Riddle Me This: Promoting your book through a virtual blog tour

I’ve talked about virtual blog tours here and here. I’m a little less enthusiastic about them than I used to be. Experience is the best teacher. 

I used a blog tour for my second book, The Revelation Gate. After reading my synopsis, almost 20 people signed up for my tour. Signing up for my tour = I send them a paperback copy of the book and they, in turn, post a synopsis, my bio, an excerpt from the book, and their review of it.

Out of 20 books, three people read and reviewed it. I’m no math expert, but that’s a 15% success rate. Or, for the glass-half-empty people, an 85% failure rate. A friend of mine said he sent of 60 copies of his book and got 15 reviews. That’s a 25% success/75% failure. 

Think of one thing where such a large rate of failure is acceptable. (My wife said baseball, but a .250 average is still pretty bad) 

What’s worse, even if somebody buys your book off of the blog tour (not your own website), how do you track that sale back to the person who made it?  

So, what do you do? You could try what I did for The Anarchists. I came up with a guerilla marketing campaign/contest involving t-shirts I had made (you can see them here), a “Name a Character” contest, and a one-week virtual blog tour using only e-books. 

You could do what Darcie Chan did: get a Kirkus Review ($425 and up), did some advertising, and sold her book for 99 cents. This isn’t a magic formula, but the approach is unique. Kirkus will review your book — if you like it, they will release it to libraries, schools, book catalogs, etc. You’re officially on the map. If you hate the review, you can kill it.

That’s a considerable amount of money on a tight marketing budget. Count the cost versus going the virtual book tour route. It might be for you. 

At the very least, I’d supplement the blog tour with a bigger picture approach. Make an affiliate program through Amazon or Smashwords and if readers of the guest blog on the particular site click through, it can be tracked AND the site owner gets a small percentage of your sale. 

My friend Kemya Scott says push your brand and your book as an extension of your brand, so people won’t limit their buying experience to just that book. Of course, I’m paraphrasing. 

What works for you? Use the comment section below to share the love! Hope this helps. . .

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