Blog tours. This subject has recently come to my attention. But it's not a new concept for me. Early in my #bookstagramming days, I was invited to join various Blog Tour "organizations" but I always declined. Why?
1. They never had any books of interest to me
2. I hate reading or posting on a strict deadline
3. Nobody really reads blogs anymore ( says the one typing up a BLOG post)
I'm here to tell you that you do NOT need the services of a Blog Tour and you absolutely do NOT need to pay money for those services (They all charge a fee as far as I can tell). What is a Blog Tour Organization? From what I gather, these companies offer the author various different tiers of promotion based on how much the author is willing to pay. Pay to Play. They will shop your book to all these bloggers who will read, promote and review your book. Will they though? Do they read & review?? I investigated and some of the "reviews" were super vague and mostly a re-wording of the synopsis. One Blog Tour has a Goodreads account. I noticed that back when they joined in 2011, they had REAL reviews. Now, they have over 900 "reviews" and they are all less than a paragraph long. They are vague and lack any critical thinking. They always end with "review to come!" I call bullshit. They also have over 6,000 friends/followers on Goodreads and zero engagement. Nobody likes their reviews or comments on them.
Here's an example:
"Really good thriller and interesting twist I didn't see coming. Looking forward to the movie!"
The Blog Tour's Twitter boasts 64,000 followers. We all know about accounts with inflated follower counts right? They either have the same amount of people they follow (follow for follow) or they pay for them. That's just all there is--they lack impressions, engagements, retweets, and INFLUENCE. Do not be swayed by follower counts!!
They also passively/aggressively discourage honest reviews:
"While we do not guarantee every blog will like the book, they are asked to refrain from posting a review below 3 stars during the tour."
Prices: It costs $40.00 just to do a cover reveal through the Blog Tour Site I'm looking at. $50 just to do a review query and $90 to use their blog blitz service. YOWZA!
So what can horror authors do to promote their new release without paying a dime? Here are some ways you can utilize NIGHT WORMS for FREE!
photo cred: @bookishmommy
Book Promotion: You can email Night Worms to promote your new book by creating bookmarks, pins, buttons, postcards, coupons, eReader codes etc. and we will consider it for the package. Cost to You: the price of designing, printing & shipping those items to us but the return is that your book promotion goes into the hands of horror fans directly and they photograph the contents for social media-so you get both physical direct and social media traction. (Horror titles only/some consideration/curation is involved)
photo cred: @pageandparlor
ARCs/Review Copies as Night Worms Prizes: We love to give our customers MORE books by awarding them for reviews and photo contests. You can donate signed copies (however many you want) as promotional giveaways/prizes. We have been doing this since the inception of our business and many authors have utilized our niche fanbase for this service. Cost to you: The book & shipping (Horror titles only/some consideration/curation is involved)
photo cred: @night_worms
Book Parties: Our Night Worms Book Parties are so much fun and make a HUGE impact. We have 18 people on our Night Worms Review Team but we have a lot of friends and can drum-up over 30 reviewers for one Book Party. We post the book several times on all of our social media accounts, read & review (Goodreads, Amazon, etc) and then do a huge round-up on our Night Worms blog. Some authors have signed books for us, included bookmarks and our last Book Party teamed up with their publisher to create a unique code for all of us to share with our followers to invite them to buy the book early before release! We've seen a great response to that. The bookmarks with the codes also went into our packages! Each Book Party looks different. We also only do one a month and we vote on the book we want to do, so this is a little harder to come by but worth a shot! Cost to you: FREE
Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org (Horror titles only/some consideration/curation is involved)
Post Events/Sales/Releases to our Horror Hub: Here's the Horror Hub all you have to do is email us an invite to your event/sale/release through Google Invites and we will "accept" automatically publishing it to the Horror Hub. (Horror titles only/some consideration/curation is involved)
Guest Post/Cover Reveals/Interviews: Please contact Sadie or Ashley at email@example.com for an application for this service. It is always 100% free and targeted to our Horror Loving Fans!
*There might be some cool, free blog tour services out there but we don't know of any. Let us know if you are aware of one and we'll add it to our "safe zone" of Blog Tours. ;)
The review tours usually ask you not to post your bad review during or before the tour, but they can’t stop you— in theory. However, a legit one star review I posted on Amazon after a tour was over still disappeared within days. (I assure it truly was one of the worst books I ever read.)
Main trouble I find with tour companies is most books seem to be romance or cozy mystery, and even if the company claims to handle all genres, their tour hosts and readership don’t seem to be great fits for books outside those genres. One of the few tour companies for crime fiction I find won’t accept most books that need “trigger warnings” which is most horror or hardcore crime fiction. And God help the authors of transgressive fiction, which is always offensive by nature.
Hi, saw this blog post and quite an interesting on take that you have on blog tours. In my honest oppinion, you are wrong. Blog tours still work. I’m a USA Bestselling author in three pen names and couldn’t have done it without the help of blog tours. They are not a scam at all and would hate to think that other authors out there wanting to try this are getting slightly the wrong information from your blogpost. Yes, horror is over all a very difficult genre to promote, I write horror too, but don’t throw away the bloggers and these companies that you label under a scam. For me it will be much cheaper than to do a blog tour than to create, design and print swag and ship it. It’s not just one thing in this business that works but everything put together. I recently started writing and published my horror books and come to a conclusion that horror as a genre is very difficult to sell than any other genre out there if you are an author that is just starting out, but Book tour companies can form a very nice buzz for your book and as an author to start with. I absolutely respect your opinion, but as an author that used blog tour companies myself, I couldn’t have done what I do without their services. I even organize my own tours when I don’t have a budget to include blog tours, because they work. You might not get the results you are looking for with one tour, but rinse and repeat, you will grow on a monthly basis. (IF, and this is a big if, your cover and book is really that good.) Instead of labelling something as a scam, just ask those sorts of questions too, as you will never make a success if your product isn’t at the top range and as best as it should be.)