stalking visiting blogs through the #FF last week, Angela and myself ran into each other. To make a long story short, after some chatting on the topic, she suggested I should write something like a guide on book tours.
I thought about it and realized while some of us have made up our minds about things, some of our bloggy friends might not find enough info on things that easily. And without really knowing what’s up with something, it’s really difficult and unwise to make up your mind about it, I think.
So I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned through time. Take it as tips or ranting glories – whatever works for you.
For a wealth of knowledge on many things blogging-related, I refer you to Parajunkee’s Book Blogging 101. I’m not entirely positive, but she might have covered every topic imaginable and she answers questions. So if you have questions about things, chances are she has a cool post on it already.
But just in case you wanna ask me, please do go ahead, here’s the form. I’ll do my best to share my knowledge on the topic, give my opinion, etc. This is my weekly rant of glory on book blogging things I’m either told or think would be of interest to other book bloggers or readers. Sometimes it might be just titles that are coming out next week, or rants on things, or the random dots gif… okay, it probably won’t be the dots gif.
So, today’s topic is
Virtual Book Tours
You’ve surfed around book blogs, you’ve seen the posts, maybe you’ve made your mind up about them. I know I have. I love book tours. But what are they?
What are they?
A virtual book tour is an online bookish event that usually consists of a number of book blogs hosting some book-related happening on the topic of the book that’s being toured. It can have more fun events attached to it, like a Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest party, giveaways etc. If you’ve seen some content related to the same book on more then one blog on the same day, or on consecutive days – yep, chances are they’re part of a tour for that title. But if you’re still wondering, there are often pointers to the fact that this post is part of a book tour.
What are the signs?
Most often you’ll see a tour graphic that shows up in all posts that are part of that tour. It will spell out the duration of this particular book tour, the title it’s for, maybe who organized that tour.
Depending on what type of content that blog is hosting, you might see disclaimers stating that this is part of a tour, maybe some labels attached to the post that make it obvious it’s a book tour appearance. I consider it a good practice to make it obvious that this post is part of a book tour, and to point out somehow who’s organizing it: the tour graphic, a link to the schedule of the while thing, labels to indicate the fact. I do all three, for instance.
How to become part of one?
I’d say there are two main ways you can become a host on a tour.
1) You’ve already signed up -or you sign up- as host for one (or more) tour organizers (like Bewitching Book Tours, Parajunkee Book Tours, Bookish Brunette Book Tours, Xpresso Book Tours, Jitterbug PR, etc). Each time they’re organizing a tour, or some short event (release day thing, cover reveal, etc) they send out invites to all of their hosts to join this thing they’re scheduling now. You reply to that invitation, state the dates you have free in that interval, the kind of content you’re willing to host (see some examples of stops below). They pick the hosts they deem fit out of the ones that signed up for this tour/even they’re planning, then they get back to you to let you know that you’re part of the tour and on this date you’ll have this kind of stop – always from the dates and types of content you offered to do.
2) Some author/publicist emails you with the invite to participate in the event they’re planning, book tour or some such, and they give you the info you need and the way to sign up for it. Again, you decide what dates and content you’re offering to do. They put together the schedule, let you know when and what you’re doing, and that’s it.
In both cases, I recommend you keep a blog-schedule somewhere (I use Google Calendar) and make a note of that stop on the date you’re doing it. These things can be easy to lose track of, and it’s bad manners to get forgetful after offering to do something.
It’s my choice?
It’s always, always, always your choice. You offer the dates you’re willing to do, the content, the terms.
Does it mean the same content?
I’ve seen some say that book tours look almost spamy, because it’s the same content shown over and over again. Most often and regularly it’s not. It really depends on you as a host what content you offer to or are willing to host.
Sometimes you’re given a boilerplate of the info that you’re supposed to put up and that’s it, but I for one never do tours like that. I don’t call that a tour, it’s like a press release of sorts being sprouted out on many blogs ie channels at the same time. It’s my blog, if you want to set up an appearance on it, you’ll abide by my rules, first of which is original content. I do it, you’ll do it if you wanna make an appearance. Frankly, I’d advise you do the same. Is it easy to just copy/paste something and have that date all solved with a cool post? Yeah, I guess. But unless it’s the type of content that will always be the same since it’s basic info (spotlights, excerpts maybe) then it should always be original.
Guest posts, for instance? It’s either original or I’m not posting it on my blog. I can’t be sure someone won’t use it again in the future, but most people who do these things know that’s crap online manners. You’re a writer. I trust you to come up with some 500 original words of your own if you wanna do a guest post. It looks bad when you seem to not be able to do that, considering writing is what you do…
This is part I of my (uber-long) insider’s guide to book tours. Tune in on May 24 for part II, where we’ll talk about what types of tour stops you can do and my take on them. And, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask them. This might or might not tun into a weekly ranting glory habit, day to be determined.
We shall see.
Have a fab Thursday!