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Pantsers Guide to Virtual Book Tours
Virtual Book Tour Giveaway Tip
When you are planning a giveaway consider your audience. Are the entrants within your country, or will it be world-wide? If you choose the world-wide option make sure you can afford it! Shipping books and swag can be costly.
One option for world-wide giveaways is to offer e-books only to individuals outside of your country. This will save you money if you are budget conscious, but will still let you include fans around the world.
What is a Virtual Book Tour
If you haven't heard of virtual book tours, you're missing out on one of the best promotional tools for self-published and traditionally published books!
A virtual book tour has 3 components:
- Book promoting bloggers will showcase your work for one day and promote it through their social networking channels.
- Authors may be given an opportunity to do an interview, guest post, or in some cases a book review from a blogger on the tour.
- The tour promoter will promote your book each day of the tour through their social networking channels.
An optional component of a virtual book tour is a giveaway. While they aren't required, it is a great way to find new readers and have even more people share the word about your book tour. A giveaway often includes copies of your book (ebook or hard copy) and swag. Swag is additional items you may give away, such as book marks, post cards, t-shirts, or anything else you think would appeal to your fan base.
Choosing a Virtual Book Tour Host
Choosing a virtual book Tour Host is very important to the success of marketing your book. If you choose the wrong promoter, your book may not find its audience.
If you are new to virtual book promotions you may think that all virtual tours are created equal. Generally speaking, they aren't, and here's why: Anyone can be a book promoter, but not all of them have the same resources. Their resources are what will make or break your promotion. If they don't have access to book bloggers in your genre, your tour will generate very little interest and few sales.
What to look for:
- A tour host that can offer lots of bloggers in your specific genre. For example, if you write romance novels, find a promoter who specializes in them. Choosing a tour host who primarily promotes zombie books will be a huge waste of time and money for you.
- Tour hosts that have a large following. Their Twitter follower numbers are also a good indication. If you don't know what their numbers are, ask. You have a right to know because you'll be shelling out hard-earned money for this promotion.
- Take the time to check out a few of the book tours the tour host is currently promoting. Are the book bloggers doing a good job? What do the book bloggers follower numbers look like? These bloggers will be promoting you, so make sure you are comfortable with them too.
- Have an understanding with the tour host about book reviews and interviews if that is what you would like to see on the book blogs.
- The cost of the tour is in line with what is being offered from the tour host. While it isn't always easy getting bloggers in line for a book tour, there isn't an overwhelming amount of administrative work on the part of the tour host either. If someone wants to charge you several hundred dollars for a one-week book tour, they had better have some star power among the book bloggers that would be promoting your book.
How to Locate a Tour Host
Use your favorite search engine to locate a tour host. Popular search terms include: virtual book tours, virtual book tour hosts, romance virtual book tour, non-fiction virtual tours, mystery virtual tours, etc. Try to choose search terms that include your genre to help narrow down your choices.
When to Start Promoting Your Book
How to Prepare for a Virtual Book Tour
You've selected a Tour Host and now you're ready to get down to the brass tacks of the venture. The following are things you should have ready before you sign up for the tour:
Author Photo and Bio: Readers want to learn more about you! Include interesting facts, a few projects you've completed or are working on, and where you are located. While a photo isn't necessary, readers really like to see them. It can be a candid photo, but carefully consider using a selfie as they usually aren't quality photos. High resolution photos are best.
Summary: This should be a brief summary of your book. You can use the one on the back cover of your book.
Excerpt: An excerpt is a section of your book that you think is exciting for a reader. Try to keep it relatively short- five paragraphs at most, unless you're including some dialogue in-between.
Buy links: Where is your book being sold? Hopefully you are selling it on more than one website. Include all of the links where it is being sold.
Virtual Book Tour Expectations
Every author has their own goals when it comes to book promotion, but there are some basic expectations everyone has: sell books and get your name out there.
Other expectations an author may have include:
- Book reviews - this may include book reviews on the blog as well as the blogger posting them in various places, such as GoodReads, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, etc. Check with the Tour Host to see what they expect of their bloggers in regards to book reviews, including what they will do if a book blogger simply hates your book.
- Social Networking - a book blogger may use a variety of social media networks to share information about their recent blog post about your book. These shares might include Twitter, FaceBook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, as well as a wide variety of others.
- Interviews - these are often requested well ahead of the book blogger's schedule. If you agree to an interview, make sure you get these back to the blogger ASAP or you may run the risk of it not appearing on their blog at all. Interviews are a great way to introduce yourself to scores of new readers, so definitely consider doing one.
Watch Out for Blog Comment Trolls
If you are an author, odds are you've come across some trolls in the comments section of blogs about your book, or where you sell your book. This is even more bothersome for self-published authors.
As you check the comments on your blog tour stops be sure to answer any questions and thank readers who have complimented you. Avoid the negative comments like the plague. Engaging trolls in a war of words doesn't win points for you (even if you are right and incredibly witty), and it gives them 15 minutes of fame that they don't deserve.
What to do at the End of the Tour
There are several things that you should do at the end of the tour:
- Thank each blogger. This should be done at each blog stop, preferably each day or at the very least the end of the tour. Visit each blog and post a "Thank You" in the comments section of your book promotion. Make sure you check the comments section for additional information readers may have left you. The readers may have left a compliment or a question for you!
- Collect giveaway information and announce the winners. How a giveaway is done (i.e. Rafflecopter) or through any other means is up to you and/or the tour host. Readers generally expect the winners to be announced shortly after a blog tour, so don't leave them hanging!
- Email your tour host and let them know how you think things went, and any problems you had along the way. They can't make things better if they don't know about issues you've had. Some tour hosts send out questionnaires after the tour, and they may also offer discounts for future book tours if you complete the questionnaire.