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Book Blog Tour or Paid Advertisement?

How to sell books to readers

By Aaron DennisPublished 4 years ago 8 min read

I’ve written extensively on how I sell my books to readers—how I sell a product to consumers—and I’ll add some links to the articles you need to read at the bottom of this one, but what you need to consider right now is whether or not a book blog tour is in your best interest. Perhaps, you should skip the blog tour altogether and buy ad space, but which should you choose? Where should you buy ad space?

Let’s begin with the book blog tour. I’ve participated in a few book blog tours since I first began writing. The idea is that you pay a few bucks, and your book, blog, website, social media accounts, etc., are distributed throughout numerous websites for a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months. It’s like a virtual book signing tour, and often times, ebooks, print copies, and gift cards are given away by writers as a prize.

The goal of the book tour is to draw attention to you and your book. The goal, ultimately, is to get new readers and make new sales, but such a thing practically never happens.


To begin with, the site hosting the tour hosts innumerable tours from all genres and all writers of all levels all the time. Generally, your book—if it actually appears at all on the hoster’s site—gets lost in a list of innumerable other books. Why would readers visit those sites and scroll through a half a dozen cowboy romance novels if they’re looking for a new fantasy, horror, scifi, or self-help book? They won’t….

The sites hosting book tours normally only appeal to writers, who wish to reach a broader audience of readers. Unfortunately, it’s been my experience that no readers visit these sites, and readers who enjoy LGBTQ+ steampunk will not automatically view your scifi/horror reminiscent of Alien simply because it’s on the site. Furthermore, the rest of the sites, which feature your book for a day or two throughout the tour, have very few fans; these are all writers who are also trying to promote their books, and their writer friends, and their writer friends’ friends….

I recently participated in a new book blog tour because the owner of the site found my website, and contact info, and asked me via email if I would participate, and stipulated that I was free to pay as much as I felt was owed for the work, but what was the work, and why should I pay anyone who doesn’t generate new sales, someone who doesn’t help me to reach new readers?

I was intrigued, though. Anyone who reaches out to me does receive my undivided attention.

Naturally, I was provided the book tour schedule—which sites were hosting my books and on which days. I had advertised my Dragon of Time series because I was working on the 3rd novel in the series, but participating in the tour meant that I spent a great deal of time and effort grabbing excerpts, buy links, and even YouTube links for the hostess.

Unfortunately, none of the sites on the tour held a reader fan base. Moreover, I was promoting my own hosted tour through social media, which meant that I was promoting the sites of these other writers, and all of the books—also on tour at the same time as my series—so what exactly was I paying for?

I did more work than the tour host. I did more work than the writers who simply copy and pasted a few words and pictures to their site. I had to promote 30 odd sites, and well over 100 books all of which were outside my genre, over the course of 30 days. I gave those sites my readers, my fan base. What did they give me?

Bupkes! I viewed my site stats on a daily basis, and I saw zero referrals from any of the sites hosting my books. Seriously, I did not receive one view from this book tour.

$30 on Facebook gets me about 700 new fans and follows. $30 on Fiverr can get me a few new fans who didn’t know my books existed. $30 on KDP might land me a few extra sales because people who search for my genre will see my novels—not that I use KDP to advertise, and I’ll explain why in a moment—but $30 for a book tour landed me 10 new likes on Facebook and no extra sales. I also didn’t see anyone coming to my website from any of the sites, which toured my book, and that’s my biggest issue.

It’s really very difficult to locate and entice new readers. It’s even more difficult to make new sales from a book tour, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid participating in one either.

Begin by considering how much money you are willing to spend. Pit that against the benefits of spending that same amount of money advertising on social media, through KDP, or even Fiverr. Ask yourself what it is you wish to accomplish.

Book blog tours are great for new writers especially if the tour host allows promotion of free short stories. They’re also great for promoting fanfiction. Blog tours are wonderful for meeting new writers who have been writing for a long time and who might know a few tricks of the trade, or they might have some useful connections, so do consider your goals before partaking of a book blog tour.

If your goal is to land new readers and more fans and sales, you’re be better off buying ad space on social media or book retailer sites like Barnes and Noble online. If you are going to advertise through book retailers, be sure to advertise the best of your work; you need a well written novel that has been professionally edited. Otherwise, you will be paying to show people a rough draft, and should new readers spend their money on your draft because they saw the ad, you can rest assured that they will eviscerate your book in their reviews.

Since my recent book blog tour was a bust, I figured I’d go ahead and advertise with Goodreads. I had mentioned wanting to do such a thing a few months back—sometime during 2019. As of March of 2020, Goodreads canceled their self-serve ad program. Why? Who knows?

Since that was another bust, I thought I’d go ahead and advertise my LinkedIn business page, but the process was so overly convoluted, I didn’t believe it was worth my time, effort, or money. You might feel differently, though. LinkedIn promotions do work for other kinds of websites, so why not yours?

I then thought I should advertise through KDP. I mean, Amazon sells products; they sell books. Why not advertise through KDP?

I will not accept an agreement that bluntly states they can legally steal my money. I forwent advertising through KDP, and thought I’d try Barnes and Noble. You cannot simply advertise with Barnes and Noble online. You must query them and follow their guidelines, which I did.

While awaiting a response from Barnes and Noble online, I figured I might as well take out another ad through Facebook. Their ads really do work; I always get more followers or more post interactions, and it’s so easy to advertise through Facebook that I’ll probably end up sticking with Facebook ads until I reach a million followers…should only take about $100,000 to do that….

In conclusion, if you’re a weekend writer, if you’re simply trying to learn the ropes, participating on both ends of a book blog tour can be a sweet start. Be sure to consider how much money you’ll be spending first.

If you’re a seasoned writer with a few well-polished books out for sale, and what you want is to reach more readers and earn more sales, pay for ad space, and try to pay for ad space on a site that readers frequent. Otherwise, sponsor your website’s social media business page.

Thanks for reading. Be sure to also read these articles for more info.

How to earn money reading books

Why KDP Select doesn’t pay

Advertising through Facebook

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Thanks again for reading! Go write and publish the best story possible! I’m rooting for you. Visit for more great, free articles.

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About the Creator

Aaron Dennis

Creator of the Lokians SciFi series, The Adventures of Larson and Garrett, The Dragon of Time series, and more.

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