Tour Company Recommendations
With this new year, I have decided it is time to evaluate the tour companies I work with. There are some who are not moving on with me in 2016 for a variety of reasons. This means I need recommendations for tour companies you guys work with!
When I look for a tour company, I look for some basic things. I didn’t think these were unreasonable qualifications or expectations, but the more I have thought on the companies I am saying goodbye to, the more I realize there are some tour companies who want to do as little work as possible.
What do I look for in a tour company?
- Notification of new review tours in a timely manner. There are several tour companies that don’t notify their blogger readers far enough in advance for them to sign up and read the books. I have had some only notify two weeks in advance! That’s impossible for the majority of bloggers. I schedule posts in advance, and record everything on a paper calendar. I try to spread my reviews out so that none overlap, whether they are tour reviews or personal reads reviews. I also like knowing in advance what my schedule looks like and what I have to accomplish each week and month. An appropriate amount of notice for a new review tour is a minimum of one month in advance. The best frame of notification is two-three months in advance. Below is a wonderful example:CBB Book Promotions rolled out this new notification and sign up for a March review tour on December 9. That is almost a full three months’ notice. It is perfect timing for those who prepare their schedules and posts in advance like I do.
- A variety of review offerings. I enjoy doing review tours, so I look forward to seeing what is available from the tour companies I work with. This has actually pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me broaden my reading horizons. There is nothing worse than a company not being able to fill all of the slots an author has paid for, and that has happened several times with a few of the companies I have worked with. I understand that not all books are for every reader, but when I receive constant secondary and tertiary emails that “XYZ tour needs some love,” or worse, a direct subject of “This tour is in immediate need of reviews and spotlights,” something is not right. And it pisses me off because, quite simply, it means the tour organizer is not doing their job correctly. Tour companies know who their reader base is, and who their audiences are. To accept a book for a review tour and not have hardly any sign up is a sign that the book was not a good fit for the tour company. I understand that this will happen from time to time, but when it is happening every month – and more than once a month – is a bad sign. However, there is one spectacular tour organizer who often personally invites me to join a review tour if I have not signed up for it after a few weeks, which typically means I’m on the fence about the book. This is a fabulous lady who goes above and beyond for her company and her reviewers, and it shows. There have been many times I have accepted and joined the tour because she made an extra effort, and we have an understanding that when I’m personally invited to join a tour and I don’t like the book, we immediately make other arrangements. This tour organizer almost always gives me the first or second day slot on every review tour I join.
- Prepared HTML for a tour. There is one tour company in particular that I work with that does not prepare any HTML for any type of tour, whether it be a blast or a review tour. As a reviewer, I see this as part of a tour organizer’s responsibility to me.
- As few emails about a tour as possible. My inbox typically receives over 100 emails a day from my blog subscriptions alone. There is absolutely no need for a tour organizer to send multiple emails about the same tour. I don’t need an email that only has the tour schedule link. I don’t need another email the next day that has the book and author basics. I don’t need a third email closer to the tour that has shitty HTML. I don’t need a fourth email that has the giveaway code. There should only be two emails ever sent about a tour: the tour notification/sign up, and the HTML and tour trimmings. I can see there could be a third email with your individual interview or guest post content, but that’s it!
- Promotion of my reviews on social media. Most tour companies guarantee authors that they will also promote the tour on their social media outlets. As a reviewer, I should not be responsible for sending the tour organizer the review link once it is live, or submitting my own Twitter message for them to promote. Tour organizers set the tour schedule: they should be checking their reviewers’ blogs for the review and its link. This is a responsibility of the tour organizer, and anything less means you are a lazy tour organizer.
- All reviewer responsibilities sent in tour emails up front. There is a tour company I have worked who is very unorganized, in my opinion, and leaves all of the organizing up to the reviewers! We are sent two Google docs, have to fill in the schedule ourselves, go back and check it to make sure it hasn’t been changed, find the correct link among several to link to our review after it has posted and about five other tasks. This is the definition of a tour organizer’s job. Why am I doing the work for you? I’m not getting paid for it! I really like how Mother Daughter Book Reviews does this – everything is outlined in advance on the book’s tour page with all the components that reviewers are required to complete or can complete to enter a reviewer-only giveaway. Below you can see how she has listed everything that reviewers need to do step-by-step: I have also started being assigned tasks by tour organizers and notified of it via messages to my blog’s Facebook page. That’s not kosher with me. If you need me to do something for the tour, it needs to be in an email, period. That’s how you notified me in the first place of the tour, so why would changing the method of communication for the same tour be acceptable? Below is a post that was left on my FB page. If you are leaving notes for me to check places that are abnormal, that should be your clue. And when I did check, it was #7 below.
- I don’t receive post-day reminders. It maddens me that tour organizers I have worked with for over two years have recently started sending me a private message to my blog’s Facebook page with a long-winded note that starts off with not just a reminder that it is my day to post, but basically a “Where is your post? It’s your day” type message. Seriously?!This is just rude, and is one of the number one ways to piss off your reviewers and alienate your company. We are all grown ups, and I schedule my shit. If I said I was going to do it, I’m doing it. Let me do my stuff. This goes beyond micromanaging, and if you can’t trust your veteran reviewers to post on their assigned days, we don’t need to work together.
- The tour organizer actually interacts with me. I don’t know if there’s any bigger sign that I am not appreciated than someone I have done a lot of work for – who is getting paid for it, to boot – completely ignoring said work that I did for them, which makes them look good. It would be SO nice if the tour organizer communicated in some way with me besides upcoming tour notifications. For example, there is one tour organizer who comments on any type of post I do that is affiliated with her company. She also tentatively keeps up with me on Facebook and responds to email queries.