Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Blog Book Tours

It seems to me that blog book tours are becoming more popular. Either that, or I’m just becoming more aware of them. A blog book tour is when an author visits a series of blogs, either doing interviews or writing posts, as a way of promoting their book(s). Like taking a virtual book tour.

A blog book tour sounds easy. Just sit in your PJs and type on your computer. But, of course, it’s not that simple. Sure, you don’t have to get in your car and drive or go through security to get on a plane, then live out of a suitcase as you go from city to city. And, naturally, it is less expensive than an actual tour.

But that’s not to say it’s easier.

We’ll start with a simple visit to a blog. If it’s an interview, then usually the owner of the blog will send questions ahead of time. That gives the author or interview subject time to answer the questions and edit their answers. Then, for example, in the case of my blog, the author has a last chance to review the post before it goes up. Once I’ve added the intro and close to the post, I send it to the author for a final look before it’s posted.

That’s not too bad. You have time to consider the questions and perfect your answers. But what about with a Q&A that’s much closer to “real” time? For example, an interview that takes place on a discussion board where questions are coming in during a set time period and the author doesn’t get the chance to review them ahead of time. The question comes in; the author answers. It’s rather like questions being fired at you by reporters, or if you’ve done a lot of bookstore talks, questions from the audience. Very little time to edit or form eloquent sentences. And…those words are pretty much there forever. Up on the Internet, saved on people’s computers, shared with others.

But let’s say you’re not doing just one or two interviews or posts. You’re doing a “real” tour, with many stops along the blog road. You’re even posting the blog stops on your site so your readers can take the tour with you. In that case, you really have to plan ahead. You have to come up with subjects to talk about – different at each stop, informative, entertaining, and always, always, promoting your book. Readers aren’t going to take the tour with you if you keep repeating yourself. You have to plan your talks so that each one adds something, each one will be new for your readers (and for the readers of the individual blogs you’re visiting). This is a little different from going on an actual tour where you’re not likely to have the same audience members in City B that you had in City A, so you can repeat yourself. This takes more pre-preparation.

Plus, it takes work on your own website. If you’re going to refer to your book for examples, you hope the readers will have bought your book ahead of time. But, chances are, a lot of them won’t. You don’t want to lose those visitors. In fact, you want them to go out and buy the book after your “talk.” So you put excerpts from your book on your website so you can refer readers to those snippets. It helps them relate to what you’re talking about in your post. They’ll read those snippets and, hopefully, think the book might be really interesting and go buy it. Plus, it gets them to your website where they’ll look around and see what other books you have out.

But this big tour takes work. Ahead of time. And let’s say you have a tour all planned out with ten stops. And you’ve written “lessons” for each stop. Then a blog owner asks you to stop at his/her blog. Now, you gotta go back and add a new lesson, something different, yet related.

Sure, you’re still sitting in your PJs, but even a blog book tour can be time consuming and a lot of work. And it’s harder to track sales. But it sure is cheaper. And you have the possibility of connecting with more readers than on an actual tour. And … you don’t have to comb your hair or suck on breath mints.


  1. Very true and encouraging words. With technological advances so way out there, it is easier nowadays to get noticed. I hope when my turn comes out, I can keep my readers interested and can do a decent tour - blog or live; First stops will be Dahlonega Book Festival (Dahlonega, GA) and Decatur Book Festival (Decatur, GA) and then probably a virtual book tour for a few months - and I'll have to do lots of giveaways, so am prepping now before the books actually get published - see you all in the postings - E :)

  2. I have to say that the biggest response I got for an author coming to my website was for Susan Wittig Albert, who gave away three books to readers who stopped by Straight From Hel.

    Sounds like you're from my home state, Elysabeth. Although I've lived in Texas most of my life, I was born in Georgia.


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