BE THE HOST(ESS) WITH THE MOST(EST)—Book Tours
What is a book tour/blog tour?
A book/blog tour is a virtual tour that hops from blog to blog. Publishers connect with tour companies, and tour companies connect with bloggers! Generally a tour company will arrange for the blogs that will host the book and on their given day, the blog will post a review of the book and/or any promotional material. In exchange for participating in the tour, the blogger will receive a copy of the book. This could be a finished copy or an ARC. Some tours also allow for giveaways!
Why get involved in book/blog tours?
Getting involved in book tours creates valuable contacts (with the company, publisher, author, and other bloggers) and provides the blogger with a great opportunity to produce quality content. While your goal in participating should not be to get a free book, it is a plus! This is a great way to affordably access new/buzz-worthy content (like new releases) and get your readers excited about upcoming books. My favourite part of participating in tours is visiting the other blogs that are hosting stops. We immediately have something in common to chat about and I love seeing that other people think of the book!
How do you get involved?
Tour companies are generally easy to find via Google! There are plenty of them out there, and more crop up each day. Generally, each website will have a tab that says something along the lines of “Become a Tour Host.” This will provide you with the information you need. What kind of bloggers are they looking for? What kind of services to they offer? How do you apply to become a host? There is usually an email form for you to submit!
How do you pick a tour company?
Like I mentioned, there are tons of tour companies out there. They are generally specialized, so look for tour companies that are in your niche. What kinds of books do your readers want to hear about? This should help you narrow things down. From there, look into past tours they’ve hosted, and what other bloggers say about their services. Are they good to work with? Do they have quality books that interest you? Another thing to look into is whether they require you to rate the book 3 stars and up. Some companies will only want you to post a review if it is positive. They would rather you substitute in promotional material or a guest post/Q&A rather than post a review that is less that 3 stars. If this is the case, would you be comfortable with that?
I personally host tours for TLC. They are very professional and friendly, and offer a wide variety of awesome books. The genres they offer are usually general (adult) fiction. I have a wide range of interests, and TLC usually touches them all! They don’t require a positive review, and often arrange guest posts or author Q&As in addition to your review. I’ve had a great experience with them.
General Dos and Don’ts?
Don’t participate in too many tours. If your blog is all book tours and no original content, your readers will get bored and your traffic will decrease. I know it can be exciting at first—LOOK AT ALL THESE BOOKS I COULD GET FOR FREE—but it can hurt your blog, and seriously stress you out. When I first started hosting tours several months ago, I can remember one month where I hosted three tours! Those deadlines were stressful and often took the fun out of reading. Make sure you know what you can handle while still being able to produce a majority of original content on your blog!
Don’t participate in too many cover reveals and blitzes. A lot of people consider these spam, so be choosy!
Don’t let yourself feel pressured! Whether it’s the deadlines or the need for a positive review, make sure you’re enjoying what you’re doing. If the deadlines are too much, cut back. If you feel like you need to be positive but you didn’t like the book, be honest. That’s why your readers trust you!
Don’t feel the need to clutter up your sidebar with tons of tour company buttons. Yes, it’s totally fine to be a proud tour host for multiple companies, and yes, it’s fine to put buttons in your sidebar! But remember not to overload your visitors.
Do make sure you only agree to host books you’re actually interested in. Make sure you genuinely want to read the book! This will make you a better host, and will allow you to have a better experience!
Do take advantage of the opportunity to connect with the author—via Facebook, Twitter, whatever—and chat about their book! This can be fun and rewarding. They might even like to do a guest post or Q&A (though it’s always a good idea to try to go through the tour company).
Do connect with the other bloggers on the tour! With TLC, there is only one stop per book per day. This highlights each blog! Check out the other books on the tour and see what they thought. Connect with them! But don’t just advertise your own post.
Do be creative and original in the way you present your content. Do you!
Some of these things I have learned the hard way (and I’m definitely still learning). However, I have found, overall, that hosting book tours is fun and rewarding. I don’t think it’s for everyone, but if it sounds appealing to you, give it a try! I haven’t used a ton of different tour companies, but I can definitely recommend TLC Book Tours.
Have you ever hosted a book tour? What do you think?
Do you find book tour posts interesting to read? Do you have any advice for potential tour hosts?