Has anybody here used a blog tour to promote their books?  I've decided to do a blog tour for my next book release in the spring, and I'm curious about a few things.

1.) Did you use a service or set up your own schedule yourself? 

2.) What kinds of blogs did you tour?  Mainly writing blogs, or review/reader blogs? Or did you branch out to blogs on subjects related to your book?  (A "cuisine cozy" writer might have some guest posts for a food blog, for instance.)

3.) Did you do a lot of prep (like maybe write a big stash of posts in advance) or did you do a certain amount of winging it? (And if you did prep ahead, did you find you sometimes had to wing it anyway?)

4.) Did you come across any problems I should be thinking about?

Camille

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Hi Camille,

I've just finished a blog tour. I have no idea if or how it will impact sales, but it was a lot of fun and it kept me occupied for the first stressful month after publication, so from that standpoint I think it was a good move. Here are some answers. I hope they help:

1. I set it up myself. The services look good, but I wanted more variety in readership. (The services target a lot of blogs with the same readership, which is good in one sense - you want readers to see your book more than once - but I also wanted to branch away from the ordinary.) I think the services are also decent value for money - they save you a lot of time.

2. Mostly writing blogs, because they're the people most interested in hosting you. Some blogs focussed on craft and others on reviews. I also branched out when I found a blog I liked - I think my readers' favorite was on a poker blog, and there's no poker anywhere in my book.

3. Tons of advance prep. I wrote the posts as soon as they were assigned. Less stressful that way.

4. The only problems were easily fixed by adjusting the tour schedule on the fly. But it's the internet - flexibility is the name of the game. If you have fun and stay flexible, you should have a fabulous time.

Good luck!
I recently did my own virtual book tour. Carol Denbow, book marketing guru, interviewed me about this tour on her blog "A Book Inside" which you can read here: http://abookinside.blogspot.com/2010/10/virtual-book-touring-with-a...
I know Carol.
My impression of these blog tour services is that they are one of the pitfalls to avoid as a writer, on par with reviewing fees at agencies and minimum purchase amounts in book contracts. Many blog and interview services simply put the content up on their website, where no reader would possibly want to go.

Anyone have a good experience with a blog tour service?
While I don't think I'll use one myself, in spreading these questions around to a few other forums, I heard from a few people who were happy with a service like that. And I haven't heard anyone complain.

The problem is that it really is hard to measure the results. So even if there are real PR companies who do a decent job, the industry is completely riddled with hype.

The advantage of self-publishing is that you have the sales figures at your fingertips, and you can actually see what happens in real time to your sales. (And depending on the venue, you may be able to see click throughs as well.)
I haven't done one but I always thought about trying one. I might do one next year when the new book comes out. I always make my rounds to blogs anyway but don't call it an official tour. I think blog tours are great and a wonderful opportunity for those who don't like to do real-time signings or tours. I also hear that if you promote the blog tour well and pick the best blogs for your book and for exposure, it can be very beneficial and fun.

I'd set my own up by the way. All you have to do is contact the blogs and ask them and set up a date. You can promote it yourself and do it all without having to pay someone a bunch of money. Setting it up is easy and most authors do it themselves.

Best Wishes!

http://www.stacy-deanne.net
I agree with Benjamin. Authors should set it up themselves. After all this is the best way to make new contacts and if you set it up yourself, you will be able to pick the best blogs for you that will probably help you sell books. I don't trust a lot of the blog tour services myself either. I don't believe they research the best blogs and contact them. I've heard a lot of them just take your money and set the author up to be on blogs people don't even know exist. The important thing about doing a blog tour is you need to get on blogs with some loyal readership and fans. Makes no sense to be on some blog that barely gets visitors. I also doubt these blog tour services even promote. If they do they probably send off spam emails to everyone. That's not helping the author. I feel authors can do a lot themselves if they are more hands on.

Another thing I've heard is that some blog tour services are so inept they set authors up on blogs that don't even have anything to do with their genre. That's not gonna cut it. If you write romance than getting on a Sci-Fi blog is most likely not a good idea. LOL!

You guys know my motto by now. I say don't PAY anyone to do something you can do yourself and probably do it much better.

Best Wishes!

http://www.stacy-deanne.net
Exactly. Yog's Law: The money moves TOWARD the writer.

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