Assessing blog book tours

Karl Kapp has requested some feedback from those of us who contributed to his and Tony O'Driscoll's blog book tour at the start of 2010. I read every blog review on the tour for Learning in 3D and gained a lot of perspective about blog tours in general. I had also contributed to Karl's previous tour for Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning back in September 2007 and read the other contributions to that tour.

From my perspective, blog book tours do several things very well:
  1. The blog tour makes it obvious to the subscribers and visitors to any of the participating blogs that the book got a personal recommendation that can be trusted more than paid advertising.
  2. A particular blog post draws attention to the book on the basis of it being new and "fresh off the press" much like book reviews written by professional journalists, but written with more passion than what gets written for hire.
  3. Each blogger is free to ferret out the particular portions or perspectives of the book which fit their own expertise and ability to make use of the book, rather than getting told what to talking points to cover.
  4. The write-ups also give potential readers/buyers a clear sense of how they may find the book to be equally useful, valuable and worth the time/money spent on it.
  5. The transparency of each blog review and its follow-up comments enables the bloggers later in the tour to build on the previous reviews or take different approaches to avoid duplication.
  6. The incredible variety of blog reviews in a tour reveals how a book is valued by many different frames of reference, potential users and situations that can take advantage of it's message.
  7. The entire tour contributes to the authors' sense of how their project is getting perceived, how effectively their own intentions got realized and how to best get on the wavelength of future audiences.
  8. This blog book tour generates considerable buzz (social marketing) which lends credibility to the book in the minds of gatekeepers who are deciding whether to book interviews and conference sessions with the authors.
  9. The subsequent crossover to live and recorded presentations about the book is likely to enjoy greater quantity and quality of exposure following the groundwork laid by the blog book tour.
  10. The indications of the book's success beyond the blog tour provides each participant with some intrinsic reward for contributing to this community facet of the overall promotion effort.
All this suggests that blog book tours is the way to go, not only replacing the faltering marketing efforts of print publishers, but giving new books more traction during their launch than costly campaigns realized for anything short of a blockbuster title.


  1. Tom,
    Great insights into blog book tours. I think books designed for specific markets that have aggregated around a blogging community are ideal for a blog book tour. Your statements are right on the mark in terms of the results we've seen from the tour.

  2. Karl
    Thanks for all the positive feedback here, and in your email!

    I agree with your thought about books aligning with specific markets and blog communities. Returning to my "home run" model, I perceive Learning in 3D appealing to four different communities which each have some bloggers:
    1st base - Industry analysts, academics and theoreticians who are working the conceptual issues in the transition to 3D
    2nd base - Industry stalwarts who are pragmatically relying on ADDIE, Flatland and classroom delivery, etc -- but are seeking alternatives to reach the changing workforce
    3rd base - Industry innovators and entrepreneurs providing new platforms software, interfaces, etc. and using the book to cross the chasm, reach out beyond early adopters
    Home plate - Change agents imbedded, in corporate, governmental or academic settings, who are launching pilot projects and "proof of concept" demos to build trust & buy-in among internal constituencies

    Each community can benefit from the others, and thus value what you and Tony combined into the single volume. By covering all four bases, you provide an outreach program and cross fertilization experience which could break up echo chambers, group think or organization silos for any one community