Virtual Blog Tours: Who Should You Go With?

I searched the keywords “book blog tour” a few days ago and came up with Tywebbin Book Tours, Book Blog Tour Guide (who then referred me to Premier Virtual Author Book Tours) — Diane Saarinen, who runs BBTG, was booked up and does not do Christian fiction — Lit Fuse Publicity Group, Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, and Book Promotion Services.

I approached each as an author seeking information about a book blog tour, which I am: I have a 2012 release I’d like to schedule. . .just not right this second. I stuck to the first page of my search results because, let’s face facts: most people don’t go beyond the first page anyway. I used Tywebbin for my latest release, so to be as unbiased as possible, I put them last.

Here are my results in no particular order:

  • Litfuse Publicity Group: “not accepting any new, self-published clients.” ARGH. No offense if you’ve gone through a vanity press. To a degree, I can understand how an indie author can be considered “self-published” if your press is a sole prop, like mine. But seriously, it’s not the same thing. I digress. If you’re an indie author, you’re as good as self published to them, so. . .
  • Christian Fiction Blog Alliance. Cost: $500. What you get: a three-day slot, “respect and undivided attention” (???), they distribute your contact info for possible interviews (plus an interview on their blogtalk radio station), link to the first chapter, banner ad space.

I didn’t get a response to my questions. However, upon closer inspection of the blogger review list, I found a few tidbits.  Reviewers need to have an “established blog with active readership.” It doesn’t say anything about the size of readership, though that can be misleading. Also, the reviewers don’t have to read every book, and they don’t have to discuss it if they don’t want to.

Remember, you’ve gotta count the cost of mailing the book to people who may not read it or review it. Let’s say you’re really eager and do 20 paperback books at $8 a pop. That’s $160 + the $500 you’ve paid CFBA = $660, or $33 per blogger. That’s a decent amount of money for mixed results.

*What I would do: see if you can get your CFBA bloggers to commit to do reviews in writing, or do an online search for respected book clubs that will review your book for free. Some of them, like Only One keyStroke Away Book Club, will even accept electronic copies. Your review dates will be scattered, but you’ll have them. 

  • Premier Virtual Author Book Tours: Doesn’t handle Christian Lit, and doesn’t know who does.
  • Book Promotion Services: Cost: $697 (lowest cost option). What you get: a 4-week, 15-20 blog tour; Leigh’s “Insiders’ Guide to Virtual Blog Tours” (HINT: You can download it without the tour :); blog visit promotion on social media; a dedicated tour page at the BPS website, a press release, and archived links.
I spoke to Nikki Leigh, who’s very helpful. She even read up about the book blog tour that I just finished! She claims that she “reaches out to a wide range of bloggers” specific to the individual title. Leigh also said that she asks the blogger to commit (review, radio interview, written interview with a character from the book — extremely cool– – guest post, etc.). Very personable. 

*What I would do: Count the cost. 20 stops over 4 weeks is five stops per week. 20 books = $160 + $697 = $857. I would probably do a mix of radio interviews and reviews, and ask Nikki that she only book people who commit to either. THEN, it would be worth it IMO. 

  • Tywebbin Book Tours:  Won’t be doing any more tours until 2012.  Cost: $250. What you get: a flexible tour that can be stretched over as little as a week or a month or more for up to 25 books. Bloggers do some a HTML post of your book’s general info, Q&A’s and/or interviews, and radio and Skype interviews.
I used Ty Moody’s firm for my book blog tour for The Revelation Gate. She books in three different tiers. Out of the ones I’ve seen that would cater to Christian fiction, hers is comparable to that of Book Promotion Services.

*What I would do: If I’m not in a rush, I wait for Tywebbin. For 20 books, $410 is the lowest price option of all the blog tours, but the service doesn’t drop off at all. If I need it this year, and I’ve got the cash, I go BPS. Hope this helps!

Brian Thompson’s passion is motivating and encouraging others to write and to pursue Do-It-Yourself publishing. He is also author of the Christian fiction thrillers The Lost Testament, and The Revelation Gate. You can read more about Brian by visiting his author site.

3 thoughts on “Virtual Blog Tours: Who Should You Go With?

  1. Tywebbin is a great choice. The best, I think. She’s worth waiting for indeed! Have you tried advertising through Sormag’s mailing list? She’s done some for me and I’ve found some good books through her site and marketing. 🙂

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