(From D’vorah: In this article, Sara shares her insights and hands-on tips, based on her own virtual book tour. you’ll want to take notes as these strategies can help you expand your reach and make the most of your own virtual book tour. To learn more about virtual book tours, check out our training program on the topic at: www.VirtualBookTourChallenge.com)
Enjoy this informative article by Sara F. Hathaway
Congratulations! You finished your book and it is ready to sell. If you haven’t noticed so have a lot of other people. As a talented author do you have the marketing skills and understanding of the marketplace that you need to sky rocket your hard work to success? The answer I hear is usually an overwhelming no! How will you stand apart from all these other authors and expand your network so that your baby will get the attention it deserves?
There was a time when you would have had to pack up your car with boxes of books and begin driving from book store to coffee shop to book store to coffee shop. Well, not any more! Taking the time to prepare a Virtual Book Tour can give you all the skills you need to gain traction in the marketplace.
So, what is a Virtual Book Tour? With the explosion of technology and information sharing, there are thousands of people on the Internet discussing (or blogging) about every topic you can imagine. A virtual book tour utilizes access to these specific audiences by highlighting the author and their book for a day on their “blog”. The blog owner can choose to post a guest blog written by the book’s author, write their own review and do an author interview or collaborate with the author on a joint project. The author receives the attention from the blog’s followers and the blog author receives new attention from the author’s fans that are following them, virtually, on their tour. Both participants receive a lot of positives from the experience.
Trust me the Virtual Book Tour works! I launched my first book, Day After Disaster, in June of 2014. When it was available on Amazon I watched eagerly to see the sales start to jump but they didn’t. I met D’vorah and took her Virtual Book Tour program. I launched my Virtual Book Tour for Day After Disaster in August of 2014. It wasn’t easy but I got enough blogs to feature my book for a total of three days a week, for four weeks in a row. I watched my sales rapidly increase. On the right you can see a snapshot of my Amazon number for the period I was running the Virtual Book Tour.
Now that you know what a book tour is and you are excited to make it work for you, it is time to find some blogs that will feature you on their site. Whether you are a non-fiction or fiction author there are lots of possibilities out there but you must know your niche. Who will want to read your book? Where do they go to get their news on that theme or new material to read? Now that you have found the blog, how do you get their attention?
Tips on Scheduling your Virtual Book Tour:
- Don’t be afraid to ask: Try to find some common ground with the owner of the blog you want to be featured on. Post helpful comments to their blog. Find them on Facebook and see if you have any friends in common. When it is time to contact them, carefully write your introduction so that the blog owner sees the benefit for them, featuring you will draw them more viewers. Remember don’t ever hesitate to ask. All they can say is no. In sales there is a saying: some will, some won’t, some wait, so what. Move on to the next site.
- Try to include a wide variety of blogs so content varies: No one will want to read an interview from you with a review of the book for multiple days. Create creative content to keep your audience engaged. Find a way to mold the theme of your post to the theme of the blog for a range of different types of blogs.
For example: My book’s main theme is survival but I can temper the content for self-help and self-growth sites by explaining how survival mindsets can be applied for peace in your daily life.
- Stay organized: You don’t want to annoy anyone by sounding needy so keep careful records of which blog owners you asked to participate and when. If they do not respond send one gentle reminder about a week later. If they still don’t respond move on. For the blogs that do want to feature you, record your contact person’s name and their email. Record the name of the blog and it’s URL. The more organized you are the easier life will be. Plus, you will be able to handle any little hiccups with ease.
- Use excellent communication skills: Keep communicating. Make sure you clearly inform the blog owner of the day you need the post to be posted on their site and get the link in advance of that day. Make sure your website and blog are prepared for people to visit. Create a page that details the schedule for your virtual book tour and provide a link on your home page. Visitors need to be able to clearly see where the information is and then how to travel with you. Nothing should need explaining, make it easy for them.
- Be ready to expand your email list along the way: By now you should be thinking about forming a long-term relationship with your readers. Getting their emails is key in this process. Develop a free giveaway in pdf format and upload it to your website. Then link your email sign up thank-you page to that pdf. Develop a signature line with a picture of you and let the readers know who you are and what gift they will receive for signing up for your newsletter. The signature line should be short and too the point. See below for the example of my signature line.
Now your website is ready for traffic. Your email signup message is ready to deliver. It is time to start the tour and market, market, market!
Tips for Marketing your Virtual Book Tour:
- Post to your own blog: Each day make a post to introduce your readers to the blog and entice them to visit with an interesting summary of your article. Do not post your article here, just let your readers know where you will be.
- Post your event on facebook: Once or twice a day max, you do not want to overwhelm your friends. Let them know where the tour is and what you will be discussing. Ask them a question to get a discussion going.
- Comment at the host’s blog: Do this early in the day and thank them for hosting. Then you can click to receive updates on the post to keep you informed of any new comments. Check back and discuss issues with commenters.
- Revisit sites you formally visited: Keep checking in now and again. People will keep reading even though you are not featuring it that day.
- Send the blog owner an email, thanking them: Ask for their address and send them a personal thank-you with a copy of your book. No one has to help you and the ones that do should know they are appreciated.
- Have fun! Virtual book tours are a lot of work to set up and keeping all that communication constant can be overwhelming so remember this is a celebration of your work. Enjoy it!
Day After Disaster’s Virtual Book Tour as an Example:
Website Schedule Page: http://www.authorsarafhathaway.com/#!virtual-book-tour/c88o
Virtual Book Tour Blog Summary: http://authorsarafhathaway.blogspot.com/2014/08/virtual-book-tour-for-sara-f-hathaways.html
About the Author
Sara F. Hathaway is the author of the The Changing Earth Series: Day After Disaster and Without Land. She also hosts The Changing Earth Podcast which blends her fictional stories with educational survival tips. Sara grew up in the country where she developed a profound interest in the natural world around her. After graduating with honors from The California State University of Sacramento with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, she launched into a career in business management.
In her fictional novels her research and experience with survival techniques and forgotten life-sustaining methods of the generations past come to the forefront in a action packed adventures. She has used her background in business management to pave new roads for fictional authors to follow and she delights in helping other achieve the same success. She currently lives with her husband and two sons in California where she is at work on the sequel to her first two novels. For more information and a free copy of “The Go-Bag Essentials” featuring everything you need to have to leave your home in a disaster visit: www.authorsarafhathaway.com