Lazy Sunday Thoughts On Blog Tours, etc, etc

Top o’ the morning to ya! You know because it’s St Patrick’s Day. Have a green beer but not too many or you’ll be green tomorrow.

And here is a PSA about St Paddy’s Day. It’s a grumpy one.

Anyway. The big news is Google Reader is being disappeared. I don’t know what Google’s deal is. It’s like the CBC. Give the people what they like and then randomly take it away from them and replace it with something they’ll never like (Google+). I don’t know what I’ll replace it with to read all my feeds. I’m watching to see how the early adaptors take to whatever they’re switching over to. It’s a pain.

I wonder if my 500 Google Reader subscribers to my blog feed will simply never resubscribe when they switch, if they switch. I also heard a rumour that Feedburner is going to be dropped too. Since my RSS feed is a Feedburner feed, that’s an even bigger pain. What is next, Google? Why are you doing this to me?!!!


Speaking of dramatics, there was a HuffPo piece written by an author disappointed with the blog tour of his book. Much to his dismay, many of the reviews were less than positive and, grab your pearls Martha, had ‘subpar’ writing. I understand that blog tours conducted by a third party cost authors money, but you can never control bloggers. Never. We write what we like and how we like it, that may include gifs or photos of cats. Blog tours aren’t for everyone, especially control freaks. They do offer exposure to authors who would never get themselves reviewed in other markets. They do offer quantity, not necessarily quality. Bloggers aren’t doing this for a living and do not hire editors for their personal blogs. Don’t expect Hemingway.

I would tell authors to research blog touring companies. Most have links to previous tours and a list of their reviewers. Take the time to read those reviews. It will help you decide if the writing is ‘subpar’. Perhaps just reaching out to a few bloggers yourself would be better for you. It is work to do this. You must read bloggers’ review policies. Use our names in the request, my name is not Blogger or Chrisbookarama. Do not offer money in exchange for a positive review. You may never get a reply. You may not get a review. You may not get a positive review. Do not bitch about us online: you’ll get a reputation, as they say in my part of the world, as a ‘sook’*  You want a positive review? Ask your Mom.

My advice to bloggers? Don’t say yes to everything. Research the book and the author. Does s/he have a reputation with reviewers? Is this a book you would read anyway? Can you make the deadline? Contact the tour operator, not the author, if you haven’t received the book or can’t review the book on the date your review is to go up. You might get a comment from the author on your review. You might never hear from them. They might bitch about you online (this isn’t exclusive to tours). Bloggers should never feel like there are strings attached to a review. A free book does not equal a positive review.

That said, I’ve had positive experiences with blog tours. I can only think of one that was a pain in the rear. I don’t do them anymore because I can’t handle deadlines.

This ended up being way longer than I expected! Have a good one and be kind to your liver.

*A sook (rhymes with took) is a whiner, a complainer, a cry baby.

39 comments:

  1. I read that little piece from the author who was bummed out about the book tour. Wah wah wah. ;) You give good advice above and it would be wonderful if every author (and blogger!) read this post. Bloggers write for readers, not for authors. Authors should be aware of that.

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    1. For some reason, his expectations were way different than what the reality was.

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  2. Great post - and good advice about blog tours. I've severely cut my participation in tours, for the same reasons you listed.

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    1. They can be great when you're just starting out but review copies have lost their shine for me.

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  3. Give the people what they like and then randomly take it away from them and replace it with something they’ll never like (Google+).

    Still laughing over this tbh. A+

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  4. I've wondered about losing readers during the switch, too. One good thing is that it seems like most of the RSS readers out there are set up to transfer Google Reader files, so at least the people who do bother to make the switch will be able to easily keep the same feeds. And maybe the people who don't bother to make the switch at all weren't reading anyway.

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  5. I have no idea what to do once Google Reader is gone. I signed up for Feedly but I keep reading RSS is going to go away all together. ughh.

    About the blog tours, I have never participated in one and this is why. I am not the best at wording reviews. I see some people can recap the whole book in their own words and I just suck at that so I put up the goodreads description.

    Angie

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    1. The recap in my reviews is sometimes the hardest part. It does help me organize my thoughts though.

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  6. As said above, great post.

    Google + = never for me. I don't like, I'm not going to start liking it, and Google, you are not my friend any longer. I moved to Feedly today. They moved all my reader feeds without my having to do anything. I'm happy with it for now but will see what the future holds. There might be some great new reader on the horizon thanks to Google's stupidity.

    I don't participate in blog tours. I think about every once in a while but then I end up reading about some author who complains about how sucky bloggers can be and end up sticking with my no policy on blog tours. I'm happy to stay that way. Besides, I don't like being told when to post. I'm always happy to accommodate when possible but it's my blog and I'll do what I want, when I want.

    That sounds so cranky. Really, I'm not. :)

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    1. Not cranky!

      A lot of people are trying out Feedly. That is the one I'm leaning toward.

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  7. "I wonder if my 500 Google Reader subscribers to my blog feed will simply never resubscribe when they switch, if they switch."

    Yep, I wonder about this too. This piece makes some good points about this forced move away from RSS and what it might mean for small bloggers like us :\

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    1. It's not very encouraging. I hope that between now and then, I can come up with some sort of plan.

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  8. Great post! I've been pondering Google Reader's demise as well, (see my Sunday post), but I was only thinking about how I would continue to keep up with blogs and OMG I NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT LOSING FOLLOWERS. *deep relaxation breaths*

    I suppose the earth will keep revolving on its axis, but this is definitely a seismic change for us bloggers.

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    1. A Big Change. We're going to have to figure out how to adapt to this.

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  9. Congratulations on a great post with solid advice for both authors and bloggers.

    And thanks for exposing that great (what seems to be) local word "sook" to the blogiverse!

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  10. Oh I just LOVE authors who want guaranteed positive reviews. We do this because we love books and we love to talk about them. And we're going to be honest about our thoughts. If I love your book I'll tell people I loved it! If I didn't love it, usually I won't post about it or if your really want me to, it probably won't be good news :/

    As for GR, I'M STILL SO PISSED!!!!! Luckily, I've been using an app for Macs for awhile now that I actually like better than GR so I should be ok. I don't know if you use a Mac, but the app is called Reeder. It'll import all of your feeds and folders from Google Reader too. But I DO use GR still too for things. I don't know what the hell I'll do iff RSS goes away though. WHY internet WHY??

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    1. I don't have a Mac but I do have an iPod and use Flipboard to read blogs. That helps somewhat but I still like using the computer for commenting.

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  11. I use Google Reader too. I've had a look at a few other readers today (and put my findings on my blog). From what I've looked at I like feedly best, at least initially.

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  12. This is going to be a long journey, isn't it? Like Chris, I use Reeder for Mac but it is based solely on feeds from GR, so unless they make some changes, it is going away too. I think I saw that they are working on supporting feeds even when GR goes bye-bye, but until they confirm that, I'm going to be a nervous woman.

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  13. Great advice! I can't drink because I'm sick. ::sigh::

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  14. I do participate in blog tours, but I do so with a couple of caveats. One is that I only participate with blog tour companies that I trust, which basically means I am only going with two companies now. Occasionally I will do one for publishers, but this is less frequent. I do mostly restrict my participation to books that I would want to read in the first place.

    I am actually finding that the scheduled posts are guaranteeing some content because if it is up to me to sit down and just write a review that isn't necessarily going to happen!

    I wrote about the whole GR thing for my Sunday post too. I didn't really even think about the possibility of losing followers.

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    1. The one that was a pain was organized by a publisher, so I avoid those. I do think you have to trust the tour company and do your research. Yes, at least you have to write a review by that time. I do tend to procrastinate.

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  15. Good post, Chris! And a good point about authors reaching out to bloggers themselves. I take part in blog tours, and I've actually wondered what happens when a blogger can't make the deadline. We aren't paid, life comes first, and does that mean the author gets their money back? After a couple of unexpected self-pubs where I'd thought they were traditionally published, I always research.

    I don't use Google Reader except on the odd occasion I'm interested in my reader numbers, but it's surely going to have quite a big effect on blogging in general.

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    1. I have no idea how that works. I never thought about what happens when the author doesn't get a review!

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  16. My first thought was oh no, how will I follow my favorite blogs and then my second was about how my readers will follow me. Will I even have readers at all. I keep hearing how RSS will go away and I honestly don't know what that means for bloggers like us.

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    1. If RSS feed goes away, I think blogging is going to be a lot more like it was years ago before Google Reader came out.

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  17. I spent last week testing NetVibes and Feedly and have settled on Feedly for now. It's easy to use and visually appealing.

    Book tours. I love them if they are for a book that I want to read anyway. I only work with one tour company and I haven't had any problems with them or the author they work with. But, I did sign up for several all in a row which is something I normally do not do so I am dealing with bad scheduling on my part right now.

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    1. That is something I was guilty of in the past. I try not to over schedule now.

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  18. I read that author's article and have to agree with all your points. Tours are really about exposure more than content, in my personal opinion, and some are handled better than others. I do tour books, but I try to do no more than 2 per month. Any more than that and the risk of not finishing books in time starts to steepen.

    I gave up GR, long ago. Too exhausting. The thing I'm annoyed about is that they're getting rid of iGoogle, which I adore. It lets you set up an iPad page with links to all sorts of things. I have local weather (a quick way to view the weather map without going through any links), a link to my google mail (same thing - I can see the most recent emails and delete or click through to Gmail), CNN and NYTimes headlines, funny cat photos, etc. I'll miss that. They're ditching iGoogle, because most people just use phone apps to look those things up. I don't have a smart phone so it's going to be sad losing that feature.

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    1. They are definitely more about exposure, especially the ones that have a bunch of reviews going up on the same day.

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  19. Yeah, Google stinks and I pretty much hate it. What's next, taking away the Blogger platform? It tempts me to return to Wordpress. On the other hand, I'm so glad I'm now using Feedly to read blogs. It's much, much friendlier in my opinion. As to blog tours, you're so right! When I get paid,

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    1. Shh, don't even thing that! I've been with Blogger since the beginning. I'm not what I'd do.

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  20. Then I'll feel bad if I didn't review the book on the publisher's schedule.

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