Imagine if you will:
You’ve published your novel. Your mom, sister and best friend have purchased it. Your cousin smiled and asked for a free copy while your neighbor has studiously avoided you since you announced your happy news.
Your sales report from KDP is nothing short of humbling.
You’ve checked into several options and seeing as how your marketing budget is quite limited. You’ve decided to take your book on tour – a virtual tour.
Before you go any further, before you sign on the dotted line, let me share a little of my experience as both a touring author and hosting blogger…
Close your eyes and picture yourself sitting at a table in your favorite bookstore. There’s a line of people eager to meet you, patiently waiting for you to sign their copy of your novel. Of course, you smile. You schmooze. You pull out your trusty pen and you sign your name with a flourish – just as you’ve practiced so many times before.
Now: Open your eyes and let’s talk about your virtual book tour. Because while they are much the same, they are uniquely different. Instead of a line of people physically standing in front of you, there will be countless people sitting in front of their computer screens.
First: Do your homework. Make sure that the tour organizer you’ve selected is a good fit for your book. This is easy enough to figure out. Sometimes, you can tell just by the name. (ex: Deb’s Chic Lit Tours) Other times, the name won’t give you a clue. (ex: Deb’s Virtual Book Tours) This is when you need to look at the books that are currently touring and those that have previously toured. Is your book’s genre well represented? If so, go a step further. Visit the host sites. Note the visits/interaction on the site or the lack there of. Remember: It’s up to each individual blogger to sign up to host your book. There’s no guarantee that you’re going to be featured on a site with heavy traffic. However, a blogger who wants to increase their traffic is going to do their best to help generate views by sharing the post on various social media sites.
Next: After you’ve selected your tour organizer – you will receive requests for book excerpts, author interviews and guest posts. Meet the requirements. If a blogger is willing to participate with your tour, offering you space on his/her blog – then kindly oblige with the requested guest post or interview.
Finally: This is important. Be selective in the dates you choose as tours are time consuming. Just like with a face to face book signing, virtual book tours require that the author be present. This can get tricky especially when juggling jobs, families and other obligations.
On occasion, I participate with virtual book tours as a host. What I’ve seen has left me scratching my head. I share a post featuring the author and their novel. My readers comment with things like: This sounds interesting! Or Sounds like my kind of book!
And the author’s response:
Seriously? Potential readers are being ignored.
While the author has paid for the tour, he/she must remember that is more of an organizational fee. It isn’t the hosts job to sell your book. The hosts offer you, the author, a seat at the table, a place at the podium, a little time in the spotlight. But – it’s up to the you to take advantage of the opportunity.
How? That’s easy:
*Stop by and thank the host for having you on their blog. (You may have to get up a little earlier than usual to make that early morning visit.)
*Check in periodically through out the day. (Lunch, breaks, after work)
*Share the post on your social media sites.
*Enlist the help of family and friends by asking them to follow your tour and share the posts.
*AND FOR GOODNESS SAKE – Acknowledge the comments! Those comments were made by people who found something interesting about the book, interview, etc. Failing to do so isn’t any different than getting up and walking away from that table in your favorite book store, paying no attention to those folks in line.
Don’t forget – The people who take the time to read the posts and comment are potential book buyers…
And ultimately, isn’t that the point of doing a virtual book tour?