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Conducting a Virtual Book Tour; How to Promote Your Book and Increase Sales

Want a creative and inexpensive way to get a lot of eyes on your book? Try an online event. In this week’s guest post, branding expert Lisa Orell shares advice for arranging a successful virtual book tour.

Book authors are on a never-ending quest to promote their books and sell their books. Yet, unfortunately, many of them struggle with this. I know this first hand because a lot of my clients are authors and come to me for help with their book marketing. Plus, I’m the author of three books and know what it takes to get book sales going.

One effective book marketing strategy that most authors do not use is conducting a Virtual Book Tour; using blogs as the vehicle. There are many ways to conduct one, so this article will give you some general guidelines to follow and you can adjust, alter and brainstorm additional ideas for your own tour.

And the great thing about Virtual Book Tours is that it doesn’t matter if your book is new or not! There are many authors who have books that are several years old and their Virtual Book Tour brings their book back-to-life, generates interest for the book amongst people who didn’t know about it when it first came out, and ramps sales for it again. So don’t think this strategy is just for NEW books!

Here are the steps you can follow to get your Virtual Book Tour organized:

1.) Establish a timeframe for your tour. This can range from one week to one month. And you’ll want to start organizing it 1-2 months ahead of time for effective planning.

2.) Find blogs that reach the audience you want to target for your book, and contact the owners of those blogs. This can range anywhere from 10 to a million blogs! How many blogs involved on your tour just depends on the time you have to do this outreach and how many blogs are the right fit for your book’s topic.

3.) Tell each blogger the tour’s timeframe and what your expectations are when they participate in the tour. This may include: During the tour, they need to write a review of your book that includes the book’s cover linked to your Amazon page or wherever your book is sold; and you’ll provide them with 1-3 articles that pertain to your book’s topic that they will run during the tour as “guest blog posts” (from you) on their blog. And in the articles you provide them, they’ll include your short bio, pic of your book (or of you), and link to your website. You’ll provide EACH of the blogs that participate the same articles and each of them can run the articles in any order they want during the tour.

4.) Send each participating blogger an organized “kit” for the tour (via email). This should include: General tour info (restate expectations, tour timeframe, roll-out schedule, etc.); file of your book cover; file of your headshot; and the articles you wrote for them to use as “guest posts” (as Word docs with links embedded to your website, Amazon page, etc.). Don’t rely on the bloggers to find the correct links to YOUR stuff!

5.) Mail each blogger a copy of your book. Obviously you need to do this so they can read it BEFORE the book tour launches. And, no, don’t ask them buy it! Mail them a free copy!

6.) Offer several copies of your book to each blogger who participates to use as a giveaway item for a contest they can create (or use it as a free gift for something the blogger wants to promote). You may not want to do this with every blogger who participates (if you have TONS of blogs on the tour), but you’ll want to offer it to the ones who have a lot of traffic. This is a good strategy because aside from them writing a review for your book and running the articles you provide to them during the tour, they can create a contest (or promotion) “around your book” which will be additional exposure for your book.

7.) Thank and mention the blogs who participate on YOUR blog throughout the tour, tweet the links to the blog posts they do about (and from) you, mention them on your Facebook Fan Page, etc. Doing all of this is critical because you are giving the participating blogs exposure to YOUR social networks, and that’s good business. The bloggers who participate on your tour are doing YOU a favor so giving them some “link love” and exposure is only right.

8.) Consider sending each blogger who participated in your tour a Thank You gift when it’s over. Again, show them gratitude for their time, effort and help in promoting YOUR book!

Okay! That’s a general overview of how to do a Virtual Book Tour. Yes, I could go on and on with more ideas for conducting a successful tour, and ways to make it more elaborate (but that can get costly), but this gives you a good starting point. The “basic” approach I provided can get you great results as long as you PLAN ahead of time and connect with enthusiastic bloggers who are excited to participate in your Virtual Book Tour. Good luck!