article or answer interview questions for a blog - they get free content, and you get exposure.  A 'tour' is where you do a number of these spread across various sites.

I've never bothered, because I don't think it would suit my genres.
 
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LilyBLily

Re: What exactly is a book tour?
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2019, 01:12:29 AM »
Traditionally, a book tour is a physical tour across the country to numerous bookstores. Publishers used to pay for these and such tours typically included numerous radio and TV interviews, too. They still do these for some elite authors. Various bookstores, especially strong independents, have guest authors regularly, and there still is the occasional radio show out there that would be interested. Today, there are some intrepid authors who arrange their own physical book tours, and possibly you could arrange a podcast tour on your own, too.

Blog tours are what used to be a common practice pre-2016, when they dropped off dramatically. A company would arrange dates with a certain number of blogs, the author would provide content, and then the company would put that content on each of the blogs on the tour. Ideally, the author would also be available to answer questions on each blog on the date the post debuted, but otherwise the company handled the repetitive chores and setting everything up with the bloggers. Sometimes, prizes were involved.

Takeovers are when you put your content on someone's Facebook page, with their permission, and those usually involve offering prizes and doing interactive chatting with that person's followers.

I did numerous guest blog posts in 2015 and 2016 and I don't think it did anything but waste my time, but it is totally free if you arrange it yourself and it does get eyes on your book. There still are people with blogs who are eager for guest content. I suppose the presumption is that you tell your fans about the guest post and thus bring them to that blog and increase that blog's traffic, but in reality I suspect most people doing guest blogging are reusing content their followers may have already seen, or don't have any followers yet, or whatever. If you have the time, it can't hurt.

There used to be lots of book bloggers, people who would read and review your book and post their review on their blog and thus give you some important word of mouth. By 2014, when I was investigating them, they all were completely overwhelmed by the number of indie books submitted to them. I went through lists of hundreds of people and almost all said they weren't taking any new submissions. There still are a few book bloggers out there, though, if you search for them. Might be worth a try since usually it costs almost nothing. Some book bloggers wanted a physical copy of the book. It's an expense, and they probably would resell the book whether they reviewed it or not.   
 
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Simon Haynes

Re: What exactly is a book tour?
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2019, 01:42:31 AM »
LilyBLily is correct - I was thinking of a blog tour when I posted my reply, rather than the book tour you asked about. Probably because indies almost never do actual book tours.

 
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Bill Hiatt

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Re: What exactly is a book tour?
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2019, 03:11:47 AM »
Some companies confuse the two terms, so I'm not sure which one the OP has read about.

When I first started, I used to do blog tours. The theory behind them is solid. But what I found out all too often was that the blogs weren't "real blogs," by which I mean, they existed only for the purpose of posting about books from that company's blog tour. If you want to check, just look at one of a company's current blog tours. If you follow the links and find a whole bunch of blogs with only blog tour posts, you know what you're dealing with.

When I first started, I used a company called blogads, which was very professional and had the virtue of working with actual blogs. You could see things like the type of blog and the audience size (and visit the blog if you wanted to) before requesting ad space on it. The ads were usually in the sidebar, though I think there were top banner ones available. Content was customizable but basically involved an image, short text (like a teaser), and a link to your website.

I found that approach generated quite a bit of traffic to my website (and temporarily a huge increase in Google search hits involving my name). I did not find that it helped sales, though. Too many of the available blogs were general, rather than being focused on my particular genre(s).


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Simon Haynes

Re: What exactly is a book tour?
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2019, 03:21:35 AM »
Yep - see my comment about 'free content' above. They get 500-1000 words written for free, authors paste links to the blog/site all over the place (+pagerank) and the blog owner can profit off not only ad revenue but also Amazon Affiliates income.

But as for actual book readers finding the blog ...

(Obviously I'm not referring to legit book bloggers. Just the shady operators preying on authors.)
 
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sandree

Re: What exactly is a book tour?
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2019, 03:39:53 AM »
Yes I was referring to the blog tours. I, too, looked for review opportunities on blog sites and got no response or they were not taking any more books for review.

This time with the saturation of indie books reminds me of my lampwork glass bead making days. When I was first making beads, they sold easily on eBay and directly from my website. Eventually the market became saturated and beadmakers started to make their money off other beadmakers - selling tools, tutorials and classes. It became very difficult to make money from the art itself. Although those who stuck it out and found a niche or were very talented are still around but so many people did drop out.

With the beads I got in at the beginning. With my writing, I’m coming into a market that is already saturated. Oh well...

Simon Haynes

Re: What exactly is a book tour?
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2019, 04:13:47 AM »
I firmly believe that having a decent backlist across a number of series, experimenting with different genres, and advertising first-in-series is the way to go.

Historically, trad-pubbed authors wrote and wrote and wrote for years, maybe releasing a new book every 18-24 months, all of which disappeared from the shops 3-6 months after they were published.

We're in such a good position, comparatively speaking. Our older stuff never goes out of print, and we can continue a popular series forever. (When I was a trad-pubbed author, three books was about the max for any series, because after that you couldn't bring new readers in. Why? Because book 1 in the series wasn't available anywhere. That's likely still the case now.)

From my perspective the worst thing would be if trad publishers dropped ebooks to the 4.99 price range, and spent up big on AMS and the like, pushing everyone else out.

But they could only do it with new books under new contracts, and their authors would scream blue murder if they were getting, say, 25% of 70% of $4.99 in royalties, while knowing they could earn four times more going it alone. At the moment, with a trad pubbed ebook around $12, the author still (hopefully) earns a couple of bucks, and not 45-70 cents or so.

Sorry, diverging a little from the topic, but don't ever believe there's total saturation out there. You just have to keep writing and publishing at a pace you can live with.


Also, books are not like most products.  People buy books for the hours of enjoyment, and you can't assume they'd be happy to substitute one for another.
 
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LilyBLily

Re: What exactly is a book tour?
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2019, 06:09:24 AM »
Interesting thing about saturated book markets. Readers read one book and want another. This is not necessarily the case with other products, although certainly the ads that follow me across the internet are created with the hopeful idea that I want to buy endless t-shirts because I bought one.

You can call authors eternal optimists, but books are not a market that will saturate.   
 
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sandree

Re: What exactly is a book tour?
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2019, 09:55:39 AM »

You can call authors eternal optimists, but books are not a market that will saturate.

That’s good to know!