A popular way to promote your book is to do a book tour. But with limited time and money, many authors opt to forgo touring to physical locations and choose a virtual tour.
Virtual book tours (VBT) usually consist of book reviews, author interviews, guest posts and book excerpts on various blogs. But anytime an author talks about his or her book without being physically present (phone, webcast or blog) it can be considered part of a VBT.
A VBT is designed to promote your book. Note I said promote not increase sales. A VBT can get your names out in front of people and help you build a relationship with readers and potential readers. In turn this should increase your sales, but it is sometimes hard to see a direct correlation between the two. What you are hoping to do is get your information in front of as many people as possible.
As an author, you can schedule your own tour or hire someone to do it for you.
Setting up your own virtual book tour takes commitment, and you need to be very organized. You can find bloggers to host you by visiting blogs that feature your genre. Or you can post on various boards such as the ones on World Literary Café to connect with bloggers who would be interested in hosting you.
You want to look for blogs with high-traffic volume and preferably ones with followers who read your genre. The hardest part is finding enough bloggers to fill up your tour dates. Some blogs (like my own) fill up quickly and need to be booked months in advanced.
If you don’t have the time to set one up yourself, there are many companies that will coordinate one for you. The prices can range from inexpensive ($30) to expensive ($1000+) depending on which company you use and how long of a tour you choose to have.
This past June I did a 20-stop tour organized through Goddess Fish Promotions. I will say four weeks is a long time, and it did take a lot of work before the tour writing guest posts and answering interview questions. On most of the blogs, I had good reader participation, and many people expressed interest in my book.
Now I don’t know if a VBT is worth it. My VBT didn’t really increase my sales during that time. But as I said, you are doing it for exposure, and I can definitely say I got that. I would say that one of the biggest benefits of a virtual tour is that interested readers can access your book tour “stops” months or even years later.