Some time back, I heard about Tomoson, a site for promoting products, including books. Curious, I checked it out. It’s an interesting idea. It’s essentially a meeting point for people who have a product to promote and bloggers looking for products to review. They describe themselves like this:
Tomoson was created because there needed to be a better way of managing product promotions with bloggers. The process was always so long, manual, and time consuming. Tomoson is the fast and efficient way to communicate with all your promotional bloggers or find new ones to review products.
I decided to run a promotion of my book, Queen’s Gold. I set it up on June 6 of this year and ran it through August 31. I realized after the fact that I really didn’t need to run it for that length of time, but found out once you set up a promotion, you cannot change the timing on it, so that was fine.
Over the course of the promotion, 67 people applied to receive the 5 free books I offered. Tomoson does a nice job of rating the bloggers/reviewers and gives a lot of data to help you make the decisions on whom to approve. They provide data on Google, Alexa, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and more, so you can see what kind of traffic their site receives. Here’s a screenshot of one of the bloggers I approved:
Additionally, they list all the bloggers by subject material. I found this a little disconcerting, because in all the entries for my book, only one blog listed their category as Books. What I saw mostly were categories of: Health, Women-Mommy, Green/EcoFriendly, Gifts, and Everything Else. It was obvious that most of these bloggers reviewed many more products than books.
In any event, my promo period ended on August 31 and I shipped out my 5 books on September 3. Tomoson states that the reviewers have 35 days to assess and review the product, putting the date I should see reviews at about October 7. I was notified of the first review on September 20, and it was a very nice one. Tomoson has a message center, so once I read the review, it was an easy matter to send off a quick note thanking the reviewer. In addition, Tomoson asks that you rate the reviewers, and I did that as well.
When I got notification that a second review had been posted, I was less than thrilled to see that the review was actually not about my book at all, but about a product. I got a message off to the reviewer to ask about it and found out she’d made a mistake and would quickly remedy it.
By this time it was mid-October and I still had not heard a thing from the last 3 reviewers. I sent each of them a note just touching base and making sure they’d gotten the books (I had tracking from the post office so knew they had been delivered). Within a matter of days, all three reviews showed up. Apparently these bloggers just needed a nudge.
Tomoson makes a good case for what they’re doing, and it sounds like a win-win situation:
Tomoson leverages the power of the internet by influencing the influencers. The internet’s influencer’s are bloggers, reporters, and social media gurus create large amounts of content which people follow and read religiously. If you want to get your product out there, why not give it to someone that’s willing to talk about it and market it for you? Both bloggers and companies win, because the bloggers get a free product, and the companies get their products talked about.
However, my experience was quite a bit less than stellar. At this writing, I have not seen any uptick in sales of my book, not terribly surprising given the self-described nature of the blogs. The reviews were okay—mostly positive, thank goodness, but also short and rather perfunctory. Only one has appeared on Amazon. The rest, apparently, only appear on each reviewer’s blog.
Would I use Tomoson again? Probably not. It was worth an experiment, especially for free (not counting postage to mail out books) but not something I’d come back to for promotion. It’s geared much more for products than for books.
So now you know.