Friday, March 16, 2018

Blog Tours?

Paula’s thoughts on her week’s blog tour.
At the end of last year, I paid a ‘blog tour organiser’ to set up a tour for me. It seemed like a good way to promote my re-published Irish novels in the week leading up to St. Patrick’s Day. I had detailed instructions from the organiser about what she wanted, and I duly forwarded to her five different blogs and also excerpts which illustrated the blog topic, together with bio, links, covers, and other photos. She then sent me the list of blogs where my posts would appear.
All well and good – or so I thought. To begin with all seemed to go well – my first blog appeared last Monday, I advertised it in various places, and received quite a lot of comments (including those from HWH members – thank you, all!)
Tuesday’s blog appeared – and again I advertised it, but this time in some different FB groups, so as not to promote to the same people. After several hours, I realised there was a small problem – no comments appeared. Neither the usual one I write thanking the blog host, nor any others, although I know for certain that there should have been at least two other comments, and there may have been more. Yes, the message popped up that comments would be posted ‘after approval’ but it would seem this blog host didn’t bother to ‘approve’ any comments (as evidenced by other posts on the site, which also had no comments).
Wednesday – I waited all day for my blog to appear on the third site. It didn’t – until later on Thursday! This meant that I needed to advertise two blogs on the same day – not an ideal situation. Hardly surprising, therefore, that no comments have been made on either of these blogs. Oh, and neither of these blog hosts used the photos of Ireland which I had carefully selected to accompany my blog, either.
Friday – well, we’ll wait and see. The blog post is there, and I’ve advertised it in various groups…

My conclusions at the end of this week:
1. Five consecutive days of blogging is counter-productive. Yes, people visited my first one, but after that, nothing. Were my blogs too boring to comment on? I hope not, because I worked hard on creating completely different topics for each day.
2. In this case, the blog tour organiser formed the contact with the hosts, and I had no contact with them at all (and in fact only one of them actually responded to my thanks to her). The others simply posted what the organiser sent them.
3. Last but not least: effect on sales? As far as I can see at the moment, not a single sale!

So what would I do in future?
1. I would set up my own blog tour, with requests to friends with blogs. This way, a more personal contact is made, and also the blogs will probably follow a different format, rather than all being presented in the same way.
2. I would space out my blogs. Five in one week is too much. People don’t have the time to visit the same person’s blogs every day. One a week (or two, at the most) is enough.

Having said all that, I am seriously beginning to question the value of blogging. Personally, I think it has had its day. It’s nearly ten years since we first set up this blog, and although it is good to ‘chat among ourselves’, how many other comments do we get? Nowhere near as many as we did in the early days. And, if we’re being really honest, how many other blogs do we visit and leave a comment? I know I used to visit (and comment on) a lot more than I do now.

Apologies if this sounds very negative, but this week has been a real disappointment for me.


  1. So, a couple of things (maybe more). First of all, I'm sorry you've had a disappointing outcome. Because you paid for the blog experience, and you had glitches, I would definitely complain to the company that organized it--you didn't get your money's worth and they should know that. Also, because there was that glitch, unfortunately, you can't draw complete conclusions about how successful the tour was in terms of hits/sales/etc. You can make assumptions, but without 5 concrete blog appearances, you probably can't say that none of them worked, although obviously, they didn't perform as you expected. I do think blogging is less effective than it used to be. However, I still maintain it has its uses. I would agree that 5 days in a row might be a little much. Hopefully, your sales will pick up--you've always done very well with your books. You're a fantastic writer, you have a loyal fan base and I'm sure you'll see your sales increase soon. Wishing you the best of luck with your release!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Jen. I'm not sure that my sales will pick up again, as they've lost the momentum they had gained over a 4-year period, and I feel like I am now back to Square One with them all. It's so frustrating and, quite honestly, I feel like giving up altogether :-(

    2. This business can be very discouraging. I'm sure they'll bounce back. Just remember these are re-releases, and not new releases, so the sales are different.

    3. Until they were taken offline last July, the Irish books were each selling at least 70 - 100 each month during the first six months of the year (and sometimes more) - which included the ones published back in 2014/15. And even the other books, going back to first publication in 2011 were selling 20-30 copies per month. It's not the fact that they are re-releases, it's because I lost the the ongoing momentum of sales. I worked hard to build up that kind of momentum, and now feel I'm having to start all over again. Soul-destroying, really :-(

    4. Don't give up. I'm sure they will bounce back.

    5. I agree with Jen. Don't give up. This blog tour organizer selected poor blog sites. You should complain (justifiably) and ask for a do-over on blog sites with attentive owners.
      I think you'll do better with do-overs than a refund.

      I also agree that there are so many blogs that the market is saturated. But you never know when a reader will connect and you'll have a sale.

  2. As you know I had similar thoughts about my blog 'tour' organised by the same person. I certainly wouldn't go that route again. I would organise my own if I thought it worth it. I know I left comments on at least 4 blogs, obviously they are not all turning up! I also felt the 'blogger' posted what I had sent and then 'walked' away and left it to its own devices.

    1. You're right, Carol. The 'blogger' (in 4 out of 5 cases) simply posted my blogs and that was all. An unsatisfactory and disappointing experience, and one that I won't repeat!

  3. Paula, do you think your previous levels of sales were due in part to the reader base of the now-retired publisher?
    Maybe your new publisher doesn't have as great a reach.
    I'm just thinking out loud that it's plausible that the better-known the publisher, the more exposure to readers looking to buy.

    1. Ana, my current publisher has a much more active 'presence' on social media than my previous one, and also does more advertising, so I don't think it's anything to do with the publisher. Personally I think my previous covers were more interesting than the current ones, but apart from that it's difficult to know how I can build up the momentum of sales which I lost last year.

  4. Sounds like the blog hosts weren't enthusiastic, and although it's extra work for a busy writer, it does seem arranging a blog tour yourself might be better next time.

    Hope you find a way to rebuild the momentum.

  5. Thanks, Carol. Agree about the blog hosts, as they didn't seem to interact with any of the guests on their blogs :-(
    It took me about 3 years to build the momentum, so maybe now I'll have to wait another three years! :-(

  6. I used to do a blog tour whenever I had a new release. But I really wasn't getting a lot of responses, and I honestly didn't see a big increase in sales with or without a blog tour. So I pretty much stopped that.

    I agree with you Paula, that blogs seem to be becoming a thing of the past. I definitely do enjoy chatting with y'all here on a weekly basis, but a way to reach more readers, I don't think it's very effective.

    But I would definitely get in touch with that seems like the blogs she chose for you weren't really doing what they were supposed to do.