Is the blog tour dead?

Do blog tours actually work to generate book sales? A few days ago I asked: is anyone reading blogs? It was another way of asking the same question, but broader. And the results were fascinating.

First of all, I had more blog hits than anything since my most popular post Porn Ponderings (yes, people, it still sets a record) and I had an unprecedented 33 comments, mostly from other writers, many whom have never visited the blog before. They are amazing and thoughtful and worth reading, so take a few minutes to check them out.

This tells me that yes, people still read blogs. (Especially writers. Who are probably blogging—and wondering if it works.)

Second of all, there was a gamut of responses in the comments, from people who LOVE author interviews to people who NEVER read them.

Consensus seemed to be that blogs that are still getting read (at least by other writers) are:

  • Great content or interesting reading
  • Useful, helpful, informative or otherwise searchable
  • Truly original and groundbreaking (ala Seth Godin)
  • Written by someone we care about and are interested in.
  • Have terrific titles that are eye catching
  • Have a call to action/respond

So, my original purpose in writing the blog was to explore the utility of doing another blog tour after my exhausting first one. And the conclusion I’ve come to?

Yes, but.

Ha, you saw that coming, didn’t you?

With this research under my belt, I’ve decided to do a few truly exceptional guest posts for a small blog tour—posts that might be useful in various ways, on topics I want to write about anyway:

What it’s like to grow up in a hippie commune on the glorious island of Kauai, with no electricity or running water.

What it’s like to learn to swim in the foaming surf of Sunset Beach on Oahu.

What it’s like to have a panic attack swimming through the underwater tunnel into the Blue Room wet cave that appears in Torch Ginger.

If there are some blogs that want to feature the few posts I can write with quality,  passion and joy, then I’ll go visit them.

But I’m not going to kill myself again.

And you shouldn’t either, with the inconclusive evidence of effectiveness that’s gathering.

I wrote a little 99 cent minibook on book marketing, How to Build an Author Platform that can Launch Anything. I concluded that the process was always changing. That remains true for all of us. This time around, I’m going to do some things different, and the blog tour is one of them.

Building relationships is more important than mere “exposure” and the “Rule Of Three” (i.e. people see your work 3 times/places to remember it) in my opinion. I’ve chosen, this time around, to focus in on my “tribe” of people who are supporters and friends, and keep expanding that through authentic dialogue on email, Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram (where I’m famous for sunset and flower pictures as tobyneal0, say hi!)

And guess what? None of that feels like work. It’s about each of us creating in a world surrounded by friends, everyone excited to support, help and enjoy the fruit of each other’s imaginations.

So if you decide to do a blog tour, remember what you read here.

  • Build real relationships from it.
  • Gather a “tribe” of Book Lovers who are crazy about your books.
  • Build your email list so you can let them know your latest work is available.
  • Help out others, by hosting, reviewing, cross-promoting across genres and interests  (I just got involved with the sustainable food movement on Maui—and what a great group of passionate bloggers with a tasty cause!)
  • Write truly kickass posts that no one will forget—just because you can, and anything worth doing is worth doing Top Quality.
  • And make those titles truly catchy. My favorite fellow bloggers for this are Lorca Damon, Ciara Ballantyne, and Rachel Thompson.  Their titles are invariably eyecatching!

What about you? Do you think the blog tour is dead?

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