Publishing is changing fast and so is the way we market books! I chose to do a reverse blog tour.
Many writers who choose to publish independently are faced with choosing marketing strategies. Do you do the blog tour or not do the blog tour? Because there are a lot of opinions out there.
It’s a given that if you publish traditionally and are starting out that a blog tour is a must because sales in the first few weeks are crucial. A burst of sales is terrific for any book but with self publishing we have time for a story to build and spread. Blog tours are optional. Marketing is even optional – if you want to risk it.
Here are the different scenarios I’ve seen:
- Author rarely blogs or promotes. Book takes off.
- Author works her butt off to market and promote and it pays off with decent sales but as soon as the marketing stops, the sales decrease dramatically. It never took off.
- Author completes every marketing act known to mankind and never reaches the desired sales count. (Not to say that it won’t happen later.)
These factors got me thinking while I looked at my goals. I wanted to complete the first draft of the sequel to A Spy Like Me before summer vacation started. I realized that blog tours were a lot of work and it was all about me and my book. AND a blog tour and all the work involved don’t always translate over to sales.
But I really wanted to do something to celebrate my debut release.
So I decided on the reverse blog tour. I wanted to celebrate my genre, promote my brand and build awareness of A Spy Like Me. So I asked a mix of authors and bloggers to guest post for three weeks.
- I had fun because I wanted to do it.
- My blog hits definitely went up.
- I helped celebrate and promote authors and bloggers I like.
- I introduced new authors and books to readers.
- I introduced readers to A Spy Like Me.
Not to say I won’t do a traditional blog tour in the future. In fact, this fall when How To Survive Ancient Spells and Crazy Kings releases, I plan on organizing one.
What marketing strategies do you see that work or don’t work? How might you change it up?
Interesting thoughts Laura. Not surprised because you think about everything. I know an author can’t give away a book at every stop but I think the best way to generate excitement on a blog tour is to have the post with a book giveaway. Especially with cheaper e-books, that seems something that can be done. I think it’s a good marketing tool.
I’d love to be a part of your next blog tour with an ARC giveaway BTW.
That’s funny you say that because a lot of authors I’ve talked mentioned the giveaway affected sales negatively because everyone waited to see if they won the book. So maybe giving away a different book?
When I do giveaways it’s for my followers. I haven’t seen any difference in my blog hits when I do a giveaway. Where I see that working is if it’s a big name, big buzzed author and it’s an arc before release.
I’ll keep you in mind for next fall!
This is something we considered as well, and you’ll notice few giveaways for The Emotion Thesaurus right now that originated from us. We have many giveaways planned, but we did not want them during release for this very reason.
Too, we did not want our book cover splashed everywhere during that first week, because like you Laura, we decided to do something different and celebrate the writing community instead of the book, and that meant keeping RAOK Blitz in the limelight as much as possible. 🙂
It was definitely a unique way to do a blog tour, but good on you for highlighting other authors.
A tour helps, but I think it’s consistency over a period of time that pays off in the long run. My first book didn’t make a big splash when it was released, but I kept blogging and doing guest posts and making friends online until almost a year later it hit the Amazon best seller charts.
The one thing I won’t do again is a big release date splash across the blogging world. I overwhelmed myself last time.
That’s a great story, Alex! Especially with small press and self published books I agree that just being out there and being consistent is the most effective. And, of course, word of mouth. A big splash doesn’t seem as necessary.
I think it was brilliant! Especially that you loved doing it, and it didn’t stress you out. From what I’ve seen, the big book/blog tour is overwhelming for the author and makes it hard to maintain promotion…you just want to circlet the wagons and sleep.
I’ll have to do something, too, when The Worst Case of Pasketti-itis comes out, but I have no idea what. Something with spaghetti, I guess. 🙂
I’ve been taking notes on how others do promotions and marketing for that future date when I’ll need to decide for myself what to do, and I have to say that your reverse blog tour has been one of my favorites. I love how you featured other writers and books; not only did it introduce me to a lot of books I might not have heard of otherwise, it kept everything about A Spy Like Me fresh in my mind.
One marketing strategy I definitely plan to employ is giveaways. And not just books, but other promotional items I can tie into the book. Even more than book tours, those seem to me to be the best draw.
That’s interesting that you mentioned giveaways too! Seriously though it seems like these days unless you’re giving away a four day cruise any giveaway efforts are like a drop of water in the ocean. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen the return on investments, which is why I don’t do a lot of them.
Such a great idea, Laura. Plus, you’re racking up some good karma by promoting other people’s work. 🙂
Thanks, Anna. I love all your great tie-ins to you book too! Especially at the golf course this summer. That’ll be awesome!
I will have to look into this. I am self publishing my book, and I know others who have did blog tours, but I didn’t know if they helped any, or even how one went about it. However, getting word out about my book on other blogs sure can’t hurt…
Did you self publish or traditional?
Thank you for stopping by my blog! I was most honoured. And yes, I have noticed lots lately how taking out certain characters from a show can change the show, and even give some a desire to stop watching. I ran into the same problem when Rose left Doctor Who.
I self published. I wish there was a formula for marketing and promotion but I’m definitely still learning and I see different approaches work for different authors.
I love that you did something unique – and uniquely YOU. I think that’s key in this business. Plus YOU GOT THE DRAFT DONE!! #awesome
Yes, I’m psyched I got the draft done but I have a lot of second draft rewriting to do. And summer is tough for me to get a lot of done. I’m hoping for the best!
I thought your approach was interesting and fresh. As far as promotions go, beats me what works. I know the author needs to actively promote the book, but that alone will not assure success. At some point, the book has to take off by word of mouth (or blog) among the readers. Having the author jump up and down saying “Look at my book!” isn’t enough.
I loved your approach, Laura. I think it was a great way to branch out and establish yourself as an author who gives back. I don’t know what really works for an author. Sometimes I think it’s as much about luck as anything, especially for a first book. I think blog tours are important, but you can be too pushy, too. I think a big key is hitting the right blogs in your genre, and having a lot of guests posts that offer something to the reader.
I don’t know what works either! I think it really comes down to what the market wants and finding your target readers!
I love reading your thoughts behind the decisions you are making, Laura. You’re doing a great job!!
And I loved reading about all those other books, too. I still bought yours. I love the concept. I personally think it would be easier than the “me, me, me” that it can feel like. Ugh. I’m so not a salesman.
Thanks Donna! The thing I don’t think we should be salesman. 🙂 My thoughts vary far and wide on this topic. Too much to condense into a comment! 🙂
I loved your approach to the reverse blog tour, Laura. It was more enjoyable than the typical ones.
I’m soooo glad I don’t have to worry about marketing at this stage of my writing career. 😀
I thought your reverse blog tour was awesome! I hadn’t thought of the effects of giveaways – good thinking 🙂
I hadn’t thought of the effects of giveaways either. Certainly something to consider!
And it is interesting to see which marketing strategies work well and which ones don’t make much of a difference. I want someone to compile the stats and make up a pie chart for a quick reference for marketing authors. 🙂 But seriously, what works for one, may not work for another author or book even.
I don’t find giveaways work much at all probably because it’s overdone. And usually I give away one book. Others giveaway much bigger prizes. Even I don’t enter many anymore unless it’s a book I really want.
obviously for some bloggers it works, totally depends.
Sounds like it was a success! 🙂 This is something I’m struggling with now, because I know the incredible amount of work that goes into blog tours and sometimes it seems like we’re just reaching the same market, and not the readers we need to get to. It’s incredibly hard!
Talli, I struggle with it too but still feel like I should since I’m starting out. You’re probably at the point where you don’t need to! 🙂
I thought the reverse tour was refreshing. Interesting comments on this post. Lots of food for marketing thought.
I can’t really weigh in on the “what works” part of the equation, but I DO buy and help promote all my bloggy friends’ books. I hope that helps.
Good luck w/your current & future ventures! You are truly the superstar of catchy titles. I can’t wait to see “How To Survive Ancient Spells and Crazy Kings”–that’s the one that went traditional, right?
Then you’ll get to tell us which method worked best for you! :o) <3
I thought it was awesome that you promoted other books to promote your book. Very clever!!! – and also helpful! me, me, me promoting really turns me off, unless I already have an established relationship with the author. I have often wondered if a more staggered approach to blog tours would prevent overload? – like you said it’s less important for self-published books to get that big release push. Maybe slow but steady marketing?