This week’s in our Chime In Topic: Virtual Blog Tour Pet Peeve’s Part 2, our post is written my lovely Associate Reviewer, Heather. When I originally brought this topic to light, I was thinking only of my blog and the concerns I had with Blog/Book Tours. From the comments, it turns out I am not the only one who’s had various issues from promoting and hosting tours. In this post, check out what Heather has to say about her Blog/Book Tour Pet Peeves.
Last week we talked about tour companies, and I chimed in as both a reviewer and an author. Below are some of the highlights of my own personal gripes. Please keep in mind that I have worked with quite a few different companies, and not all of them are bad. This is not a stab at the book tour/services market as there are some nice, qualified folks in the industry. Regardless, I have left names of the companies and individuals out of this.
As an author and a writer, here are my complaints…
What I would like to see change about the industry:
- More genre matched tours
- Stop promotional only blog tours. You’re only lining your pockets and not helping the authors.
- Teach reviewers how to review books.
- Teach reviewers how to be constructive with criticism.
- Teach reviewers what an ARC is, or do not allow them as review copies.
- Less money charged for services offered by under qualified persons.
My number one gripe with tour companies is the inability to match an author to the correct genre on a tour. While I am all for extending my personal reach, there is a fine line between potential customer and a filler blog. Now I am not talking about book blasts/promotions/free days etc, but actual tours.
If I write in the paranormal genre then I expect to be matched with blogs that have a similar audience. Please don’t ask a blogger who does not read paranormal, (and has no interest in it) to review my book. If they buy it on their own, and choose to review it, great, but that isn’t what I’m paying you for.
To be fair this isn’t always the fault of the tour company. There are bloggers who either don’t know their genre, or step outside of the box to help the company out. Doing the latter during a tour is a bad idea, and it builds a platform for utter disaster if the reader doesn’t enjoy the genre.
Side note: I have done so in the past, but never during a tour. If you can recall, I am still on a never-ending search for science fiction that I really love. So far, vN (Machine Dynasty) is it for me.
This comes from both an author, and a blogger who does offer many of these services to clients. If you do not have the experience, or the education to back your services, then do not expect to make as much as the professionals do. This covers book tours, editing services, graphic design, and so much more of the back end in publishing and promotion.
Editing, proofreading, beta reading and copyediting are all very different processes. Every author should, and very likely will need the services at some point during their writing. I understand the need for making money, after all, it keeps the world turning round, but I implore you to ask yourself if you are capable of doing it professionally.
- Did you go to school to become an editor?
- How many manuscripts have you edited?
- Do you really feel you deserve to make as much as a real editor who has poured their life, and soul into the business?
- Could you walk into a publishing house, and apply for an editing job (and actually get it because you are indeed qualified)?
Did you answer no to any of the above? Most likely, you did, so no you are not an editor, and therefore should not offer those services for insane lumps of sum to authors. The above questions can be used interchangeably with proofreading, and copyediting too, however beta reading is an art unto itself, and should be handled only (IMO) by avid readers of the genre and/or writers who understand the process.
Please note I am not talking about blog tour banners, but referring to tour companies who offer cover design services that a two year old could slap together.
There are some great artists around the World Wide Web. There are some terrible ones too. Sadly, there are far more of the latter who charge insane sums of money. Please leave the art up to the professionals. There is a reason why they make decent money: they are talented.
Side Note: I am currently employed as a freelance writer, ghostwriter and editor with over four years experience, specializing in associated press style grammar. I do not charge for proofreading and/or beta reading if my time permits. However, I do ask for a modest sum to edit manuscripts, but mainly keep to smaller projects such as news articles and blog posts.
On another side note if you are interested in learning how to edit, proofread, or copy-edit there are many classes available online (and locally for those near colleges). They are not free, but they are worth every penny if you are serious about offering these services to authors. While it may not be an actual degree, the CEU (continuing education credits) certificates at least provide a level of professionalism.
This one is directed back at the heart of the tour company. Not everyone is born knowing how to successfully review a book. Some people still do it better than others do.
I can’t tell you how many bad reviews, as in poorly constructed/written, that I have come across as I followed the tour companies. Authors are paying you, for the love of…make sure you have competent people on your team.
Teach them about ARC books. Again, I can’t count the times between my fingers, and toes that someone has commented about the punctuation, or a grammar issue inside an ARC. I understand there should not be too many as to hinder the reading, but it is not a final, polished copy. Please make sure your reviewers know this and understand it.
Ask your reviewers to be constructive with their criticism. I’m not talking about purposely giving a bad review, but to offer insight about what they liked, or disliked about the book. I do this all the time when it is warranted. Authors use this feedback to better themselves, and you are selling them short by not offering it in a tour.
As I told Diayll, I am not certain that this should be paid for, and even then it would be a case per case basis. All books should receive a beta-reading round, or two before it is sold to the public. If not, expect to be making many revisions. I’ve been there, and done it, so believe me when I say this is important for authors.
Beta reading does vary. It is not a set in stone process, and much of what is done by the proofreader will depend upon the author’s wishes. Some authors want the whole kit n’ caboodle, while another author may just want plot holes covered.
There are countless free proofreading/beta reading venues around on the internet, but getting down, dirty, and intimate with a critique group will offer the most benefit. With this said, keep in mind that not everyone is cut out to be a beta reader, and you can’t keep quiet when problems arise.
For the authors and budding authors out there:
This process is overwhelming, confusing, and it is very easy to find yourself dissatisfied with tour companies and their services. Have heart; there are some awesome companies out there. I leave you with this advice, do your homework, and look into each company and person before you commit any money.
For the tour companies:
Be honest and fair with authors. Most of us write not to make money, or to become the next big thing. We write because it is our passion, and we have a story to tell. We understand that services cost money, but don’t expect us to fork over hundreds of dollars without knowing where it goes.
Reader Question: What are your thoughts on hosting, promoting, and generally participating in Virtual Blog/Book Tours? What would you like to see changed? Have you ran into any trouble when hosting a tour, purchasing a tour, or organizing a tour? We want to know, but keep the conversation friendly… :-)
© 2013, Diayll – MotherGamerWriter. All rights reserved.
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