Welcome back to another addition of Fast Five, my series where I pick a topic and give you a quick overview of it using 5 bullet points! Today we’re going to talk about Book Tours. As with anything I say, these are NOT hard-and-fast rules, definitions, or expeditions. I merely speak from my experience.
What is a Book Tour?
A book tour is a way to drum up publicity and internet chatter about a book/series that is being released soon. As reviewers, we aren’t required to give a positive review, but for the case of publicity… you should try to highlight the good things about a book, even if you didn’t like it.
How do I get on one?
Most blog yours are offered through companies that can be found on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I’ve had the great fortune to work with some amazing people, such as Turn the Pages Tours, Hear Our Voices Tours, Book of Matches Media, Caffeine Book Tours, and TBR & Beyond Tours. There are obviously SO MANY more, but these are the peeps I’m most familiar with.
Occasionally, a publisher (or more specifically) a publicist, will reach out directly via email and extend the offer for coverage on my social media in exchange for a free copy of the book.
So I Got Picked!
Yay, congratulations! At this point, you gotta do a smidge of waiting. The tour company had a contact at the publisher that will be distributing the book to hosts to read. If it’s an ebook, cool. Download it and start reading. If it’s a physical book, go sleep in your mailbox and wait for the package 📦! In the meantime, share to your followers that you’ve been chosen as host, and your tour date! Add that date to your calendar so you don’t forget.
When the book arrives, via mail or internet, based upon your own personal reading speed, and what day you’ve been assigned to post, start reading. Some tours book a few weeks in advance, and some book months out (I’m on a tour for March that I was accepted for back in December).
They Didn’t Pick Me….
Bummer! It happens. A lot more often than any of us would like. Considering that most tours only have space for about 20 hosts, and there are (on average) at least 50 people that apply, the odds are about 2 in 5 that I’ll be chosen. If not, don’t give up! There will be other tours, other companies, and other opportunities. I’ve even had the rare occasion where someone who was chosen has to withdraw, and I was on the shortlist to take their place.
It’s upsetting not to be chosen, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still promote the book! If you happen to have (or buy) a copy of the book, still read it and give it a good review (not “good” meaning positive, “good” meaning thoughtful. Reviewers are supposed to be honest here!). Trust me, tour companies see these posts, and mentally bookmark people they’d like to work with in the future.
Bonus: The Double Booked Book
Also, there are multiple companies that will sometimes have tours going for the same book either at the same time, or maybe a couple weeks apart. Apply for both…hedge your bets. If you book one and not the other: success! If you book both, reach out to both companies and let them know you’re on the tour list for the other. Some companies will ask you to chose which one you want to do, but most (a fair 90%) will be fine with both, as long as you follow the rules/regulations for them while also doing the same for the other. They may even accommodate you as much to put allow your date to match the other so you can do one post. I have done this a couple times, and it’s a lot of red tape in making sure you have all the right hashtags and tags on the photos, but overall, not impossible.
What Do I Do When It’s My Turn?
Just tell your peeps about the book! Even if you didn’t enjoy the book, highlight some positives, or maybe some comparisons to books that people may like. I have had many a book I didn’t particularly care for, but I still made sure to take a bomb photo, talk about the good parts, and do a little comparison.
I know the publicity aspect can seem a bit dishonest, especially since we are promising an honest review…but think about it this way: if someone told you that X book was absolutely terrible, are you going to buy it for yourself? Nope. But. If that same person who didn’t enjoy the book compared it to a series you do like, or highlighted the descriptions the author gives…you may pick it up. That’s all the goal is for tours: they want the book on people’s radars.
Bonusbonus: Double Booked Date
Sometimes, in signing up for multiple tours at once, you’ll end up getting accepted for more than one where you’re assigned the same date to post. Reach out to both companies and let them know you have a second (or third!) post that day. Most will be okay with sharing the day (post one in the morning, one in the evening), or will move you to another date so the other company can have the spotlight that day.
Your companies are ran by regular schmegular people, and people sometimes overextend themselves. Transparency and honesty are the big words here, folks.
So what did we learn today?
1. Getting accepted for a tour depends on the amount hosts allowed, and people that sign up.
2. If chosen, put in work! Read the book, snap a pic, and post on your date.
3. Sometimes you aren’t chosen, and that’s okay.
4. Sometimes you are double (or even triple) chosen. And that’s okay! Be honest and open with all parties, and 8 times out of 10, things will be a-okay.
That’s all I got for you today folks! Leave any questions, comments, or concerns below, and I’ll get back to you!