Top Ten Tips to a Successful Virtual Book Tour

woman_on_screen.jpgOnline methods of promoting your book are fast becoming the most cost effective way to market and promote your new book. Authors are discovering the Virtual Book Tour, which allows you to promote your book via the Internet through articles, blogs, podcasts, interviews, radio shows and Web sites without the issues and financial burden that can be associated with in-person signings.

Sound intriguing? Not sure where to begin? Listed below are ten tips to help you create a successful virtual book tour.

1. Create a Web page

Set up a web page specifically for the Virtual Book Tour (VBT). This is where you will send potential tour stop hosts so they can sign up to join your VBT. This site should also capture contact information and put it in your shopping cart system for future email promotions.

2. Create a book trailer

Create a dynamic book trailer. Don’t skimp on this step. This will be one of the main reasons people sign up for the book tour. A good book trailer acts along the lines of a movie trailer. It’s your hook to draw people in; get them curious and have them asking for more.

3. Do your research

Spend a lot of time carefully doing Internet research to find areas that fit your target market. (Are you writing about self-help, women’s issues, business, a fantasy novel?) Search blogs, web radio, newsletters, article submissions, and social networking sites.

4. Create a killer pitch letter geared toward your target market

Create a pitch letter, stating who you are, what you are doing, and add links to the Web site and the book trailer. Personalize the letter and specifically gear it toward your target audience, and make sure it doesn’t sound canned or come off as a mass email.

5. Offer more than blogging

Podcasts, Q&A sessions, live interviews, phone interviews, articles for newsletters, Internet radio interviews; all work, as well as blogs. The easier you can make it for your tour stop host, the better response you’ll receive.

6. Create a tracking spreadsheet

Create a spreadsheet to include the sites you’ve found, the contact information, when you contacted them, what you can offer that particular contact (i.e., will you blog for them, do a Q&A session, live interview, podcast?), and make a column for responses. Then use an online calendar (Outlook, Google, Yahoo all have calendars that will work just fine) to see who’s doing what, when, and where.

7. Follow up at least four (4) times

Once you have all these steps in place, you are ready to start contacting each person on your list along with their personal pitch letter. If you don’t get a response right away, follow up (at least four times) with a different pitch letter eachtime. (It’s not as necessary to personalize these follow up letters.) If you still get no response after the fourth try, move on to a new group of contacts.

8. Start your own blog

Post what’s happening with your VBT in your own blog. Add each tour stop date and plug the tour stop host’s company, their Web site and their contact information.

9. Send Goodies

Offer to send a copy of your book to your tour stop host along with other possible freebies, (i.e., a workbook, a report, an audio CD, etc.). And don’t forget a thank you note.

10. Ask for referrals

Ask your tour stop host for referrals of people they know that would benefit from your book. You’ll find that if you offer quality content and are passionate and enthusiastic about your book then others will be too.

Karen L. Reddick, MVA, is an author, editor, and virtual assistant and owner of V And E Services and The Red Pen Editor providing author assistance and editorial services to authors, writers and publishers. Sign up for The Editor’s weekly grammar tips at