Virtual Book Tours

Recently, I have heard that some people go on virtual book tours and do not help promote their stops. This really shocks me. Would they go out on a booksigning tour to different bookstores and not show up? It amounts to the same thing. VBTs can be just as lucrative and beneficial to a writer’s career as face-to-face meetings with readers. In some cases, MORE important.

What can VBTs do for your book?

1. It gives the online booksellers a lot of increased traffic because at the very least, blog followers are going out to read about the book on a bookselling site, even a publisher’s. This means increased sales!

2. It can gain new fans, because the blog host has fans too, and they have never heard of your book before your tour.

3. It enables you to give books to people who really want them and will read them because they “meet” you online and feel like they know you.

What are some ways to make your blog tour effective? J.A. Konrath said it best.
See below – my comments in ( )

1. Have copies of your book to give away, to reviewers and to contest winners. (If your book is an ebook this is easy breezy)

2. Momentum is important. Hitting as many blogs as you can in a short amount of time helps build buzz. Too long between posts and people will forget you’re on a blog tour. (And don’t forget to SHOW UP at the host site and answer the comments! Readers want interaction!)

3. Make sure you’ve networked with enough people to be able to find enough blogs to host you. If possible, try to appear on a variety of blogs that have different demographics. (Or find a great VBT company, I recommend Pump UP Your Book Promotions who did my blog tour of Avenging Angel in February)

4. Don’t repeat yourself. And don’t try to sell books. Blogging is about information and entertainment, not infomercials. (this is sort of what my twist on radio shows is too. Listeners want to be entertained)

5. Be willing to spend a lot of time on this. I spent well over a hundred hours in March, writing blogs, answering email, figuring out what I was doing and when. (I did too on mine in Feb. but if you use a good promo co. like PUYB you will have a lot of help!)

6. Use your social networks to amplify the tour. I used Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace to point people toward my blog, and many of the hits I got came from these online billboards. (Social networking is great for getting the word out about your VBT stops each day. You will be amazed at how many times the same people will show up!)

7. Partner with your publisher. (“Nuff said)

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “Virtual Book Tours

  1. I agree. It takes a lot of time and effort to promote and network with other authors and for those who don’t do the work and expect others to do it for them is not fair to the ones that do. Very good article.

  2. Great post. Always good to remind ourselves of what constitutes a good blog book tour.

  3. Organizing a VBT is time consuming, and expensive if you pay someone else, i’m not totally convinced… convince me Kim, coz i have a new release coming out later this year

    Jane

    • I can only say what worked for me, Jane, and VBT did work for me. I was hosted on blogs and sites for an entire month, and was totally amazed at the number of people who commented on my posts. These followers had never been exposed to my book before and many went out and bought it. One even reviewed it! Now I am linked to many of those same blog hosts and by being linked together like we are, we not only keep in touch and are friends, but it has given my blog stats a HUGE boost.

      Doing anything to promote our work is time consuming, granted. But if you gotta do it, why not do it and have fun? I found meeting new people and having challenges in what the hosts wanted for their sites to be a TON o’ fun at the same time. Yes, it is work, but it is fun work. You will be happy you had the opportunity to say things that you are asked about your work, your methods as a writer etc.

      If you need more convincing, you need to hunt up Dorothy Thompson at Pump Up Your Book Promotions and be honest. Ask her to tell you why, and how, a VBT will benefit you. I wouldn’t do a VBT with anyone else!

  4. I like the sound of blog tours, and the info you’ve given sounds sensible to me. I have a release coming later this year so maybe it’s time for me to contact Dorothy.

  5. Thanks for sharing your experience, Kim. A VBT sounds daunting and mysterious, but you’ve broken it down very nicely. Continued success with your “Avenging Angel.”

  6. I’m an erotica anthology editor. My first anthology – Iridescence, Sensuous Shades of Lesbian Erotica sold thousands of copies, in part, because of my promotional efforts. Part of that effort was a blog tour. Because the blog tour for Iridescence was so successful, I arranged another one for my current anthology Swing! Adventures in Swinging by Today’s Top Erotica Writers. Did I hire someone to arrange and promote the blog tour for me? No. You can do that, but I like to save money. I’ve promoted the Swing Blog Tour more than I did Iridescence. That’s because today I realize the importance of social networking and bookmarking sites. I promote the Swing Blog Tour on all my Yahoo groups, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, DIGG, Stumble Upon, Reddit, Delicious, Blogger and everywhere else that I promote. My blog tours consist of interviews and I make sure to promote each author’s interview. Promotion takes work – but it works. I know that because I’ve been a successful author (and now an editor) for almost ten years.

    For more information on how to create a blog tour if you’re an anthology editor, read my article over at AC:

    http://tinyurl.com/d3ckc7

    For more information on the Swing Blog Tour go to the Swing website:

    http://swinganthology.com/swing-2009-blog-tour/

    Promotion works if you choose your promotional path properly. You can either pay someone to promote for you, or you can do the work yourself – but you need to do it. I created a traditional book tour for Iridescence, as well. I had readings in New York, Los Angeles, Austin Texas, New Orleans, Chicago. It’s fun to meet people in person, but you can sell a lot more books when you promote online. (Plus there are no travel costs.) That’s just a fact of life in this 21st century.

  7. Good advice! I’m planning mine for the last two weeks of May, so I appreciate your tips.

    Heidi
    http://heidiwriter.wordpress.com

  8. Excellent blog, Kim, with lots of good tips for guest blogging. I set up a blog tour for my new Spice release and at the same time I’m writing an online series which is a Prequel to my book–at each stop I offer readers the op to check out my free online series as a way of getting to know me.

    I so agree with you re: checking back frequently for comments. I’ve had some fascinating discussions with readers about Egyptology and perfume scents in the comments section (subjects of my book).

    Thankz again!
    Jina

  9. Great advice! I have found blog tours to be very beneficial, but they do require a lot of work. However, in this day and age, that’s what being an author is all about!

  10. I am so glad this info is helping those of you interested in this subject. I intend on doing another tour with my next work, so I will be able to keep you filled in on this subject for some time!

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