Thinking Out Loud is my version of a discussion post and/or a place to just get things out of my head and off my chest. I have no plans for it to be a weekly feature, but more of a space that’s here when I have something to say.
Thoughts and Questions on Promotional Posts
When I first started blogging, I went nuts with the promotional posts, cover reveals and blog tours. I had pretty much one each day – sometimes more! I didn’t sign up for anything and everything, but if it was an author I’d read in the past, or even one I had been wanting to read, I signed up. Get the ARC, get content, get traffic, promo the book. It was a win-win-win-win, right? That’s what I thought at the time.
Let’s be honest, there’s no doubt promotional posts drive traffic to the blog. I’m just not sure it’s the traffic I want. (Does saying that make me a bad blogger?) Don’t get me wrong. Traffic is great. It feels good to build a following and watch your numbers grow. It absolutely helps when it comes to getting access to titles from publishers. Reach is important. But the truth is, I found the people visiting me were far more interested in whatever giveaway went with the blog post than my blog… or even the book I was promoting in most cases. One of the biggest reasons I decided to start blogging in the first place was because I love books and I wanted to share that love with others. I wanted them to know which books I thought were amazing and what they should be reading. For the longest time, I thought the only way to really do that was through promotional posts like this. I’m just not so sure that’s the case any more.
Over the last few year, I started to take a step back from these types of posts. First to go were a large number of the straight up promo posts – blitzes, blasts and release events. I became incredibly selective with what I’d do. I no longer signed up for every event, even if it was for a beloved author. I wouldn’t do more than one post a day. I still did (and do, to this day) post cover reveals and blog tours, but I cut back on the number of those I did as well. I looked for the unique opportunities. I didn’t necessarily want to be one of hundreds of bloggers posting the same info. The last few months have led me to move even further away from these types of posts.
Late in 2015, I decided I was pretty tired of being tied to a schedule for reading. If I commit to reading by a certain date, I’m still going to do it, but I was done damn near killing myself to read every single ARC before it was released. I missed having the time to read the books I wanted to read, when I wanted to read them. It was this that led me to one of the biggest changes to my reading habits – and thus my blog – in 2016. It was time to tackle my TBR. You know, all those books I was DESPERATE to read, yet have been sitting on my shelves or my eReader since release. But, I digress. All of this meant it was time to rethink my participation in blog tours. If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you’ve no doubt noticed the number of tours I’ve participated in has dropped significantly. It was a tough decision to make, but it had to be done. It really freed me up to continue to be able to read how I want, what I want and when I want. Yes, it did mean I missed out on some opportunities for ARCs, but I was ok with that. (Most of the time.) Those books will be there after release and, chances are, I was going to buy a copy anyhow.
Awful truth time: I’ve never been all that interested in the promotional posts blogger friends post. I hardly ever read them. Aside from a couple months when I first started blogging, I didn’t enter the giveaways. Most excerpts and teasers don’t do a whole lot for me. They just make me want the book more and I don’t like being left hanging. Being totally honest, more often than not, when an email pops up in my inbox from a blog I follow and it’s obvious it’s all promo posts, I just delete immediately. I’ve never really understood the pull to this type of post. But that may just be because I’m already so immersed in the world of books.
Is it different for readers who don’t blog? Do readers NEED these posts to learn about new books? Do they appreciate them for more than just the giveaways? Do they buy the books based on promo posts they read or are they learning about books from another source? Don’t get me wrong, I definitely understand that it’s important to get the word out about new books. I absolutely recognize and appreciate the amount of work that these AMAZING publicity companies put in to promote new titles for their authors. I’m just not entirely sure it’s all that effective any more. Is it just white noise? Are there better ways to promote a book?
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that TIME plays a huge part in my own personal decision to cut way back on the promo posts, tours, etc. I already feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the things I want to do. Blogging, even if it’s just posting promo materials, takes time. I guess when it’s all said and done, I’d rather spend my reading/blogging time ACTUALLY reading a book or posting a review, discussion post or some other type of original content than scheduling promo posts. (Why does saying this make me feel like a bad/selfish blogger?) And, I guess I really didn’t want the folks who read my blog to miss out on what I feel is pretty good content and discussions because they’re tired of weeding through the promotional posts.
I know I’m not alone on this. I’ve watched a number of my fellow bloggers step back partially or entirely from promo posts and tours. I’m really interested in finding out what others think about these type of posts. Both sides – pro-promo and not-so-pro promo. I’m not judging bloggers who do still post promo items. At all. I understand the reason most bloggers do it is because they want to get the word out there about the authors and books they love. I want to do the same. I just can’t help but wonder if there’s another way to do it? Is the best way something more direct than blog posts? Is it social media posts? Photos on Instagram? Teasers? I don’t know the answer. I’m really just curious about how other bloggers and readers feel about these types of posts.
If you’ve stuck with me this long through my rambles, I appreciate it. I really would love to hear your thoughts on this topic, too.
If you’re a blogger:
Do you post promo posts on your blog?
Do you read those posts on other blogs?
Do you think they’re worth it? Why?
If you’re a reader:
Do you find promo posts helpful?
Do they introduce you to new books/authors?
Do you ever buy the books being promoted?
I’d really love to read your thoughts on these questions and anything else in this post!