Build your own buzz with a virtual book tour, a short-term series of promotions across various websites and blogs to reach new readers and connect with current fans. While blogs are your main target also consider podcast interviews and social media options including twitter chats, Google hangouts, and Facebook live. A virtual book tour generally lasts around two weeks, with daily 'stops' on blogs and social media. It's best to begin your planning well in advance with appearance dates set prior to the launch of your book or immediately following to entice readers to your sales page. You can organize your own virtual book tour by doing the following:
1. Schedule your book tour to run either a week before or after your book launch. Generally a virtual book tour runs for one to two weeks with daily ‘appearances’ on blogs and social media. It’s best to start planning a minimum of six weeks in advance so bloggers can book you in and you can let your followers know in advance.
2. Set out some goals for your virtual book tour and how you hope to achieve these goals. This will determine what type of blogs and social media you reach out to.
3. It’s research time! There’s an innumerable number of blogs catering for your readers online. Start by connecting with a blogging community that relates to your genre. Search for blogs that contain relevant key-words to your work, eg. thriller fiction, romance reviews or ya lit. Seek out those sites that have a high level of interaction and good social media following. Consider asking fellow-authors for recommendations. Make a list of relevant blogs.
4. Consider other appearance options. Search for relevant podcasts that take author interviews, online book clubs, twitter chats, Google hangouts and Facebook groups. Add these to your list.
5. Establish a relationship with your bloggers through joining their community and interacting in discussions prior to requesting their participation in your tour. Ideally you can do this well in advance of your virtual tour.
6. Brainstorm on how you can make an appearance enticing for these bloggers. You may want to offer a guest post, an excerpt, an author interview, a giveaway or a question & answer session. By following the blogger prior to approaching them you will have an idea of the sort of content that they may be interested in offering their readers.
7. Email your list of bloggers with a short, direct offer to see if they are interested. Mention the opportunities for cross-promotion and that their site will be listed as part of your virtual book tour.
8. Prepare your content for publication and follow up with the bloggers on your list. Ensure that you get the correct material to those that have responded positively, including book cover images, author bio, author photo and links to your website, Amazon/Kobo/book purchasing sites and social media.
9. Publicize your own tour! List all the participating blogs, websites and podcasts on your website and social media as part of your virtual author tour. Throughout the tour promote each appearance. As each blog or social media post is released link up with your social media, eg. reposting, retweeting (using the blogger’s handle and hashtags) to spread the word. You may want to select a hashtag that participating bloggers can use to promote your virtual book tour. Let your audience know what this hashtag is ahead of time so they can follow along.
10. Once the tour has concluded follow up by analyzing which posts received the most interaction. This will help with identifying where to find your target market of readers and ideas for future book promotions.
11. Remember to follow up by thanking all the participating sites and connecting with them via social media. Successful book marketing is about building and growing authentic relationships with your readers and those in the industry. Ensure that part of your virtual book tour is nurturing those relationships so they can be mutually beneficial in future.