What Authors Need to Know About Virtual Book Tours

by | Dec 1, 2011

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

tbd advanced publishing starter kit


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  2. Eric Peckham

    Excellent. really helpful. I’m re-launching my novel in the new year, and I’m looking for promotion ideas.

  3. Dana Smith

    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!

  4. Charie D. La Marr

    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?

  5. Dana Lynn Smith

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

  6. Margarett

    Thank you so much for this valuable information!

  7. Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer

    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 https://www.VirtualBookTourMagic.com

    I wish you all much success with your books!

  8. Lawrence

    Joel, what is an “indie” author?

    • Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer

      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.

  9. Christine Bode

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

  10. Sharon Beck

    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.

  11. Christine Bode

    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!


      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!

      • Joel Friedlander

        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.

  12. Stephanie Buckeye V.A.

    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.

  13. Lawrence

    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.

  14. Jaime Leigh

    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!

  15. Una Tiers

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

  16. Sarah Butland

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

  17. Heather Hart

    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!

  18. Dana Ross Martin

    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.

    • Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer

      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.

  19. Melissa K. Norris

    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.

  20. R. Lombardi

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

  21. Judith Briles

    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

  22. Deborah H. Bateman

    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

  23. Joel Friedlander

    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!

    • Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer

      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 :)

  24. Jodi Langston

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

  25. Latywa Edwards

    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.

    • Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer

      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: https://bit.ly/VBTtour

  26. beryl singleton bissell

    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.

    • Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer

      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 :)

  27. Lynn Dean

    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.

    • Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer

      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 :)

  28. Judith Briles

    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

  29. Judith Briles

    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.

    • Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer

      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.

      • Judith Briles

        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

  30. Natalia Erehnah

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

    • Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer

      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.

  31. David Moore

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

    • Dana Lynn Smith

      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 https://bit.ly/utCm87.

  32. Kevin Parham

    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,

      • Kiko

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

  33. Christopher Wills

    Interesting post. A writer friend of mine (David Baboulene https://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.

    • Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer

      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: https://bit.ly/VBTtour

      Thanks for your note!

  34. Kiko

    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”.

  35. Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer

    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.

  36. Russell Phillips

    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?

    • Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer

      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.


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



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