Originally published on: All About Writing: http://allaboutwritingcourses.com/2014/07/25/from-indie-to-published-everything-in-between-the-strange-new-phenomenon-the-book-blog-tour/
The Legacy Blog Tour started this week. This two month long, whirlwind tour was put together by my publisher and required extensive planning and administration. This new phenomenon of the virtual book tour is proving a very effective promotional tool in creating book awareness and boosting book sales, particularly in the eBook market, so long as the execution lives up to the concept.
Nobody can dispute the power of social media. The digital age is well and truly upon us, and anyone who digs their heels in and clings to the old ways will be left “holding the bag”. But where to start? Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr…the list is endless and can be very daunting, particularly for those of us who are not exactly “techno-savvy”.
In the publishing world, physical book tours are expensive, time-consuming and sadly, too often just not worth it. This is tragic, because as an author, there is nothing better than being able to interact with your readers. Virtual book tours enable you to do this, without the disadvantages presented by their “physical” counterparts.
Virtual book tours are a valuable promotional tool for authors to connect with readers via well-read book blogs and speciality blogs. In my opinion – Bloggers are the new “Oprah”. In the same way that a new mum would subscribe to a “baby” blog site to gain helpful tips and enter online competitions, so do readers flock to these book blogs, to get book recommendations and interact with their favourite authors. Book bloggers bridge the gap between reader and writer, and can single-handedly bump a book’s sales rank by thousands of places.
A book tour is even more successful, and involves a number of blog stops over a period of time. Tour stops may consist of an author Q&A, a character interview, book review, author guest blog – the possibilities are endless. Almost all of the work is done in advance, when the tour schedule is being put together. The author will prepare material ahead of time and then “show up” on the allocated day, to interact with any visitors and respond to any comments.
A virtual book tour is not restricted by time or place, and an international, world-wide tour can be co-ordinated from your PC. Even if it involves the author waking up at 2 am to attend a tour stop, as a result of different time zones.
Book bloggers expect no financial compensation for hosting you on their site, although they prefer to promote work that they have reviewed and would recommend, in order that they do not lose credibility. Due to the rise in popularity of book blog tours, many of these hosts are inundated with requests. They do it simply because they love to read, and the one perk of being a tour host is that they receive advanced reading copies, enabling them to indulge in their favourite pastime at no cost.
Setting up a tour is no easy feat. It is a logistical nightmare and requires a lot of planning. Most of the work is done in advance. Here are 6 “easy” steps to setting up a successful tour:
- Decide on tour dates. Tours can be anything from 1 week to 3 months. Give yourself enough time to secure tour hosts and prepare information – you don’t want to have empty slots in your tour schedule.
- Secure tour hosts: Contact bloggers and ask if they would be prepared to host a spot on your tour. Be sure to research their blog sites and take note of the genre they prefer. A reader of romance is not likely to enjoy your “horror” novel. Always follow their submission guidelines and always be polite.
- Set up a tour schedule: Once you have bloggers on board, you can prepare your tour schedule. Think of this as an itinerary, showing where you will be on what date, and what sort of post is scheduled.
- Attend to all pre-tour material: Bloggers will advise you what they would like to feature, whether it is a book trailer, author interview, character interview, book excerpt, etc. They will send you their questionnaires and requests for material. Attend to each and confirm they have received everything.
- Promote your tour: Promote your tour through your own social media channels, and invite guests to follow the tour as it progresses.
- Show up and interact: Make sure you visit your scheduled hosts during the duration of your tour, to interact with any readers and thank your host. Remember, you may want to make use their services again in the future.
For more information on virtual book tours, and to watch how the process unfolds, feel free to follow The Legacy Blog Tour. You can find the schedule on the website. The tour runs from the 21st July until the 19th September, with over 76 stops along the way.