I'm a big fan of blog tours. If done correctly, they can introduce a whole new audience of readers to your work and highlight exactly why they should read your book. Unfortunately, I hear all too often from those who've either run or purchased a blog tour that it didn't work. Despite all the effort they put into creating a tour banner, crafting unique guest posts, and promoting the stops, the tour failed to increase their sales numbers.
After talking to several of these authors, I've determined that there is usually one of two reasons why the blog tour didn't work. To save you the misery of putting in the effort without the payoff, here are the two reason a blog tour fails and what you can do to avoid these pitfalls.
Reason #1: You fished in your own pond.
Hopefully you have a community of authors you consider friends and it was so nice of them to offer to help you out and feature you on their blog during your tour. They loaded up your guest posts, tweeted the feature links, and talked you up on Facebook. The online writing community really is made of awesome.
Unfortunately, all of your writer/blogger friends are all part of the same network. So instead of reaching the thousands of new readers you were hoping for, you shared your news with the same 50 people who already knew about your book. While it can be fun to have everyone you know talking about your book at once, it isn't productive if you aren't reaching new people. Even if everyone in your network buys your book (and honestly, they aren't going to) that's not enough sales to build any kind of momentum.
In order for your tour to work for you, you need to make sure that each stop is reaching a new audience that you couldn't reach on your own. That means stepping outside of your happy place comfort zone and asking bloggers that aren't a part of your circle to participate.
Reason #2: You threw out a net.
In an effort to combat issue number one you decided to open the tour to anyone and everyone. With a free book up for grabs, bloggers signed up by the truck load, each one promising a review and a feature on their blog. You have 75 tour stops and not a clue who any of the readers are.
Problem here is, you don't know anything about these bloggers. You don't know what kind of site they run, how professional it is, who their followers are, or if they even post reviews on a regular basis. You got the Bertie Botts Every Flavor Bean of blog tours. Sure, you probably ended up with some tutti-fruti and cotton candy flavored tour stops. But you also got troll boogies, vomit and earwax. Not only do those tour stops do nothing for your book promotion, they were a waste of your time and could potentially hurt you.
In order for the tour to hit the target audience you are shopping for, you need to know the audience of your tour. That means doing the leg work of soliciting the bloggers you want to work with and not just anyone.
So how do you combat these. You've got to find a happy medium. Go ahead and ask your friends to help you, and while they are being generous ask them if they know of bloggers outside your circle who might be interested in being a part of the tour. If you decide to open things up to anyone, ask bloggers to submit a simple form with their site information on it first. This lets you check them out to make sure this is someone you want representing you and your work before offering them a spot on the tour.
And the best idea is to go out and ask individual bloggers to participate. I don't mean put up a call for reviews on Twitter or Facebook. I mean write an email to Sally Blogger telling her how much you love her blog and ask if she'd be willing to participate in your tour.
Yes, this takes time and effort. I get it, I really do. But if you are going to go through all the effort of having a blog tour, you might as well do it right.