Friday, September 18, 2009

Virtually Painless Book Tours

© Bob Avey 2009 all rights reserved

A recent tour earned me a book review that showed up in USA Today. It can happen to you, too.

Imagine my surprise and excitement when I checked my email and found that one of my blog reviews had been syndicated, picked up by USA I was ecstatic with the possibility of increased exposure for both me, and my book. As it turned out, the blogger reviewed for several sources, both online and off, which played a role in the review being discovered.

Taking the first step toward a virtual tour can be as simple as engaging a publicity firm to make the arrangements. However, going that route may not be for everybody. The cost of these services varies from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending upon the complexity of the package.

What exactly is a blog tour?

A blog tour, or virtual tour as it is more commonly known, is a series of pre-arranged stops or locations that the author will visit. However, in contrast to an actual tour, which involves traveling to physical bookstores and other venues, a blog tour consists of visits to virtual sites, the most common being writing and reading related blogs. The tours can vary in length from a single day to several weeks, depending upon the number of blogs visited.

How do you go about setting up a blog tour?

1. Find the blogs. The difficult part, of course, is locating desirable blogs and convincing them to host your tour. To accomplish this, conduct an internet-search for book related blogs and look for sites that cater to your style and type of writing. Also, talk to other writers who have toured, and ask for suggestions and inquire about the blogs they visited.
You need to determine the quality, and nature of the blogs you plan to employ for your tour. The blog should be a high-traffic site, which focuses on writing and reading related subjects. If you’ve written a mystery, you wouldn’t want to target blogs that discuss the proper way to groom your poodle. And regardless of the blogs intent, if the site doesn’t draw traffic, it won’t do you any good. In addition, the blogs should contain a comments section, so the readers can ask questions or post comments. There should also be serviceable links that would take potential buyers to places where your book can be purchased.

2. Book an appearance. Once you’ve narrowed down the list, get to know the blog owners by visiting their sites and commenting on posts that interest you. When you have established a relationship, ask them if they would be willing to host your tour.

3. Conduct the tour. The nature or focus of the blog determines what is expected from the author at each individual site. By filling out a predetermined questionnaire, the touring author might be interviewed by certain blog owners. At other sites, he might be asked to write a short article, which would be posted as content on the pages of the hosting blog. Some blog owners simply post chapter excerpts, while others might read the author’s book and post a review.

Appearing as a guest on the right blogs can create a lot of buzz about your book. However, as with most promotional endeavors, the more you put into it, the more you will get out of it. Construct informative and well-written articles for your guest posts, and be creative and interesting when filling out the questionnaires. If done properly, a blog tour can be an effective part of your promotional arsenal.

Bob Avey Website


Bob Avey is the author of the Kenny Elliot mystery series, which includes Twisted Perception, released April 2006, and Beneath a Buried House, June 2008, several short stories and various non-fiction articles. He lives with his wife and son in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma where he works as an accountant in the petroleum industry, and when he’s not writing or researching mystery writing techniques, he spends his free time prowling through dusty antique shops looking for the rare or unusual, or roaming through ghost towns, searching for echoes from the past. Through his writing, which he describes as a blend of literary and genre, he explores the intricacies and extremities of human nature.

Bob is a member of The Tulsa NightWriters, The Oklahoma Writers Federation (active board member for 2006), The Oklahoma Mystery Writers, and Mystery Writers of America.


Kim Smith said...

I love virtual tours. They open up the world to an author who would not have that option in a real book tour. Thanks for posting Bob!

s.w. vaughn said...

Wow, how'd I miss this post? :-)

I have one ebook out and several coming, so I've been thinking about virtual tours. This is great information. Thank you!

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Hi, Bob. Me, too. I've been going nuts with computer problems. But I loved your article and thank you for guest posting with us. I'm about to start my second large virtual book tour (Mazurka) and think after setting it up the first time, this will be MUCH easier!! Take good care and best of luck with your book.

Marta Stephens said...

Congrats on getting picked up by USA Today!! I've been on virtual tours that I did on my own and through a promo firm. Both have their advantage and certainly draw attention to the writer's work.

Many thanks for posting on MB4