Shop Talk: Blog Tours, Social Media and Stuff

First, a commercial break for today’s stop on the Susannah Sandlin Omega tour—check over at the Susannah Sandlin website for the URLs on today’s stop. Only two days left to enter for the big prize!
So, I said earlier that today’s Shop Talk would be about ebooks and the recent news from Barnes and Noble that made me wonder if the Nook platform was going to become an endangered species. But I think it’s too early to have that talk. Too much is uncertain with B&N right now. And don’t even get me started about the indie bookstores suing Amazon (but not B&N) for creating proprietory ebooks.
Instead, I thought I’d see what you guys think of blog tours. I’ve done three in the last six months—for Absolution and Omega by “Susannah” and River Road for my Sentinels of New Orleans series. I’ve had some of you awesome people who’ve followed me along the tours, which is great and SO appreciated. There’s nothing more discouraging than spending an hour or so writing a guest blog post and having nobody show up, or to not know whether they showed up or not.
But, as readers, when you come to a blog you normally read and see a blog tour stop, do you find that interesting? Or do you think, oh there’s that blog whore over here now?
Do you only want to see guest blogs by authors with new releases? Coming at it from the author’s point of view, I would like to continue to get word out about my Sentinels series even though the blog tour is over. But are people tired of seeing stuff about a book that came out in November? (When the new one won’t be out until August?)
I think promotion is something all authors struggle with. Back in the old days, or so I hear, publishers did a lot more to promote their authors, and a lot of that responsibility has fallen on the authors’ shoulders. In a lot of ways, that makes sense in the changing climate of book buying and selling in the digital age. Now, blogging and social media has taken on a bigger role. I used to be more active on Twitter but, recently, I’ve spent more time on Facebook.
Authors having to do their own promotion has created some new cottage industries. There are people and companies who organize online blog tours; I’ve used the fabulous Bewitching Book Tours for all of mine (tips hat to the uber-organized Roxanne Rhoads), because after handling all my own stops for Royal Street, it was just way more time than I could devote to it. By letting the tour host do the scheduling and tracking, it lets me write more.
Another cottage industry fueled by the move of publicity to authors’ shoulders is the “virtual assistant,” and I know a lot of authors who have one, including myself (tips hat to the uber-organized and conscientious Stephen, who really needs to move to Alabama so he can help me catch up with all my mailings-LOL). 
Anyway, I’ve wandered far afield, but I guess what I’m asking is: do you follow blog tours? Do you like them, or get tired of seeing the same author over and over? If you’re an author, do you struggle to keep up with publicity? What have you found to be most effective?
I’ll choose a commenter from this week’s Shop Talk to win a Book Horde book or a $5 Amazon gift card…your choice. Weigh in!

45 thoughts on “Shop Talk: Blog Tours, Social Media and Stuff

  1. I enjoy seeing (most) blog tour stops at blogs I regularly read. It’s a great way to learn about new authors and sometimes it reminds me that a favorite author has a new release coming out. Usually the tours have to do with new releases. However, if the book cover photo at the top of the blog tour is CLEARLY self-published, I always skip it unless I recognize the author’s name.

    As for following a blog tour, I pretty much only do that with favorite authors. Generally speaking, I’ll check out the blogs I usually follow and that’s it.

    • Interesting you should mention that, Rebe–the cover is so important. That first impression is critical. I have to admit I don’t sign up for a lot of blog tours–I always go and look first at the cover. If it’s clearly a homemade job, I always decline. Which is sad, because the book might be quite good. If the cover passes muster, I look at the publisher. If I haven’t heard of the publisher or have found their products to be spotty, I read the blurb. Three strikes and I pass.

  2. I like seeing blog tour posts, but it’s the rare author who I follow around on all stops. Usually I only read the stops at my regular blogs.

    I don’t mind if it’s about a new book or older book. If I haven’t read it yet it’s still new to me after all. And if I read and loved the book I love learning more about the book, characters and author.

    I will bug you one of these days for a guestpost or interview on my blog 😉

  3. I have followed and enjoyed all your blog tours for the Sentinels of New Orleans and the Penton Legacy books. Not only have I enjoyed being able to comment and read the comments of others, I have been exposed to blog host sites that are new to me. Reading some back posts of theirs. If they were also authors I check out their books. The more exposure the better to sell books by. The posts themselves are great fun and I usually learn something new. I became a big fan of the hilarious character interviews and Q&A with the characters. With the books not yet out it is a little peek to keep us interested while we wait. Roxanne does a great job with the book tours. Stephen should help you with the mailings, too time consuming for you, you spend your time writing more for us! Thanks for letting us share your worlds with you.

    • Thanks, Roger! It has been great to have you and Miki following all the tours! I’ve had a lot of fun with the character interviews, too, and agree that Roxanne does a great job with the book tours. Stephen lives a few hours away so he’s not really close enough to take on the mailings unless I come up with a new system. Hm….

  4. I enjoy blog tours but I don’t usually follow all of the stops on a tour. I don’t mind reading guest blogs by authors who have books that are already out. I may discover a new author I’ve never heard of that way.

    • Good point. There are so many books that come out every week, it’s hard to keep up with all of them as they’re coming unless it’s an author we already know. So blog tours are a way to catch some we missed.

  5. I do enjoy blog tours – it’s especially nice when there are different posts for each stop in terms of character interviews or different excerpts taken from the book. That way you can gain more insight into whether the book is for you.

    For those books that have more than 2 blog tours, that’s when it gets repetitive and too much. I usually skip those then.


    • I always try to do different blog posts for each stop so that there aren’t any repeats (it gets really hard to come up with new topics on a 30-stop tour, though!).

  6. I enjoy booktout and wheni really appreciate the author and/ or the book i’m loyal and follow every stop.

    now when i discover a new book it will depend on my impression for example i will more likely take interest into the book if there is an exacerpt ( and like you know not the same excerpt on all stops is better^^;;)

    Don’t ned to be for a new book either… i don’t mind reading guest post and such for book already released or going to be because there are always new things to learn.

    Even after 3 blog tout Roger and me continued to discover things about you as well as the characters and tha’s something really interesting and motivating

    • I’ve enjoyed having you and Roger follow the tours! I’m always amazed how you get there before I do! The disadvantage of using a tour service is that you turn in one excerpt and it gets used a lot, but I think multiple excerpts would be hard for the tour organizer to juggle. I get tired of seeing the same ones too…and they’re my excerpts!

    • still you have the opportunity to do what we discussed in a precedent post^^ a kind of short novella and each stop has a different chapter to post^^ ( number of blog post depending on the number of chapter you decide to make) that would be so interesting ^^;;

  7. I like following blog tours because it does introduce me to a lot of new authors and I still like checking in with the old favorites. What I don’t like is blog tours where it is the same basic content recycled on every stop so I see it multiple times throughout the tour. I like the content original, author interviews, “interviews” with the main characters, new excerpts, anything cool and different to share keeps me interested regardless of when the next book come out. I want the tour to be fun and not just a book jacket blurb and a review.

    fencingromein at hotmail dot com

    • Totally agree, Shannon. I’m always disappointed when stops on my tours are promo-only (blurb and excerpt) because I’m always willing to provide an original post or interview.

  8. I like and follow blog tours. Don’t mind if it’s a new or old book. Don’t like when links to blog tours aren’t updated, such as when some blogs decide not to participate.

  9. What an interesting question. I love blog tour when it’s about a book I’m interested in or a book I loved. I think it’s nice to read the posts. Some authors are really good in it and I think it’s awesome to see they took the time to write something. I’m just a little disappointed when the post is the same everywhere because it’s not as interesting but otherwise I love them. I’m always really touched when an author I like wants to do one for me (and yours are awesome). After that I confess I don’t read all the guest posts on a tour, only the ones of the blogs I follow because sometimes it’s just too much and it takes a lot of time. I like reading them though. I don’t know if I’m very clear…

    • You’re perfectly clear! I enjoy writing the guest posts, but I know some authors don’t. And some blogs don’t want a guest post and would rather do promo, which seems strange to me. It’s always fun to be on your blog!

    • Yeah promo posts are different… Less interesting. I know it takes a lot of time to write a guest post but well always a delight to read it. Thank you it’s really nice.

  10. I follow blog tours of authors enjoy reading. Sometimes it leads me to new books and authors. However, as an author, these blog tours must be exhausting and time consuming. I don’t think I would have the skill To come up with 30 different things to blog about. I can say I have enjoyed the Omega tour very much especially the character interviews.

  11. I think blog tours can be a good way to stumble upon an author I may not have read.. but I honestly don’t follow along for the most part. (I think you and 1 other author are the only ones whom I’ve actually trailed lol)

    I like it when blogs come out with a creative way to spotlight the book or author in question.. but promo spots get tedious after awhile and after 10 or 20 reviews of the same book, I get a little burnt out.

    • LOL–I’ll take that as a compliment!! I agree that the promo spots just don’t accomplish much. I always appreciate the exposure but I’m happy to do something original if the blogger asks.

  12. I like the book tours. I like to know in advance when a book is coming out. If it’s a sequel of a series that I already love, I probably already got it on my wishlist, but I like the reminders and often a chance to win an ARC of said book.

    • I enjoy book tours that really offer variety. I liked the idea someone had of doing an original story that had a new installment at each stop, and might actually try that at some point. (And ARCs are always good things!)

  13. I rarely follow an entire tour, I just read the posts at the blogs I’m already following, unless an author I follow (such as yourself) is doing a tour. Because you post the where you’ll be that day, and I know you usually do original (usually fun) content, I will sometimes go and check those stops out, but for most blog tours, I don’t. I’m already reading a bunch of blogs, so I’m not looking for more, especially since content is often repeated throughout the tour.

    I don’t think tours should be limited to new releases only. There are so many books out there that sometimes it’s nice to get a reminder of one I meant to read but that slipped off my mountainous wish list/TBR pile. I also think that some blog tours are way too long. Why not do a shorter one, maybe 5 – 10 stops, after the book’s been out a bit and more bloggers have had a chance to read it and might be willing to promote it.

    • JenM…I’m starting to think a couple of shorter tours spread farther apart is a good idea, so I’m glad you said that. It would be easier as an author, too, to have a little more time between guest blogs.

    • Yes, I decided this last time that 30 stops was too exhausting and after a while the interest dwindles off. I think a two-week tour, or two short tours spread farther apart, makes more sense.

  14. I rarely follow blog tours regularly or at least the familiar blogs. I do visit blogs that I haven’t seen before which is how I found this one!! I tend to visit new blogs that have interactive questions that I can participate in or especially blog posts that are informative in some way or just really interesting. I’ve done a blog tour or two but haven’t done any for a while. It doesn’t matter to me one bit when a book came out–if it sounds good I’ll check the blogs–my first novel just came out in paperback from my publisher and it debuted in 2009. I think that’s one reason I don’t follow the same blogs as much; I like to see what different authors have out. Make sense?

  15. If I follow a blog tour its of an author I am familiar with and like. Having said that I haven’t followed that many. I tend to follow the blog posts of my favourite blogs. My first release is coming out in April and I am mulling over how on I’m going to get it out there and get people reading it. The publisher will do their bit but I suppose I have to do a great deal more. I may do a blog tour and see how that goes for me. I guess I’m just going to try a whole lot of things out and see what works for me and for this book.

    • Congrats on your first release! It’s hard to know what works–even when you do something, there’s no instant correlation between a launch party, for example, and sales if you’re with a traditional publishing house.

  16. I occasionally follow blog tours, especially if it is for a book written by an author who is one of my favorites! I love those with special content and deleted scenes from a book. However, if it’s for an author I’ve never heard of, then I rarely follow the blog tour.

    • I think that’s where authors really struggle. In order for anyone to have heard of you, you have to be out there. But who wants to read about someone you’ve never heard of? It’s a puzzle!

  17. I like blog tours as long as the author(s) have different posts for each blog. Who wants to read the exact same blog over and over again?

    I think it is interesting to focus on one thing at each stop (the hero, the heroine, the setting, the secondary characters, the process, the villain, etc…). That way the author has somewhere to go afterwards.

  18. I do tours for books outside my usual genre and I ask others to help me announce a new release. I’ll do guest posts at any time and not just a blog tour. But I love helping other authors and I do see books and authors I’d otherwise never know about if they didn’t tour.

  19. I don’t follow blog tours. I read the post on the blogs I already follow, and comment (unless it is US/Can only). If it is about a book in a genre I don’t read, I don’t read the post at all.
    I also think too much blogtours, too fast is not a good thing. I saw a review and blogpost about a new book last year, and I liked what I saw, so I ordered the book. After that, the book was toured all over the place, and I got tired of seeing it everywhere, with exactly the same promo post. Still haven’t read the book, and now the tour has started for the next book.

    So yes, I agree with some other posters: shorter blog tours, with original content. I do love character interviews (those by Sierra Dean anyone?) which makes me anticipate the next book.

    But well, I am only one opinion of course 🙂

    • I’m hearing shorter blog tours a lot, and I tend to agree. I did almost exclusively character interviews on the last couple of tours, and it was a lot of fun.

  20. I tend to follow blog tours if it’s for a book whose genre I like or if it’s on a blog I regularly read. In that case, I might consider books outside my comfort zone, too.
    But I tend to get bored to see too long tours, or Highlights on the same day. And I prefer posts who focus on some aspects of the books, like the hero/heroine, the setting and so on

  21. I follow some blog tours and sometimes I am overwhelmed with the amount of blog tours. I would follow more of them if I had the time. I usually go to a few stops