Book tours are a staple in promoting new books in the publishing world. An author is expected to travel to dozens (and sometimes well over 100) locations to promote their book, sign copies, and speak to fans. This is a tiring process which can yield only a few dozen copies sold at some locations. Many successful authors and book publishers are finding that virtual book tours can yield very effective results that challenge the common held belief that you must do a physical book tour.
Holding a virtual book tour is similar to a physical book tour: the author “stops” by several blogs or Web sites over the course of several days or weeks to promote their book. The website gets exposure and the author can sell copies of his books while building a platform. There are several methods you can use to achieve this from taking over blogging for a day to interacting with website visitors in chat, but we believe a live event is the best way to perform a virtual book tour.
We’ve put together these tips to help you with your next virtual book tour:
- Become actively involved in your virtual community. There is likely a thriving community for whatever your book topic is – get involved! People within these communities do not like to have people swoop in and swoop out just for their own benefit, you need to start responding on forums, via comments on blogs, and in social networking such as Twitter or Facebook. If you’re a fake, the virtual book tour won’t work – reach out to people in the virtual community and invest in them first.
- Be prepared to invest some time in people. Your virtual book tour will be successful if you invest in others in the process of building towards your events. Offer to write guest blog posts for people for nothing in return; answer questions in popular forums and answer sites; offer free consulting for non-profit organizations in the area of your specialty.
- Don’t go after just the big boys. There is a disparity between the big bloggers and small ones in every niche area. As you design your plan for the virtual book tour, pay attention to the “medium” sized blog sites – these may grow to be big sites in the future and your attention to them when they were small will pay off for future events.
- Pick specific areas to talk about. Live events are disasters if you don’t focus narrowly a few topics. For example, I worked with an author of a business negotiation book to hold a live event. We focused on negotiation topics relevant to our audience on a specific blog such as negotiating a pay raise, how to negotiate contracts with vendors, and negotiating to a win-win. Pick five topics for your live event and publicize these.
- Keep the event moving. You should keep an event dynamic and moving and not focus too much time on each question. Your audience will stay tuned in if your event is exciting and fast paced. We always recommend clients give away items every 15 minutes during an event and to keep promoting the giveaways throughout the event. This will keep people tuned in to win prizes.
Virtual book tour live events are a great way to promote your next book or your business.