Recently, in a discussion on the BBT Cafe group, I made this comment and felt it was worth sharing here:
I've probably spent more time in the last four years following blog book tours than about anyone else I can think of for the simple reason that I needed to do it in order to teach the classes. I know what a good blog tour is and I know what it takes to complete the ones that are well-crafted and might actually sell some books in the long run.
Two weaknesses in thinking that continue to persist among authors and publishers:
1. That your friends and fellow author blogs are good hosts. Yes, they can be especially if many of your friends are popular authors, but make sure they get at least 100 hits a day. 1,000 would be better. This one issue causes more ire than anything in the entire concept of blog book tours. You have to think in
business terms about this. It is not true that three interested people reading the blog are better than none. When you factor in the time it takes to just craft good blog posts, you might well spend the time doing something else - like writing your next book.
2. That Twitter and Facebook will magically drive readers to your blog for added content about your books and you. Patter on Twitter and Facebook all day long (and if you want people to see you, once a day doesn't cut it), but unless you leave enticements and meaningful links and actually get friends and followers to click, you're not marketing your book well. Simple as that. Your blog is still one of your most powerful marketing tools, but people have to be reading it.
So if you don't have a great blog and your friends blogs are just okay... you might be better off just paying someone who has a collection of good blog hosts to sponsor you on a blog book tour. The tour may not be as personal as if the author crafts it, but it will get more interested readers who might buy your title.
That said, prices for professional tours are all over the map. Before you spend money to have someone else put together a blog book tour for you, follow the tours of at least three services, get their prices for various packages, and by all means, get private referrals from other authors. Shop and compare and ask yourself these questions:
If you're paying $500 for ten blog spots, what are you really getting for that? The same canned book review at each blog? Or are you able to write your own varied blog posts for each host? Will the tour service work with you to design the tour you want for your book? These are just some of the questions to consider and get answers to before you spend any money.