Has anyone tried a virtual book tour? Instead of flying around the country, you "stop in" at other people's blogs and websites. You write guest blogs, you answer interview questions, and you map your tour so your supposed fan base can follow you on your trip around the web.

It sounds really fun to me--at the very least, it sounds free--and I think I'm going to give it a try this fall.

I'd love to hear from other people who have tried virtual tours. Where were some of your favorite "stops"? What would you do differently next time? Or would you never do one again? (Are they not worth the cost of their virtual plane fare?)

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Yes, I'd like some pointers, too.
I've been thinking of doing one for a while and probably will next year when my next book comes out. I'm all for online promotion and I think a VBT is the ticket these days! You'll get tons of more exposure than a traditional booksigning because no one hardly goes to in-store signings these days. With a VBT you can save money, have fun and the best part is that your "tour" stays archived on sites forever bringing you promotion long after the tour is over. People will always be able to read the blogs, sites or other things you visit and learn about the book.

I think many should take advantage. A tip I'd say is that you try to target sites and blogs in your genre. Zero in on the key niche of your book and target that. For example, I write crime stories and mysteries, BUT my books also have an Interracial Romance theme to them. Guess what I am targeting the most? The IR theme because this is my niche. This is what makes my crime/mystery books stand out above the rest. IR is a big seller, especially in the ebook market.

Anyway, zero in on ONE thing in your books that make them different. It's best not to just go with the mystery and crime theme because you need something that's gonna stand out. Once you pick out the key thing, make that your marketing element and target THOSE readers. If you have a detective novel and your MC is gay, then target the homosexual angle as your theme and market to readers who are specifically looking for books with gay characters.

I learned my lesson last time. I didn't zero in on the IR feature in my book. I promoted it on being a mystery and I should have zeroed in on something that made it stand out. I know I lost sales from that initially now I am promoting that book to the IR crowd and they are hungry for IR books! So next time around, it's the IR theme I'm promoting fully.

I hope my examples helped you. Just zero in on what makes your books stand out over other novels and take that one thing and work it to death promotionwise. Then base your VBT around that audience. That's the ticket.

Best Wishes!

Cool advice. Thanks, Stacy.
Yes, thanks. How do you get invited to blog on people's blogs?
First, before you need to tour, you become active on the blogosphere, commenting on blogs related to your genre/subject and following them. Then, you politely ask to be a guest a couple of months before you plan to conduct your virtual book tour.
Here's a resource link for you to start with: http://blogbooktours.blogspot.com/

As an example of a virtual book tour, see my schedule for the release of TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET:

Next time, I'll limit my VBT to 2 weeks vs a month. It's a lot of work!
Beth, thank you so much. This is gold.
About getting invited, you just shoot them a polite email asking if they'll feature you on their blog. It's about the same way you'd go about asking someone for a book review. If you've been published before or you frequent writing sites where you've told folks about your new book, most times you'll get bloggers who ask you to do interviews or if they can do a book review anyway, if they find the book interesting.

Usually bloggers love to have an author stop by for an interview or blog post. A lot of bloggers also have it on their site how you can contact them for these opportunities.

Best Wishes!

My thanks to Beth and Stacy. Yes, I usually get asked for interviews, but nobody has asked for a blog. :)


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