Turning the Page: Blog Tour Concerns


turningthepage

Blog Tour Concerns

It’s been a month! A whole month of posting once a day on my first book blog! I’ve learned a lot this past week (like making sure giveaway guidelines are super clear & giveaway hops make your view counter spike—close to 1000 hits in just a month!) In learning more about book blogs and in trying to figure out my own voice, I have of course visited many blogs. Many. Many. In fact, I’m a little ashamed at how much more time I have spent the last month looking and commenting on book blogs instead of exercising or even working on other things. (Blogging, I blame you for my high cholesterol!) I’m beginning to get a bit of an idea of the direction I’d like my blog to go into.

Last week, I discussed the functions of a book blog and its reviews. In it, I started discussing some of my conflict concerning blog tours and promos. Book blog tour posts are extremely common place in a lot of blogs. It can be a cover reveal, promo, excerpt, giveaway, or review. They are one way that authors and publishing houses these days try to create buzz in a somewhat cost effective way. Working through a middle man, the owner of the work typically buys a deal for their book to be featured on X many blogs. The middle man then offers up these spaces to bloggers, who in turn accept the obligation to post about the material. The motivations behind the bloggers wanting to do it can vary.

I have a few concerns about blog tours.

  1. If I haven’t read the book, how can I promote it on my blog? If people wanted to see generic book information, they’d go to Goodreads or perhaps some other bookish news site. People, I believe, go to blogs to see a singular person’s voice, opinion, and thoughts on a particular subject. They pick the specific blog to visit because they like that singular person’s voice, opinion, and thoughts and trust them. So if I haven’t read a book, how do I know if it’s any good? How can I recommend a Chinese restaurant if my only interaction with it has been getting a free menu curled up in my door handle? I could promise that I’ll never do book promos. But there is something kind of cool of being able to post about a book with a cool cover or premise. My solution: if I participate in a blog tour promo, then it is merely a book that I would be interested in reading myself. It will be just like any instances when I post book news. I am not recommending it. I am not vouching for it. I am merely stating that it looks interesting, has got my attention, and I could be adding it to my ‘to read’ list.
  2. Their root purpose is promotion. Most, in fact all, book blog tours have a caveat that say if you are reviewing the book for the book tour, please let them know if you are rating it below 3 or 4 stars. They will give you something else to post to still participate but ask that you don’t post the lower rated review until after the blog tour has ended. I’m glad they are not asking you never to post your honest and perhaps less than happy review. But the simple act of delaying the review makes me cringe. So instead of posting my review, I have to still promote the book that I maybe didn’t like? How is that any different from the ads that plague you on any other website? The whole situation creates a certain pressure to really like the book you are given for the blog tour. I actually don’t have a solution to this concern other than simply not participating in any blog tours. But that could prevent me from experiencing a cool story. It’s a decision that I might make in the future, but for now, I’ve still got some searching to do on it.
  3. It’s repetitive. It gets old looking at a million and one book blogs and seeing the same manufactured content. There are some blogs where I think their only purpose is to post blog tour content. If that’s what they’re aiming to do, then great! But for me, as a consumer of such material, it doesn’t make me want to visit their blog. I would rather pick someone who rambled (oops, much like I’m doing now!) about books then to see posts just about different books with hollow content. I would like my blog to be more than just space for blog tours.

So a lot of to think about! What do you think about blog tours? Are they ethical? Do you trust blogs that participate in them?

What do you think?

  • hadasn says:

    Congrats on the 1 month! I love your non-review posts, the fact that you share your concerns with us! Keep blogging! Also, may I ask, how do you get giveaway hops? – Hadas

    • Playing Jokers says:

      Thanks! I’m glad you like them! I find that I read more reflective posts on other people’s blogs than some of the other kinds of posts so I figured it makes sense to try that style here. I have only discovered one giveaway hop host thus far, and that is “I am a Reader, not a Writer” at http://www.iamareader.com I’m sure there are others out there, but I haven’t stumbled on them just yet. Basically she organizes the hops and you just have to sign up before they’re full and make sure to have your giveaway post up at the right time. I had a record-breaking day the day I posted my giveaway on the first day of the hop; so many new visitors from different blogs all hosting the hop!

      • hadasn says:

        But who actually DOES the giveaway? Who’s in charge of shipping and dealing with the technical aspects?

        And yeah, I like the reflective posts. Reviews are great, but those really differentiate between the bloggers and their blogs. I haven’t been reviewing much lately but I do post other things.

        Thanks for the quick reply, Hadas.

        • Playing Jokers says:

          Oh, I understand now. :) Each blog participating in the hop is the one in charge of their own giveaway. For example, for my giveaway as part of the No Strings Attached giveaway hop, I am offering my own copy of ‘Mermaid’ as the prize. Once the giveaway is over, I will be contacting the winner and then will pay the shipping charges and ship it myself.

          The organizer of the hop mobilizes a large number of blogs to all host a giveaway that matches a certain theme to be held during the same date range. The participating blogs are in charge of each of their own giveaways that are part of the hop.

          Does that answer your question?

          • hadasn says:

            So then how is it related to the hosting blog, really? And how did it boost views – the host linked them to you? Sorry for all of the questions…

          • Playing Jokers says:

            No problem! Here’s the explanation from I am a Reader, not a Writer (http://www.iamareader.com/giveaway-hops):

            What is a giveaway hop?
            Simple – Each participating blog hosts a giveaway and then we link up together allowing our followers to hop easily from one giveaway to another. For followers that means lots of chances to win free books. For host blogs it means lots of new visitors and followers. It’s a win-win.

            So basically, in this case, ‘I am a Reader’ sets up a theme for a hop. Different blogs sign up to participate, determining which prize they have to giveaway that matches the hop theme. ‘I am a Reader’ controls the list of links to all the participating blogs. So if you discover my giveaway (https://playingjokers.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/no-strings-attached-giveaway-hop/), you can click the link at the bottom to see what other blogs are participating in the hop. So then a reader of one blog then visits all those other blogs that they might not have known existed otherwise. And maybe, if they like the look of the blog, they’ll read other posts there and maybe follow. That’s why my views were boosted on the day the hop started. It hasn’t continued to the same level, but I think it kind of helped for some longer term increase of views.

            The hop organizer gets the marketing of all those participating blogs for their own blog. The image for the hop says who the hop organizer is so that way others might then visit them as well.

          • hadasn says:

            Aha, I get it now. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions. :) I’m slowly discovering all kinds of things about book blogging I didn’t know before, like hops, book tour blogs, etc. This is a COMPLICATED world. :)

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