Recently, I had an opportunity to put this question to a couple of my Indie Author friends. Do Book Blog Tours Work to drive sales and promote interest in your book?
Here is sound, practical advice on Indie Book sales and promotion from award winning indie author Anne-Rae Vasquez author of the Doubt trilogy (http://amongus.ca), and Indie Author sensation Lorna Suzuki author of the Imago fantasy series, soon to be a major motion picture.
DO BOOK BLOG TOURS WORK?
Anne-Rae: The blog tour doesn’t make sales based on my experience. The only thing it does is to get your book on many different web sites, but be careful – Don’t spend your money on a book blog tour until you check it out. I found out the hard way that the “blogs” that my book was featured on were just “fake” sites that that the blog tour companies host. Yes… multiple fake sites. I was so disappointed.
Lorna: I’ve done several book blog tours over the past 5 years since joining Twitter, and for me, sadly, it did nothing. It might be different for you though. Unless someone is charging you to do the blog tour, it certainly doesn’t hurt to do one.
One hint, you might want to limit your Twitter accounts to 1. I found those who had personal account, character account, etc. were not followed, especially if the multiple accounts showed the same tweets. People tell me if its redundant, it just clogs the stream.
Anne-Rae: If you want to do a REAL blog tour, it takes some work which means networking with Bloggers on Twitter. Then asking them if they will feature you on their blog… or better yet, tell them you have a contest where someone can win an ebook copy of your book and a $10 Amazon giftcard. Host a Rafflecopter from your site and send them the embed code so that they can embed it on their site. Or sometimes, they’ll just ask you to provide the prize and they host the rafflecopter. Basically, you need to make friends with bloggers/authors who are active and willing to share your stuff which means, you have to reciprocate.
Lorna: When I did do blog tours, giving away ebooks via a draw, I didn’t get much interest for those either. *sigh*
So, in the promotion of your books, especially when you first started out, what do you feel helped the most to drive sales?
Lorna: My sales were mostly via word-of-mouth and literary events. It was not until a started a “Pls don’t buy…” tweet campaign that there was interest. I had more ebook sales in 2 weeks than I had in 3 years! Here’s the Vlog: youtube.com/watch?v=r7Lznl… explaining it.
Anne-Rae: The only other thing that worked for me but I don’t know if it was a fluke or coincidence but I was helping another blogger promote their author’s book on my blog.
A few days prior to that, I had made my book Free on Smashwords which B&N, iTunes, Kobo, etc. made it free. A couple days later, Amazon made the book free too. I had over 1200 free downloads on Amazon. I didn’t know it was free on Amazon until someone told me. I panicked. I went to Smashwords and changed the price. A day later, Amazon switched the book back to its normal price. And guess what? Sales started picking up. In two days, I had over 80 paid sales. Then it died down to 3 or 4 day and then to zero….
What I figured out was that the blogger I was doing a blog post for has about 15,000 readers. They were promoting Doubt as being free the days I was hosting their book on my site. I guess when it switched to Paid, their readers who read the email a day after the Free promo ended, probably liked the synopsis and bought the book.
That only happened once and when I tried to replicate it later, it didn’t work because it was missing the key factor… a blogger who has a loyal and active fanbase.
WHAT PROMOTIONAL TOOLS HAVE WORKED BEST FOR YOU?
Lorna: I’m finding the closer to film production we get, if you check my Twitter stream you’ll see I’m getting more & more “I’ll just wait to watch the movie!” comments. I’ve had some people tell me that reading epic novels is too time-consuming! I found even when I was interviewed for the Vancouver Sun, it did nothing.
However, my live appearance at Seattle Comicon did generate interest and a blip in sales of the print books.
Anne-Rae: The best paid book promos that worked to drive my rankings in Amazon are:
- http://ereadernewstoday.com/ – you only pay if your book sells. The cost is miniscule but the exposure is awesome – sold 53 ebooks
- Mike Gallagher’s Free Kindle Books and tips – http://www.fkbooksandtips.com/ – sold about 25 ebooks
- www.BookSends.com – you’ll need a minimum number of 5 star reviews and other criteria – sold about 30 ebooks
But these are just promos… they will NOT build your fanbase…. That requires time, patience and networking… it also means finding a street team or book launch team who will help share things to their networks. But this means giving free stuff and/or incentives to make them excited to do stuff for you. It’s not easy and takes time…
Gaining the trust of influencers (ie. people who have loyal fans) plus the power of word of mouth and having many books published and share, share, share, give away one of your books (yes, you need this in order to get reviews and fans). Make sure at the back of the book, readers can click on a link to purchase book 2.
Do you have a successful book promotion experience that you would like to share? Or perhaps a comment on your experience with Book Blog tours? Please leave a comment on our article Do Book Blog Tours Work.
You can follow Anne-Rae on her YourTube channel – http://fictionfrenzy.tv
and read her YA adventure series Doubt: http://amongus.ca
You can follow Lorna Suzuki’s vlog YouTube channel – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuxubc770I2gLF2QmncogRw
and Lorna’s Imago series at: http://www.newmobileme.com/imagochronicles9
For more great articles for Indie Authors visit The Independent Creator