Thoughts

Thoughts #35: Why I Rarely Do Blog Tours Anymore

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I’ve been meaning to write up this post for a while, but as with everything else on the blog it sort of got shoved to the side. Last year I made the decision to take part only in CERTAIN blog tours: I decided I would only work with one company, and I would only accept books if they really interested me. I am aware that more of my fellow bloggers are giving up on blog tours, or only joining in with ones that really let them express themselves, so I wanted to share my reasons for cutting down.

When I see all these posts in my feed with titles like ‘Blog Tour’ or ‘Blitz’ or similar thing, my heart drops a little and I tend to ignore those with interviews or guest posts, etc. I’m happy to read reviews if the book particularly interests me, or posts where the blogger has done something super creative (like Debby’s amazing post where she made the characters of The Lunar Chronicles using The Sims), but if a blogger has just copy-pasted a generic post sent by the tour company, then I’m not interested. And if I’m not interested in these posts on other peoples’ blogs, why should I expect my visitors to be interested in them on mine?

I realised I was using those kinds of posts as filler content, half of the time for books I wasn’t even that interested in, and by doing that I was making my blog less personal, and my voice was less audible. I am proud of my blog and the time and effort I’ve put into it, and I don’t want to fill it with content I have no real interest in.

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I am a mood reader. I read whatever I feel like reading, which makes reading books for a strict deadline very difficult. I also like to read two or three books at once, so I can flit between them depending on how I feel. Additionally, I now have even less time to read than last year and don’t want to feel pressured into reading certain books at certain times just for a blog tour.

I’ve also had issues with several tour companies. Many that I signed up for only let you post a review if you rated the book four or five stars. If it was lower, they’d send you some generic promotional content to post instead. Yes, I get that the blog tour is advertising for the book – but it feels so dishonest to hold off posting your review as part of the tour just because you didn’t enjoy it as much as the tour company wanted you to. Instead of posting your own valid opinion, you ended up posting unwanted filler content.

Another tour company actually REVIEWED my blog and told me how to run it. Yeah. There was an emphasis on the use of social media, cross-posting to Amazon, anything that could get them more traffic once I started posting for them. Needless to say I didn’t stay with them for long. MY blog, MY rules!

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I still take part in blog tours, but I am very picky. I just use one tour company, who are very understanding – they choose books they know I will be interested in and do not expect me to accept every time. I’m sure I would be happy to accept a place in a blog tour from another company or publisher if the book is one I’m really excited for, but for now I’m more than happy for blog tours to be an infrequent thing on my blog.

What do you think of blog tours? Interesting or waste of space?

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25 thoughts on “Thoughts #35: Why I Rarely Do Blog Tours Anymore”

  1. Ha ha I just wrote about this very thing! I had a bad experience with one of those companies who makes you rate a book 4 stars and now I’m done. Too much pressure and really I didn’t get much out of blog tours, except maybe a free book. I completely agree with you about blasts too. If I see the words “blast” or “blitz” I don’t even read the post.

    1. Ooh I will have to go look at your take on it 🙂 Wait, the company actually MADE you rate the book 4 stars? Or you mean the ones that only let you post if you rate it 4 stars or higher?

  2. Blog tours…ugh. I have never participated in one, but doing so sounds pretty annoying. As a blog reader, I avoid all posts that have blog tour stamped on them. The material is almost never interesting or, worse, even remotely authentic (feeling). Contact allergy at this point.

    I want book recs from people who are telling me about them out of passion, who aren’t censoring their feelings because of a promotional company’s requirements. Blog tours tend to feel far too overtly promotional, and I am just not interested in wasting my time reading advertisements. It isn’t why I read book blogs or leave comments or pick up a new title. I am here for the fan interaction. I bet blog tour content is lost on a lot of book blog readers (many of which are bloggers themselves) because they are all passionate people joining in the fandom conversation, and blog tour posts give them a shiny ad instead of our own fire. I would love to see statistics about how many people actually read blog tour content. Shit, I rarely even read a guest post on a blog I follow because it is the voice of the regular writer(s) that reel me in and keep me there, and unless there’s a killer first line or topic that happens to really interest me, I don’t show up to read what somebody else has to say in those spaces, even though I might read all the other posts religiously.

    As I said on Tammy’s post last week on the same subject, I also think a lot of people underestimate the selling power of a bad review (which tend to generate more conversation and I’ve had a number of people tell me they bought things because I said I didn’t like them–because I explained why and they recognized something they knew they would like, or just out of curiousity) too, which also irks me about blog tours (in the cases where they won’t let you post any negatives).

    Anyway. Apparently I have a lot of feelings about these things, for having never participated in one.

    1. At the beginning I signed up for quite a few, because they seemed like a good way to add more posts. But now my blog is more established, I don’t feel the need to supply constant content.

      And yes, exactly! I will read the reviews if the book is interesting and you can normally tell when the blogger is genuinely passionate about the book, and that’s fine by me – it’s just like a normal review. I’ve seen a lot of people say in the past that they never read blog tour posts, but it would certainly be interesting to get some statistics… maybe a future project? 😮

      Exactly! I myself have been swayed to try a book just because someone said it was bad – I had to try it for myself and see if it really was. About a month ago I posted the most negative review I’ve ever written, and it still encouraged at least one person to give the book a shot.

  3. I’ve seen Blog Tours done other places and enjoyed some of them. Some of them weren’t up my alley, but that’s OK.

    I’ve done a few with people I knew from the book blogging world. But I’ve not really done any lately. If I have fewer readers, so be it. 🙂

    1. Definitely, Michael, I’d rather have readers who subscribe for my content than for the giveaways and things that come with blog tours.

  4. Hoping more tour companies read this 😉 I gave up on blog tours along time ago. It’s exhausting. The content is reused so much that it feels tired even before posting it! Like you I only work with one company, and even with them I’ve cut down a lot. Hey, I’ve even thought of simply taking down old blog tour content .. I guess I will get to that eventually 🙂

    1. Haha, if they do I hope no-one is offended though! And I totally agree with you here. I think the last blog tour I did was in December, and it was the sequel to a book I’d already read and enjoyed, so I was definitely up for book two.

      I have actually taken down some blog tour content… is that bad?

  5. All the right reasons not to join one are listed here. I have done it a couple times, but never if there are any conditions other than ‘put your post on this date.’ That is about as much control as I am willing to give up.

  6. I’m on the list for two companies and I almost never accept an offer. I don’t want to be forced to finish a book if I don’t like it. I have had horrible books that I gave bad reviews to and the company didn’t give me any problems about it though.

    1. Oh that’s good, it’s so much better when the company lets you post your actual review – it feels so wrong otherwise.

  7. I only do the occasional blog tour if I’m truly interested in the book and if I can keep my own rules. I loved being part of those and I found the post topics very interesting, but I never do cover reveals or those generic posts.

    1. I don’t really see the point in cover reveals to be honest… reviews all the way, or something unique that the blogger gets to write themselves 🙂

  8. Hallo Rinn,

    The saddest part reading blog posts like this one about blog tours is that those of us who participate in blog tours based on our reading habits and our curiosity to find new authors whilst bringing original content to our blog tour stops, is a bit disheartening to read (all the time!). Goodness. I know there are those who do not approach it like I do, but I’ve met a lot of good hearted book bloggers who write original content and even anchour their posts like I do with original commentary, thought, and a reason for why a book or guest author feature is being brought to our blogs.

    The hard part for me is realising that due to bad experiences, a lot of us are being overlooked due to bias. That’s a bit unfair for those of us who write our hearts out and truly write about the stories we’re hosting.

    I wish things were different on a whole, but I can honestly tell you, once I started hosting Cover Reveals, Book Blitzs, or even Book Spotlights — those are *all!* anchoured with my OWN thoughts and commentary about why I am interested in reading those books. I never just post promo materials without adding to the blog post why that particular book interested me.

    I also write-up all the questions and guest post topics, whilst blogging underneath them or in-line with them, etc.

    I always write my honest opinions on a blog tour – good, bad, or indifferent. I wouldn’t host a blog tour if I couldn’t post my impressions as I read the book.

    *We’re not all the same in other words. Food for thought.

    1. I understand that there are many bloggers out there who feel like you do, but I’ve also encountered a LOT of blog tour stops, not to mention my own experiences, that are just generic posts posted again and again. I appreciate that you post your own original content, and I applaud you for that, but to be honest the very title of ‘Blog Tour’ will almost instantly put me off of a post. With the amount of blogs I follow and the crazy amount of posts in my feed, I have to be selective with what I view or I’ll never get anywhere! So that’s one way to narrow it down – ignore the blog tours.

      1. Hallo Rinn,

        I guess the only thing left to say then, is if you know of certain bloggers who are the exception to the rule, then you could support them and then disassociate with the bloggers who are doing what you do not appreciate. To group us all in to the same category is being unfair and why would a few bad experiences make *all blog tours* invalid is a bit silly to me. That is like saying any bad experience would put anyone off ‘any other thing’ just because of one small fraction of a whole.

        The reason I put “Blog Book Tour” in the title of my blog posts is because I’m honoured by the connection I have to the book and to the author I am hosting. I am hosting them through a tour and if that offends some people then so be it. To me, it’s a blessing to be able to get to know a lot of lovely Indie & Self published authors alongside the Major Trade authors I regularly read and host.

        This is a bit similar to judging a book by it’s cover — the truth in the pudding is the content the book blogger is publishing.

  9. I have certainly become a lot pickier when it comes to blog tours. I will only do review posts (with very, VERY few exceptions for a super cool author guest post) And only for books that I really think I will enjoy, so I don’t have an issue with 3 star ratings or higher. I put in my review policy that I consider a positive review 3 stars or more, and if I am selected for a blog tour that means the tour company is agreeing to MY review policy which states 3 or higher will be posted and 1-2 star reviews will be held until after the tour concludes. And I have never had any company give me a problem with that. (Even the one company that I work with that prefers 4 or 5 star reviews. I have posted a 3.5 star with them and they were ok with it.)

    I cut out all the other types of blitzes, and features that only give book blurb and giveaway or cover reveals (again, with a few select exceptions for books that I am super excited about that I use in my WoW posts)

    And if I don’t like a book, I will hold the review, but I always post it after the tour is finished because I never want to be dishonest. If I didn’t like a book, I am going to review it and say why it didn’t work for me. But I am like you. Since I follow so many blogs, I tend to skip over the mass promotion posts that have no original content and only visit the tour posts that include something cool or a review.

    Great post!

    1. Yes, I think I’d make an exception for an author interview if it was a favourite – but I’d be hesitant about posting a readymade interview. I’d want to actually interact with the author!

      Thanks Michelle 🙂

  10. I own a blog tour company so I might have a slightly different opinion than most. I think that blog tours and book blitzes can be done right, but it depends on both the tour company and the blogger and knowing what the expectations are on both sides. The tour company ahs to display their rules clearly and let the bloggers know what to expect from a tour and bloggers who want original content can often get that with blog tours if they sign-up for guest posts, interviews and tens list. I know the author often put a lot of tiem and effort into those posts as well. I also think that tours can become filler content after a while and sometimes it’s okay to have a few filler posts. I also think that if you participate in tours for books you are really interested in they can be fun posts. I think blog tours certainly have their use, they can be great for both bloggers and authors.

    1. Ooh it’s interesting to get that perspective. I guess the major issue is the contrasting views – we assume it’s filler, but it could be original. Sadly, just that very title puts me off.

  11. I’m really picky with blog tours as well. I only apply/accept those I am truly interested in and I know I will love, otherwise, no go. If I read it ahead of time, I’d probably even ask to back out because I don’t generic content posted on my blog. And when I am in a blog tour, it’s almost always a review stop – or a fun activity that isn’t an excerpt. Interviews and guest posts are cool, though, as long as they are all original.

    1. Yes, if an author/publisher approached me with something I know I will enjoy, I’m happy to do it. However, it would have to be either review only or original content, no ready-made stuff. But I’m not really actively seeking tours, and a lot of the companies I originally signed up with only seem to tour the sort of genres I don’t like, or self-published stuff. I’ve had some bad experiences with self-published stuff, and whilst I’m not assuming that it’s ALL like that, I have so many books to read that I have to set some limits!

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