MKTG #15 – Paid Book Blog Tours

Hello, SE’ers! It’s Jan again. My last marketing post about doing book blog tours raised a universal question. Since we tend to pretty much follow the same bloggers, how do we widen our circle and gain new readers?

Courtesy Pixabay

In response to the question, the most effective answer seemed to be paid blog tours. Let me make a disclaimer here. I have not actually tried any of the tours I’m going to share with you today. But that’s not to say with the next release I won’t try some of them. I do think it’s a great way to find new readers and new followers.

I gathered this list of services from other authors whom I know and trust their experience and opinions.

Each promotion has specific guidelines so just check them out thoroughly before you choose one.

Goddess Fish Promotions has successfully coordinated more than 3600 tours in nearly ten years in business.

They offer the following and the costs vary from $55 to $399 depending on what you choose:

  • Blurb Blitz Tour
  • Book Blast Tour
  • Excerpt Only Tour
  • Standard Virtual Book Tour
  • Name Before The Masses Interview Blog Tour
  • Review Only Tour
  • Full-Service Premium Virtual Book Tour

They specialize in tours for fiction in all its genres and sub-genres, including but not limited to romance, science fiction, fantasy, suspense, paranormal, historical, mystery, young adult/middle grade/children’s, literary, and women’s fiction.

Silver Dagger Book Tours was founded in 2016, has done over 4000 tours, and worked with hundreds of amazing authors – many of who come back for repeat tours! Two to three tours kick off every weekday with occasional tours on the weekends and EVERY tour is required to have a giveaway so readers can gain a little something and have fun while they enjoy learning about new books.

Their site is clean and concise, and it’s easy to find what you are looking for. That is a plus to me. Here are the services they offer:

Screenshot from my computer

Lone Star Literary Magazine offers a variety of book promotions. However, they are specific to books written by Texas authors, or stories set in Texas. So, that is somewhat limiting. Their prices are more expensive compared to the other blog tour services I’ve already listed. However, the plus side is the guaranteed reviews. Compared to the cost of one Kirkus review at around $425, it’s a bargain!

  • 15-Stop Reviewapalooza Blog Tour $499 (A review-only blog tour)
  • 15-Stop Interactive Blog Tour $399 (includes 7 guaranteed reviews and free giveaway set-up)
  • 10-Stop Interactive Blog Tour  $299 (author Q&As, guest posts, and 5 guaranteed reviews)
  • 1-Day Lone Star Lit Book Blitz or Cover Reveal  $249 (For one day, up to thirty top Texas bloggers will feature your book on their blogs and on multiple social media platforms)
  •  Lone Star Lit, A La Carte  prices vary (blogger book reviews without all the bells and whistles of a blog tour)

The Coffee Pot Book Club, was founded in 2015 by award-winning blogger and international best-selling author, Mary Anne Yarde, and has had, to date, over 1 million page reads. It specializes in Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, and Historical Fantasy.

  • Espresso Book Blast (Prices are in pounds $65) Minimum 5 blog stops/Maximum 20 blog stops
  • Cappuccino Blog Tour ($120) Minimum 10 blog stops over 5 days
  • Americano Blog Tour  ($260) Minimum 10 blog stops over 10 days

Each option includes an entry into their yearly book award contest. And they post this disclaimer:

The Coffee Pot Book Club cannot guarantee any reviews while on tour. We also cannot guarantee reviews will be positive, although we do ask our hosts to hold off posting a review under FOUR STARS until after the tour has finished.

Here are some others I found that appear to be legitimate, but I don’t personally know anyone who has used them.

  1. Rockstar Book Tours
  2. Xpresso Book Tours
  3. Pump Your Book
  4. Bewitching Book Tours

I think the bottom line is simply to do your homework before you invest in a paid book blog tour.

Now, it’s your turn. I’d love to hear from you about any paid promotions you’ve used and the results you saw.

Also if you missed any of the past Book Marketing Posts, here you go:

#MKTG Part 1 – OVERVIEW – BOOK MARKETING OPTIONS

#MKTG Part 2 – FACEBOOK ADS AND PASSION PAGES

#MKTG Part 3 – FACEBOOK ADS DETAILS

#MKTG Part 4 – TWITTER ADS

#MKTG Part 5 – INSTAGRAM

#MKTG Part 6 – PINTEREST

#MKTG Part 7 – IN-PERSON EVENTS

#MKTG Part 8 – GOODREADS

#MKTG Part 9 – AMAZON

#MKTG Part 10 – More AMAZON ADS

#MKTG Part 11 – AMAZON A+ CONTENT

#MKTG Part 12 – LinkedIn

#MKTG Part 13 – BOOKBub Ads

#MKTG Part 14 – Book Blog Tours

64 thoughts on “MKTG #15 – Paid Book Blog Tours

  1. Pingback: Random Thoughts and Marketing Experiments #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #authorblog #authorthoughts – Author D.L. Finn

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  5. Great share Jan. I think blog tours among blogging friends is great for getting the word out for books. I’m not sure that blog tours will bring followers after that post, but if they took interest in buying the book, there’s a good chance they’ll want to read more from the author if they enjoyed. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you, Jan, for the tidbits on blog tours. It’s always great to learn more about sites that host blog tours. I’ve hosted the Coffee Pot Book Club Blog Tour. It’s a great way to meet other talented authors in my genre–historical fiction and historical fantasy. I’m completing a blog tour with them now and am pleased with how it has gone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I learned about the Coffeepot book tours through you, Linnea. I’m so glad your tour has gone well. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by and share your personal experience. I’ve discovered lots of new authors through your hosting!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve never done a paid tour before, but I was considering Lone Star Literary until I saw their prices. Not in my budget! I’ve hosted a couple of Silver Dagger tours. The plus is that the post came per-formatted so there shouldn’t have been a lot of work for the host. However, the format didn’t look all that nice to me (small graphics, book cover, etc.) I ended up “sprucing things up” a bit.

    I appreciate this series of posts. As you know, I’m retiring in August, so I’m looking at ways to grow my readership and followers. With that, I hope more book sales will come. (Good thing I’m not writing for the money.) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I guess in this age of self-publication and everything available on-line, it was only a question of time before book tours became digital as well.
    I dunno that I’d even want to pariticipate in one much less use this as a marketing tool. ‘Course I’ve yet to write anything but all these bits and pieces have been valuable. Thank you, Jan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We live in a digital world, Dale, so yes, it was just a matter of time. But virtual book tours have been around for many years. I’ve done lots of them with good results, but never a paid version. Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I haven’t tried a paid book tour, Jan, but I totally get the desire to reach a broader audience than our community here. We’re a pretty tight group. The cost has always been a factor, and a lot of them require a fair amount of prep work. I have no evidence to back me up, but it seems to me that some of the promotional sites are a better investment for those kinds of bucks. Book Butterfly guarantees a certain number of reviews and I might try that with my new release. I’ll let you know how that one goes!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am not familiar with Book Butterfly but will take a look. Cost is a factor and based on that, the Silver Dagger tours above are appealing to me. But this is all new territory. If you do decide to do a tour, let us know so we can follow along. Thank you for stopping by today!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I haven’t personally done a paid book tour, but I was part of an group that did one. As Staci said in her post, I did make my money back, but gained no new followers and the interaction was almost non-existent. This was a great series, Jan. Thanks for the information.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do agree with that statement, Beem. After my last post about doing blog tours, the most often asked question was how to expand outside our circles to reach more potential readers and the answer seems to be using one of the paid tours, which I will definitely do with my next release. Thank you for stopping by and for your support!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I did a few paid blog tours forever ago when I first started publishing my books. Back then, I wrote a different post for every blogger who agreed to host me, and I got quite a few comments and replied to all of them. It was a lot of work, but I thought it was worth it. I don’t know if I’d have the same results now. Everything about marketing has gotten harder, there are so many authors and books to choose from. When I finish my WIP, this time, I want to try the Goodreads giveaway again. It helped me with reviews the last time I used it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing your experiences, Judi! I’m glad to hear that you got to write different posts for the bloggers hosting you. I think that’s super important. You are SO right in that everything about marketing has gotten harder. We can only do our best and let the rest play out how it will. I had good results from a Goodreads giveaway and it’s something I will do again. I appreciate your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks for this informative post, Jan. When I launch my new series (not for a long while yet), I’ll refer back to this and to all your marketing advice. If I do pay for a blog tour, I’ll let you know how it goes. I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s comments, too. It is all about engaging with your readers and building relationships, which is one reason I enjoy reading the posts put out by this group. You all rock!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wonderful, Patty! Yes! If you do use a paid service, we’d love to hear from you. I’m so glad you are enjoying the Story Empire posts and thanks a million for reblogging! I agree with you that this group ROCKS!! Your support is appreciated! Have a great day!

      Like

  13. I’ve never paid for a blog tour. I’ve been blessed with fellow authors who are willing to host me, and since I don’t have a large budget, this works just fine for me. I appreciate you sharing these resources, though, Jan! It looks like a great list! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think we are all in that same blessed boat, Yvette. The only question raised was how to reach outside our circles to expand readership, and one answer seemed to be with paid tours. Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment today. I appreciate your support!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Excellent research, Jan. Your pros and cons are very helpful. As for me, I doubt I’ll be using a paid book tour service. At this stage in life, I like gentle roll-outs. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I have always wondered about paid tours. I have been on the other side as a host and generally walk away with a bad taste in how I was handled. The tours want your post to be exclusive and then blast five or more other tour hosts on the same day. I’m not sure I would try a paid tour since as I sunset in the number of book launches I’m going to do I doubt that readership or a fan base build is something I want to continue to pursue. Thanks for your usual terrific post, Jan.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Thanks so much for the series on Marketing, Jan. I have been following with great interest. As you know, it’s arrival was most timely for me. I like Stacy’s comment, and I think I’d put myself in the same boat. I’m hoping to build an audience. I have learned much from your posts, and I am working several ideas into my grand marketing strategy (it’s OK, you can laugh). One thing is certain. You, like the other bloggers here, have helped me throughout this process. Thanks for that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan, you already have such a big following on your blog, you have a built-in marketing platform. But I can certainly understand the need to expand your audience with your new book release. I think one of the most important things about any book blog tour is content and it needs to be different for each post. So from that standpoint, the ONLY reason to go with a paid promotion would be the advantage of gaining reviews and possibly exposure to a new reader or two. Thank you for your comment and I’m happy you’ve found these marketing posts helpful. Best wishes for a smashing success with Knuckleheads!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. When I was part of a book collection, we were required to participate in a couple of tours (which, obviously cost us money). We did end up on the bestseller list and we did earn our money back, but there was a downside. Part of our obligation was visiting each tour post and sharing it on social media (which I would have done, anyway). What I noticed was every post looked virtually the same, which made them very easy for readers to skim or skip. (Assuming the same reader saw the post on multiple sites, which I think there’s a good chance that readers follow multiple tour bloggers because they’re looking for deals.) Also, our post frequently got lost on these bloggers’ pages because they’ll post five different tour blogs a day, and many times we couldn’t even get a direct link to the post. All of the posts are just one long page that gets added to at the top with each release. These issues might not be deal-breakers for authors (particularly considering we earned our money back), but here is my biggest takeaway—I didn’t see any increase in readers, followers, or blog subscribers. I left tons of comments, but the tour host never answered them, and their sites had no commenters, so there was no one for me to talk to. There was no interaction with anyone at all; no chance to build a relationship. Which meant for any subsequent book release, I’d be right back at the beginning.

    If I was looking for money, I’d probably try another one. But if I’m looking to build a fan base (and I am), I’m still searching for the way to do it. I don’t think this is it. Then again, every company is different. My experience might not be indicative of everyone’s.

    Thanks so much for the list, Jan. I wish I lived in Texas. That company has a great package that I’d be tempted to try. If you put together a tour, I’d love to hear how it goes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You bring out some great points, Staci. I have seen the same thing in that when it is a paid tour, the content is the same at each stop, except for the ones that provide reviews. I also have noticed little to no interaction between the host and visitor, which to me is a big No No! It’s a mixed bag with the paid tours. As you say, you made a bestseller list and got your money back, so that is the upside. I think each tour is handled differently also, so it’s super important for the author to do his/her homework and check out the blog sites before deciding to dish out money. Thank you SO much for your comment and for sharing your personal experience.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment, Craig. I was hoping all the authors who had tried paid tours would chime in with their experiences. It could be the book you promoted, or it could be the group of bloggers who handled your posts the second time. It’s hard to ever know a hard fast answer.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I’ve bookmarked this one and will study it in more detail when I get the chance. I did one very simple book tour with 6 reviewers – sadly, one reviewer’s computer crashed and lost everything and one of the others was taken ill. I keep thinging of giving it another go and perhaps it’s worth paying for a more serious one. Many thnaks, Jan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my! I do hope that reviewer had at least posted his/her review on Amazon and Goodreads. I’m glad you find the post interesting and if you give a paid tour another go, please let us know so we can follow along and cheer you on!! Thanks for stopping by, Trish!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I’ve had similar experiences to Robbie. I guess the type of tour, and the sites you end up on, all affect the experience and outcome.

    Some great resources here, Jan. A post to bookmark for future use! Thanks for sharing. 💕🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think the type of tour and the sites you end up on make all the difference in the world. I would suggest following along with a couple of tours from the ones being considered and seeing how things are handled. Thank you for stopping by and weighing in today, Harmony!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I’ve had good experiences with paid blog tours and have gained a lot of new readers and friends. The ones I’ve participated in have serious readers…I envy their reading time. 🙂 This is great information. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 3 people

  21. HI Jan, thank you for this post, it is very interesting. My experience of paid blog tours is that it helps with reviews as a lot of the hosts do review the book, but it doesn’t really help to grow readership or even blogging friendship groups because most of the hosts just post reviews but are not involved in the blogging community so the posts don’t get hits. I reshare the posts and my own blogging group engage but there are few comments or likes from other parties. This is just my experience, of course.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Robbie, for sharing your experience. I agree that it helps with getting reviews, but not so much with ongoing readership. I have seen the same thing with some of the paid tours I’ve followed along in that there is no interaction, comments etc. And if you do leave a comment, the host never replies. That’s a turn-off. There is no pat answer to the marketing dilemma, that’s for sure. I appreciate your comment!

      Liked by 2 people

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