Paying to do a Blog Tour – Good Idea or Not?

reds rocks ina stream near sedona

My limited experience with paying for a blog tour was less than stellar. I did it once and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone else. It’s nothing against the group I went with – I’m not even going to name them. The thing is, I didn’t sell any more books while doing the tour than I had before it started. All blog tours are pretty quick to tell their customers that they do not guarantee sales. Fair enough. Eyes wide open and all of that. I was warned.

The bottom line of promotion is that it’s supposed to sell books. I know the arguments that the tour could contribute to my social media platform – building a following, slowly creating a buzz that will magically catch fire one day. I’m not arguing with that point of view. But when it comes to spending money, analysis after the fact is important.

Here are the facts on the tour I chose:

Tour cost $55.00 (CND). Rafflecopter Draw to augment the tour, $58.00 (CND). The tour ran from July to September and I appeared on a total of 11 different blogs.

My first mistake was misunderstanding what I had purchased. I thought I was buying a one week blitz tour. I never imagined the tour would be spread over the whole summer. (Obviously, this information was there for me to figure out – but somehow I didn’t.)

My book was promoted the first day of the tour. After that, (I’m not listing these in any particular order) I had five guest posts. (The tour organizers had asked for only one guest post so it appeared multiple times. I stopped using my social media platform to promote these over and over.) I had three guest interview pieces on three different blogs. These were easier to promote because the content differed from blog to blog. Excerpts of my book were featured on three different blogs. There was something called a Twitter view and a Twitter blast. I didn’t take full advantage of these because I didn’t understand what I was supposed to do. I was listed in a Book Expo on-line site and entered in a contest, against four other nominees, to win the best book in the literary fiction category. I did win this competition, but I suspect this had more to do with my ability to garner votes via my social media platform than anything about my book. (Maybe it’s wrong for me to be so cynical. What do you think?)

I received five book reviews, featured on five blogs on five different dates (an overlap of the blogs I had already appeared on.) One review was put up on Amazon and the rest are on Goodreads. If a part of the tour sold even a handful of a e-books, it was those reviews.

On the last day of the tour, Disappearing in Plain Sight was the book of the day and a chapter of my novel was put up on most of the blogs I had originally been on. I also received 4 Tweets on that day – all from the same site and all posted at the same time.

And there you have it.

I could have discovered, before I ever made the decision to choose this tour (by doing my own research) that the types of blogs I would be featured on were not going to be what I was expecting. I have no one to blame but myself for not doing this.

All the blogs were all quite similar. To be frank, I could hardly tell them apart. Most of them contained prominent ads for the same books, over and over. All of them did multiple posts per day. In all cases the interaction with followers (judging by the lack of comments) was not great.

The reviews were a different story. I was appreciative of the fact that these reviews, based on a question and answer format, got at some unique aspects of the novel. Not sure why they couldn’t have all gone up on Amazon – but reviews on Goodreads are great, too.

The Rafflecopter draw was discouraging. I had suggested people should like my Facebook author page, follow my blog, and follow me on Twitter. To these requirements were added the need to like other blogger’s Facebook sites – bloggers who were hosting my tour. Since I paid extra for the draw, I wondered about that. (There was probably some fine print somewhere about this.) I suppose it’s a way for the blog organizer to reward bloggers who take part.

Since the draw ended, I have seen a steady decline in the likes I gained on my Facebook page. I should have guessed this would happen – if people sign-up only for the chance to win a prize they probably won’t stick around. For those of you have stuck around – my apologies for the generalization and my sincere thanks.

A few people suggested (on a writer’s discussion site that I frequent) that I not pay for a blog tour. They recommended, instead, that I  search out blogs I wanted to be featured on and then approach those bloggers with my ideas for a guest post, request for a review or author interview. I should have listened. The moral of the story is this – do your own research; know what you’re getting into. Don’t be dazzled by the idea that exposure on a blog tour will translate into extra book sales – it probably won’t.

Stick around for part two of this reflection when I compare my paid blog tour experience with what has happened when I’ve sought out fellow bloggers to review my book, interview me or allow me to do a guest post on their blogs.


I put these photos in today because the sound of rushing water is supposed to be soothing. Can you hear it? Are you suitably soothed?

Have you done a blog tour? If so, weigh-in on this discussion. What was your experience like? But please don’t mention any blog organizers by name. Let’s keep the discussion about blog tours in general.