Cover Reveal Tours – Are They Worth It?

Once I decided to invest in what I was sure would be a super awesome book cover, I was determined to do a spiffy cover reveal tour. Now, I’ve heard that authors have had mixed experiences with blog tours (like everything else, I suppose, your mileage may vary), but I felt like a cover reveal would be a good use of time and money. My reasons were:

  • It would chip away at my obscurity problem. I’m releasing my first book. And while my mom thinks I’m super special and my husband is awfully fond of me, the rest of the world does not know I exist. So, sure my cover reveal might not be made up of the top most visited book blogs of all time, but having my book info posted somewhere on the infinite and eternal web is better than nowhere.
  • It’s budget friendly. A cover reveal is generally far cheaper than a review tour or release tour, and requires less work.
  • It’s efficient. You get to hit up a bunch of blogs of people you don’t know. These blogs are generally hungry for content to keep their rabid readers satisfied. One stop shopping without all the fuss.
  • It’s a good way to build up an initial social media following. I’ve been on Twitter for a while, slowly creeping up my numbers, but my Facebook author page was basically starting from scratch, as was my Goodreads Author profile and email list.

I could have gone the manual route, spending hours researching and contacting blogs myself. My friend, crit partner and all around swell gal, Ines Johnson, did this with great results. Me, I’m far too lazy.

I researched blog tour providers to find someone to host my cover reveal. The factors I considered were:

  • Do they accept my genre? Several providers only feature YA books, so I had to be sure my adult fantasy romance would fit in.
  • Cost – I’d set a $85 limit for the tour, with a bit more in reserve for the giveaway I wanted to included with it.
  • Timeline – I wanted to wait until I had a good draft of the cover complete before booking, just to make sure I was happy with it. Some blog tour companies require you to book 3+ months in advance. I’m just not that organized 🙂
  • The quality of books they host – I wanted to see some names I’d at least heard of on the customer list as well as high quality covers that show the authors they work with are serious.

In the end, I contacted one person, Candace at CBB Book Promotions and couldn’t have been happier. Authors like Jason Gurley and Karen Kincy have used her. She could do cover reveals with a really quick turnaround. I checked with her about the genre and she was cool with it.

Turns out she’s a dream to work with and was so helpful and friendly. She sent me a bunch of sample posts from tours she’d done and gave me good advice about what worked well in her experience.

For my 5 day cover reveal tour, I ended up offering 3 excerpts from the book and 2 guest blog posts to the blog hosts so they’d have a variety of content to choose from. Writing the guest posts was probably the hardest part. I blog a little at my author site, but mostly I feel like I’m speaking into an echo chamber. Now I was writing posts that some undefinable quantity of other people may actually read. Oh, the pressure. (Not as much as writing the actual book, of course).

I also offered a $40 gift card to either Amazon, B&N or iTunes. I was a little afraid of the giveaway effect: having lots of people sign up to my mailing list just to enter the drawing and then unsubscribe en masse, negatively impacting my list health — you may look like a spammer to your list provider if you get tons of unsubscribes at once. Conventional wisdom says to only attract newsletter subscribers who really want to be there as they’re your “true fans.”

However, the Rafflecopter giveaway that each blog host included in the post offered so many avenues of entering the contest that I don’t think mass unsubscribes will be a factor. Sure I’ve noticed one or two obviously fake email addresses like contestwinner123@spammail.com, but the majority seem, at first glance to be real addresses, and hopefully they’ll stick around. Candace set up the giveaway and her expertise was invaluable.

The tour was well-organized and exceeded my modest expectations. Here are the results after 5 days of blog posts and an 8 day giveaway contest. The number of blogs participating was, by my count, 29.

 Before  After
Twitter Followers  311  428
Facebook Likes  3  88
Goodreads Fans  3  97
Added book on Goodreads  1  127
Mailing List Subscribers  5  64
Amazon Preorders  3  10

Now, I also announced my book to my friends & family on Facebook on the first day of the tour, but I don’t think that drastically affected the majority of the numbers — except probably the preorders. Though Amazon doesn’t give you the details, I’m pretty sure most preorders are from people who know me.

The Goodreads numbers also may be somewhat impacted by the fact that I placed the book on Netgalley for the month of December. I’ll post about those results in the future.

So there you have it. Regardless of the variables, I feel like the cover reveal tour was money and time well spent. It helped me grow my email list and social media presence in a way that would have taken far longer than 8 days to do organically. There may be some followers who fall away after the giveaway winner is announced  — I’ll let you know if it happens — but I’ve received feedback from people who genuinely seem to want to read the book.

If you’re considering a cover reveal, make sure you have the basics handled: a high-quality, professional cover, and carefully chosen, well-edited excerpts and guest posts (if you’re including them).

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