By the way, at the end of the post are the winners of J.L. Campbell’s newest book, DON’T GET MAD…GET EVEN.
And now here's Nas!
This traditional type of tour is expensive, and very few publishing companies are willing to pay for them. But now authors have a new method of "touring the world," the virtual book tour.
Virtual book tours—also known as virtual author tours, guest blogging, blog tours or VBTs—are a simple concept. The author tours various blogs and sites that pertain to a theme in the book or to writing in general. This way, you can potentially reach thousands of avid readers each tour day from the privacy of your office or home.
When Michelle asked me to do a post about virtual book tours, I decided in turn to ask these authors to contribute their views. Christina Hollis is a published author with Harlequin Mills & Boon whose latest release, THE WEIGHT OF THE CROWN, came out in September. Helen Lacey is a debut author whose book MADE FOR MARRIAGE is scheduled for release from Harlequin Special Editions in January. Lynne Marshall is a multi-published author with HM&B; her latest release, ONE FOR THE ROAD, was released by The Wild Rose Press in July, and her upcoming release, COURTING HIS FAVORITE NURSE, is scheduled for release in January from Harlequin Special Editions.
Nas: Why did you decide to do a virtual book blog tour?
Helen: I decided to do the blog tour because I wanted maximum exposure for my debut novel.
Lynne Marshall: I chose a virtual book tour because I have a debut book coming out with a different line at Harlequin Special Edition. My other books are with Medical Romance, and I wanted to alert my readers that they could find me in another line as well. I also want to make a favorable impression with my editors at Special Edition.
Nas: How long you think should a tour last for?
Helen: For series novels I think a couple of weeks would be enough to capture the interest of readers. For mainstream, I think the tour could go as long as a month.
Lynne Marshall: For me, I wouldn't want to go longer than two months.
Nas: Please tell us the difference between VBTs and actual book signings.
Helen: Not sure Nas. Have to think about that one. :)
Lynne Marshall: VBTs are limitless with whom they reach. I've noticed global participation in my guest blogs. A book signing is confined to the immediate community. Though both events may bring in new readers, there is a big difference in the potential numbers.
Nas: Your views on book reviews?
Christina: I think they're vital. Word of mouth is one of the most important tools in the business of bringing enjoyment to the widest possible audience. I've lost count of the number of books I've fallen in love with after a personal recommendation. Feedback from readers is indispensable for an author, too. Everyone loves good reviews but criticism—as long as it's constructive—is useful too.
Helen: I read book reviews every month, and this helps me decide what books I'll buy each month. I also take note of what books my favorite authors have coming out.
Lynne Marshall: I would like to think that reviews make a difference, though I am not sure. If I saw a lot of two- or three-star reviews for a book, I might think twice about purchasing it as compared to another four- or five-star book in the same vein. The other day, an unusual review of my current eBook caused someone on my Romance Writers of America chapter loop to say, "I was thinking about buying this book. Now I know I will." I noticed my Amazon sales went up that day too. So you never know if that sale was directly related to that review or if it were coincidence.
So there you have it friends. Everything you always wanted to know and from the authors perspective.
This kind of author tour is now becoming all the rage. Some bookstores are no longer allowing authors to do book signings. Limited space and time constraints are the common reasons. Plus, it just isn't time efficient and financially feasible for most authors to do the physical cross-country bookstore tour. Well, unless you are one of the super authors that get paid the big bucks, like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling.
Planning a VBT is time consuming, but not that difficult. But pressed for time you might decide that hiring someone to coordinate the tour is best. Do what's right for you.
|Wendy S. Marcus|
Nas: Why did you decide to do a Virtual Book Blog Tour?
Wendy: As a new author, I knew it was important to get my name and the name of my book out there. A VBT gave me the opportunity to connect/interact with readers I never would have had access to.
Nas: Did it work for the genre you were promoting? What's your view on a book tour working for other genres?
Wendy: I think as long as your VBT takes you to readers who read in your genre or who are receptive to trying something new, any author can benefit from a VBT. I can't tell you how many times I've purchased a book from an author I'd never heard of before as a result of their visit to a blog I frequent.
Nas: Was your tour successful?
Wendy: At this point it's hard to tell how my blog tour affected my sales because I have not yet received my first royalty statement. But based on Amazon rankings in the UK, my two-in-one, which includes a complete novel by Janice Lynn, is doing fabulously. If I base judging my VBT success on an increase in visits to my Web site, an increase in likes on my author Facebook page and an increase in my friends on Twitter, then yes, my VBT was extremely successful. And as a side note, I continue to keep in touch with many of the wonderful readers/writers who visited me on my blog tour.
Nas: What would you change about it?
Wendy: One thing I would change was the timing of my blog tour. As a new author I got excited and I didn't do enough research into when exactly my books would be available for sale. As a result, my U.S. Kindle edition did not go up for pre-order until mid-July when I was already more than half done with my VBT. That was extremely frustrating! If you connect with someone who is interested in purchasing your book, you need to be sure it's available for them to purchase!
Nas: Do you think you got value for your money?
Wendy: I think I got a tremendous value for my money because of whom I scheduled my blog tour with. Nas Dean gave me personalized service. She answered my many questions and helped me with numerous technical problems. Blog tours can be stressful, especially if you're working on your next book. Nas took that stress away by handling the submission of my blogs to the blog hostesses and handling any problems that arouse. And she tracked all the visitors on my tour, which was an unbelievable help when it came time to choose the winner of my contest for the person who visited me on the most stops on my tour.
Nas: Awww, thank you, Wendy! And all your posts were so interesting and intriguing; by the way, links to all of Wendy's posts are on Wendy S. Marcus—Author Page under LEARN WITH WENDY and SHARE WITH WENDY.
Nas: What about the duration of your tour?
Wendy: I did 30 stops in four months. In all honesty, I think this is too much. By the time I was done I felt totally burnt out, as I'd written my third book at the same time. It's important to keep in mind that if you're at a busy blog with lots of traffic (where you want to be) you have to give yourself lots of time to respond to your commenters and get good conversations going.
Nas: Recently you did a book signing at your local library. Tell us a little about the difference between a VBT and actual book signings.
Wendy: The book signings I did were at two local libraries, and it was mostly my friends in attendance. A VBT allowed me to interact with hundreds of people around the world, which is important since Mills and Boon Medical Romance has an international audience.
Nas: Well, there you have it! The goal of marketing your book is to expose it to as many people as possible in an exciting, cost-effective and entertaining way. Guest blogging can achieve that goal. Most blogs are archived, so your post becomes permanent and often viral, spreading from site to site. That is leverage. You are in essence leveraging your Internet presence and duplicating yourself with every VBT stop. Your blog tour is working for you even while you sleep. Try doing that at a bookstore signing!
HOW TO ORGANIZE A VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR
Start planning at least one month before you want to begin and never before your book is available for sale. I suggest you allow one month when planning a two-week tour and six weeks for a one-month tour. It takes time to get the hosts lined up and on board, and you don't want to short change yourself.
Determine the length of your book tour—one week, two weeks or a month.
For more information, visit Romance Book Paradise or check out the page Why Book a Virtual Blog Tour?
Thank you, Michelle, for giving me the chance to talk about book promotions today!
Thank you, Nas, Christine, Helen, Lynne and Wendy for taking time to share these excellent insider tips.
BOOK GIVEAWAY WINNERS
The winners of an eBook version of J.L. Campbell’s latest novel, DON’T GET MAD…GET EVEN, are Jeanne Bannon and Jennifer Hillier. Congratulations, and thank you again to everyone who participated!
UPDATE: Because Jeanne already has a copy of Joy's book, she asked that her good luck be payed forward. Random.org has selected Sarah Pearson of Empty White Pages as the new winner. Congratulations, Sarah!