by Dana Lynn Smith
Virtual book tours (also called blog tours) typically involve making guest appearances on book review sites or on blogs, websites, and/or forums that are related to the topic or audience of your book. You can even do teleseminars, podcasts, or live interviews on Blog Talk Radio as part of your tour.
Virtual tours have several advantages over the traditional in-person book tour:
- It's free (unless you hire someone to organize the tour) and there's no time or money spent on travel.
- You can generally reach far more people and reach a more targeted audience.
- A virtual tour provides quality, lasting links to your own author website.
Look for tour hosts that are a good fit for your book and provide unique content to each host. Here are some suggestions for content:
- virtual interviews, where your host asks questions and you respond
- how-to articles in your area of expertise
- excerpts from your book
- articles about how you developed the plot or characters for a novel
- book reviews written by the tour host
- podcasts or teleseminars
- video or blog radio interviews with you
- book promotion videos
- articles about how you published the book or what you're doing to market it
Make the tour more interactive by encouraging readers to make comments or ask questions. Sometimes the host will ask readers for questions in advance.
You can create buzz by giving away a free copy of your book or a related item at some of the tour stops. For example, invite people to make a comment on your guest blog post, then hold a drawing to give away a free copy of your book to someone randomly selected from those who left comments. But the downside of giving away your book during the tour is that some people might wait to see if they win, instead of ordering the book. Instead, you might give away a copy of one of your other books or offer a free ebook to everyone.
Virtual book tours are ideal for launching a new book, but even if your book has been out for a while, a virtual tour can book create buzz and bring in sales.
Tours typically last 5 to 20 consecutive days, with a different tour stop each day or every other day. If you want to do a long tour, you might schedule a 10-day tour and then do a second tour a month or two later.
Get step-by-step instructions for planning your own virtual book tour in my guidebook, Virtual Book Tour Magic.