How I Fell in Love with the Book Marketing Potential of a Virtual Book Tour

two_bloggers1.jpgBefore my book MRS. LIEUTENANT: A SHARON GOLD NOVEL came out in April (2008) I had come across the idea of a virtual book tour – where during a specific period of time an author’s book is featured on various blogs.  Sounded terrific, except the price was way out of my budget.

Then when my book went live on Amazon, my print-on-demand publisher BookSurge gave me an hour’s free marketing consultation.  Recommendations included Pump Up Your Book Promotion for a virtual book tour.  And the price for this tour was in my budget.

And now I’m going to share with you what I learned along the way:

What’s in it for bloggers?

Bloggers want incoming links.  So they are very pleased when you offer a copy of your book for a contest in connection with the review of your book or the interview of you about your book (questions and answers written beforehand).  The blogger asks people to leave comments to the post in order to be eligible for the random drawing.  The blogger gets more links and you get more attention paid to your book.

Then what often happens is that another book blogger wins the book.  So you offer that blogger another free copy to run a contest if that blogger does something about you on his/her site.  And because book bloggers have so many to-read books, offer to do an interview instead (you are a writer, after all).  The interview helps out the blogger by providing an interesting post that he/she doesn’t have to write plus a contest to get those all-important incoming links.

In addition, many book bloggers share their review links with each other.  Thus more links and more mentions of your book.

What’s your role in this?
You have to be willing to be generous with your book copies, your accessibility, and your support of the bloggers (mentioning the blog stops in your own blog or on the social media sites in which you participate, such as Facebook and Twitter).

And if you are willing to do all this (and you should if you want to get people interested in your book), the bloggers often offer to post their reviews other places, such as on Amazon and LibraryThing.

The best use of these techniques for me was done by the book blog DiaryofAnEccentric.  This blogger liked MRS LIEUTENANT so much that she arranged to have an interview of me appear the day after her review along with a contest for a copy of my book.

If you keep Web 2.0 principles in mind – what can you do to benefit the blogger (rather than what’s in it for your own book promotion) – and you have a good virtual book tour organizer to start you off on the right path, you’ll find that a virtual book tour can be an excellent return on your book promotion investment.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller: The first four chapters of MRS. LIEUTENANT are available at www.mrslieutenant.com. Through my online book promotion efforts I became so enthralled with the online sharing of information that I’ve started a company: Miller Mosaic, LLC will be a family of websites providing information to make people’s lives easier – check out the first website at www.estateplanningforyou.com. Connect with me on Facebook and LinkedIn under Phyllis Zimbler Miller and on Twitter under ZimblerMiller. Let me know where we “met.”