Long Live the Oldest Profession: Pimping Your Book

By J.A. (Julie) Kazimer

Since none of my previous published novels have hit the bestseller lists, for which I blame you (you know who you are), I decided to try a new marketing approach for The Fairyland Murders – Blog Tours. Not the kind I set up for myself, on blogs I’d visited seven times already, with people already sick to death of me (again, you know who you are), but blog tours arranged by PR companies who specialize in this sort of thing.

People in the know. People willing to pimp my book for a small monitory gain.

I started to hatch my evil…I mean, marketing plan by typing in a quick google search for just these sort of companies. I found a surprising amount of them, each who boasted of great results for former blog tour authors. Determined to break out of my midlist funk, I settled one three of the big ones.

The first one I emailed offered a package deal for $99, including a facebook party launch. I filled out the form and waited. And waited. And waited. Luckily for me I hadn’t sent over the requested $99 via paypal yet. I finally heard back from them a week later. They claimed my form had gone to junk mail. Sure, that happens, so I wasn’t too concerned. Until my second email to their representative had the same result. If they couldn’t get back with me, imagine how the blog tour would go? I quickly moved on to blog book tour company 2.

At least they emailed me back within a day.

That is about all I can say was going for them. I opted for a book blast tour costing $50. Now it was encouraged that I also offer a gift card reward for those commenting as well as hosting my book blast. A goodwill gesture. I’m all for goodwill. I get that these bloggers’ time is worth something. They were doing me a favor after all.

Then again, when the tour happened, I felt sort of sleazy. Like the tour was set up merely to win this gift card, for blogger and commenter alike. Not that there were many commenters. In fact, on at least 75% of the blogs, the only comment was a thank you for hosting from the blog tour company. The remaining 25% had one or two other comments.

Not quite what I'd expected.

Which brings me to blog tour company 3. This one seemed to be the most organized, and yet, when it was all said and done, my money wasn’t well spent again. These blog readers weren’t in it to learn about new books, but rather to win free stuff. Not that I mind giving it away, but I’d like to give it away to people actually interested in what I had to say or at the very least in books.

Now I didn’t post this to whine, but rather to offer this bit of advice. Marketing is all about taking risks. I’m not sad that I tried this blog tour approach. I’m glad I did. Now I know for next time it doesn’t pay to use these companies. What does work, is setting up my own guest posts with blogs. Trying new and different things will keep you interested in your own marketing, and that will make for a happier author and readers.

Has anyone had a different experience when using a blog tour company?

J.A. (Julie) Kazimer on Email
J.A. (Julie) Kazimer
J.A. (Julie) Kazimer is a writer living in Denver, CO. When she isn't looking for a place to hide the bodies, she spends her time with a pup named Killer. Other hobbies include murdering houseplants. She spent a few years as a bartender and then wasted another few years stalking people while working as a private investigator before transitioning to the moniker of WRITER and penning over 15 titles. Visit her website at jakazimer.com.

15 thoughts on “Long Live the Oldest Profession: Pimping Your Book

  1. This info is most helpful, Julie. I like being a host during blog book tours, and I think the best ones are those arranged by the author herself, stretched lazily over a couple of months instead of crammed into a daily pounding over a two or three week period. And I’m not so sure non-book giveaways are such a good idea either. Based on my preferences and your experience, I doubt I’ll ever hire a firm to run a blog book tour for me.

  2. Giving away books is the *only* way to go, IMO. The goal of a tour is to get people to read it! And I agree with Patricia. When the author sets up the tour, bloggers are more receptive (I’ve had some ask if I wanted two dates!), though I would argue that slowly leading up to a big push near launch day is the best option.

  3. Thanks for this, J.A. Having yet to make it to “midlist” level, I still appreciate the heads up should I ever get there. I would have done the same thing for you for $25.00, but then again, you’ve only visited my blog 6 times, so there might have been an up charge. Sorry it didn’t work out as well as you had hoped.

  4. Again, thanks so much for the information. I set up a 10-stop blog tour for my upcoming release but was wondering if I should have gone with a company to put me on blogs I’m unfamilar with, to readers who haven’t seen my name and obviously have already decided they hate my books. (Or I’d be a bestseller already, right?) You probably saved me some $. I did cough up $25 for a service to blast on FB, twitter, and post reviews (3-for which I have no control so she might hate the book and post a terrible review) I’m skeptical but I’ll let you know if I think it helps.

  5. Blog tour companies strike me as a rather dubious proposition. I think the best approach is to establish relationships with a number of bloggers whom you can approach when ready and get them to host. An author can pretty easily search out other book blogs and see if they host you. I would imagine most of them would welcome having an author.

    Another thing that makes me suspect from the standpoint of one who has hosted guests on my own site is that a couple of times I’ve approached promotional representatives for books that intrigued me to see if they’d be willing to help me set up a guest spot or put me in contact with the author so I could set up the post. I essentially got nowhere with my offers and these were indie publishers where the authors had to pay for this sort of thing. I would have been willing to give a nice promo for certain books because they interested me tremendously.

    I don’t know. I’m not sure that I would hire a book tour company, but maybe the right one would be okay. If I could find that right one!

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

  6. I would save the money from blog tours and invest in a PR firm. They can do so much more than a handful of bloggers can.

  7. Thanks for sharing the same experience I had while working in publishing a few years ago. Sounds like it’s getting worse. We had decided it was worth a try on one of the books, but also found blog tours are all about a bunch of readers looking for free books.

    There were blogs that posted 10-20 reviews a day and your book was just a blip that scrolled by in a blog. Bloggers that signed up for a review that only posted a book cover and book description. Yeah, I agree, stick with people you know.

  8. My experience with blog tours pretty much mirrors yours, Julie. I still try to post some blogs (that I arrange myself) when I have a new book out, because I enjoy the bloggers or writing the blogs. But honestly, the vast majority of people who respond at all are looking for a free book. They aren’t regular readers of my stuff and I can’t say that I’ve seen any increase in sales as a result of blogging about my book — whether I paid for the blog tour or did it myself. I could write a really long post about all the promo things I’ve tried over the years that haven’t worked.

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