Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Virtual Book Tours--why I love them!

It was spring 2007 when I first became exposed to the term virtual book tour (VBT). I was asked to host a client of Pump Up Your Book Promotion's at my blog.

I had such a great time, I did it again, then again, and again, and again. Eventually, my being a blog host led to me starting The Book Connection.

I joined the staff of Pump Up Your Book Promotion in October of last year. As a tour coordinator, I've been given the opportunity to promote some awesome books. I am one of those lucky few who can honestly say she loves her job.

But what's so great about them? Why should authors even consider them? I'm going to share the reasons I love VBTs with you now, and if you aren't convinced, feel free to email me at cg20pm00(at)gmail(dot)com and tell me why...or better yet, leave a comment here and we'll see what develops.

Reason #1: VBTs create a necessary online presence for our authors.

The Internet changed the shopping habits of consumers. We can sit at our PCs and browse an almost unlimited number of online retailers, click our mouse a few times, and have everything delivered to our doorstep.

But what good is it to have your book available online if no one knows it's there?

A virtual book tour plasters your name and book title all over the Internet. Instead of one page of Google search results, readers find numerous pages.

Reason #2: VBTs help authors sell books.

This goes along with Reason #1. Now that readers know about your book, they know where to buy it. And believe me, they will buy it. Many of Pump Up's clients tell us about the positive impact a virtual book tour has on their sales.

There have been instances where readers have gone to an author's in-store book signing as a result of seeing the author at a blog during her virtual book tour.

Reason #3: VBTs allow authors to network with other writers.

Whenever I talk to clients about virtual book tours, I am quick to point out that while selling books is an important goal, it is equally important to see a VBT as an opportunity to network with other writers. Many of our tour hosts are freelance writers and/or authors. We also have a regular group of reviewers who handle our clients. Isn't that handy when your next book comes out?

Some of our clients have gone on to host radio talk shows or become regular contributors to blogs or magazines as a result of their VBTs. One author credits his virtual book tour with opening the door for him to have his books turned into audio books and be considered for screenplays.

Reason #4: VBTs make an author's life easier.

VBTs don't require travel, new clothes, or lugging around boxes of books and promotional material in your car. While I don't discount the fun of going to an in-store book signing and meeting potential readers face to face, a virtual book tour offers an author a chance to reach a much wider audience without the additional expense and inconvenience.

The author can sit in his pajamas with his hair sticking out in all sorts of crazy ways, while reaching out to potential readers at various blogs along the tour trail.

Reason #5: VBTs offer long-term exposure.

A great thing about virtual book tours is that they offer long-term exposure. As long as the blog that hosted an author remains online, new readers can discover this author's books. It's not like a book signing where you have just one chance to grab a reader's attention. A potential reader can find out about your book one, three, six months or more after the end of your virtual book tour.

Bonus: VBTs are fun!

I don't have enough digits to count the number of times our clients have said that virtual book tours were fun. And we really do strive to make them fun for everyone. Authors are answering a variety of questions, providing articles on a multitude of topics, and communicating with potential readers all month long.

And at the end of the month they get to give away a free copy of their books!

Okay, I'm done now. Feel free to add to my list of reasons to love VBTs and to discuss this amazing promotional tool for authors.

Book image taken from MIT Libraries News.


Debra said...

Thanks for the insightful article. I was ambivalent on VGTs until I read your reasons for doing it. My question is, how do I get started? Is there some step-by-step guide for those of us who are fairly new to the world of internet marketing?

Debra said...

Sorry, about the typo. I should have meant VBT.

Debra Purdy Kong

Cheryl said...

Thanks for your response Debra. You can feel free to email me anytime at cg20pm00(at)gmail(dot)com if you would like to talk about virtual book tours, but you'll also find other online resources. I've named just a few below.

Karina Fabian teaches a workshop on VBTs, which you'll find out about here:

Connie Briscoe interviewed Dorothy Thompson (founder of Pump Up) and me here:

And I found this eBook about VBTs here:

Good luck!


Jennifer Bogart said...

I am a fairly new book reviewer who participates in blog book tours. In my attempts to understand more of the blog tour business from the author/publicisists point of view, I've done some research online.

Here is an article:

That discusses organizing your own blog tour as an author, and outlines the work involved.

As a reader/reviewer I appreciate virtual book tours as a way to be introduced to new genres, authors, titles, and to learn of others opinions regarding their work.

Hope this helps!