Monday, June 24, 2013

Is the Blog Tour Dead?



Lissa Warren, Senior Director of Publicity for DaCapo Press, stirred up members of the Association of American University Presses Friday when she declared the blog tour dead.

Speaking as part of the Book Tour 2.0 panel at the 2013 annual meeting of AAUP held last week in Boston, Warren said the Boston commercial publisher tried blog tours 10 years ago but were dissatisfied with the results, when looking at resulting sales.

With a blog tour, authors "travel" from blog to blog, rather than event venue (or city) to event venue. Many publicists consider the blog tour a virtual and more cost-effective alternative to sending authors on a multi-venue tour in order to promote their books.

Sparks flew across the #aaup13 Twitter hashtag, as AAUP members debated whether the blog tour was, in fact, "dead."

Jessica Pellien, Assistant Director of Publicity for Princeton University Press, who, coincidentally, had just wrapped a blog tour for The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors, quipped, "Blog tours are dead. We hardly knew ye."

In a later panel, Pellien declared her blog tour for the immensely popular birding guide a success.

In follow up to her remarks on the panel, Warren offered some additional thoughts on blog tours.

"It does seem that the tide has really turned from blogs to social media. I still think blogs have their place in a book's campaign -- that getting people to review books on blogs is important. But guest-posts by our authors on other people's blogs (in other words, blog tours) don't seem to generate much in the way of sales.

I'd much rather our authors post on places like the Huffington Post or the Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy blog or Psychology Today's blog -- in other words, places that get great traffic. Posting to people's BlogSpot or Wordpress blogs doesn't seem to be the best use of an author's time. I'm honestly not sure it ever worked, but it definitely doesn't seem to now."

One point Warren and fellow panelist Rachel Ewen, publicist for Cambridge University Press seemed to agree upon was that the days of sending authors out on expensive book tours through Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and beyond are mostly over.

Below are some of the Tweets:

John P. Hussey (@BookHussey): Warren: the virtual blog tour has been replaced by twitter chats or Facebook chats. #aaup13

U. of Michigan Press (@UofMPress): Blog tour replaced by FB and Twitter chat. #aaup13 Also, Reddit etc.

Mandy Clarke (@booking_it_fast): Audience: Have you had success with blog tours? Da Capo Press: That was 10 years ago... It's all about Facebook and twitter now. #aaup13

Univ Nebraska Press (@UnivNebPress): The Blog tour is dead! long live the Facebook and Twitter Chat! #aaup13

Erin Rolfs (@erinrolfs): Blog tour so 10 years ago. Really? #aaup13

Dennis Lloyd (@dlbookman): @erinrolfs: Is that good or bad? #triedandtrue #outdated

Ivan C. Lett (@icylett): @erinrolfs Yeah, I'm not convinced

Bryan Shaffer (@bryanshaffer): @icylett I think bloggers would disagree

John P. Hussey (@BookHussey): @booking_it_fast @icylett @erinrolfs @jessicapellien seem to be disagreeing with the "Blog Tour is dead" edict.

7 comments:

  1. Coming from a small, academic press I think we may see things differently than Warren and DeCapo Press; although I appreciate her insight greatly. In my opinion, blog tours are not necessarily all about the sales of the book. Sure, selling the book is important, however it is also important to look at the tangential wins of a blog tour such as increased awareness of your Press which could lead to the sales of other titles and also manuscript submissions. Also, if the author is engaging with bloggers and therefore their readers ('cause someone is surely going to be reading) then you are increasing your relationship with that author as we discussed in other sessions. The blog tour may not be win-win, however it is certainly not lose-lose either.

    Thanks for keeping this discussion going!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Bryan,
    For my part, I do think we use different measures for the success of blog touring. A smaller UP probably has more of an imperative to boost brand and author awareness than a large commercial publisher does.
    Thanks for the feedback!
    Holli

    ReplyDelete
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