What Authors Need to Know About Virtual Book Tours

by Joel Friedlander on December 1, 2011 · 71 comments

Post image for What Authors Need to Know About Virtual Book Tours

by Dana Lynn Smith (@BookMarketer)

Today’s guest post from Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer, kicks off the virtual book tour for her newest book marketing guide, Virtual Book Tour Magic. Be sure to see the end of this article for details on how to win a free copy of Virtual Book Tour Magic.



You’ve probably heard that virtual book tours are a great way to promote books, but did you know that there are several different ways to showcase authors and their books through a virtual tour?

Virtual book tours can include book reviews, guest posts on blogs, interviews on podcasts or radio shows, social network events, contests, book giveaways, and more. These tours are sometimes called book blog tours or virtual author tours, or abbreviated as VBT.

Tours are often done as part of the launch of a new book, but they can be successful any time after the book is published. They are just as effective for fiction and nonfiction books — only the venues and the type of content will vary.

Types of Virtual Book Tours

A traditional virtual book tour typically lasts about one to three weeks, with a different tour stop each day.  Original content is provided to each tour host and you can continue promoting the tour stops even after the tour is over.

An extended tour goes beyond the traditional tour and can last for several weeks or months.  One variation is to publish a series of articles on each blog you visit. Or schedule one guest blog post or interview per week on an ongoing basis.

A short “blastoff” tour of one to five days on lots of blogs at once is designed to push up the book’s sales rank on Amazon within a short period of time. One option for this type of tour is to provide all of the blog owners with standard content, rather than providing unique content to each blogger.  The content could be a book excerpt, an author interview, or a book review by the blog host.

You can design an entire tour around social media, or mix social media appearances with other tour stops on blogs, podcasts and online radio shows. Social media tour events can include Twitter chats, organized discussions on Facebook, and video chats on Google Plus.

Another strategy for a virtual book tour, especially during a book launch, is to combine a tour with an “Amazon bestseller campaign.” In these campaigns, people who buy a book during a certain time frame receive bonus gifts from the author or from JV partners who contribute bonuses and help promote the event.

Virtual Book Tour MagicNo matter what type of virtual book tour you plan, it’s important to be well organized and to get started with the planning at least two months in advance.

To learn how to organize your own successful virtual book tour, check out the new Virtual Book Tour Magic guidebook.

Book Tour Special:  Order Virtual Book Tour Magic by December 12 and you’ll get an invitation to an exclusive book tour Q&A session with Dana on December 15.

Win a Free Copy of Virtual Book Tour Magic!
Just enter a comment on this post to enter our drawing for a free copy of Virtual Book Tour Magic. A winner will be drawn at random from all entries received through Saturday, December 3.  The winner will be announced here on December 5, along with a review of the Virtual Book Tour Magic book.

Dana Lynn SmithDana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer, helps authors and indie publishers learn how to sell more books through her how-to guides, blog, newsletter, and private coaching. For more book promotion tips, get her free Top Book Marketing Tips ebooks at www.TheSavvyBookMarketer.com

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    { 62 comments… read them below or add one }

    Denise D'Errico June 12, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Thank you for this. Very helpful!

    Reply

    Dana Smith November 24, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Charie, virtual book tours can work for any type of book – the key is to tour in places that match the target audience for your book. Look for blogs, websites, podcasts, etc. that focus on humor and approach them to participate in your tour. Also think about the subject or focus of your humor and see if you can tie that in. For example, if your humor book focuses on parenting and the adventure of raising kids, then look for parenting blogs. All of the bloggers, podcast hosts etc. that are a good fit for your virtual tour are also potential reviewers of the book. Good luck with your new book!

    Reply

    Charie D. La Marr November 24, 2013 at 5:03 am

    Hi – All of this has me a bit confused and wondering if a book tour is the right thing for me. I am publishing 12/9 with a small indy press. I have looked at a lot of these book tour sites and they seem to primarily be for romance and sci fi type books. Mine is humor. It is a book of short stories in a genre I call Circuspunk. I am not sure that there are bloggers out there who would blog about my type of book. Or reviewers who would review it. I did get a very impressive blurb for it. I am doing a podcast 12.22. What do you think? Would something like this be possible for me?

    Reply

    Dana Lynn Smith March 23, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Margarett, I’m so glad that you found the article helpful. Good luck with your book tour :)

    Reply

    Margarett March 23, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Thank you so much for this valuable information!

    Reply

    Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer December 5, 2011 at 5:58 am

    Congratulations to novelist Melissa K. Norris for winning the free copy Virtual Book Tour Magic!

    Thank you to everyone who entered – I appreciate all of your wonderful comments and questions.

    If you’d like to organize your own successful virtual book tour, I invite you to learn more at http://www.VirtualBookTourMagic.com

    I wish you all much success with your books!
    Dana

    Reply

    Lawrence December 3, 2011 at 7:50 am

    Joel, what is an “indie” author?

    Reply

    Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer December 3, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Lawrence, I’ll be happy to answer that. Authors who publish their books on their own are referred to as independently published authors or indie authors.

    Reply

    Christine Bode December 2, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Hello again Janis. If you haven’t been able to find my Scully Love Promo website, my email address is scullylovepromo@gmail.com – I look forward to hearing from you!

    Reply

    Sharon Beck December 2, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    I am grateful for the clarity you provided about the process for marketing process for self-published books. I can see I have a lot learn, and look forward to finding out the techniques.

    Reply

    Christine Bode December 2, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    I’ve been following Dana Lynn Smith and The Savvy Book Marketer on Facebook all year and she’s one of the best sources for marketing info for authors I’ve ever come across! I work as a social media manager for primarily authors & musicians and I always recommend that authors subscribe to her newsletter and pay attention to what she’s posting.

    I also write book reviews for HarperCollins Canada and Simon & Schuster and I know that they do set up VBTs for established authors, so it’s not just self-published authors who are doing blog tours. The major publishing companies know the value of good book bloggers!

    Reply

    JANIS HUTCHINSON December 2, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    To Christine Bode: I looked at your profile and there is absolutely no link to contact you. I would like to inquire about your services. Please respond. Thanks!

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander December 2, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Janis, if you click the link for Christine’s name it will take you to her blog, which has a Contact page with all her details.

    Reply

    Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer December 2, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Christine, thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing your insight into how major publishers are using virtual book tours.
    Dana

    Reply

    Christine Bode December 2, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    You’re welcome Dana!

    Reply

    Stephanie Buckeye V.A. December 2, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Great tips! Virtual Book Tours are a great addition to traditional online marketing. They can be time consuming, so having your plan in writing will keep you and your assistant organized.

    Reply

    Lawrence December 2, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    As the author of “Kill Me Now!” I am always looking for new information. Dana and Joel are a killer team.

    I may just purchase the book.
    Lawrence
    http://killmenow.org

    Reply

    Jaime Leigh December 2, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    I can tell there’s a lot of useful information in here. I’ve tried this once before, but I don’t think I gave myself enough time or knew all the tricks. I look forward to getting more advice on this. Thanks!
    JL

    Reply

    Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer December 2, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Thanks everyone for all of your wonderful comments. We will be announcing the winner of the free Virtual Book Tour book on Monday.

    Reply

    Una Tiers December 2, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Thank you for a well written, informative article.
    Una Tiers

    Reply

    Sarah Butland December 1, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    Never thought of the JV route for a tour. Brilliant idea. Now to find some folks to host me!

    Reply

    Heather Hart December 1, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    This is so timely for me! I just began doing research for a blog tour I’m planning on doing sometime next year. Thank you so much for such helpful information!

    Reply

    Dana Ross Martin December 1, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Zow-ee, what a great year this has been! I found MaAnna Stephenson (and she helped me set up my website) and I found you, too (and have poured over everything you’ve written & shared). Now that my first book is out, I’m definitely going to market it in all the ways you’ve suggested. Thanks for your guidance.

    Reply

    Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer December 2, 2011 at 4:10 am

    Dana, congratulations on your new book! I’m so glad to hear that you have found my book marketing resources helpful. It’s great that you had MaAnna at BlogAid.net help with your website – she is so terrific at helping authors set up WordPress sites and learn to use them.

    Reply

    Melissa K. Norris December 1, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Dana, I already subscribe to your newsletter and I’m sure your book will have as much great info as that. I hope to win a copy! Thanks for sharing all your tips and success stories.

    Reply

    Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer December 2, 2011 at 8:29 am

    Thanks so much Melissa, and good luck in the free ebook drawing!
    Dana

    Reply

    R. Lombardi December 1, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Thanks for this excellent article! It gives me a whole new perspective on the concept of “book tour.” I look forward to learning more!

    Reply

    Judith Briles December 1, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Dana… if you want to add another stop–I’m glad to put you up as a guest blog for the Author U community–can also add to 9000 other twitter folks with a link to the AU blog… let me know–Judith

    Reply

    Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer December 1, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Thanks so much Judith! I just sent a message to you through your website.
    Dana

    Reply

    Deborah H. Bateman December 1, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Dana, thanks for sharing your post. As I am in the middle of a Book Tour myself, it is always good to see what over people are saying about them and what other ideas they have. Blessings to you and your book tour.
    Deborah H. Bateman

    Reply

    Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer December 1, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    That’s wonderful Deborah – I wish you much success with your tour!
    Dana

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander December 1, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    The virtual book tour is a fantastic marketing tactic for any indie author, and it’s something you can do yourself, or with the help of a consultant or marketing company. Dana is walking her talk here, since this is the first stop on her own virtual tour, and I can tell you she has organized everything so it is easy for me as the host to participate. Something to keep that in mind when arranging your own tour. Thanks Dana!

    Reply

    Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer December 1, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Thanks Joel, for being a wonderful host and for promoting the tour on your social networks!

    I do think it’s important to make it easy and fun for virtual book tour hosts to participate. Besides, organization is my middle name :)

    Reply

    Jodi Langston December 1, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    You and Joel are such wonderful assets to authors! Marketing is a daunting task.

    Reply

    Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer December 1, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Thanks Jodi. I am honored to be appearing on Joel’s blog – it’s one of the very best resources for authors!
    Dana

    Reply

    Latywa Edwards December 1, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Hi,
    I am actually contemplating doing a book tour for a book that I just published. I want to get the most exposure possible.I wasn’t sure if I could do a book tour without using a company to do it for me.

    Reply

    Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer December 1, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Latywa, congratulations on your new book! Yes, you can organize the tour yourself using the step-by-step instructions in Virtual Book Tour Magic. But even if you decide to hire a manager, I recommend learning as much as you can about virtual book tours.

    On the December 7 tour stop at Sharing with Writers I’ll be posting an article discussing the pros and cons of working with a tour manager. You can sign up for my tour feed by RSS or email to get a link to each tour stop: http://bit.ly/VBTtour

    Reply

    beryl singleton bissell December 1, 2011 at 10:49 am

    What a hot-house of nutrients you offer us authors, Dana. If we were willing and able to surge ahead with all these options, I’ve no doubt some of us might eventually make it to the “best-seller” lists.

    Reply

    Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer December 1, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Thanks Beryl. There are so many different ways to promote books that it can be a bit overwhelming to authors. But I do recommend putting virtual book tours (and getting reviews) near the top of your priority list :)

    Reply

    Lynn Dean December 1, 2011 at 8:38 am

    What a timely article! Yes, please enter me in your drawing for a free copy. One way or another, this looks like a book I must add to my marketing arsenal. Reading in advance will be MUCH more efficient than learning through the “school of hard knocks”…and missed opportunities.

    Reply

    Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer December 1, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Thanks so much for your note Lynn. I agree that it’s more efficient to follow step-by-step instructions than to figure things out through trial and error :)

    Reply

    Judith Briles December 1, 2011 at 7:13 am

    Dana… get a copy of the book to me… I’ll feature it in the next Author U book publishing news magazine–it’s 30 pages a month–Judith

    Reply

    Judith Briles December 1, 2011 at 7:11 am

    Creating a virtual book tour is a must do tool for today’s author–picking the right partners that synch with your book is a critical component. At Author U (www.AuthorU.org), we just completed a full day BookCamp on Internet Book Launches that included a module on the Book Tour–our presenter had just completed a full month–28 placements–that put her book in front of 17,000,000 blog readers … the result … her first print run of 3000 was gone. A homerun for all her hard work. The book: What the Heart Knows by Mara Purl.

    Reply

    Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer December 1, 2011 at 7:59 am

    Judith, thanks so much for sharing that story! I will send you a review copy of the book and I appreciate you sharing it with your readers and followers.
    Dana

    Reply

    Judith Briles December 1, 2011 at 8:02 am

    I’ll put recommendation of your book in the next Author U book publishing news magazine for Jan.–it runs 30 pages each month… you might want to let your readers know about it… tis a freebie at http://www.AuthorU.org

    Reply

    Natalia Erehnah December 1, 2011 at 6:55 am

    The perfect book tour for intoverts like me. Looking forward to reading.

    Reply

    Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer December 1, 2011 at 6:59 am

    Natalia, that’s an excellent point! Virtual book tours (and other forms of online promotion) are a great tool for writers who aren’t comfortable doing public appearances.

    Reply

    David Moore December 1, 2011 at 6:35 am

    Have major, established, successful authors gotten on the VBT bandwagon? Or are VBTs more common among the rest of us? Thanks!

    Reply

    Dana Lynn Smith December 1, 2011 at 6:57 am

    That’s a great question, David. I don’t follow any major authors online so I don’t know how many of them use virtual tours, but I imagine that many of them do.

    I did read a good article from Susan Wittig Albert (who has published at least 20 books through major NY publishers) about her experience in using virtual book tours. You can read it at http://bit.ly/utCm87.

    Reply

    Kevin Parham December 1, 2011 at 5:55 am

    Thanks for sharing this insightful and powerful promotional tool! With social media now front and center in every aspect of our personal and professional lives, it makes perfect sense to maximize one’s outreach through the use of this medium.

    Best regards,
    Kevin

    Reply

    Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer December 1, 2011 at 6:12 am

    Thanks for your note Kevin. Incorporating social media into a virtual book tour is a powerful way to spread the message to a wider audience.

    Reply

    Kiko December 1, 2011 at 6:20 am

    Hi Dana. I signed to receive your free book one hour ago, but I have not receive your email for confirmation. Kiko

    Reply

    Dana Lynn Smith December 1, 2011 at 7:05 am

    Kiko, there was a problem with your registration. I’ll try to reach you by email, or you can email me using the link beneath my photo at http://www.TheSavvyBookMarketer.com.
    Thanks,
    Dana

    Reply

    Christopher Wills December 1, 2011 at 5:14 am

    Interesting post. A writer friend of mine (David Baboulene http://thescienceofstory.blogspot.com ) went on a virtual book tour to launch a book by getting a company to organise the tour for him. Do you have any knowledge or views on companies that do this? I think he found it from a blogsite.

    Reply

    Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer December 1, 2011 at 6:09 am

    Christopher, many authors do hire a tour manager to help them organize the tour. I included a chapter in my book about hiring and working with tour managers. You can find tour managers by searching on Google but the fees and services offered vary quite a bit so you’ll need to shop around. Some literary publicists and book marketing services also offer tour management services.

    On the December 7 tour stop and Sharing with Writers I’ll be posting an article discussing the pros and cons of working with a tour manager. You can sign up for this tour feed by RSS or email to get a link to each tour stop: http://bit.ly/VBTtour

    Thanks for your note!

    Reply

    Kiko December 1, 2011 at 5:06 am

    I’m the author of a self-published jokes book in Spanish language that have sold almost 5,000 copies in Miami, FL. In three months from now I will launch the 4th edition. I want to plan it with a “Virtual Book Tour Magic”.

    Reply

    Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer December 1, 2011 at 6:03 am

    A virtual book tour for a joke book sounds like lots of fun! Good luck with the new edition!

    Reply

    Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer December 1, 2011 at 4:54 am

    Joel, thanks so much for hosting the first stop on my virtual tour for “Virtual Book Tour Magic”. Online tours are a fun and effective way to reach potential book buyers and I’m happy to share with your readers.

    Reply

    Russell Phillips December 1, 2011 at 4:50 am

    I’ve heard of virtual blog tours before, though I hadn’t considered using the idea on other types of social media, so thanks for that.

    One question, which may be obvious. Do you prepare blog posts before starting the tour, or do you write them during the tour?

    Reply

    Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer December 1, 2011 at 4:57 am

    Hi Russell,
    You will need to write your posts prior to the tour. I recommend sending them to the tour hosts about 10 days in advance so they have plenty of time to get the post set up. That’s one of the reasons it’s important to start early in preparing for the tour.
    Thanks,
    Dana

    Reply

    Russell Phillips December 1, 2011 at 5:07 am

    That makes sense. Thanks.

    Reply

    JANIS HUTCHINSON December 2, 2011 at 9:43 am

    For one who is intimidated by internet techno stuff, reading articles such as this is so, so helpful!
    Thanks so much!

    Reply

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