Authors looking to stay home and avoid the intimacies of airport security will love virtual book tours.
Aside from the obvious advantages – no shoes or makeup required, no worries about being the only person at your book signing, and no travel costs – virtual tours can deliver a hefty audience for your book and your blog. Here’s how they work:
1. You and/or your trusty assistant will compile a list of suitable blogs who might like to be a stop on your “tour.”
- Each blog should be suitable for your topic or a book review blog.
- If it’s a book review blog, do make sure they review books in your genre. Most reviewers will have a page giving their requirements for book submissions.
- Some bloggers will state on their site whether or not they will participate in blog tours and give details on how to contact them and submit a book. Follow their instructions. It sounds silly to remind you, but many people will ignore the requirements and needlessly annoy the blogger they are trying to recruit for their tour.
2. Give some thought about what results you would like to have. If hoards of new visitors come to your blog/website as the result of your tour, what would you like to have them do? Sign up for your blog or ezine? Download a free ebook? Buy your book?
A contest – usually with a prize of a free copy of your book – could be held for the best comment posted on each guest post or review. (This is also a terrific way to build your mailing list.)
3. Create a spreadsheet of your targeted blogs to track your requests and results. Include info like their URL, contact info, and submission requirements for your future reference. (This list could come in handy again if you write another book or if you build an ongoing relationship with the blogger.)
4. Contact the blogs on your list following each blogger’s stated preference on how they want to be contacted. Personalize the emails. (It would help to actually read some of their blogs so you can do this.) Tell them a bit about your book and reasons why they would want to review it. Have an excerpt of your book on your website to direct them to.
5. If they agree to review your book, mail them a copy. Most book reviewers review for free, except for receiving a copy of the book. (This is another good reason to respectfully follow their directions, don’t you think?)
Topic blogs that you’d like to “tour” are a bit different. When you approach them, make sure you’ve read enough of their blog to personalize the approach. Suggest either an interview or a guest post that you will provide. Suggest a topic that fits in well with their blog.
6. Once you and your blog hosts are in agreement, provide a guest post in the time frame you agreed to. It is REALLY IMPORTANT that your post be original, not an old post from your blog or a guest post you already submitted to someone else’s blog.
7. To get the maximum exposure for your guest posts or reviews, publicize them in your own blog and social media pages and profiles. When the post or interview appears, be sure and send a personal note of thanks to your hosts.
Your blog tour can take place over a couple of weeks or a couple of months. Keep a spreadsheet with your tour locations and dates, marking them off as you go.
8. Blog about your tour on your own blog, giving tour updates and encouraging your readers to visit your tour blogs.
9. Reciprocate! Offer your tour hosts a guest post on your blog. This could be the start of a great online relationship!