A month or so ago, I sent out an email to my tour hosts because I had been getting a few questions about the criteria I used for picking blog tour hosts. In the wake of the Harper Summer 2016 Tour selections, I got even more. Instead of sending out another email, I figured I would just post this here (mostly the same, with a few updates and some GIFs for fun) so anyone could see it any time.
Here we go:
As I've started doing more tours, I've been getting more and more questions from bloggers about what it is that I'm looking for in a tour host. Some of you have applied for every single tour I've put together and haven't been picked yet. Some of you have voiced to me that you're upset or frustrated by that.
I get it. I do. I've been there. As a matter of fact, that was partially why I started doing my own tours - if I couldn't get picked for one, I'd do it myself.
Let me tell you a bit why I started doing my own tours:
In the beginning....
It started where it always starts - with the love of a book. And the realization that I wanted to promote said book. But it was a book that I knew would be easily overlooked when it hit the market and was pitted against other big name books and authors. So I rounded up some blogger buddies and convinced them to help me.
It sort of ballooned from there; I had publicist friends asking me if I could assemble some bloggers for a tour to help them out. I happily obliged. I like organizing things - anything. I'm weird that way. But after a couple of months, I decided to stop just harassing my friends on my email list and open it up, and this Irish Banana Tours began. Imagine my shock when hundreds of people signed up within a week.
But one thing I always remembered was wanting to do tours when I had just started blogging but because I was new (and without much in the ways of stats or followers or a dowry to speak of), I was often overlooked. And frustrated. A lot.
One thing I try to do when organizing a tour is keep that in mind - I make a cognizant effort to try and include smaller, lesser known blogs in every tour. To give people a chance to promote a great book, regardless of their clout or status. Don't get me wrong - I also need a few "heavy hitters" in there to make sure the tour is publicized and social media'd (totes made that into a verb *nods*), but I want smaller bloggers to have a chance to get in on the book love and maybe get a few followers. This is why I specifically say on the form that stats are not needed when signing up.
But know I do click the link and see what kind of blog you have and blogger you are. I look to see how frequently you post. The kind of content you provide.
This was also a lot of the driving force behind the Harper Collins catalog tours - not only did I see a chance to make sure all of their many books got some coverage, but I also wanted smaller blogs to have a chance to expand their following.
So ... Why am I not being picked?
Remember a few paragraphs ago when I mentioned hundreds signed up the first week? That number is steadily growing. I often have to fill a tour with 10 stops and pick from 100 people who signed up for it. The Harper Winter 2016 Tour? Over 250 people signed up in the first day. The Harper Summer Tour boasted those same numbers and steadily kept growing.
Also, I sometimes have to factor in blogs and bloggers publishers and authors suggest I include on the tours. I try to accommodate these requests because I like to keep the authors and publishers happy.
(Note: This is not code for you to go begging pubs and authors to contact me to have you added to a tour - part of my joy is clicking through links and finding new bloggers to add to tours. If I'm constantly told who to add to a tour, I don't get to click and pick. Which means I'm not happy. YOU DON'T WANT ME NOT HAPPY.)
Please don't get discouraged. Please keep trying.
Flexibility on post types and dates is also a huge deal. If you can only post a review on one date, it's harder for me to work with that. The more open you are, the happier my heart is. The same is true with the catalog tours. If you only want to promote 1 book on 1 day, that makes it harder.
But there's this ONE tour I GOTTA be on!
Then tell me that. As much as I love the "I love you"s in the comment sections, what I thrive on is people who are passionate about a book. If there is a specific reason you desperately want to be on a tour (you can relate to the MC, you've been waiting years for this book, you've read all this author's work including the scraps they've thrown out in the trash - actually, don't use that as a reason. Imma need you all to keep your Kathleen Hale in check.), then tell me. When I see that someone has a personal connection to a book, I try everything to get them on that tour.
However, in the case of the catalog tours, a lot of you had a lot of awesome reasons for why you wanted to promote a certain book or author. For instance, THIS SAVAGE SONG and Victoria Schwab was one almost everyone wanted. At least 50 people commented that Victoria is their favorite author ever. Which is awesome and cool, but only 1 person can promote that book.
I also try to make sure each tour host gets a finished copy of the book they promote because I know how much work goes into joining a blog tour. Unfortunately, due to shipping costs and international rights, I can't often get finished copies or physical galleys sent outside the US.
As always, if you have questions ... You got my number.
YOU HAVE MY EMAIL.
It'd be weird if you all had my number. Actually ... a lot of you do.
Huh. Well, lemme know if you want that, too. We can text the night away. But really, I don't mind questions at all.
In the end,
At the end of the day, I do this because it's fun for me. I don't pull in a steady paycheck that covers my bills to do this. I enjoy organizing these tours and working with publicists and bloggers, often in my free time or lunch break at the job that does pay the bills. I'm also pretty new at this and fumbling my way through it.
I'm just a girl, standing here, in love with a book and wanting to promote it.