The days of book tours are dead and gone. It’s a rare author who spends time and money going from city to city to do signings or encourage shoppers in physical book stores to purchase a new release.
It’s even more rare to find a publisher who will put funds into this type of promotion. Today, book tours, like everything else, have gone virtual.
What Is a Virtual Book Tour?
When you go on a “virtual” or “online” book tour, you can stay in the comfort of your home but hop virtually from blog to blog, podcast to podcast, and social media event to social media event to meet your target audience in cyberspace.
This means you can make 30 stops or more in a month and expose yourself and your book to people from all over the world.
A virtual book tour can include:
- Writing guest blog posts
- Getting your book reviewed by a blogger
- Having an excerpt of your book featured on a blog
- Being interviewed by a blogger (by email initially)
- A Google Hangout interview
- A podcast interview
- An internet radio interview
- An actual radio interview
- A webinar event
- A twitterchat event
- A Facebook party or event
Blog Tour vs. Virtual Book Tour
A difference exists between a “virtual book tour” and what has been called a “blog tour.” A blog tour includes just blogs. It’s that simple really. You don’t visit any social media sites or get involved in podcasts or radio or anything else.
What you do on this type of tour is quite similar, though. You might:
- Write guest blog posts
- Get your book reviewed
- Have an excerpt of your book featured
- Be interviewed
10 Reasons to Go on a Virtual Tour
Here’s my list of 10 reasons to go on a virtual book tour:
1. Increase Your Visibility
A virtual book tour will increase your visibility as well as the visibility of your book, your blog or your business. If your posts or interviews appear on 30 different sites, people will start to say, “I see you everywhere.”
2. Reach New Audiences
A virtual book tour will introduce you, your book, your blog, and your business to a different, hopefully larger, audience in your target market, the audience of the blogger who hosts your post.
3. Find New Target Markets
A virtual book tour can introduce you, your book, your blog, and your business to an audience in a new target market.
4. Become Easily Discoverable
A virtual book tour can make you, your book, your blog, and your business more discoverable. The more mentions on the internet, the more times search engines like Google catalog these, making it easier for people to find you, your book, your blog, and your business.
5. Build Your Mailing List
A virtual book tour can help you build your mailing list. At the end of each one of your guest blog posts or interviews you can provide an incentive for readers (or listeners) to visit your blog and sign up of your mailing list. You can then contact these subscribers, which means you have a second opportunity to mention your book.
6. Increase Your Traffic
A blog or virtual book tour can attract more visitors to your blog or website, where you book is featured prominently. If your posts and interviews always include a bio with a link to or the URL of your website or blog, people will click on it to find out more about you.
7. Get More Followers
A blog or virtual book tour can help you build your social networks. If you are allowed to include another link in your bio, such one to Twitter or Facebook, you can gain new followers. Often a blog post will include your Twitter handle at the beginning of the post with the announcement that it is a guest post.
8. Sell More Books
A blog or virtual book tour can help you sell more books. If you include a cover image of your book, mention your book or hyperlink to a site where the book is for sale, people will click through to purchase.
9. Get Media Attention
A blog or virtual book tour can help you attract more media attention. The more visible and discoverable you are on the internet, and the more you appear to be the expert on a topic, the more likely it is that the media will call on you when they need an authority. They look to Google for their sources.
10. Become (and Stay) a Bestseller
A blog or virtual book tour can help you become a bestseller. Many authors conduct these on one day to become an Amazon bestseller for a day or an hour. However, doing one for a month or two can make you a bestseller for much longer.
Online Book Tour Tips
When Writer’s Digest Books released my book, How to Blog a Book: Write, Publish, and Promote Your Work One Post at a Time, in 2012, I went on a virtual book tour. I did another one five months later.
When my second book, The Author Training Manual: Develop Marketable Ideas, Craft Books That Sell, Become the Author Publishers Want, and Self-Publish Effectively, was released by the same publisher, I planned two back-to-back virtual book tours. I’ve learned some things in the process.
A virtual book tour, or a blog tour, requires creativity. You must repeat the same or similar information about yourself and your book as you devise many post ideas and write them and answer the same questions repeatedly (in different ways) for interviews.
Always keep in mind the purpose behind this activity: to sell books! And know that those posts will help promote your book forever; the links remain active unless the blogger removes the post for some reasons.
A virtual book tour requires your attention. It’s possible to get help with a blog tour. A variety of companies are available to organize and run your tour. However, no matter how you decide to plan your tour and run it, you will need to put a ton of time and attention into it.
Just the front end—the writing of the posts, the answering the interview questions, the scheduling of events, and the showing up at events—request a huge time commitment.
You also have to check on the different blogs to reply to reader comments and promote each post on your social media channels. If you don’t have a social media package, or hire someone to help with social media, you also need to allot time for this task.
After doing one tour on my own, I hired help the second time around to organize the tour. The third time, I also hired social media help. I highly recommend considering not doing it all by yourself or using tools such as SocialOomph.com to help you promote your posts.
A successful tour requires stops at high-traffic sites. Don’t waste your time on a tour that takes you to many small sites without a lot of unique visitors. I made this mistake recently, although I knew better.
Also, don’t stop at blogs whose readers aren’t that interested in your book; this won’t garner you many sales. One strategy relies on going to fewer sites (maybe just for a day or two) but focusing only on ones with huge numbers of readers. Another relies on a week or two of stops at high-traffic sites. Yet another would have you go to high-traffic sites for a month.
Now…a stop at any site is better than no stops anywhere when you think about it, right? So if you don’t have contacts with many other bloggers or don’t have the money to hire someone to do a blog tour for you, then start where you can. That said, it only costs about $300 for a professional blog tour.
In addition to these three tips, here are five more:
- Set aside time to write the many additional blog posts requested and to answer the questions for the numerous interviews.
- Stay organized to keep track of what material is due and on what dates.
- Have a system in place to promote your posts on social media sites.
- Consider getting help to organize the tour or to promote it.
- Prepare yourself—have the right mindset—so you can power through.
How to Track the Effectiveness of Your Tour
It’s easy to see the correlation between your tour and your book sales. Keep an eye on your Amazon Author Central account during your tour. For each stop, watch to see if your book’s rank on Amazon changes during that day. At the end of each week, see if you’ve garnered more sales than usual or simply how many sales you’ve made.
A virtual book tour can be a powerful tool for an author. Don’t just use it after your book release—do a tour whenever you want to increase sales.
To learn more about Nina, visit www.ninaamir.com. Get a FREE 5-Day Become a Published Author Series from her when you click here.
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Nina Amir, bestselling author of How to Blog a Book and The Author Training Manual, transforms writers into inspired, successful authors, authorpreneurs and blogpreneurs. Known as the Inspiration to Creation Coach, she moves her clients from ideas to finished books as well as to careers as authors by helping them combine their passion and purpose so they create products that positively and meaningfully impact the world.