5 Tips for Coordinating a Successful Virtual Book Tour by Cheryl Malandrinos

Book Marketing Buzz: Book Promotion & Publicity Tips: How to Promote Your Books is a continuing series to help authors learn how to promote their books. If you would like to be a guest blogger for our book promotion and publicity series, click here. Today’s guest blogger is Cheryl Malandrinos, author of Little Shepherd.


5 Tips for Coordinating a Successful Virtual Book Tour
by Cheryl Malandrinos

Years ago, book promotion was different. Book signings, library readings, radio and newspaper interviews, and book reviews from well-known publications could help get your book noticed. For new authors, however, it was tough to get their books into the hands of readers outside of their local areas.

Then things changed.

The Internet arrived and blogs soon followed. People from all walks of life were using these online journals to write about all sorts of things, including the books they liked or didn’t like. This paved the road for a new way to promote books—the virtual book tour (VBT).

A virtual book tour is when an author visits a certain number of blogs during a specific period of time. The author’s book gets reviewed, he might be interviewed, and in many cases, he can be a guest blogger, where he writes an article that appears on someone else’s blog.

Virtual book tours are a great way to create an online presence for your book. Unlike in-store book signings, potential readers can access your blog stop (when you appear at a blog during a VBT) many months after you’ve been there. As long as the blog remains online, readers can find out about you and your work.

There are a few tricks to help you coordinate a successful virtual book tour. I’ll share some of them below.

Tip # 1 – Decide on the right time to tour your book.

It takes approximately 4 to 6 weeks to coordinate a VBT. One of the main reasons is that there must be enough time to ship books to those who are reviewing them. This time can be shortened if you’re touring an e-Book.

Another thing you must consider is your schedule. If you’re already struggling to balance your workload, it might not be the right time to coordinate a virtual book tour. I tell my clients to expect to spend half an hour to an hour a day working on VBT items—interviews, guest posts, and mailing out books. And don’t forget, once the virtual book tour starts, you need to allot time to promote it.

You might also want to consider what time of year is best to promote your book. When creating a marketing plan for my first children’s book, Little Shepherd, I decide to coordinate a VBT for the last three months of the year because it ties into Christmas.

Tip #2 – Provide bloggers with the information they need to decide if they want to host you.

In addition to being a virtual book tour coordinator, I am a blogger and book reviewer. I can’t tell you how many times I receive an email that reads this way:

“Dear blogger,
I am an author looking for a good blog to review my book, (title). Please let me know if you’re interested.
Susie Author”

How can I decide if I want to read a book without knowing anything about it?

All correspondence to bloggers should be professionally written and include the following:

  • Your name
  • The book title
  • A book blurb
  • The genre
  • Link to your website or where the book can be purchased
  • If you are looking for the book to be reviewed within a certain time frame (important if you’re coordinating a virtual book tour)

Use the blogger’s name instead of addressing your email to, “Dear Blogger”. If you’re unsure of the name, you could open your email with, “Dear Editor of (blog title)”.
Remember to spell check your email before hitting send.

Tip #3 – Include a Thank You note and a business card with your review copy.

While some might feel that a free book is thanks enough, the blogger is still agreeing to spend some of his/her time reading your book and putting together a review. Whenever possible, send along a note of thanks with your review copy.

It’s also smart to include a business card if you have one. I add all names and addresses for books I review into my Outlook contacts. That way I can email the author a direct link when I complete the review. I stash all those business cards in a desk drawer, which means I can look up an author’s website at a future time to see if he/she has a new release coming out.

Tip #4 – Be creative with your interviews and guest posts.

This is your chance to shine; to tell potential readers why they should be plunking down their hard earned cash on your book. Boring interviews filled with one or two sentence answers won’t provide enough information for a reader to make a decision. You want the reader to feel like you and the blogger are sitting down having an actual conversation.

When writing up a guest post, take a few minutes to browse the blogger’s site. Draft an article that will engage the reader. Try not to use the same guest post more than twice during your virtual book tour. People who are following along will soon get bored reading the same information over and again.

Tip # 5 – Tell people you’re going on a virtual book tour.

Virtual book tours are a wonderful way to reach potential readers all over the world, but if you don’t tell anyone you’re on a virtual book tour, who will know?

Post your VBT schedule on your website or blog. Email your contacts and let them know when your virtual book tour will start and give them a link to where you’ve posted your schedule so they can follow your tour.

Don’t have a website or blog?

Start one before your virtual book tour begins. Experienced bloggers will look online for more information about you and your book to supplement their blog posts. In addition, you want to give potential readers a place to learn more about the book you’re promoting.

Use social networks like Facebook and Twitter to promote your blog stops on a daily basis.

Coordinating a successful virtual book tour is time-consuming, but it’s also a lot of fun. Making sure you have the time to dedicate to a VBT, providing bloggers with all the information they need, saying thanks, being creative, and letting people know you’re on a virtual book tour, will make your experience a lot easier too.

Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a virtual book tour coordinator for Pump Up Your Book (formerly Pump Up Your Book Promotion). A book reviewer and blogger, Ms. Malandrinos is also a founding member of Musing Our Children, and editor in chief of the group’s quarterly newsletter, Pages and Pens. Her first children’s book, Little Shepherd, was released by Guardian Angel Publishing in August 2010.
Visit Cheryl online at http://ccmalandrinos.tripod.com/ For more information about Pump Up Your Book’s virtual book tours, please visit www.pumpupyourbook.com or contact Cheryl directly at cg20pm00@gmail.com.

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