Don’t go in expecting to sell loads of books. It’s about getting your name out there. It’s publicity not marketing. Also remember not everyone is going to love your book. Reading is subjective and every single person will take something different from the experience. Don’t expect bloggers to lie or exaggerate just because you may have paid someone to organise the tour.
Your content should showcase your ability to write. If it is boring or badly written, it is hardly going to inspire someone to read your book.
Think about what you like to read online. Is what you’re offering to blogs of the same standard and interest? Do you have something insightful to say? Is your writing full of wit or charm?
Try and connect your content to your book but don’t make it all about your book. I would much rather host loosely connected content such as recipes, photos, cover design articles or opinion pieces. If you write historical fiction, why not use your expertise to write a piece about a moment in history? If your main character has a hobby that you also share an interest in, write about that. Did you visit one of the settings of your story? If so, consider a piece of travel writing. You can even write about other writers’ books. A lot of bloggers love lists or you could write about one of your favourite books and why it’s your favourite and how it has influenced you as a person and writer. If you're good in front of the camera or like making videos, think about providing video content instead.
I don’t think it’s always a good idea to use reviews as part of the blog tour as the chances are the bloggers may not like your book. And trust me; they’ll be honest about it, that’s their job (not to sell books). I very rarely offer a review spot for a tour unless it’s an author I have already read and enjoyed. Sometimes I’ll have read the book already but not got round to posting my review, in which case I don’t mind scheduling it as part of a tour. If you really want reviews, be prepared that they may not all be positive. If you don’t want to see negative reviews as part of your tour, be up-front with the reviewer, many won’t want to take part if this is the case.
Never, ever, pre-write your interviews. The blogger should get to ask the questions and you should reply as if it were a conversation, not a soliloquy.
If you’ve only got ebooks, this can be tough; it’s difficult to drum up interest even when you’re giving them away. If you have a paperback option, do consider investing in the extra cost. Also remember the internet is international and not everyone appreciates US only prizes. If you don’t have physical books to give, try and think of something else worth winning that will also help people spread the word. You don’t have to give every blogger a prize to give away, if it is good enough (eg. an ereader), you can get people to earn entries to a grand prize (this is where you give ebooks to the runners up). Do not expect winners to review your book. If they do, great, if not, don’t pester. It’s a prize not an obligation.
Make time to visit the blogs regularly throughout the tour and look to see if readers are commenting. If they are, respond to the comments in a friendly and considerate manner. Think about other ways of interacting; not all of them will work for you but at least consider the options. How about a Twitter chat? If your book is a re-telling or heavily inspired by another, try and get a readalong going for that book. Give something back to your blog hosts and read some of their other blog posts. Make sure you share the tour stops on your social media channels, including your own blog. Treat every single person you interact with as an individual with thoughts and feelings not a potential sale.
Do you need a blog tour?
Word of mouth takes time to build. A flash-in-the-pan blog tour might get you noticed for 15 minutes, but for the long-term, you may be better off contacting bloggers who fit your book perfectly and offering content on an as-and-when basis. If people are seeing articles about you or your book every month, they might take more notice than just another blog tour.
Don’t be an ass.
I can’t stress this enough. Bloggers talk to one another. Going on a comment rampage only damages yourself and will put readers off you. They might still read your book but they will be scared to share their thoughts in case you attack. This behaviour also makes bloggers wary of dealing with other authors. It’s like sharks; there may not be many man-eaters but it only takes reports of a few for the fear to set in.
If this all sounds like a lot of work for not much return, maybe a blog tour isn’t for you.