How to Choose a Virtual Tour Service Provider: My Reading Addiction

 

 

 

If there was one thing I learned during this book release it’s that persistence pays off. If you’re looking to put your book on the internet, then there are thousands of bloggers you can reach. A few hundred here, a few hundred there, sooner or later it makes a real impact. That’s what I was thinking when I rehired Reading Addiction Book Tours to do a one-month tour of Cassie Scot in July 2013.

I first hired this company for The Immortality Virus last summer and I have to confess, it didn’t do much at all. I scraped together a handful of sales over the course of the entire month, and that was after drastically (and temporarily) reducing the price to $0.99. But there were a lot of factors working against that tour, especially the fact that it took place more than a year after the release of the book. (Some reviewers were even confused by this fact and listed the release date as June 2012 instead of June 2011.) I thought that I could revive interest in the title because it had recently won awards, but that didn’t seem to be the case. (I should write an article about awards and what they do/don’t do for you sometime.)

Books are made or broken in the first few months after release. 

I’m not saying there’s nothing you can do to sell a book a year later. There is something — release another book. A better book. And do a better job of marketing it. I’ve sold more copies of The Immortality Virus this summer than I did the summer it was released!

There was one other problem with my Reading Addiction Tour of The Immortality Virus — wrong genre wrong audience. The Immortality Virus is pure scifi. I switched course dramatically to write the Cassie Scot series, which is urban fantasy/paranormal, mystery, and romance. I didn’t write it to play the market, but I think I managed to do just that. This is a story the market wants right now, and it is what Reading Addiction Book Tours does best.

If you go to My Reading Addiction’s packages page, you may notice something that struck me as important when I used them last month. Their biggest tours have a caveat:

*Available to Young Adult/New Adult and Paranormal Genres

Since I’ve used their services twice and one of those times I toured a science fiction novel, I feel comfortable saying that this is an important caveat. I got some nice reviews of The Immortality Virus from their bloggers, but I felt like most of them (and their readers) were more into the paranormal, especially with a romantic spin. To this day I’m not sure what the best source for scifi reviews is because I never found it. I happened to write a scifi book that got a lot of  “I don’t normally read this genre but this was very good” comments. At the time I thought that would mean something to the people reading the reviews, but I’ve lost some of that naivete. I now believe that the people reading the reviews were more likely to go, “Hm. Well, if I’m ever in the mood for something different…” then put it on a to-read list that never gets read. To support that statement, I note that I have more “to reads” for The Immortality Virus on goodreads than I do for Cassie Scot, but far, far more people have bought Cassie Scot.

Price

Reading Addiction Book Tours are low cost. Their biggest tour with 40 stops and plenty of bells and whistles is only $200. I ended up using their standard tour — 20 stops, half reviews, which is $90. Since I was a repeat customer, I got a 10% discount. They have great repeat customer specials, special pricing for publishers touring multiple books, and they often have sales or coupons going on so keep an eye on that. Even without the discounts, though, they are inexpensive.

Value

I believe Reading Addiction is a value if your book is in their blogger’s target reading interest. That is to say paranormal, romance, young adult, or new adult. I do not believe it is a value if you are writing science fiction. I’m not sure about other genres. But for their target genres you will get your book reviewed by engaging, enthusiastic bloggers.

Look and Feel

The only truly negative thing I have to say about Reading Addiction Book Tours is that their banner was blah.

They did make me a nice static page that remains active (click on the banner to see it). They also updated the blogger links so that after a blogger posted my review or spotlight, the link went directly to that post rather than the home page. This was a nice touch. 

Professionalism and Communication

Wonderful! Friendly, responsive, and on their game.

**It is worth noting that Reading Addiction Book Tours does not allow negative reviews during their tour. If a host really does not care for a book (ie would give it less than 3 stars), the host has the option of switching to promo only. They may post the review on their own after the tour is over.

Bottom Line

I recommend a Reading Addiction tour for paranormal, romance, young adult, or new adult book tours. I recommend them as part of a bigger effort, if your budget can handle it.

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5 Comments

  1. Oh great to hear. I have tried a couple tour companies. Cheaper than this, but not very successful. Not necessarily their fault, but still. I have one due (review only tour) in September. Very excited/nervous about that. I think it’s right though, if it ain’t happening in the first few months, work on the next book. I’ve tried too hard to get my book sales moving, and I wish I’d dedicated more of that time to writing the next in the series now.

    I will take a look at these guys – they’re in my genre. Thanks Christine.

    • Yes, they would be spot on for you and they’re cheap. But I’m glad you saw my other advice sprinkled in there. I wrote it partly for myself. I find it’s easy to get off track writing when I’m marketing a book. I let myself slide for a month or so around the actual release date, but other than that I need to get back on task!

  2. Love your enthusiasm and would appreciate more specifics. How much of a change in sales did you see? Did this translate into an increase in followers of your blog, website… What else positively changed from your virtual tour? Also, how much time did you take away from actual writing to reach your social media goals? As a longtime writer/author, I’m heartily sick of supporting industries dependent upon our craft when we, the bottom of the pyramid, receive a trickle of compensation. This is no reflection upon your writing, Christine. I simply need more tangible facts to convince me of the efficacy of choosing Virtual Book Tour..

    • Those are very good questions that I myself asked and never got the answers to. The trouble is, I still don’t have concrete answers. I hired 6 virtual tour services this summer. I’ve sold well over a thousand books. Which one did it? Did they all do it? Was this just a better book? A better fit for the market? I don’t know. I’m sorry, I wish I could tell you. I wish there was a magic formula. I just don’t have it. If you ever figure it out, I hope you’ll tell me! 🙂

      I do know that one big reason I used a tour service provider instead of arranging my own tour was that I wanted to spend time writing. In my original post in this series I have some more thoughts on this, but basically I said I could try to put my own together (emphasis on TRY … I don’t have a personal relationship with that many bloggers) but even if I could manage it the time commitment would be intense.

      The biggest commitment for an arranged tour is financial. You’ll spent a few hours writing blog posts and answering interview questions. You should stop by each tour stop in the morning and post a thank you. That takes 5 minutes if you’re slow. I also share the better stops on social media. Again, a few minutes if you’re slow.

      My goal in virtual book touring was not more follows on social media although I’ve gotten more twitter followers than I know what to do with. I think twitter is useless though. I’m working separately to try to increase my facebook numbers…. just started last week I’l have to let you know in a few months if what I’m trying works. 🙂

      My biggest time drain in marketing is social media and keeping up with my blog. It’s not virtual book tours, despite how many I’ve done.

  3. Thanks for taking the time to share your book tour experience. This is the first blog post I’ve seen giving a recommendation. I am hoping my novel will be ready by mid-September so I’ve spent hours looking at several different companies. I found it a little overwhelming. I looked at the books from previous tours, then went to Amazon and Goodreads and compared reviews during the tour dates. Some books got a lot of action while others did not. I will definitely give Reading Addiction another look.

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