These are some “FAQs” for people who are new to the idea of book tours, and trying to work out if you’d like to work with us, whether as a reviewer or an author – or both!
So what is a book tour?
Back in the old days, a key component of marketing books was the “actual” book tour – publishers or publicists would arrange for authors to spend a week or a fortnight touring the country with suitcases full of books, spending mornings sitting in bookshops in towns they’d never heard of, holding court to potential buyers, signing books, and trying to create a bit of a buzz by simply being there. Look! A real live author!
The virtual book tour is the successor to that. Instead of going round book shops, we create a buzz by creating a week-long or long-weekend events during which a book will be featured in lots of blogs and review sites, and we’ll do lots of online publicity to bring that book to the attention of the reading public.
Each reviewer who offers to join the tour commits to posting a review on a particular day, so that each day of the tour there are two or three new reviews on personal blogs or review sites like Goodreads. As well as any publicity that the reviewer might generate amongst their own pool of followers, the Tour company will work to publicise the reviews on social media, to increase the attention on the book (and on the reviewers too) and generally to create a buzz.
Why get involved in a book tour?
Book tours work for authors, because they provide an intensive splash of publicity over a brief period, and the author comes out of it with a clutch of reviews that might otherwise take months to garner.
It can also work for bloggers and reviewers – we individually publicise every review that is posted during the tour, with lots of tweets and instagram posts, all of which are flagging up the reviewer or the blogsite, as well as the author. So it drives traffic and potential followers to great review sites and reviewers who otherwise might have only limited readership. Reviewers also have the satisfaction of knowing that their reviews will be read by the author, and probably by lots of other reviewers who might have a diffferent take; a book tour is a collective event – you’re really part of something!
Does a book tour mean automatic adulation for the book?
No. Reviewers prepare honest reviews. They are completely independent of the Tour company, they aren’t paid by anyone, and they do it for love because they care about books. So they really read the books and they really have views about them!
Our reviewers are generally keen to support authors , and even if they don’t personally like a book, they will usually try to think about what kind of reader would like this book, and to comment on the positives of every book as well as any negatives. If reviewers really don’t like a book they will often pull out of a tour rather than continue when they have nothing positive to say, but sometimes they will feel that what they have to say has to be heard and they will post anyway.
Do Blackberry Book Tours accept all books that it is offered?
No. Before we agree to set up a tour we read the book and we only take on a book where we are satisfied that it’s both a good book in itself and a book that will appeal to our panel of reviewers.
We have to be selective about what we take on, because….
- We want to give our reviewers books that they will enjoy reviewing.
- We want to give our authors a successful tour where their book is reviewed by people who appreciate it.
- We are a small organisation, and we are offered more books than we can deal with.
- We want to have fun ourselves! We run the book tours for the pleasure of working with authors whose books we love and reviewers who share our passion and enthusiasm. (That may seem a bit capricious since our tastes are as personal as anyone else’s, but seriously – if you wrote a book wouldn’t you rather it was promoted by someone who loved it?)
Who can become a reviewer?
There isn’t just one type of reviewer we’re looking for, so its hard to answer that. But these are some of the crucial things:
- A real interest in children and an enjoyment in reviewing children’s books. We can’t pay reviewers (sorry) so unless you get pleasure from (at least most of) the books we give you, you really shouldn’t be doing it!
- A readiness and ability to share your enthusiasm by saying what you think on your blog or social media page, on Goodreads or Amazon, or on a “book tube” channel. Some reviewers write short sharp-to-the-point reviews with a quick opinion and a star rating. Others write long analytical pieces that are works of literature in themselves. Both of these, and lots of things in between are useful contributions to a tour.
- A willingness to “read and review to time”. Book Tours are time-specific events and it’s important that reviews are posted by a particular day. A book tour is like a dinner party – you need to go on the right day. Of course things will sometimes crop up that turn your plans upside down. Like every dinner party hostess, we understand that and can make adjustments. But however much your hostess likes you, it’s not going to work if you roll up a week late, and it can wreck a dinner party if you accept an invitation and then disappear without trace.
This “reviewing to time” does not work for all reviewers. If you like a more laid-back way of working, where you fit in reviews when you find the time, but can’t guaranee a date, then our linked organisation, Henry Roi PR, would love to hear from you and will keep you supplied with great books that can be reviewed any time. But if you don’t like to keep to a schedule, please don’t sign up for book tours because this won’t be right for you.
How many tours do I have to join?
Up to you! We send all the reviewers on our panel details of any books that fall within the genres that they specify when they sign up, and they decide whether or not they want to sign up for each tour. Some review once a year, some review almost every week. We get to know the ones who review most often and we like that – but apart from that, it’s all the same to us if you want to review just once a year. If we don’t hear from you for a year, we take you off the mailing list. We don’t want to be spam!
Want to know more?
More questions? Ask away! We like questions…