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December 8, 2013

Gush & Gripe: Getting Off The Tour Train


A couple of months ago I helped Aleatha Romig set up her tour for Convicted, the last book of her head-fluck series, Consequences. I initially volunteered to help her with the cover reveal because I believed in the series and the story so much I want to push our Aleatha's work to every Supie out there. Then one thing led to another and I found myself an amateur tour organizer. Afterwards I decided that I don't want to be one because of the amount of work and time it required not to mention other technical issues like my email going haywire, etc. So much respect to those who are doing this and are doing it well. 

Talk Supe is tour host to a few tour organizers. Virtual book tours in general are great, it gives us extra traffic, brings more potential followers to the blog, promote books and authors who we believe in and sometimes we even get to review great books and interview their equally amazing writers to complement our posts. It's a great symbiosis of sorts and if done well, it can really do wonders for your stats and readership. 

But like most things, there's a downside. Lately I've been getting more and more tour invites for all sorts of things from cover reveals to review tours. It's cool because some of these events are up my alley and it allows me to exercise creativity in as far as thinking of guest posts and interviews questions are concerned. Unfortunately there are some email invitations that needs more work in terms of presentation and preparation and some even feels imposing so allow me to gripe a bit about these emails that are short-circuiting me:

  • Please use BCC's instead of pasting everyone's emails on the TO field.
  • Don't send me HTML or kits for blog tours I DID NOT sign up for. You have a sign up sheet, please refer to it before you send it out. 
  • Send me a complete media kit and not a bunch of links sending me to different sites where I have to copy paste stuff that should've been compiled by you in the first place. 
  • Send the kit days before the tour starts and not on the eleventh hour. 
  • Please don't hound me first thing in the morning asking me where my post is. Unless specified, my post will go live when it's most convenient for me and the blog.
  • We're not getting paid to host your tours, you are at our expense by lending you our readership and network so be courteous when you do follow-ups. Depending on one's speed, reading a novel, writing up a review, making the post and pimping it out is can easily stack up to 6 hours or more. So even if we get a complimentary book, our daily rate is still worth more than 99c-$8. 
  • If not enough people signed up the first time you sent out the invite then it's safe to assume that it's probably not that interesting. Either give the author a refund, postpone the tour or provide some feedback like maybe tweak the blurb a bit, redo the cover art or add an incentive, etc.. Don't send me daily emails in large capital letters telling me I should sign up, the Rule of Nine doesn't apply to this.
  • Speaking of invites I'm less inclined to join a tour with an email invite that looks like this:
I have a new tour set up on these dates, Book by Author X. [insert sign up link]
    Not only is that unfair to the author who paid you to set it up for him/her, it's not attractive. You're sending me an INVITATION not a scavenger hunt. Make it presentable by including the cover art and blurb THEN the sign up link! Invitation, root word invite; conjugated, inviting
I am not generalizing ALL tour organizers here. A lot of them are really super and know what they're doing. They understand that this is a business and will extend and exercise courtesy and proper etiquette as business owners. You can tell from their blasts that they made the effort to make the tour look exciting and worth joining. They send their kits in a timely fashion and all the necessary data is just a click away. 

So let me cut this here because I feel like I'm rambling. In conclusion I've started unsubscribing to some of these organizers. I know I may miss out on some cool opportunities but my displeasure over their SOP far outweighs the slim possibility that they may hit the target as far as I, and Talk Supe's readership, is concerned. And if you're a tour organizer reading this, please don't take my post personally. My point it I like presentable invitations better with complete media kits and courteous organizers. And if I somehow hit a nerve, I totally understand if I'm taken off your lists. Tit for tat. 





36 comments:

  1. As an author, this is useful in understanding that not all tour companies are created equally. Now I'll definitely research before I pick any, if I choose to go that route. Thanks, Braine! <3

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    1. Yes, ask around before you sign up with one. You would wan to go with someone who's made a good brand for themselves and won't sell you short.

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  2. I get those emails in all caps MORE HOSTS NEEDED! I tend to delete those unread. I do find that sometimes a tour fails to fill up not just because it's uninteresting, though that's certainly a reason, but also the timing is off, the options aren't appealing or the author has overbooked. More than a few authors will book with multiple companies, often with overlapping dates, and then the invites go to basically the same set of bloggers so of course they don't fill up. The smart authors spread out the dates when booking multiple companies. I've signed up when one tour's dates didn't work for me but a different company's did.

    I am paring down on my tour participation; it's a lot of work for sometimes very little reward.

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    1. OMG I hate it when that happens! That happened to me last time where I signed up for the same exact thing from two different tour companies. I got confused so I still went along until I realized that I had redundant posts. Bah!

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  3. totally rocking post Braine and your points are good ones.

    I've been less participating...for some reasons above and mainly because I want to get back reading & revieving my personal reads.

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    1. I've been easing off and I have to say my January calendar looks so much better. I'm planning to keep it that way.

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  4. I quit all but one tour company back in like August. I just got tired of, well, all of the above and then not getting any thanks at all for doing the post. Or having one tour company make excuse after excuse and every interview with them falling through (only to find out the authors never got the questions). OOo Anna ranted. lol And it seemed so many were moving to just spotlight or cover reveal tours and were so huge 60+ other blogs were doing the exact same post. Nothing about that is gonna help the blogger or make it worth while to spend the time formatting, etc. The only time I do a tour now is if specifically asked to do them. It's working out a LOT better.

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    1. I feel you which is why I only do cover reveals on FB now and if it's a blitz, I only sign up with something that has a guest post option that way I have something I unique to offer my readers outside the standard blurb and excerpt. But I would totally lose it if the author didn't get my questions so I totally am on your side on that one.

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    2. Oh I was ticked. Happened 3 times. I put a lot of time into my questions and it was so frustrating. I can see something falling through once but if I have 3 set up with you and all 3 fall through? Mmmhmm. This is a really well known one authors rave about too. If they only knew.

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  5. Since I am starting to work on these types of events ( not being a organizer myself - but helping get hosts and put things together ) I appreciate your honest thoughts! I am going to pass this along and just make sure we hit these key points :) I myself have been through many of the same problems--- most especially the 11th hour thiasco >.< and hope I can help make tour experiences better! Thanks for sharing your thoughts! ~Chelle

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  6. I agree with the sending of emails with everyone on the To: space. I kinda freak out when my email is just out there.

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    1. I know the blog's email is public knowledge but I just dislike that some of the recipients would email me for whatever reason without bothering to check the blog to see if I'll even be interested with what they're trying to sell me.

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  7. I rarely do tours, I got bent (yes I occasionally get mad) by the unprofessional manner of some tours, the copy and paste, chasing down guest post, last minute material or lack there of, and un-confirmed post dates. I do a few now and again because I want to promote said author, and unless there is a review it is never my top post. i feel your pain.

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    1. I used to think it's fun but now I'm just getting tired of it. I'm paring down my list and just waiting to finish some tours that I've previously signed up for. After that I'm going back to basics.

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  8. Hear, hear, Braine! I've been getting emails from folks I didn't even sign up with. And I agree that tour organizing takes a great amount of work and I applaud those who do it well.

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    1. Oh I do get annoyed when I get an invite from groups I never signed up with. Can't they introduce themselves first before feeling all chummy with me? I'm such a snob I know but it can get irritating when it starts happening all the time.

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  9. We still do tours and have managed to find some that are reliable and professional, but I know there are a number of tours that we do not take requests from because they have been unprofessional for various/multiple reasons in the past.

    There is also the factor that there are just so many tours and tour opportunities out there that one wouldn't have an opportunity to read if each request was accepted.

    Love how you pulled alot of the issues together here. They are so valid.

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    1. I've been more selective now for sure!

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  10. I think you do an awesome job for tour because I know it's a lot of work. It's the reason why I don't do a lot. Only the books of the author I like or really want to read. So well like that it's limited. I'm only part of 2 sites, well only 1 because they added me on the list whithout telling me and I never did a tour for them but I like to do one from time to time. It's already a lot. well for me...

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    1. I learned my lesson the hard way, off the top of my head I want to stay with 3 groups because it is starting to become a pain. Just composing the darn promo post is time consuming with all the formatting and editing it requires.

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  11. Matey, do you know what I was dreaming about this the other night.It must have been niggling me a bit. Now you have said it beautifully. I must admit I am happy to help any author/publisher but my inbox is going absolutely barney bananas at the moment and has been for over a year and I gotta say my little Tonka Toy engine is getting a tad growly over getting these 'Sorry about the last minute email but...blaa..blaa..blaa. I am like WT * Tonka Toy engines growls and revs * I have to avoid these ones as it is not even a polite request. I am getting a lot of pre made emails all set out and I didn't agree to anything. Sometimes I do them cause I feel bad not doing them, but you are right about the time per hour etc. We don't get paid and we do a shiz load of work. I'm not even working full time so I really feel for the students and the full time workers who are also bloggers and the mums with babes. We must have been mentally in sinc matey. I have some examples today where it is all set out but not even a personalized request or I even agreed to it. I am like GAHHHH!!!. I can't cope when organizers do HTML codes that when used everything is wonky on my computer. I love doing Xpresso Tours as Giselle being a blogger sets them out beautifully and lets us choose what we want and when we want. She is flexible too. So that is cool. I HATE having to find the stuff through links as I feel like my time isn't as valuable as the authors or publishers. I get paid in toast and vegemite so a little respect . I am feeling a tad PMS..ee today so I normally keep my tongue in my mouth but I think your posting released my tongue . I do love your comment when we are being chased by organizers. If we could have it up , we would. I only get chased couple times a year because I am a nerd and am on time, but really there shouldn't be a time as we aren't clocking a time sheet in, Fred Flintstone style. The world is all on different time zones so chill bananas. :D Ok I shall go an have a panadol now and apologize for joining in your gripe. HA! I shall probable regret joining in, so nobody yell at me. I have actually had a hard day today...if only you knew :D

    xxxxx

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  12. Ok one example of an email today I have x...ed out the book title

    Review my novel XXXXX??? That is the subject. What is with the ??? DUDE!!!

    Ok.. I shall go now :D

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    1. I love your response, Matey! And yeah, you and I are the nerd types and they still manage to stress us out.

      HTML - I appreciate the effort but as I personalize my post, editing it is actually more time consuming than just building one from scratch. When I see Last Minute I instantly delete it. I'm not on anyone's payroll so I'll pass.

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  13. It pisses me off when tour companies just freaking send sign up links. It's like you're wasting my time and effort just because you're being lazy. Oh and they should strongly think of either putting the content in a drop box or something to that affect. I've had too many where they don't send it and it's the night before and I'm scrambling because I waited on them.

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    1. I delete emails like that, I don't even bother clicking the link to find out more. If they don't deem it important to include that on the email body then I guess it's not that good enough. And I agree with the dropbox thing, I hate panicking and having to email them asking for their darn media kit when they should've sent that days before the tour starts.

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  14. YES! I agree with all your points! I sometimes want to unsubscribe from tour organizers that have poorly put together emails or send way too many. I want all tour organizers to see this post! See it, read it, and change your ways people!

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    1. LOL, thanks for your vote of confidence. But some of them do need to revise their invite style and operations procedure.

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  15. I completely agree Braine and that's why I've stopped doing tours in general. I have a few companies that are awesome and I will continue to work with them. I'm most disappointed in the NA tour companies. I get it piece mail and then the authors don't even bother to show up or promo the spot at all. Grrrr....

    Marika/Harlie

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    1. Oh yeah! I forgot all about that! Yes, an author's tweet or FB status means a lot! I mean forget the blitzes but if I interviewed you to complement my post, is it so hard to tell your fans about it? Good point! I think you just gave me a topic for next month's G&G!

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  16. What a great post. I agree completely with you and hope many tour organizers decide to read/share your post.

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    1. Thanks, Marcela, although I'm expecting some sort of backlash somewhere because not all bloggers do their share too so I'm kinda waiting for that post from someone whom I've pissed off LOL

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  17. Its hard to find good tour sites, but I do find that the ones I've decided to go with are nice and reliable. Plus don't email for things that are not helpful to me. I only have so much room every month for reviews, plus sometimes my inbox can be overwhelmed, that I just start deleting so I can not go crazy. Great post, SW.

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  18. I for the most part have stopped doing tours all together. I work with two tour promoters Candace@Candace's Book Blog and occasionally Kismet. Beyond that forget it. I am tired of the constant emails, the bad books being promoted and all the spam. Most tours tend to be people pushing mediocre books and I have had too many subpar with reads. I have stepped away from them all together because bottom line, if you have an exceptional book word of mouth and buzz will get it selling better than a tour. Sure tours occasionally introduce me to a good book, but more often than not I am disappointed. I especially don't like the promoters who will push anything. I will only work with the promoters that screen the books they accept. My best advice, get off the tour train and start reading more of what you want and you will be much happier.

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    1. Yup and that's exactly what I've been doing. I'm just finishing the ones I already signed up for and moving forward I'll stick to my fave ones.

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  19. I completely agree, when I was busy with university and came back to see my email being bombared with tour related emails I realised I needed to be more selective, so much of it wasn't anything I cared about. I've slowly managed to find all the ones I don't want to be subscribed too any more and now I'm left with just three and my inbox is so much more easier to handle.

    I've also made changes with how I'm selecting what to sign up too as well, because I have enough books to read as it without all these tempting me because they sound somewhat interesting. I need to learn its okay to miss out on some opportunities haha.

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My reviews are subjective & does not reflect that of Talk Supe's followers.

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