What ARE the options for the, let’s call it as it may be, midlist author who may not get sent on tour by her publisher, and isn’t going to get the exclusive cover reveal or interview on the big entertainment sites? Blog tours are popular because they are free for everyone involved, minus only the cost of a few review copies, and sometimes not even that. But do they work? If you’re an avid reader of a certain blog, does a guest post by an author make you check them out, or do you skip them, to hear more from the bloggers you came to the site to read?
I’m always looking for good books to read, so I follow a couple of book blogs on Google Reader. However, I almost always skip blog tour posts. In the same way that I’ve developed ad blindness to web banners, I’ve developed “book blog tour blindness”. Their contests don’t entice me either, as most prizes are dead-tree versions (I don’t read novels in paper anymore). Even if they do give away free ebooks, most are still US-only.
So how can an author reach a reader like me, for whom blog tours are mostly noise?
Write a guest review, for one thing.
I follow book blogs mainly for book reviews and recommendations. Over time, I’ve had to unsubscribe from several because they had too much non-rec stuff going on. But if the guest post were also a review, then I’m not likely to skip it, especially if it’s a well-written one of a fairly interesting book. The author can then promote his/her own book with a short description at the end in the author info section.
Trust me, I’m more likely to click the link to Amazon or wherever this way. On Goodreads, I’ve discovered a few authors through their insightful reviews of their favorite books. I figure that if I like books they also like, then perhaps I might just like the books they wrote themselves.
Author Maureen Johnson wrote about turning down blog tour requests, saying, “because I’m writing on the same subject (ME! MY BOOK!) the pieces are going to get VERY REPETITIVE AND BORING.” But this way, the reader doesn’t get noise, the host blog gets quality content that brings traffic, and the guest author gets to write about a different subject, presumably about a book s/he likes, on top of promoting his/her own book in a non-spammy-ish way. It’s a win-win-win for everyone.