Are Blog Tours Worth It?

Image from Flickr by manoftaste.de

Image from Flickr by manoftaste.de

 

This summer I embarked on a national month-long book tour, meeting readers from Missouri, Wisconsin, California, Pennsylvania, and several other places. Of course, it was a virtual book tour–or blog tour–so I saved a lot on gas.

Still, blog tours aren’t cheap, and they’re more work than I ever would have guessed. Now that the tour’s over, several authors have asked me: was it worth it?

As with anything related to book promotion, the answer isn’t simple. It depends on how you measure worth. Many authors understandably measure in numbers, something I try to avoid (and wrote about here). But if you’re curious about the numbers, I tallied a few:

  • Sixteen hosts signed up to participate in the blog tour for The Fourth Wall.
  • Over 900 people entered giveaways for a copy of the book.
  • Dozens of potential readers reached out by leaving comments on blog sites, Facebook and Twitter.
  • Four of my blog hosts reviewed The Fourth Wall and posted their reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.
  • One giveaway winner has already read the book and posted her review on Amazon and Goodreads.

Not bad, right? But there were also surprise outcomes, like an on-going friendship with my tour host (I couldn’t imagine a more perfect pairing; Crystal and I had a blast).

And the fact that having to prepare blog posts about the subjects of my novel and answering pages of interview questions helped renew and focus my passion about the novel’s subjects and themes; it also helped me when it came time for an in-person interview with a local reporter.

Finally, an aspiring writer who visited the first tour stop on WOW! Women on Writing clicked over to my website, found the “classes and critiques” page, and sent an inquiry. She ended up purchasing a critique for her extraordinarily personal memoir, and I was touched and honored.

It’s never easy for a writer to share her work—it takes a great deal of bravery to commit those words to paper let alone place them in the hands of a stranger to be judged. This writer and I worked together on smoothing her essay (it didn’t take much; she’s a fantastic storyteller); I helped her craft a cover letter and she submitted her story, promising to keep me informed. That’s an outcome that can’t be measured.

Ah, but what about the biggie, you wonder. What about book sales?

It’s impossible to tally book sales in relation to the blog tour, even if I could track sales in real time, which I cannot. How would I account for the readers who added The Fourth Wall to their TBR list and purchase it months from now? Those who borrowed it on their Kindle and may later tell a friend? Or the guy researching theater terms, next year, who stumbles across one of the blog posts from the tour? There’s no way to know.

What I do know is I met some wonderful people on my blog tour and had meaningful discussions about writing, publishing, inspiration, music, and dreams (especially lucid ones). I feel like I did something to get the word out about my novel. Which feels pretty great.

And I saved a lot on gas.

Click here to visit the tour.