Hello...Chick Lit The Reality of Book Tours

The Reality of Book Tours

I’m a researcher and when something starts causing issues in my life, I research until I’ve googled all the possibilities for said issue. I’m good at it. At my last job I used to hear daily ‘Ask Aimee, she’s good at Googling.’ lol just a small talent of my quirky ways.

Recently I noticed the land of Book Tours changing and I was baffled as to why so, I started researching. I read blog posts, social media posts and any current chatter on virtual book tours. Here is what I’ve found and the reasons I think they are happening, maybe I’ll even throw in my advice on this as well.

-Authors are disappointed that Blog Tours don’t up their sales. 

This appears to be the most common misunderstanding with book tours. Authors often think a tour will up their sales while touring. That’s not at all true and shouldn’t be the reason you book a tour.

Book Tours are for spreading the word about your book. To potentially reach a reader that may not have found your book otherwise. Does that mean they’ll run out and buy it? No. But if they like what they saw during the tour they may buy at some point in life. Maybe they’ll be scrolling through Amazon in a year and come across your book and remember the tour they saw and click buy. That said, though, Book Tours are for attention not for sales.

I know that’s not what you wanted to read and I’m sorry but in the ever-changing world of publishing this is a fact that little people choose to look at when booking a tour.

-There are Blog Tour companies out there disappointing authors with high dollar tours which turns them off any tours because of their previous bad experience.

I can not count how many times I’ve had a disgruntled author come to me with complaints about a tour they paid many hundreds of dollars for only to have their books featured on non-bookish sites, giveaways entered by people who only enter giveaways and don’t give a crap about the author doing the giveaway, rude behavior, less than professional service and not getting info until a day before a tour.

It’s hard to run a blog tour company with such bad things going around about blog tours in general and companies who take advantage of authors make it even harder to impress someone who is skeptical, to begin with. I’d like to apologize for those companies who won’t apologize for their terrible behavior. It’s not right and it shouldn’t be happening.

-Less and less tour hosts are signing up for tours. I’m unsure why this one is happening but there has been a huge decline in the last 4 months.

I get a lot of repeat clients and it’s hard for me to watch the sign-ups on their tours dwindle. Is it because their books aren’t really good or is it because bloggers just aren’t signing up for tours anymore?

I recently read a twitter conversation between some bloggers who were saying they don’t sign up for tours because the content isn’t original and with 20 blogs all posting about the same book in a week that they don’t get the views they think they should during their post.

I get that. I do. And I think this is going to continue to be a problem because of this.

-Too many hosts are flaking on posting being up on time or at all. This is a BIG deal for tour companies and can actually put us out of business very quickly.

We’re all busy. I’m busy. I sometimes forget things I shouldn’t because I have mom brain or cleaning vision. But generally I can say I hold to my commitments unless something bigger than me has happened. I schedule posts weeks in advance. I write things down. But yes, even I can forget things, that’s human.

But… when you’ve made a commitment to post during a tour we as blog tour companies depend on that. As does the author. WE are the ones getting the complaints that you didn’t hold up your end on the tour. WE are being asked to refund a tour because someone didn’t post. If we are running a tour company chances are the profits are helping feed our families, buy those soccer shoes, pay our insurance and etc. It’s so hard to have your blog tour brand affected because we can’t count on posts to be up on time.

-Unrealistic expectations from selective authors. This is frustrating because a LOT of work goes into tours that authors may not see, which is why the good tour companies/author assists charge and don’t do this for free. We spend hours on this normally for maybe $2-$3 an hour after all is said and done. If we charge more we won’t get business either so… it’s a fine line between a rock and a hard place.

The average time I spend on a single tour from start to finish is about 5-10 hours. I’ve charged anywhere from $50-$75 for my tours and PayPal or Square takes a 2.75 – 3.5% fee. I pay companies such as Canva for graphics, website fees, internet fees, deal with dozens of people participating and their issues/needs, giveaways that come out of the tour cost, etc. That means I’m making about $3-6 an hour at MAX and I only do 4-5 tours a month. That’s not much considering I have to ignore my family for those hours and sometimes deal with less than nice behavior from people. It’s truly a LOT of work. But when you charge more people won’t use you.

My Advice:

Book Tours are a lot of work. I enjoy working with most authors on this and wouldn’t have gotten into this if it wasn’t something I was great at, had time for and enjoy.

But… reality is, anyone can put together a blog tour. It does take a lot of time and research to make it great, though. Yes us book tour companies have contacts and that makes it a bit easier but authors can do this as well. I’m noticing more and more that publishers are putting together their own tours or leaving it as an author’s duty to put a tour together. And I’ve seen and even participated in, a lot of tours done for free by the author themselves that were quite successful. It’s a great way to meet your fans, find your bloggers who will be faithful with each book you write and build your contact list.

Writing is all about contacts once that book has been written and I support authors putting together their own tours when they have time to do so.

I’ll even volunteer to do a short series of posts about putting together your own book tour and making it successful within book tour possibilities. We live in a greedy world and extra money is hard to come by at times. You can arrange your own book tour for free. If this is something you’d be interested in learning more about, let me know and I’ll get to work on this for February.

Until then… if you have questions about book tours, putting together your own or just questions in general, shoot me an email: hellochicklit@gmail.com and I’ll answer as best as I can.

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I'm happily married to my h.s. sweetheart. We have 3 kids (mostly teens, aahhh). I'm an aspiring chick lit author, book publicist, chick lit review blogger and an avid reader. I homeschool 3 kids, read 2-4 books a week and love interior design.

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