I used Kismet tours, recommended to me by the fabulous A.G. Henley, but there are many book tour sites to choose from. A few things to note with Kismet. You need to schedule the tour two months in advance. This is difficult for many indie writers because once a book is ready, they want to release it, not wait two months for a special release. I ended up doing the tour long after my book had released, so that aspect didn’t matter much to me. Also, the price is not cheap. I paid $320 for a review tour, but prices go up from there into $530 for the full package. For my review tour I was told I would get up to 30 reviews. It ended up being about 20. I was a little let down. 30 reviews was what I was hoping for, but I understand they cannot guarantee a certain number of reviewers will sign on. As the tour commenced, two of the reviewers pulled out, which dropped my number to about 18. I guess the cut off for the price you pay for is 15, so in the end, I still paid the full amount with the promise that those missing reviewers would try to post their reviews as soon as possible. I have not yet heard if they have done so.
The reviews went on without a hitch though and I got some great feedback and a lot to tweet about and post on Facebook. However, I was disappointed to learn that most reviewers did not post their reviews to Amazon. 15 to 20 more reviews on my Amazon numbers would really be helpful, but even when I contacted the reviewers directly they did not respond, nor did they post to Amazon. Since posting to Amazon takes about ten seconds I was really disappointed in this aspect of the tour.
On to social media. The site also hosts a giveaway and I donated 10 free e-copies that readers could win. To enter they needed to follow me on Facebook or Twitter or tweet about the giveaway. This garnered me a huge following on both sites. Here are the numbers Kismet supplied to me.
The Breeders Goodreads Community Reviews
Start of blog tour (3/24/13) - 391 Reviews/To-Reads
End of blog tour (4/16/13) - 476 Reviews/To-Reads
Percentage change - 22%
Start of blog tour (3/24/13) - 479 followers
End of blog tour (4/16/13) - 1,013 followers
Percentage change - 111%
Facebook Author page:
Start of blog tour (3/24/13) - 902 Likes
End of blog tour (4/16/13) - 1,533 Likes
Percentage change - 70%
The bottom line was how did this translate to sales? Well, I check my numbers pretty regularly and I have to say I did not see a change in sales. In fact, sales actually dropped a little during the tour. This is all just anecdotal evidence, but when you do a tour, you are hoping for a sales boost to offset your cost. I did not see that happen.
Overall, the people at Kismet were very nice, very easy to reach and helpful. The reviewers for the most part posted their reviews, but most did not contact me and there was no relationship built, which is a detriment, especially if you want that reviewer to read your later works. The social media piece was good, but where it really counted -- sales -- I did not see the bump I was hoping for.
My conclusion: Next time, I’ll save the money and contact reviewers and bloggers myself. It may be a lot more work, but the price is too steep for the pay out.
So, what about you? What are your experiences with Blog Tours?
Book Marketing Part Five