Are you going to sell a kazillion books by setting up a blog tour for your new release? No. Not even close. If you sell a handful of books, be happy.
You'd think that blog tours would help you sell books (which we ALL would love to have happen), but it just doesn't work that way. I've accepted that fact. I've booked blog tours and have gone into them realizing that yeah, I probably wouldn't sell enough books to make back the money I spent on the book tour.
So why do one then? Why spend that money?
For me, it was for the reviews. Garnering reviews can be a daunting process, and yet, reviews are probably the ONE thing a book hinges on in the marketing place (besides a decent cover and professional editing). Readers look at reviews before making a purchase. With SO many books out there, readers want to know they're getting a decent product and reading reviews can help them to make that decision. Yes, reviews can be bought (we've heard the stories) and reviews can be exaggerated. (I'm not going to go into any of that right here. That's another post for another day). I'm just going to stick to the importance of book reviews and what they do for an author.
THEY ARE IMPORTANT.
That's all there is to it. You've got to have them. Good ones, average ones, even the negative ones to balance the whole thing out. I pay for blog tours simply for those reviews. I need them. I want them. I gotta have them. Getting exposure on a blog is great and getting your name and book in front of readers who otherwise may never hear about you any other way is important too, but that's not why I sign up for blog tours.
I'm all about the reviews.
But lately, something just isn't clicking for me any more. The process is broken, and I'm not sure why. (Again, not talking about hack reviews or any of that).
To be blunt: reviews on a book bloggers blog (say that 10x fast) is nice...but that same review on Amazon is EVERYTHING. Yes, EVERYTHING.
Book Bloggers Blog = helpful
Barnes and Noble = helpful
iTunes = helpful
Goodreads = helpful
Amazon = SUPER DUPER ULTRA POWERFUL INTENSELY WONDERFUL EVERYTHING!!! (95% of sales come from Amazon for most authors)
Here's the problem: Not all book tour reviewers will post their glowing (or even not so glowing) review on Amazon. Some won't even post it anywhere other than their blog. I've booked three tours in the last five months with THREE different book tour companies and roughly 1/3rd of those reviewers (combined) took that awesome review and posted it on Amazon. It's posted on their blog but not where I REALLY need it. Why? I have no idea. Why not ask the blogger to post it on Amazon? I DID. I even had the tour company ask the bloggers as well. Nothing.
For an example: I booked a tour for DESERT FLOWER with TWO different tour companies. It started in the middle of February and the tour runs until the end of March. Combined with these two tour companies there would be 30 tour stops with a guaranteed review at every stop. WOW!! Impressive. That would be GREAT!! I'm nearing the end of the tour, but have already had 25 stops to date. Now go click HERE to see how many reviews are up on Amazon. Yep. And FOUR of those didn't even come from my blog tour. Those four came in organically. So why aren't the bloggers placing those well-thought out, beautifully written reviews up on Amazon?
I have no freakin' idea.
I had a similar experience with my SURVIVOR ROUNDUP tour back in December.
Did you know that there are some great and wonderful advertising opportunities for authors to participate in but only if they have a set number of reviews on their book? It's true. If you don't have the reviews, then say bye-bye to those opportunities. This is why I fork out money for a blog tour, so I can make sure I have those reviews in place so that I can participate in those events.
The putting myself in front of potential readers is great. Having a wonderful review out there on someone's blog is great, but having that review placed on Amazon is ULTIMATE.
BUT... if I'm not selling enough books to cover my book tour costs (which I understand) AND those reviews are not ending up on sites like Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, etc... then why in the world would I want to spend a couple hundred dollars anymore? The value, for me, is gone. I also know that I'm not the only author who has experienced this too.
So, what to do, what to do? Honestly, I'm not sure. I'll have to come up with another idea to get those much needed reviews. Fortunately, I have some time to figure it out before my next book release :)
* I LOVE book bloggers! I do. That's not what this blog is about. I'm just trying to understand what is happening, why those reviews never end up on retail sites where they are needed, and if paying a good chunk of change on a book tour is worth it anymore.
What do you think of blog tours in general? What has your experience been like? Do have any guesses as to why book reviewers/bloggers don't post their reviews to retail sites where authors need them? Leave a comment. I'd love to hear your thoughts.