As an author, an avid tour host, and now, a tour organizer with my own tour outlet, Masquerade Tours, I feel this is now a subject I can talk about with total clarity.
I’ve had three blog tours (two which I organized myself as an author, one organized by Mark), been a host for numerous tours for other authors and tour companies, and now have five tours under my belt as a tour organizer and currently planning another. I’ve dealt with the highs and lows of the virtual book tour business and overall, it’s been a positive experience. I love interacting with people from all around the world and finding out about all the great books out there. But with the positive comes the negative (i.e. the “Flakers”–UGH!) and a whole slew of problems that are a complete pain in the ass.
Basically, this post had to happen.
So here you have it. How to absolutely, positively ruin a perfectly good blog tour.
Authors: It’s your tour, but chill out.
Wanting to control every single aspect of the tour.
I understand. It’s your written masterpiece, you paid for the tour, and you think you’re in charge of it and you pull all the strings. Actually, the tour organizer is in charge (of the tour's execution and the tour hosts). You’re the client, and yes, you are perfectly within your rights to make requests and stick your foot down when necessary (some tour organizers are lazy and incompetent). Do what you have to do, but ONLY when you have to do it.
Sending nasty emails and dictating to the tour organizer how the tour will and will not go is a good way to alienate them (and piss them off). Of course, as the client, I encourage you to state your expectations up front. The organizer will either step up to the plate or back down. If they take you on, great. If they run away, even better. They weren’t cut out for it anyway.
But in the end, it’s up to the tour organizer to make sure everything runs smoothly and that the tour hosts have everything they need to help make your tour successful. They can’t do that with you breathing down their virtual neck every second. Back off and let them do their job.
Thinking the rules don’t apply to you.
Why do authors think the rules for blog tours only apply to the tour hosts? No, you have rules too. Every organizer has policies for making service requests, or how they accept payments. They may even have deadlines for when you need to have your guest posts and interviews done and back in their hands. If you want to keep your working relationship in good standing, stick to the policies of the tour organizer and don’t give them any grief about it.
Tour Hosts: Don’t be a "flaker"
If you’re a “flaker”, don’t sign up.
I don’t get it. Why sign up for a tour and then bail on the post? Nothing pisses tour organizers off more. And don’t give the tour organizer that crap excuse that “I forgot” when they come asking you why the post isn’t up. All (smart) bloggers should keep a calendar. You should add an event to that calendar the SECOND you sign up for it. If you don’t do that now, start making a habit of it. I know if I didn’t follow this rule, I’d forget every other tour hosting obligation I signed up for.
Not only do missing stops ruin the tour, but you’re also letting the author down. They depended on you to post as you stated you would, and to not post at all is an insult to them. Plus it makes you look like a douchebag.
I’ve been hosting a year and never missed a tour post. I’m an author, an avid blogger, I run a review team, and I have a full-time job. If I can do it, you can too. No excuses, flakers.
Waiting until the day of your stop to contact the tour organizer.
UGH! This one really kills me. You knew you didn't have everything you needed for your stop or that you weren’t going to be able to post days ago (or at least yesterday). Why not contact the organizer then and give them the heads up? I add a disclaimer to every sign up that each host must acknowledge before submitting their sign up form that in the event that they can’t post (and this happens all the time. It’s unavoidable), that they contact me before their tour date. If they do this, I can work with them again. If they don’t, I add them to my “flaker” list and ban them from all future tours. Most organizers will do the same.
The author is the client, not you.
As a tour organizer, I appreciate every single one of my tour hosts. They don’t have to host all these authors and their books on their sites, but they do, and I love them for it. However, don’t mistake my love for you as an open door to give me unsolicited “advice”. The author is the client and how the tour operates and what types of posts are offered are all up to me and the author. You can either get with our program or find another tour to join.
And I get it. Not every tour organizer has a clue what’s going on. And maybe you do. That’s all well and good. Just be careful about how you approach the organizer when offering up your “advice”. Not everyone cares to hear what you have to say about the way they conduct their business. Just food for thought. Munch on it.
Tour Organizers: Try actually being organized.
Not using a checklist
Trust me. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially with the bigger tours. I have been a victim of my own disorganization a couple of times and it sucked. For the most part, I’m not too bad. I keep spreadsheets, calendars, and checklists. Checklists and I are BFFs. It’s how I make sure everything gets sent to the right person on the right date and so on. I highly recommend checklists and spreadsheets. I wouldn’t know how to do it any other way.
Lack of communication
How annoying is it when you call or text someone and they don’t even get back to you until the next day? It’s like, why are you even calling me now?
It works the same for your communication with authors and tour hosts. If they contact you, get back to them in a timely fashion. You want to give the authors, your clients, the best service possible, especially if you want good recommendations, and you want the tour hosts to feel as if they are an important part of the tour (which they are). Honestly, you spend your every waking moment on the damn computer anyway. Stop acting like you can’t answer a few emails.
Bailing on the author with no good-bye
It’s insane to me how many times I’ve been approached (as an organizer or a host), by authors who have been left high and dry by their tour organizers. I don’t get it. How can you just do that? And without saying anything to the author? Totally unacceptable.
If you are no longer able to organize a tour, just say so! Shit happens and we all know it. Maybe even make the effort to put the author in contact with another company who can finish up the tour. It’s the least you can do and it’s good business.
Let's be honest with ourselves. This rant could go on forever, but I'll end it here. I'm sure a part two is on the horizon though!
What are some blog tour blunders you've encountered?