This post is the sixtieth post in a series about writing a novel. You can check out the list of past topics at the end of this post.
A popular way to promote your book is to do a book tour. In the technology world where books are now often e-books only, the book tours are now virtual.
Virtual book tours (VBT), also called book blog tours or virtual author tours, usually consist of book reviews, author interviews, guest posts and book excerpts on various blogs or podcasts over a set time frame.
A VBT is designed to generate interest in your book. A VBT can get your name in front of people and help you build a relationship with your readers and potential readers. In turn this should increase your sales, but often it is hard to see a direct correlation between the two. What you are hoping to do is get your name and books 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 writer or blogger boards 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 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.
Either way, expect to spend quite a bit of time writing guest posts or answering interview questions.
What to look for in a book tour service
First, check out their stats. If their site ranks in the millions on Alexa, it means they get very little traffic. (The lower the number the better. Numbers in the hundreds of thousands are good.)
Next, check to see who is on their list of bloggers. How many bloggers are listed? (Make sure it’s a lot.) Go to those sites and check how many followers they have. This may be time consuming, but if the blog sites have few followers, it will do you little good to have them post an interview or review.
How effective is a virtual book tour?
That depends entirely on where reviews, spotlights, and interviews are posted. Highly trafficked sites will be more effective than sites with just a few followers. If you plan it right, a book tour that includes influential sites can create considerable buzz. The difficulty many Indie authors face is that they don’t have the time it takes to research well-trafficked sites. And, of course, tours require some planning. You may need to start booking two to three months in advance of your book’s release date.
How long should a blog tour last?
In general, the length of the book tour is determined by the number of hosts. Ideally, you want one or two bloggers a day to be talking about your book. That means a 1-week tour may have between 7 and 14 bloggers. A 2-week tour would have 14–28. The reason you don’t want everyone talking about your book at once is that, just like a conversation, it will be impossible for readers to pay attention. On the internet, too much simultaneous talk looks like spam, which people routinely tune out.
Whether you plan it yourself or hire someone, a virtual book tour can only help build your exposure which you can hope will turn into sales.
#45 – Pricing your e-book
#50 – Marketing your E-book