Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Virtual Tours

Last year I conducted a virtual book tour to promote my debut book, SILENCED CRY. This year, I have the pleasure of working with Pump Up Your Book Promotions to promote THE DEVIL CAN WAIT throughout the month of December. Both experiences made me roll up my sleeves and work. Both have been positive and certainly gave me an education on the how-to of book promotions.

Whether the author chooses to conduct their own tour or hire a firm to coordinate it, the principles are the same; you need to find sites who will post your work, write the articles/answer interview questions, and promote the tour. With a few basic communication skills, a little time, and some careful planning, virtual book tours are not only doable, they are an inexpensive and fun way to meet potential readers and promote your book.

The key words are NETWORK and RELATIONSHIPS, but don't wait until your book is published to begin building a communication network.

Join diverse groups that provide different focuses such as some general author forums where anything having to do with writing can and is discussed. Other groups may have a membership with focused interest on your preferred genre, while yet others focus on discussions about marketing, agents, and publishing. You can draw a benefit from each group you participate in.

I joined my first author forum several years before SILENCED CRY was released in April 2007, by BeWrite Books (UK). I've built my network of friends and contacts through membership in over 20 sites. These sites represent thousands of members and potential readers. The number of readers increase when I add in the number of people who visit my website and blogs. What's more important is that via a virtual book tour, the author will also meet potential sponsors for additional blogs, interviews, or review opportunities.

Several people have asked me how I find time to stay current with the various posts and keep up with my writing. Getting involved within those networks doesn't mean you have to devote hours a day to each one, but do make yourself known to others. Get involved in the conversations that are of interest to you and ones that you can contribute to. Think of how many people you know and come in contact with every day. Each member in these sites probably knows as many or possibly more people than you do. Get to know them. Pay attention to what is being discussed and follow the links they mentioned. You never know where they may lead you. If a certain link is not to your liking, go on to the next one.

The big question, of course is the bottom line: Do virtual book tours generate sales? Here’s an interesting article that tries to address the issue: From my perspective, the important thing to remember is that unless readers know about your book, they can’t buy it, therefore, yes, they can a and do generate sales.

Virtual book tours affect sales by expanding the author's reach and exposing his or her book to a larger group of readers. The success of the tour, however, depends on how well the author promotes it. Another point to remember is that as opposed to a traditional tour where the author travels from town to town giving talks and answering questions, the articles and interviews published on the Internet are there “forever” allowing readers to return to them at their leisure.
I invite you to stop by my virtual tour stop today and read a review written by Cheryl C. Malandrinos of THE DEVIL CAN WAIT for The Book Connection.

My other stops so far have been at:

Dec. 9 – American Chronicle (interview)

Dec. 8 - Blogcritics (author interview)

Dec. 5 – The Plot (character interview)

Dec. 5 – Joanna Slan Blog. (guest post)

Dec. 4 – The Plot (book spotlight)

Dec. 3 -- MURDER BY 4 blog

Dec. 3 – The Writer’s Life (guest post)

Introducing Writers on Blog Talk Radio (radio interview)

Dec. 3 – Book Marketing Buzz

Dec. 2 – The Dark Phantom (guest post)

Rose and Thorn Reviews (book review)

Dec. 1 – Fiction Scribe (interview)

Dec. 1 – Joylene Nowell Butler (interview)

You'll find the entire tour agenda at:

And remember, leave a note, question, or comment on the tour stops and you could win a FREE virtual book tour from Pump Up Your Book Promotion if you're a published author with a recent release or a $50 Amazon gift certificate if you are not published!

* * *

Marta Stephens writes crime mystery/suspense. Her books are available online at familiar shops such as all the Amazons, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Books-a-Million, and Powells. Other locations include, but are not limited to those listed on her website. THE DEVIL CAN WAIT (November 3, 2008)

SILENCED CRY (2007) Honorable Mention, 2008 New York Book Festival
Top Ten, 2007 Preditors and Editors Reader Poll (mystery)


Tracee said...

Great post - I am glad you are enjoying the virtual book tour experience, you're a natural!

Anonymous said...

Go marta GO! :)

Kim Smith said...

Cool post, M. And if you haven't visited any of these sites yet, YOU ARE SO MISSING OUT!

A certain person is visiting one of Marta's tour, and she is talking to one Sam Harper. You so should go find out what this means!

Hint: it's at a wordpress blog...

Morgan Mandel said...

You never know who might Google your name even later on and read the tour blogs.

Yes, vbt seem to be an important tool in our arsenal. Hopefully, I can find time to do one at the beginning of the new year.

Morgan Mandel

Cheryl said...

Excellent article Marta. I think it's easy to forget the long-term benefit of VBTs when you concentrate solely on generating sales during the tour.

Pump Up has had clients go on to do wonderful things as a result of networking during their tours. And the key, as you mentioned, is promotion. You've done an excellent job with this aspect. Keep up the great work!


Marta Stephens said...

Thanks so much, everyone.

Morgan, you're so right about Googles we might get down the road. After last year's tour, I discovers several of my articles had been posted on other people's blogs (with full credit and links, of course), but I wasn't aware of the posts until I got a Google Alert on them.

Kim, Sam just called and told me about Shannon's notes on his Wordpress tour stop. I'll have to check it out. LOL

Cheryl thank you so much for the great review. I'm so glad you enjoyed the book!!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

It's mind blogging how much work is required to market a novel. I certainly wasn't aware of it before. But that's nobody's fault but mine. Back when I wasn't published, I concentrated on articles about finding that perfect agent or publishing house, improving my writing skills and mastering my writing weaknesses.

Your articles are always a great learning tool, Marta. I hope those unpublished are taking advantage of your experience. It will surely save them a lot of pain and frustration.

Marta Stephens said...

You're exactly right, Joylene. When we beging to write, writing is our focus. It ususally isn't until the book comes out that we get one of the "V-8 Moments!" LOL

But we're getting there, aren't we?

Margay Leah Justice said...

Well, this is a post I'm going to have to print out for future reference! Thanks, Marta.

Mayra Calvani said...

Great post, Marta! Yes, networking is so imortant but I really find it so time consuming... but we must do it to help put our names out there. I love doing VBTs even though they leave me exhausted! It's good you have someone as professional and awesome as Dorothy to work with!

Anonymous said...

Excellent Post Marta!

My new favorite book is by an author, John Patrick Lamont. He has a Trilogy and I've only read book 1 so far called "The Worst Kind of Lies".

Amazing how a fiction book can help me become better informed and more involved in my financial planning so that I am not victimized.
You see - a friend of mine was recently insurance frauded and it got me thinking, if it could happen to her, it could happen to me, so I decided to research and came across this book! I'm thrilled and looking forward to book #2!

Hope you enjoy!