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By Dorothy Thompson, CEO & Founder of Pump Up Your Book
By now, most authors know what virtual book tours are or at least have heard of them. They’re that wonderful marketing tool that should be a must have in every new book’s campaign. With each new book I write, I’m making a game plan before the book is even published and a virtual book tour is the first promotional venue on that list.
While most of us know what they are, there are still a few new authors who might have heard of them but have no idea what they involve. I give you my top 10 things you need to know about virtual book tours so that you will know what to expect.
- Virtual book tours are the BEST way to get the MOST online exposure for your book. Not only are you presenting your book and yourself to thousands of people, all of your interviews, guest posts and reviews are archived which means months down the road, you’re still selling your book because of that one tour.
- Virtual book tours ARE a lot of work. Not only are you searching for the perfect blogs to host you, you are acting as the middle man between you and the blogger unless you are using a paid service such as Pump Up Your Book who will do all the work for you. Even if you do sign up with Pump Up Your Book, there is still lots of work to do completing assignments – filling out interviews and writing guest posts unless you choose an all review tour. Even though it requires a little bit of your time to fill out interviews and write guest posts, it’s well worth it.
- You will learn more about your book than you ever did. I had an author tell me that through the interviews and guest posts she had to complete, she never learned so much about her book which caught her off guard. Now when she is interviewed on radio shows and makes television appearances, she is better prepared.
- Virtual book tours will build up your author platform. No matter if you’re a fiction author or a nonfiction author, virtual book tours will build up your author platform using your key search words.
- Your reviews are guaranteed. Offline publicists while they mean well do it all wrong. They query a book blogger, make arrangements to send the book, then that’s where it stops. The review is not a guaranteed thing. The reviewer can post the review anytime they see fit. With virtual book tours, your review is guaranteed on a certain date unless the reviewer jumps ship which rarely happens. I had an author tell me she signed up with an offline publicist who sent out many books and only one or two reviewers actually came through for them. That was money loss for the author. Books don’t come cheap these days so coming up with a date you and the reviewer can agree upon guarantees that review will be a given thing.
- Many reviewers now take ebooks which save you money. Thank goodness someone was smart enough to invent a device that automatically loads a book in a few seconds (no waiting to go to the book store anymore my friend) and makes it fun to read. When Amazon lowered their price of the Kindle, sales soared and book lovers started talking about getting one. What that means is that it opened up a wonderful way to get these books to the book reviewers quickly and less expensively. Have you noticed how much books are and how much it takes to ship them? Not saying all reviewers will take ebooks, but as time goes on, most will have an e-reader and, as a matter of fact, will prefer an ebook.
- More website hits, more blog hits, more Twitter hits and more Facebook Fan Page hits. All authors should have a website or blog and accounts at Twitter and Facebook. No matter if you think they’re all a waste of time. A virtual book tour will definitely give you more hits at all places as long as your links are in your bio.
- Going on a virtual book tour raises your Alexa rankings. What is Alexa? Alexa measures how well you are doing in the search engines. By going on a virtual book tour, and including interviews and guest posts during that tour, your website and blog links are included in every bio (or should be!). Those are incoming links which Alexa uses to measure your ranking. The more your website or blog link shows up on other sites, the more valuable your site is to them and thus, your rankings soar.
- You will learn how to sell your book through media exposure. Not all authors take advantage of their interviews and guest posts by gearing them toward their audience, thus luring them to their book and/or website/blog. I’ve had many authors on tour and the ones who really take the time to make their interviews and guest posts effective selling tools are the ones who profit the most. The key thing here is to make your audience curious. One liners in the case of interviews may not cut it. Of course there are only so many ways you can answer “What’s your book about?” but take your time and get your audience’s curiosity peaked so that they do make your way over to your website or your book’s buying link.
- Virtual book tours teach you how to connect well with others. There is no better way to learn how to network. All these wonderful book bloggers who agree to host you are your new friends in your extended network and they will be there for you the next time you have a book to promote (unless they completely hated it of course). You’ll also learn how to use the social networks effectively as you study how to get people over to your stops by persuasive wording. Remember to talk to your audience, not at them.
There you have it. 10 reasons I feel you need to know about virtual book tours in a nutshell. If you have a tour coordinator as opposed to setting one up yourself, she will walk you through it so that it will be a fun experience for all. Your book will thank you for it.
Dorothy Thompson is CEO/Founder of Pump Up Your Book, an innovative public relations agency specializing in online book publicity. You can visit her website at www.PumpUpYourBook.com or follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pumpupyourbook and Facebook at www.facebook.com/pumpupyourbook.