I'm still collecting numbers, and I want to see how the post-tour 30 days goes, so the figures wrap up will be at the end of the month. For now, I have some general thoughts about the blog tour.
I bet what most folks want to know is: Was is successful? Did it sell books?
There are many ways to define success, so I'll cover a few different measurements.
Did I Enjoy Doing it?
Yes. It was hard work, but I had a lot of fun writing all the posts and chatting with folks in the comments. I've been trying to be more chatty and respond directly to more comments now, as I found I really liked doing that. I think regular blog readers liked the tour, and I think they liked having me visit their blogs. As a networking and connecting exercise I feel it was a success. I got to know some of my fellow bloggers and readers a little better and that was nice.
Did it Bring Readers to the Blog?
A major surprise to me, was that my daily hits dropped by half during the tour. I expected them to go up as new readers found me on the tour sites and came to see what I was all about, but that doesn't appear to be the case. My followers per week did triple, going from an average of 1-3 per week to 9 per week. Since the tour ended, it has dropped back down the 1-3 per week. I have seen a lot of new names in the comments, though.
I think one reason the hits dropped is because I wasn't doing a regular post, so my usual referring links weren't sending folks to me. My numbers have started climbing again as I've gotten back to regular posting, but they still aren't where they were before the tour.
I also stopped posting on Absolute Write in October, because I was too busy keeping up with the comments on the guest posts and getting more posts done. AW is my third largest referring site to the blog, so that clearly hurt my numbers more than I expected.
Conclusion: I think it did bring in new readers, and the guest posts will continue to do so, but it wasn't a huge bump. Since I posted on sites of readers, odds are I was already reaching a lot of those readers anyway.
What would I do differently next time: I'd make sure I did a regular post here, then linked to the tour posts. I'd also keep up with my regular forum postings. Reaching out to new sites unconnected to me would also be a good idea.
Did it Bring Readers to My Website?
I'll have more figures on this later, but there was an increase in web traffic. However, that started to drop off as the month continued. So I think as folks followed the tour, they stopped clicking the links because they already had earlier. And because my regular blog traffic slowed down, the web traffic slowed down.
Conclusion: It did get my name out there, but it may not have kept it out there. It'll be interesting to see what the post-30-day numbers look like.
What would I do differently next time: Not sure anything can be done differently concerning the website, except maybe create a more sales-focused intro blurb for every post.
Did it Sell Books?
This is what everyone really wants to know, right?
The Shifter sales averaged about the same in October vs September (the paperback released Aug 31). So far, sales look about the same for November, but we'll see how the next few weeks shake out. There was a big spike in sales the second week of the tour, but that was also the first full week of the Blue Fire release, so I have no way of knowing if the tour spiked sales, or folks seeing Blue Fire on the shelves, then looking for book one did.
Blue Fire had a spike that second week, but that was also release week, so again, who knows what affected sales. Since then, it's evened out and has been steady every week. It's only been out a month, so I have no other figures to compare it to.
Blue Fire is selling about 10% better than The Shifter (paperback) so far. So folks are picking up book one almost as much as they are book two. That does indicate new readers are discovering me, but I have no way of knowing where those readers found me.
Conclusion: I'm waiting on website buy bottom click-through numbers, but what I've seen so far is inconclusive. If click-through numbers show a high percentage of folks that bought the book after clicking on a link in the the tour posts, then I'll know it sold books. If not, all I'll know is that folks didn't buy books from clicking on the links. I don't know if they went to the store to buy it or bought it at another online vendor.
And this is the problem with marketing, because you really don't know what works and what doesn't. I could have had a ton of folks read a tour post and put my book on their holiday gift list, and those sales will show up in December. I just don't know. But aside from one spike that may or may not have been caused by the tour, I didn't see a huge difference in sales.
What would I do differently next time: Being more sales focused might result in more sales. Most posts had the book info at the bottom because I didn't want to be in-your-face-pushy about it. But a marketing-type blurb intro might have done more to get folks to click over to a buy site.
I also think that targeting my tour posts to more than just writing sites could have made a difference. With a MG audience, it's hard to find online venues that reach that age group. But I could have done better reaching out to teachers and librarians, parents, more teen sites. A much wider variety of sites could have reached a wider group of readers.
I'll have more on Monday, and talk about what I'd do differently over all and what I felt worked more effectively.