We have all heard of book tours where you contact a bookstore, library, etc. and arrange to spend approximately four hours (one session) autographing your book that someone buys. Although some say it has lost its effectiveness book tours are still around.
But what are Virtual Book Tours?
In the next few minutes I will give you an overview.
A Virtual Book Tour is:
In a traditional book tour you might spend hours driving from city to city to promote your book. But in a virtual book tour you make “virtual” appearances not at bookstores but on blogs, podcasts, websites and internet radio. These tours may last from 1 to 4 weeks.
It is an excellent way of promoting your book, your name, and your sales. Plus it will help your Amazon rankings.
So Exactly What is a Virtual Tour?
Well, a well-rounded tour can include any or all of the following:
- Book giveaways
- Book review
- Excerpts from your book
- Guesting on other blogs
- Guest appearance on radio
- Guest appearance on podcasts
- Social media contest
- Videos that are posted by blogs
- plus more
Remember, the more you include the more interest your audience will have in checking out your tour appearance. And it will be more fun than sitting at a table waiting and hoping for someone to stop by and purchase your book. (One of the drawbacks of traditional book tours is you may sit for hours and none or few people stop by. It can be a real downer. But a virtual tour is not that way.)
You have options not only regarding the ingredients of your tour but who does the booking. Search the internet and you will find a good number of marketing and PR services who offer booking services. I don’t know of any that are free, so find one that fits your budget.
Or DIY – Do It Yourself!
I am not going to cover the various services because I don’t know your needs nearly as well as you know. But I will show you a simple plan not original with me. I drew inspiration from another blogger Chris Robley, however I expanded on it.
A virtual book tour is like a traditional book tour in that you are casting a wide net. The wider the net the more likely you will be to land a few fish. But to do this requires that new word: Targeted. In other words, just as a fisherman targets a particular place to do his fishing you need to target where the tour will take place.
That requires research. Visit the potential blogger, podcaster, or reviewer and learn who they are, what kind of books they are interested in promoting, who is their audience, and more. Then when you contact them show them that you understand their needs and their audience needs.
Just because you have done the research and properly contacted the people does not mean that they will be interested. Some may not write you back and others may send a “no thank you,” but it would be wrong to take this personally. Chalk it up to a learning experience and don’t remove them from future consideration for your next book. Do embrace the ones who are interested.
- Do Your Research of your targeted book blogs, podcasts, radio programs, etc. Make sure they are interested in literary works and, in particular, your topic. Put these potential visits in a list (some people use a spreadsheet, but use whatever works best for you).
- Get to Know Them. Visit and make appropriate comments on blogs, etc. Keep detailed notes on their characteristics (not all are the same).
- Book Your Tour. This is very important: Do not use mass emails in seeking to book your tour. Write to each separately keeping your request short, to the point, and respectful. This is a great time to show them that you are familiar with their blog, podcast, etc. And perhaps most important convey to them why you are a perfect fit for their audience.
- Prepare! Know your subject.If you can arrange for the questions and answers before your appearance, do so. Most will accommodate you or suggest it themselves because it makes them, as well as you look good.
- Stand. If you are talking to someone experts recommend (and I have found it to be true) that you think better when on your feet.
- Keep emotions in check! I have done interviews where I felt I really flopped and I have done interviews where I thought I nailed it. The idea here is not to get overly down or up. Once it is done it is done. Move on!
- Pray! This is listed last only because it is most important. Pray before, during, and after. If you know Christ as your Savior He is interested in your success – especially if you are doing what He wants you to do. So Pray.
But don’t end there. If you have your own blog write articles about your book. Make use of Social Media and enjoy yourself.
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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. Also subscribe to his blog.