I’m selling a business idea. Literally, it’s up for auction on eBay right now here and goes to the highest bidder in a week. The domain alone has been appraised for between $650-$800 dollars but the auction sits at .99 with no reserve so it can be yours for almost nothing because I just don’t have the time to manage it anymore. Go get it.
That’s the super short version. Here’s the long version.
For authors, especially indie or self-published authors, book bloggers can make or break a book when it comes to reviews and buzz. When The Trading Assistant’s Assistant came out in 2007, it was successful in large part to some great reviews and press it got from some popular book blogs of the time. Because of this, a blog tour has become an indispensable marketing tool for authors with a new book to promote. Long time readers may remember when I did a blog tour to promote the relaunch of The Whine Seller a few years ago.
Like a classic book tour, a blog tour takes the author to a variety of locations… all from the comfort of their own keyboard. During a blog tour, authors visit a variety of blogs related to their book’s topic as “stops” on their the blog tour, writing guest posts, being interviewed or whatever else the host blog agrees to, all with the aim of making people aware of their new book and getting lots of links out there where people could buy it. (You can see how it would be very SEO friendly, getting your link out on all those other sites.) While book tours are predominantly done by authors, you could really go on a blog tour to promote anything.
Authors love book tours because, while it’s a lot of work for the person on the blog tour to write all those guest posts or answer all those interview questions, there’s no upfront costs so it’s an easy and inexpensive promotional tool. Blogs love blog tours because the author brings their readers and extra traffic to their site and gives them an easy post that day where someone else is doing most of the work. A blog tour is as close to a win / win situation as you can get.
So, when I was getting ready to promote my next book in 2010, I started to look for book bloggers that could be stops on my book tour and came to realize… it wasn’t as easy as it was the in the past. With the rise of self-publishing, there were thousands more book bloggers and review sites and combing through the submission guidelines, preferences and accepted genres for each one was an almost insurmountable task.
That’s when I had an idea. A really good idea. What if there was a directory of blogs willing to host a blog tour? A list of blogs that were willing to share interviews or guest posts on their site organized by their genres, topics and interests? Instead of having to visit every book blog on the web to find the ones that fit your book, you could just visit the directory, sort by your parameters and, boom, narrow down your list. You could even submit your request right there through the site in a nice standard format so the book bloggers had an easier time seeing what you’re all about.
Which blogs would review my memoir? Which blogs review indie or self-published titles? Which take electronic files and which only review paperback? Which blogs allow an interview vs which ones that would just take any related guest post? You’d be able to sort for things like this and more with checkboxes and save your preferences for future searches or get emails when new sites that meet your criteria sign up.
You can see how this would immediately be useful to an author, letting them zero in on just the blogs relevant to their needs so that they could focus their efforts. In fact, it would be so useful it would easily let the blog tour concept extend to other people with things to sell beyond authors. An eBay seller could launch their store with a blog tour to sites about collectibles. A graphic designer could get the word out about their new service packages with a blog tour of art sites. You see the potential.
The directory would easily sort, filter and connect people looking for related places to review their products or share their guest posts with the sites that are willing and ready to do so. And sites would be eager to sign up because it would bring them both traffic (from the blog tours themselves and people checking out their site) and additional easy content. For book bloggers who do reviews especially, the most common complaint is people submitting things they don’t accept because they ignored the guidelines. Wouldn’t they love to have at least some of those people filtered out and know they were getting people who actually had the content they were interested in?
There would be other features as well like a schedule of blog tours going on right now so you could see live examples of what others where doing, tips and best practices for hosting or doing a blog tour, interview templates host sites could use or modify as needed. There would be ads on it, of course, to monetize it but also a paid upgrades such as having your blog tour or blog featured, advertisements for tour organizers etc. Sites would have to re-confirm their details each year to make sure there were no dead links and the community could alert us of any issues so we could remove dead or problematic sites from the directory as needed.
I mean, forget the business potential, I WANTED this site. I wanted it as an author and person with things to sell. I wanted it as a blogger who would love for relevant guest posts and interview subjects to just fall into my lap. I started to set it up more than anything else because it was something I wanted to be out there for my use.
What I quickly realized was the best part of this idea was that, after the initial set-up, the whole site could be mostly automated with just a single person to read the site submissions and community reports as they came in and make sure everything was correct before approving the post. I was strapped for time but, hey, surely I could hire someone to do that for me, right? I set to work. I registered BlogTourDirectory.com and started to set-up the site. And the more I worked on it, the more excited I got about the potential for it.
I have been working on it here and there in the background for eight years now and I finally came to the following sad realization a few weeks ago. This *is* a really good idea. It’s going to make someone a lot of money. But that someone isn’t me. I just don’t have the time with everything else on my plate and all the other businesses and careers I’m juggling right now to take on something else. I am, quite frankly, already in over my head and the last thing I need is to add something else on. Even if I did hire someone to maintain the site, which was my plan from the start, I don’t have the time to get to that point with finishing the site and training that person, never mind the prep work it would take to find that hire, when I literally have less than an hour a day to work right now and a million other more pressing demands on that time. (I mean, the fact that I’m only getting a chance to post this blog post about this a week before the auction ends really says everything about my life right now.) It’s time for me to concentrate on the projects I’ve already got going on, which means letting go of this one. But my loss is your gain.
Which brings us to right now. I’m selling it, domain, idea and all for a song because I REALLY want someone to finish what I started. I want this directory up and running and I’m really hoping you’re the person to make it happen because I want to use it someday, dang it! I am not including the website I made for it because those design elements are mine and I don’t want to deal with transferring those rights but, other than that, you have my full and total blessing to take this domain and idea and go out there and do exactly what I was going to do.
So, what are you waiting for? Go on over there and put a bid in on this thing before time is up!
(The domain name has a high appraisal because the words blog, tour and directory are all popular on their own so I suppose you could buy it and flip it for a profit if you have more time to spare on it than I do. If I could at least sell it for what I sunk into it over the years, I would be very happy.)