How to Participate in Blog Tours

New to the book blogging world? Learn all about blog tours, how to participate, and what some of the rules/best practices are!

You’ve been so helpful, so I thought you’d be the best person to direct this question to, and maybe it would help some others out there too. I’m hesitant to sign up for blog tours because I don’t know how everything works and I don’t want to mess it up, but I’d really like to get involved. Can you shed some light? For example, guest posts – does the author just send you their post and you put I up? Or do you talk about it? And character interviews – these are always fun for me to read, but I wonder how they’re written. Do I write questions that the author responds to with their characters? Are there best practices for when you should publish blog tour, or any of the special posts? I could list a ton of questions, but maybe you could just explain the process and go from there? It would be super helpful, thanks!! Berls

Hi Berls!

When I first started blogging I was also hesitant to sign up for blog tours. I was so afraid of doing something wrong or not getting the process right!

It’s important to realize that every blog tour will be slightly different. Some might have strict rules and requirements, or slightly different processes.

What is a blog tour?

A blog tour is a marketing campaign for a book/author. It’s where a coordinator brings several blogs together (usually 10+) to promote a specific book over a period of time. The blogs participate by posting content related to the book, including: reviews, guest posts with the author, interviews with the author, character interviews, cast lists, and more.

How to sign up for a blog tour

So you’ve seen a blog tour that you’re interested in? Some tour companies might allow you to sign up right away, but others might require that you become a host first. If that’s the case, there will be a separate “Host Signup” form for you to fill out with your contact and blog information. Once you fill it out, you may have to wait for an acceptance or approval e-mail. Every hosting company is different. Some approve/reject applicants, and others accept everyone above certain, pre-set requirements (listed on their website).

Once you’ve signed up as a host (and been approved, if applicable), you can now sign up for the tour! You will have to locate the tour page and fill in another form with your contact and blog details again. This is so they can match your tour signup entry with your host application. Then you have to wait to see if you’re approved.

Signing up for a blog tour does not guarantee that you will be chosen for it. Usually, there are a lot more signups than there are spots. For example, there might be 100 signups for a tour with only 10 stops! So most of the people will not get accepted. But if you are approved for the tour, you will receive an e-mail informing you so, and with followup instructions. You are usually asked to confirm that you’ve received the e-mail and that the specified date works for you.

The next step is to wait for your necessary materials. If you’ve signed up for a review, that means you have to wait to receive your copy of the book. If you’ve signed up for a guest post, you have to wait for the post to be written and sent to you, etc.

Then once you have your materials, you publish your post on your blog on the date you were scheduled for.

How guest posts and interviews work

So to answer your first question:

guest posts – does the author just send you their post and you put I up?

Usually—yes. There are two different possibilities with guest posts:

1) After you sign up for the guest post, you wait for it to get sent to you, then you post it on your scheduled date. That’s it!

2) Sometimes you will be asked to come up with a topic for the guest post. So you’re responsible for choosing the topic of the post, then you send it to the tour coordinator, then they forward it to the author who writes the guest post, then it gets sent to you and you post it on your scheduled date.

So in one scenario you have to come up with the topic, but in the other one you don’t. It will vary from tour to tour, so that’s something you have to watch out for. If in doubt, just ask the tour coordinator.

What about character interviews?

I’ve honestly never hosted a character interview, but I’m pretty certain you come up with the questions, you send them to the tour coordinator, then the tour coordinator sends them to the author, and the answers get sent back to you. That’s how it works with author interviews, so I imagine character interviews are the exact same process!

When should you publish tour posts?

Before anything, you will want to check the tour company’s rules/requirements page. Most often, tour websites have a rule about this. It’s usually something like, “Your post must be published by 6am EST.” It is extremely important that you follow that requirement if it’s there! This applies to all kinds of tour posts, regardless of the format (review, guest post, interview, etc.)

Unless specifically asked otherwise, I always publish my posts at 12am (midnight) PST, because that’s when I schedule every single one of my blog posts. I only change this if it’s required that I post before then (which it never has been).

Follow the rules!

Above all, you need to carefully read and follow the tour company’s rules. Most touring companies have a rule like: if you’re reviewing the book and plan on giving it less than 3 stars, you may not post your review during the tour. Instead, contact the tour coordinator and arrange for a promotional post. Then you may post your review after the tour. This is because blog tours are marketing campaigns; the whole point is to promote the book. Authors don’t want negative reviews on a tour they’re paying for! You’re perfectly welcome to post your review when the tour is over, but make sure you arrange for an alternative post for your slot.

List of blog tour websites

Here are some of my favourite tour companies! Check them out and sign up!

Have any other questions about blog tours? Leave a comment!

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I'm a 27 year old California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). I like to inject a little #girlpower into the WordPress development community by teaching women how to be coding badasses. more »

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18 comments

  1. My problem with blog tours is actually finding a blog tour site that won’t bombard me with so many emails for books I’ve never heard of. That, and I’m most likely never going to get accepted for tours, so I’m not even going to bother anymore.

    But this is such a great roundup of blog tour hosts, and this would have been so handy a few months ago. I would have signed up for all of them! But now, meh. If you want to add another one to the list, there’s Vade Mecum Blog Tours, run by Meg and Chri of Ink Skies.

    Shannelle (The Tracery of Ink) recently posted: Stacking the Shelves #1 and A Semi-Hiatus Notice
    1. Hi!!!

      I am tour hosting with a few tour host o promoter. I really hate with they bombarded me with emails and emails. I have asked (politely and not) delete me of their mailing list.

      Xpresso, Between the Sheet, AtoMR and YaBound never send emails looking for tour host or promoting events. Unless you have subscribed to the mailing list for Cover Reveals and Blitz.

      Great post Ashley, I wish I would have something like this when I began blogging.

      Also: the cover reveals and blitz (in almost book promoter) are easy. If you signed you have a spot.

  2. I love these posts. Always so informative! I’ve never signed up for a book tour myself because I’m generally too busy trying to come up with 800 feature ideas, but I liked reading about them. I’ve always wondered how they work when I see other blogs participating in them. They sound like a great way to add some content to a blog without necessarily too much work, depending on what type of tour post it is!

    Asti (A Bookish Heart) recently posted: Bookish Thoughts: Why I Have Never Requested ARCs
  3. Great post. I’ve done several blog tours in the few months that I’ve been blogging. Initially it is very nerve-wracking. You don’t want to mess up and never be allowed to participate in a tour again. I’ve actually had to stop signing up for blog tours temporarily ONLY because of the amount of other blogging related stuff I’m doing.

    Alexia @ Adventures in Reading recently posted: Review: Catching Liam (Good Girls Don't Book 1) by Sophia Bleu
  4. Haha I love the Merp Squad shout out there! 😀 Also, I remember being so scared to sign up with blog tours, but it’s definitely so much fun. I always signed up for way too many groups and then felt bad for not being able to do at least one tour for them because I wasn’t really interested in their books, so I ended up having to drop out of a lot of tour groups, and even now I get emails from tour groups I left a long time ago, and some from groups I’d never joined O_O

    Fantastic post, Ashley! <33

    Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain recently posted: Random Talk Time (6): The Trouble With Blogging
  5. So glad that you have posted this, Ashley. Like Berls, I am also clueless regarding blog tours. But I want to participate just to get some feel of what it’s like. I have already signed up as a tour host for Xpresso Reads since Giselle doesn’t have a strict follower requirement plus I just love her tours.
    However, because I’m not yet confident, I only signed up for blitzes since those are more relaxed compared to tours.

  6. Thanks so much – this is so helpful!! I’ve been busy moving so I’m behind on my reading so I just now saw that your answered my question. I’d signed up for some blog tour emails but then everytime I saw one I wanted to do I got scared and decided I didn’t want to mess it up. I’m going to go ahead and jump in now that I understand how it all works. You’re the best, as always!!

    Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun recently posted: Teaser Tuesday | Poltergeeks by Sean Cummings
  7. My favorite blog tour company is TLC Book Tours, specifically because they don’t require you to post a positive review. I don’t post promotional materials about books I haven’t read unless I’ve read something else by the same author and liked it, because I don’t want my readers to think that I’m endorsing something when I’m not. There’s a weird line between book blogging and marketing, and I want to make sure that it’s always clear to people reading my blog what I think of any given book.

    1. Amen to all you stated, Grace. I am reasonably new at this and was scared and awkward with the 5 Tours I have done…I was scared to death and beat myself up over doing them! I mus have not totally bombed it because two of the Tour coordinators have asked me to do another since then.
      I have had my blog since June of 2013. It is important to build a reputation of quality and integrity.

  8. Oh my gosh. This is like, so helpful! Thank you so much! However, I am a bit of a clueless person, and I’m kind of confused for the Guest Posts. You’ve mentioned that sometimes we’ll be asked to come up with a”topic”. Can you give me some examples of some “Topics”? Thank you!

    1. The topic is just what the guest post is about. Ultimately the topic will depend on the book/author and your own preference. So you have to come up with your own. But here are a few examples (some from my blog):

      1. Tell us about your journey towards getting published
      2. Tell us about a day in the life of an aquarathi living in waterfell
      3. Talk about supportive parents in YA
      4. Talk about becoming a Death Dealer

      So you want to pick something that relates to the book. So for the third one I listed (supportive parents in YA), I chose that topic because the YA trend seems to be to have really UNsupportive parents. They’re abusive, drunks, absent, etc. But in Jessica Verdi’s book (My Life After Now), the parents go against that popular trend and instead, they’re REALLY supportive. So I asked Jessica to talk about supportive parents in YA.

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