So, if you regular visit Tea Talks I’m willing to wager that you’re an avid reader or an author. Am I right? I knew it!
Well my post today is targeted at you writers and you readers who also run nifty little book blogs. I straddle both camps – I write my blog and books, plus I love to read. It sometimes feels like a battle to balance both and so far it’s one I’m losing. Like many of you, I work with book promoters regulary. I’ve worked with some to promote my own books and I work with several more very closely to bring lots of spiffy new books to you guys. Book tour companies can be a good addition to your marketing arsenal – but who to go to? Do you go for personal relationship, specialisms or what looks to offer the most bang for your buck?
When it comes to book promoters and book tours there are the good, the bad and the indifferent. There’s been a few I’ve worked with as a blogger who I probably wouldn’t work with again, for various reasons from unrealistic deadlines to shoddy formatting, but on the whole most are great. My experiences as an author have been pretty good on the whole, but that’s because it’s important to choose a promoter who you can truly trust.
So, while we had a bit of spare room on Tea Talks today, I thought I’d run you through my thoughts on a couple of book tour companies. I must point out that these aren’t the only ones I work with as a blogger (I also work with Expresso, Goddess Fish and others to name a few), but these are the ones I’ve worked with as both a blogger and an author. I wanted to focus on these today to try and give you all the most well rounded view of my experiences – from both sides of the equation as it were. There should be something for the writers out there, as well as book bloggers. I could probably denote another post to the ones I just host for… maybe another time.
Four to tour… or not to ?
A relatively new player on the blog tour scene but one worth looking at. With these you won’t get snazzy graphics or images, (just the book cover and possibly an author image which will appeal to some – after all it’s about the author, not promoting the tour company isn’t it?) but what you will get is great content if you’re a host. Every post for every tour stop is different. I’m a regular host and I know I’ll always get something new and fresh. Guest blogs rather than generic promo material rule at 4Wills so you can really get your voice as a writer out there. The authors really seem to give thought to subject matter and very often they contain good tips for fellow writers. You also get some inspiration and suggestions if you’re struggling for idea. This may be because they were set up by authors and Rave Review Book Club members. They know their stuff.
I have to admit this gal has it down! Majanka knows her stuff. The graphics are good without being fussy and she is one of the few book tour promoters out there that sends wordpress.com compatible html copy.This means that while I’m on the go, I can just copy and paste directly from email into my wordpress app without any issues. For this, I love her! I get a great variety of books too – horror, thrillers, fantasy, young adult. It’s rare that I don’t take up an opportunity to host when an email lands in my inbox. I’ve toured with these guys too and while they may not offer lots of posts in their packages, I’ve not been disappointed with the selection. If you don’t fall into a particular genre or a have a fairly broad audience, then this is one to look at as an author. You’ll also get a great personal service. Majanka just seems so darn nice.
These are definitely the new kids on the block but they are good… really good. From a hosts perspective I’ve not done a huge amount as they’re still relatively new and I hate to say it but google sign up forms make me cringe. I totally get the point of them, I’m not blaming anyone for using them either, but I wish they’d auto populate information. I start filling in one form and lose the will to live afterwards! My personal gripe over though… it’s fleeting as I’ve toured with these guys and from an author perspective they stand out from the crowd. I had lots of contact, a great selection of hosts and some reviews out of it too. They offer access to NetGalley which is worth it if you are doing some pre-launch promotional work and want to get some advance copies out. Laurie Starkey, one of the founders, is a great author and a fantastic supporter of authors, so these guys definitely get a massive thumbs up from me!
These are great value with a range of packages that suit all budgets. I’ve done two tours and both were positive experiences. My first ever tour was with them and I felt like I was in safe hands – especially with a long list of ideas for guest post content. There was also a good mix of tour stops – spotlights, guest posts and reviews.The company is the brainchild of Roxanne Rhoads, an author who errs on the supernatural-erotic romance side of things and while that isn’t my cup of tea she has author promotion nailed in her genre. Bewitching Book Tours is slick with great graphics, a newsletter, a network of regular bloggers and an extremely solid Facebook presence. If you’re in the supernatural/adult romance/ paranormal genre then this is probably the one for you. My only gripe, which is minor, is that as a tour host you have to be pretty “on it” to keep track of opportunities to host and what tours are coming up. If you’re like me and use IOS then RSS feeds aren’t a great way to keep up to date with website updates so I often trail behind. I’d like to see more direct emails with info on what’s coming up. This is my personal preference though and, like those that use google forms, I know that this will turn some hosts on rather than off. As I’ve said before, promoters need to make it easy for bloggers but what’s easy for one isn’t easy for another I guess.
If you’re thinking of a going on a virtual book tour then be sure to check these guys out. Have a look at the previous tours sections on their websites and pop over and see the posts. Ask yourself is the tone right for you? Do they understand your market? Is their website easy to navigate and well laid out – after all, if it isn’t how are they going to create effective content for other blogs? Don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials or contact previous tour users to get a feel for what the company is about. If you’re a blogger, much of the same principles apply, but ask how they send out content, are their choices in how you can receive or format posts?
Don’t forget, it you’re looking to promo your book, you can always contact me directly!