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Jun
21

What Exactly is a Blog Tour?

When you are an unknown author and get asked to provide a little peek behind the curtain of the self-publishing game you can really let fly. There are no bothersome consequences to worry about if you offend either the reader or other writers because the worst that can happen is that people who have never read your books will stop reading them.

i.e. if someone asks me what exactly a “blog tour” is I’m playing with house money.

Let me try and explain it the easiest way I can. A blog tour is something that authors who don’t have the money to leave their house do to try and promote a new book that nobody has heard of. For instance, I am writing this in reference to my blog tour for Homo sayswhaticus. In essence we obscure authors ask a slew of online literary sites to either review our release or give us a spot to write a post introducing ourselves.

How does that differ from a normal author hitting the road and doing television and radio interviews you ask? That’s easy.

Somebody is actually paying attention to those interviews.

Self-published authors do not have that luxury. In fact, typically the only blogs that will give your new offering a mention are those that have a readership equal to or less than you currently have with your own website or Facebook page. You can forget all about the myth of exponential growth or whatever they are calling it these days. You know the theory, 10 readers like something and then they each tell 10 friends who tell 10 friends. It has been used to explained the unexpected success of everything from pop songs to apps and I’m here to tell you it’s a lie. When you’re an obscure author and someone likes you they keep it to themselves because they are a shut-in and have no friends. People with friends are reading Dan Brown or 50 Shades of Grey.

The same goes with literary blogs. After all the friends and family of the blog owner have started to follow the page it grows at a rate of about 3 additional followers every six months. No more, no less.

It’s science.

The blog is under the optimistic delusion that self-published authors will bring readers to their site or end up being successful one day and the self-published authors try to convince themselves that they aren’t completely wasting their time and that they will gain a legion of new fans because of the “buzz” created.

In other words, because the internet allows anyone to start their own blog and eBooks allow anyone to publish their own book the odds of a person Googling a good literary site and stumbling upon a decent book are roughly the same as a person sitting down to Google only to be struck and killed by a meteor. It’s simple economics. With low barriers to entry the markets get flooded by horrible content. Then, in this case, all these horrible content providers start to try and team up to gain some semblance of credibility. A hit or miss dance of epic proportion. For example, my first book Merciful Flush got 20 glowing reviews and all of them were from critics that nobody had ever heard of and they actually became counterproductive when dealing with “real” industry types.

I’m guessing that this is coming off a little cynical which is the last impression I want to give you. I want to come off very cynical.

But also hopeful. These days writing is no different than any other pursuit thanks to technology.  It is no longer controlled by a small amount of pretentious, narrow-minded, Harvard-educated industry types. Now the only rule is that you have to treat it like a job and work your ass off. The same goes for blogs as well I assume. Make some friends along the way, stay in touch and hope somebody takes a step up and remembers you.

It’s digital Darwinism as its finest.

And to that I say “game on”. If it takes 300 e-mails to get 20 replies to set up 10 stops on my “tour” then so be it. I have every confidence that those 10 mentions will result in no fewer than 1 new fan.

And that’s one more than I had yesterday.

Maybe it’s you.

I hope that answered your question.

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