Tuesday, 19 June 2012
Promotional Blog Hops/Tours: A Blogger's Perspective
Please bear in mind these are from a blogger's point of view only, not a reader or an author, and refers to blog tours or hops, not occasional guest posts.
1. It fills in the gaps
Having someone come and do a post at my blog means that I have an extra blog post that week. If it's true that the more you blog, the more popular your blog becomes, then that extra post helps to keep my followers and readers happy. Once you're on the list as someone who is happy to host a blog tour post then it it can be a regular way of filling in a day's posting and takes some of the pressure off me as a blogger. It also means that I don't have to answer comments on that day as in theory the author should pick up the slack there (more on that later).
2. It allows me to develop relationships with authors
I like making new friends, especially in our small genre. Allowing someone to post at my blog often means that I exchange a few friendly emails with them and maybe paves the way to get to know them a bit better. This makes me happy.
3. It brings new people to my blog
If the author who is posting is a popular one - and IF they mention that they are at my blog on their own social network or blog - then I'll have new visitors to the blog that day. That can only be a good thing. More on this point later too.
1. It still means work for me
Once the author sends me the post I still have to format it, paste it into the blog and arrange the pictures. Blogger hates having stuff pasted into the compose editor and it can be a real faff to do it. Most authors want working links to their books and social networking sites and this isn't done easily through Blogger either. Even if the author sends me the most pristine and blogger friendly word document, it takes a while for me to get right for my blog. Perhaps I should switch to Word Press which is much more MS Word friendly, but for now I have to accept that setting up a guest post still takes time. Some authors ask for interview questions which takes even more time to prepare. If I'm using a guest post on a day that I normally wouldn't blog - which is what I tend to do - then I have to find time to get organised so that everything is ready in time to post on the right day.
2. Boring/generic posts
Some authors have so many posts to set up and arrange for a tour that they rely on pretty dull generic interview questions, often given to them by their publisher, or they write a short paragraph of something which says a little about the book they are promoting, followed by the blurb and a massive extract from their book - with the blurb/extract often much longer than the original material. I know this isn't the fault of the author, after all they have sometimes 2 weeks worth of posts to prepare, but it still leaves me with a dull post and doesn't reflect well on me and my blog.
3. The new people don't stay
Going back to my point on how guest posts bring more people - which is the carrot often used by publishers to convince bloggers to be a host for the tour. However, in my experience, whilst I get more visitors on the day of the posting, most of them never follow me or even visit my site again. I've offered prizes which have been won by a first time visitor which have never been collected because they didn't even come back to check and see if they'd won the prize.
1. Having to chase up authors/publishers for posts
I get really annoyed when I have to chase up posts for a blog tour. I have to say that this doesn't happen when authors approach me directly to do a post, because they tend to be in charge of their own tours and are more invested in being organised, but rather when the post is arranged through a publisher or publicity company who are maybe co-ordinating several tours with different authors. If I've arranged a date for a guest post then I expect that post to be to me with a couple of days to spare so I can have time to set it up on my blog. I shouldn't have to email people and ask where the post is. After the last time this happened I decided I wouldn't do this again and that if the blog post didn't arrive then that was the problem of the author not me. This month I should have had a guest post but nothing arrived and I didn't chase it up, so the posting never went ahead. Even though when I set up the date, the person in question told me that they were desperate for places to host this particular author. Their loss.
2. Authors who fail to turn up for their own blog tour/promote the tour
This annoys me too. I've had to chase up authors whose tour post I was hosting and ask them to visit the blog and answer comments left by their fans. I shouldn't have to do this and it shows a lack of respect for me and my blog that they haven't been bothered to keep up with their own tour. I especially get cross when the author fails to advertise that they are visiting my blog that day because it means that I won't get any visitors who are fans of the author stopping by - the carrot thing doesn't work then. Finally, I also get annoyed if, once the author bothers to show up, they leave one comment saying "thanks for your comments" before buggering off never to be heard from again, without addressing the visitor's comments individually, even if some of the comments have been questions or personal comments to the author. It shows disdain for the commenters and surely doesn't endear the author to the fans who have bothered to come by and leave a comment.
So there you have it. Is it worth being a host for a blog tour? Well I have to admit sometimes not. By far the best guest posts have been from authors I know, who approach me personally and who have a vested and personal interest in their own blog tours. In future, I think I shall try as much as possible to stick to those types of guests posts rather than being a small cog in a publisher's publicity machine - although, having said that, I have just agreed to host one of those types of posts. Oops!
Next week, I'd like to turn the tables and look at this issue from an author's perspective. I've already had one author who's been willing to send me her thoughts and I'd love it if more authors could contact me on the good, bad and ugly parts of being involved in a blog tour to publicise your book. Or maybe you don't take part in promotional blog tours and want to share your reasons why you don't. Please email me at jenre30ATgmailDOTcom and let me have your thoughts. I'll collect them and put them in a post this time next week and I'll only mention you by name if you are happy with that.
As for this post, I know that there are many bloggers who stop by here. Do you allow your blog to be used for promotional blog tours? Have you experienced the same pluses and minuses that I have mentioned above? Overall, would you say that that the experience is a positive or a negative one? Have you tried hosting blog tours and have now given up, and why? Please do leave a comment and let me know because I'm interested in your experiences.