The publishing industry has changed, and some forecast an end to paper books in the not-so-distant future. Like everyone else, authors are now online -- and so is their publicity. When you get involved in self-publishing, it's likely you'll run into the phrase "blog tour" at some point. When you write and market your own books, the phrase could become pretty important to you.
The Old Way
Book stores still exist. They're going out of business all over the place, but they still exist. Traditional writers still go out on tour across the land, traveling from book store to book store to sell signed copies of their work. But it's started to become old-fashioned. Why should fans travel all the way to a book store when they can connect to their favorite writers on Twitter, Facebook and through their blogs? Self-published authors don't always have the resources, or the paper books, to go out on tour and market their work...so they've found a much more modern way of doing things.
The New Way
Self-published authors can't travel easily between book stores, but they can access a whole lot of book blogs. Blog Tours, like Book Tours, are a very effective marketing tool for writers who want to spread the word about their work. Instead of stopping at stores, indie authors "stop" at various blogs on different dates over a period of several weeks (10 to 20 blogs is normal, but a blog tour can be whatever the author makes it). Fans can "visit" the author at different blogs to find book excerpts, giveaway offers, interviews, reviews and other book-centric fun and games. Because the author and the various bloggers will be promoting the event, blog tours can reach a very wide audience of readers.
But things move quickly on the Internet, and even blog tours -- a relatively new online development -- are continuously evolving. Bloggers can arrange blog tours that are specific to their sites, rather than focusing around a single writer, as well. Bloggers may seek out several authors to feature on different days over several weeks, and feature a blog tour that's specific to that site. This gives bloggers the opportunity to fill their sites with fresh content while giving many indies the opportunity to promote their individual works.
Books are online, authors are online, fans are online, and blogs are just a natural fit. Because there are far more blogs out there than book stores, blog tours give self-published authors a chance to promote to a potentially massive network of readers. The best part of all? No travel expenses.