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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?