When I published my debut children’s picture book Sarah’s Shadow in December last year, it didn’t occur to me to do a blog tour. I assumed it would be out of my reach at that time as I was so busy promoting the book on social media and chasing Amazon reviews that the idea of organising a blog tour seemed out of my reach. A few months later, an author friend explained to me that there are people that can arrange the whole tour for you, and that it wasn’t too late for me to do one as you can do retrospective blog tours, too.
So, I took my friend’s advice and I’ve just completed a joint blog tour with fellow children’s author Marion Adams and her multi-award-winning debut Go To Sleep! The tour was so worthwhile that I I decided to write a blog about it. Here are six reasons why I believe all authors should consider doing a blog tour!
- Gain Exposure
If you want to give your book a sustained period of online exposure, a blog tour is a great way to achieve this aim. We had up to three slots each per day for two weeks on our tour, which resulted in 30 book reviews each. As the reviews are staggered over a period of time, you get a steady trickle of reviews which helps build some momentum.
It’s not just the blogs themselves that give you exposure, either. Each blogger is proactive in sharing the articles on social media, too, so you’re likely to see a spike in your Twitter and Facebook activity mainly (and Instagram and Pinterest to a lesser degree). For instance, my Twitter impressions were around 8K in total in the first half of May (before the tour) and this rose to 23K impressions in the second half (during the tour).
Another advantage of gaining reviews of your book on blogs is that you can use snippets from them in your marketing. In one of my reviews from my tour, a blogger said that “this is one of my favorite books of 2018.” Needless to say, I was thrilled with this particular quote and will be using it when I advertise on Facebook and Twittter.
- It’s low-maintenance
The thing that appealed to me about doing a blog tour was that I didn’t have to do much. My author friend had put me in touch with Rachel Gilbey (of Rachel’s Random Resources) who organises blog tours for a living. We just had to pay her a small fee and send her our graphics, blurbs, ‘About the Author’ text, that sort of thing.
She then asked her network of book bloggers if they would like to take part in the tour and within couple of days it was all booked. Rachel also designed a banner for the tour, which again saved us a job.
- It’s inexpensive
Blog tours are also very low-cost compared to most other forms of book marketing, such as Facebook and Twitter ads or Amazon Marketing Services. For instance, the cost for our two-week tour was a mere £70 and resulted in us both getting 30 book reviews each. An indie author would have to pay a lot more than that to get a single review on a site like Foreword Reviews or Kirkus, so in that sense it is amazing value for money. In theory, you could organise your own blog tour for free, but I think it would be very hard to do this if you don’t have a large network of bloggers already in place. And most authors definitely don’t.
- Amazon reviews
As I mentioned in the previous section, Marion and I amassed 30 book reviews each on our first blog tour last month. Each blogger posted their review on their own blog, obviously, and that’s brilliant, but many of them also posted it on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Result!
And it gets better: some of those bloggers are Top 1000 or Top 500 Amazon reviewers, so their reviews look even more trustworthy. This is important because, let’s face it, we don’t believe every Amazon review we read, do we?
- Search Engine Optimisation
When authors post on social media about their books, they tend to include a link to their Amazon listing (hopefully using a universal link). The beauty of a book review on a blog, however, is that you can include a link to your own website, too.
Search engine optimisation is changing all the time, but one of its golden rules still holds true: the more backlinks there are on high-quality websites that point to your site (especially if those sites are relevant to your business), the higher your site will ultimately rank on Google. And don’t be fooled – just because everyone uses social media these days, many of them still use Google to search for things.
- Network with bloggers
Before I embarked on my first blog tour, the idea of networking with bloggers wouldn’t have occurred to me. I’ve seen blogs in the past where the blogger states that they no longer accept submissions because they get inundated with review requests, so how would I build relationships with loads of them?
My blog tour opened my eyes in this respect. I found out very quickly that there is a vast blogosphere out there, much bigger than I’d thought, and they’re a very friendly bunch. A blog tour is the perfect way to meet them en masse, and if you make the effort to follow them on social media and thank them for their review, you may be able to secure more book reviews in the future.
(c) Nick Jones
About Sarah’s Shadow:
If you could change something about yourself, would you do it?
When Sarah Simpkins is teased about her shadow in the school playground, she finds herself wishing she didn’t have one. That night she has the chance to make the wish come true. But will losing her shadow really make her happy?
Nick Jones’ critically acclaimed debut children’s picture book deals with issues such as bullying and self-confidence from a refreshingly original angle. Illustrated beautifully by Si Clark, Sarah’s Shadow taps into the young reader’s imagination and leaves them with a powerful, positive message.
Order your copy online here.