Way back when, before the internet started to reach saturation point with bloggers, taking part in blog hops and other blog-related events was all the rage to help indie authors reach a wider audience with their self-published books. Now many authors are wondering whether these practices are worth the effort, because although they generally cost nothing to run, unless you're employing a facilitator, they are very time-consuming.
Historical novelist Helen Hollick, always a generous supporter of fellow authors, shares her views on whether blog hops, blog chains and blog tours are still worth bothering about, drawing on the experience of her most recent blogging project.
For the second year running I took part in the online A-Z Challenge.The idea is for bloggers to post an article themed A-Z throughout April (not including Sundays) which gives twenty-six articles. I’m still not sure whether it was worth all the time and effort or not, but it was good fun and I interacted with some fabulous authors and bloggers (two thousand or so bloggers took part).
The point of book tours, chains or hops – whatever you want to call them – is to create some exposure for you and your books in a different area to your usual haunts.
Which means interaction. If you do not blog much, are not prepared to spend at least an hour a day during the tour, answer comments or otherwise be active, don’t accept the offer of joining one of these social media exposure topics if you are invited, or if you want to organise one for yourself.
I am assuming you have a blog (either Blogger, WordPress or via your website) and you are fairly active with it? If you’re not, then this article is probably not for you.
Definitions: Blog Tours, Blog Hops, Blog Chains
- A blog tour is primarily for you alone talking about (usually) a newly-released book on other people’s blogs. More often than not, these will be the big review blogs, and the tour is arranged well in advance of your publication day (or ahead of a particular push, special offer, or whatever.) Articles, interviews, reviews about you and your book/s are the norm for these and arranged between you and the blog host.
- A blog hop is just that, a hop from one blog to another covering a variety of blogs and topics. There is usually an article of interest followed by a live list of blog URLs for the people taking part. There's a widget called a linky list, or the URLS can be added in by hand if not everyone can host these widgets. Visitors will read the first article then hop to the next, then the next and so on. This can be to many blogs or just a few, can cover just one day or several. The master list can be added by everyone taking part, or just be on the blog belonging to the host.
- A blog chain is usually for one topic or theme. Similar to the blog hop, there is often a complete list of blog URLs of the people taking part, or just a link to the person before and the one following. The idea is for visitors to go through the chain from one blog to the next.
The Etiquette of Blog Hops
There are rules of etiquette, and if you do not follow them you are unlikely to be invited back in future, or you even risk having your article, or link, removed. The whole point is exposure for yourself and the others taking part; you’ll not be thought well of if you don’t do your full bit. And this doesn’t mean just poking your head round the door on ‘your’ day – it means fully taking part on most days.
- As a ‘hello’, leave a comment to say thank you to your host for inviting you
- Leave comments to the other participants on their blogs
- Answer any comments left for you, on your own blog or elsewhere
- Do not spam – no ‘read my book’ additions to any comments you leave
- No ‘please follow me back’ pleas please
- Tweet about the event, for everyone taking part, not just your own contribution
- Facebook the event – ditto for everyone, not just yourself
- Be polite and cheerful
- As a goodbye at the end of the event, leave a comment to say thank you again.
Keep in mind:
- you want visitors to your blog
- you want people to ‘meet’ you
- you want people to buy your book
- you want new followers
To get all that means a certain amount of hard work, dedication, and full participation.
Further information is on my blog: ‘Let’s Talk Of Many Things’
OVER TO YOU Have you taken part recently in a blog event of some kind? If so, did it work for you? What advice would you like to share about it? We'd love to know!#Authors - are #blog hops still worthwhile? @HelenHollick offers top tips Click To Tweet