So, you see that your author friend is doing a blog book tour and you wonder what the heck is that? Or you see that another writer friend is doing a blog hop and you figure that must be the same thing. And then you decide that really, they're both just a way to get a book reviewed. Why make it all so confusing?
Because it kind of is confusing. Your friend's book may be making the rounds on a blog book tour, but may not be reviewed at every blog. And a blog hop can include a book review, or giveaways, or just a bit of promotion. Perhaps we need to take a closer look...
Blog Book Tour: When a book goes on a blog tour, the book's author usually submits a post of some sort to the blogger. Often, the post will be in an interview format, and sometimes, the author will make him or herself available for questions from blog readers. The post may also be a topic discussion related to the subject of the book or the author. Say, for example, a fiction book about the Salem witches is on tour. You might read about "How To Research for Historical Fiction" or "How I Got My Book Contract." In a blog book tour, you'll find a summary of the book and oftentimes, you'll find a book giveaway at each stop. And sometimes, you might find a short book review, mostly in the form of a recommendation. So, if you're interested in a newly released book, search the author's website for a Blog Book Tour. Somewhere along the 20 stops or so, you'll win that book. And if you have a book coming out, contact blogger friends and schedule a blog book tour. Or use professionals (you'll pay a fee) to help you target blogs with the right readership for your book.
Blog Hop: A blog hop is a fun way to get a ton of blogs involved in a common purpose; it is NOT a book tour. It is, however, a great way to get promotion if you have a book. Blog hops are usually centered around a theme...scary reads, foodie books, romance. All the participating blogs plan a post and usually some kind of giveaway (a great opportunity to talk about your book!). Honestly, it's the prizes that draw readers to a blog hop. And here is where promotion for a book comes in. An author may offer a free download of the first chapter of his or her book to every commenter, or will sponsor a contest giveaway for the book. And don't forget that getting folks to the blog is the first step in getting them to return! So a blog hop is also about encouraging readers to join as a follower, or sign up for Twitter or Facebook. The key word in a blog hop is fun, so if you're thinking of participating, think outside the box. And keep in mind that blog hops usually last for a set period...say a week. Have your post prepared to go from the first day, and keep it up all week. You don't know when readers will be hopping to your blog!
Book Review: A book review is pretty cut and dried. A publisher sends a book to a blogger and the blogger gives a review. Often, the blogger will give the book away. Some bloggers know how to write reviews, and others not so much. If there's a genre you love (and write!), there's likely a ton of bloggers who review it. Find a blogger you respect and you can keep up with what's being written in your genre. But as an author, you need to know that a blogger's book review may or may not be favorable. Often, it's the publishers (or their representatives) who contact bloggers to do a book review (rather than the authors).
Now, that's about it. Or maybe not. No, that's it. Um...let's just close the book on the subject for now, okay?