Kindle Forum banner
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,722 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hope this hasn't already been posted.

http://minichino.com/wordpress/?p=1996

"Recently an author asked me what marketing or promotion techniques worked. I laughed and told him that I've tried everything: advertising on-line, in magazines, conference program books; going to conferences; even sending out many hundreds of postcards when those were all the rage. My results in general have been mixed. Well what about a blog tour, he asked? Isn't that the hot new thing? Actually it isn't. What I'm hearing from New York is that publicists are now pushing authors to advertise on Facebook. We'll see how that works.
But as for blog tours, my own experience with one was dispiriting. I paid someone to organize it for me, and though she was excited by the response-14 bloggers took me on-the results were nil in terms of sales. When I blogged about it for The Huffington Post after a few months' reflection, I was lambasted on-line as "nasty," "whining," and someone driving people away from blogs. Wow. Who knew I had that much power?
It's unfortunate that so many people could completely misread what I wrote and that the simple truth could send them into rants. Nonetheless, I think it's crucial that we authors share our experiences with all forms of promotion as honestly as possible with our peers, so that we help them pick and choose what might work for them. Unlike what I've heard from outraged bloggers or blogger-lovers and people who felt they needed defending, the response from authors and publishers to my HP blog has been very positive, and that means I've done my job well"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,989 Posts
We do blog tours for each of our publishing house books. We get mixed results.

I've seen an uptick in sales with some of the tours, yet others produce no additional sales.

What a blog tour has accomplished for every book is more reviews posted on Amazon, Goodreads, and other venues.  8)

So we'll keep doing them.  ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,262 Posts
My problem with these kinds of blog posts, and even the "did advertising work for you" posts on here is that there's always the relative talent and personality question. Maybe the guy posting it is more talented and it worked for him, but won't work for you, or vice versa, and maybe a blog rolldoesn't work for someone with a more subdued personality, while it works great for someone bubbly. I think an author should try pretty much everything, and stick with the things that are working the best, and I think that'll be different things for different authors.
 
G

·
The bigger issue is that indies tends to look at all forms of promotion in a void. A marketing plan is not about a single ad or a single press release or a single giveaway or a single blog interview. A marketing plan is a long term strategy designed to increase awareness of your brand. You may not see an immediate result from a blog tour, but five months from now when someone searches for your name, wondering who the heck you are, they find a bunch of blog posts and articles about you. Suddenly, you are no longer an "unknown author" but "an author that the reader just learned about." It's a nuanced, but important, difference.

It's an ugly little underbelly of human decision-making, but the appearance of success is often more important that anything else. The goal of a Goodreads giveaway is not to get sales. It's so when someone looks on your book page they see 50 "to reads" beneath the title, which creates the impression of popularity. Some reporter comes across your press release, googles your name, and finds two dozen blog interviews...all of the sudden you go from being "unknown self published hack" to "successful indie author" without even knowing what your sales rank is.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
670 Posts
Bards and Sages (Julie) said:
The bigger issue is that indies tends to look at all forms of promotion in a void. A marketing plan is not about a single ad or a single press release or a single giveaway or a single blog interview. A marketing plan is a long term strategy designed to increase awareness of your brand. You may not see an immediate result from a blog tour, but five months from now when someone searches for your name, wondering who the heck you are, they find a bunch of blog posts and articles about you. Suddenly, you are no longer an "unknown author" but "an author that the reader just learned about." It's a nuanced, but important, difference.

It's an ugly little underbelly of human decision-making, but the appearance of success is often more important that anything else. The goal of a Goodreads giveaway is not to get sales. It's so when someone looks on your book page they see 50 "to reads" beneath the title, which creates the impression of popularity. Some reporter comes across your press release, googles your name, and finds two dozen blog interviews...all of the sudden you go from being "unknown self published hack" to "successful indie author" without even knowing what your sales rank is.
All KBers should read this three times and take it to heart. This insight is spot on.
 

·
Registered
New crime fiction series.
Joined
·
3,523 Posts
I searched his piece on Huffington to get more perspective:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lev-raphael/planning-a-blog-tour-thin_b_2853044.html

Seems like he was most upset at the writing skills of the bloggers. The short-term bump might not have been there, but he's now featured on those blogs for the life of that website. Backlinks are great ways to improve your search results on the search engines like Google which is a nice long term side result of blog tours.

Short term impact will depend a lot on the blog. How many unique visitors does that blog get every month? How many subscribers does that blogger have? Does he/she have a mailing list? Anyone can put up a blog. It's reach is a different whole enchilada. You'll get more value from having your book featured by Oprah than public access Channel 989 in Timbuktu.

I tell you what, if I was one of those bloggers that featured Levi, I would delete his post from my blog. ;D

I have yet to do a blog tour for my book, but his negative experience didn't change my mind to give it a try. I still see value beyond a short term direct sales bump.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,713 Posts
Anyone care to explain what a blog tour is exactly?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,366 Posts
Julie

Thank you for putting it in perspective. I read and thoroughly enjoyed Robert Cialdini's Influence (the 2006 business edition) and found a lot of useful information in Michael Alvear's Make a Killing on Kindle and am a strong believer in (and decent practitioner of) the "social proof" factor. Since I hate the marketing aspect of being a writer, I primarily focused my social proof efforts on the store ecosystems and am doing okay (more importantly, I'm not hating that I have to market instead of write because I'm writing, not marketing). I can't say your very insightful framing of the issue is going to get me to do a blog tour, but it has given me much to think on. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
356 Posts
I've spent the year so far visiting blogs and getting reviewed.  A one week tour probably isn't going to make much difference but what has definitely made a difference is having quite a few good reviews on the book's page at Amazon.  That's persuasive to potential customers who stop to have a look around.  Plus you get to meet book bloggers, nice people who love books and if they get excited about your work, that's terrific.

It does take a lot of work, time, and for most of us, it's not you were taking a shower and a great idea came to you and then 3 months later you are having stars named after you.

I recommend all review tours if you can find someone who will arrange that.  It's more work for the bloggers, for the host and may cost more but it's worth it. 
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
To correct some misapprehensions::

1) I wasn't upset, I was reporting my experience objectively, whether it made some people happy or not.

2) It was a two week tour and part of advertising and other elements of a campaign strategy.

3) There were over a dozen excellent reviews on amazon

4) the book was an Indiereader.com approved book already (and that generated more sales in one week than the tour did at all)

5) authors have thanked me for being honest.

6) authors should try everything--if they think it's worth their time and effort.  I paid someone because I simply couldn't do it myself given family issues, a heavy teaching load, and a new book in progress.

7) some bloggers have been outraged by what I said, but publishers have told me privately that blog tours are hit and miss and they're now pushing authors to advertise on FB so blog tours may already be slipping into the past as a marketing tool.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,968 Posts
I can literally point out the sales that I got from being featured on certain blogs and I also got a lot of good reactions from bloggers that my posts gave their blog a bump in visitors.

Sure, I don't sell much, but that has more to do with the genre of the books. What I did get from the 2 tours (3rd coming up in a few weeks) was some great people that either review or are always willing to help me out a bit with marketing. I also know that I will be able to host my next series on most of the blogs and that that will be a lot better to sell.

I do take care of blog tours myself, I don't pay others to do it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,722 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
LevRaphael said:
To correct some misapprehensions::

1) I wasn't upset, I was reporting my experience objectively, whether it made some people happy or not.

2) It was a two week tour and part of advertising and other elements of a campaign strategy.

3) There were over a dozen excellent reviews on amazon

4) the book was an Indiereader.com approved book already (and that generated more sales in one week than the tour did at all)

5) authors have thanked me for being honest.

6) authors should try everything--if they think it's worth their time and effort. I paid someone because I simply couldn't do it myself given family issues, a heavy teaching load, and a new book in progress.

7) some bloggers have been outraged by what I said, but publishers have told me privately that blog tours are hit and miss and they're now pushing authors to advertise on FB so blog tours may already be slipping into the past as a marketing tool.
Welcome to the Kboards. I hope you'll find the time to pop in now and again with more sage advice. We really do value all input and perspectives on writing and promoting of our work :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,398 Posts
Bards and Sages (Julie) said:
The bigger issue is that indies tends to look at all forms of promotion in a void. A marketing plan is not about a single ad or a single press release or a single giveaway or a single blog interview. A marketing plan is a long term strategy designed to increase awareness of your brand. You may not see an immediate result from a blog tour, but five months from now when someone searches for your name, wondering who the heck you are, they find a bunch of blog posts and articles about you. Suddenly, you are no longer an "unknown author" but "an author that the reader just learned about." It's a nuanced, but important, difference.

It's an ugly little underbelly of human decision-making, but the appearance of success is often more important that anything else. The goal of a Goodreads giveaway is not to get sales. It's so when someone looks on your book page they see 50 "to reads" beneath the title, which creates the impression of popularity. Some reporter comes across your press release, googles your name, and finds two dozen blog interviews...all of the sudden you go from being "unknown self published hack" to "successful indie author" without even knowing what your sales rank is.
Julie - you just reminded me, I need to set up another Goodreads giveaway. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,911 Posts
In my experience, blog tours at blogs about books/reading really don't drive many sales.  I'm not sure why that is.  I still find them useful becuase it's good networking with other writers, and you never know where that may take you in the future.

I have seen gigantic temporary jumps in my sales, and from there big jumps in numbers of positive reviews being posted, from getting mentions/excerpts posted on blogs which AREN'T about books.  If a book has something to do with the overall theme of the blog, it's worth approaching that blog owner about posting a brief excerpt.  I think people who read book blogs are so inundated with info about books that they won't necessarily act on the message and buy, unless the book is a REALLY perfect match for them.  However, people on non-book blogs see the mention of a book they might be interested in as a novelty, and are probably much more likely to check it out.

I was able to get a short excerpt of Baptism for the Dead posted on The Friendly Atheist last fall and my sales went through the roof for a few days.  I still have reviews come in that mention they found the book there. 
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,749 Posts
ElHawk said:
I have seen gigantic temporary jumps in my sales, and from there big jumps in numbers of positive reviews being posted, from getting mentions/excerpts posted on blogs which AREN'T about books. If a book has something to do with the overall theme of the blog, it's worth approaching that blog owner about posting a brief excerpt. I think people who read book blogs are so inundated with info about books that they won't necessarily act on the message and buy, unless the book is a REALLY perfect match for them. However, people on non-book blogs see the mention of a book they might be interested in as a novelty, and are probably much more likely to check it out.
This. Whenever I'm reviewed at or guest posting at or mentioned on a dance blog, I see my sales skyrocket. I get little to know bounce from book blogs, but I still love book blogs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,258 Posts
In my experience, there is no one thing that can be tied to increase in sales, certainly not big spurts.   In the 1990s, a review in the New York Times Sunday Book Review got me about 300 sales of a hardcover - exactly what the marketing director told me to expect - and that was the high water mark of sales from a single event.

Far more reliable is the unexpected flare of sales, like a beautiful flame shooting up from a smoldering fireplace.

The key, then, is to keep the fireplace hot and volatile, by throwing in anything you can as fuel aka publicity.

 
G

·
Methinks another issue too is that, in the past, reviews and interviews were a means to an end, not an end in and of themselves. You didn't expect someone to read an interview or review and then run out and buy a book. You would instead leverage that interview or review as part of a long term strategy to build consumer confidence. Seriously, how many of us actually READ the NYT book section on a regular basis? But yet if we see an ad or promo that quotes a NYT review, we take notice. Media interviews don't generate sales per se. But you can include those tear sheets in a media kit and use it to convince a book store to stock a book. You don't send press releases to you local newspaper expecting to get sales off of it. You do it to get that article published so that you can then reference it later in other advertising and promotional material. (We've all seen ads that say things like "Featured in Newsday!" or something along that affect.) Marketing isn't a linear effort, but a massive web of interconnectivity.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,492 Posts
Personally, I believe the truth is that authors should write. All the marketing in the world won't sell products that aren't on the shelves. The less you have to sell, the less effective ANY marketing will be, and vice versa. I still believe that good books will sell. The luck factor only applies to how soon, and that, unfortunately, we have very little control over.
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top