Remember the days when a newly published author would need to travel to different venues for a book signing only to be met with a limited amount of actual fans and almost no revenue to show for it? Those days are over! Once again, the internet has provided a way for authors to gain exposure without all of the unneeded expense.
People are calling this the “Virtual Book Tour.” It’s such a new thing that most people don’t even know what it is, and if they do, they have no idea how to go about doing it. Hopefully, these tips will get you started.
Understand the Terminology: So what is a Virtual Book Tour, exactly? Well, it basically means that an author will cruise around the internet making ‘guest appearances’ on blogs, chat rooms, and other websites in order to gain exposure in a similar manner to an actual tour. This not only works out for the author, but also for the websites, as they will surely gain a larger following for having a published author contribute to their site. For fans, it offers a way to interact with you without needing to meet you at some obscure book store most people haven’t heard of. However, doing this requires a lot of time commitment on your part.
Be Prepared: Accept that you are going to be putting in a lot of work for little pay (which isn’t much different from an actual book tour, now is it?). Offer to write guest blog posts for nothing in return. Be flexible about what you write about. Don’t just target incredibly popular blogs – contribute to smaller ones as well. This will ensure that your tour reaches a much larger audience.
Expand your Horizons: Make a grander appearance online. Get involved with forums and other online communities whenever appropriate. Don’t only make guest appearances; check in frequently! This will ensure people that you are a genuine individual and not just ‘in it for the publicity’. If you’re up for it, try hosting a live event. Announce that you’ll make an appearance in a chat room ahead of time and be there to answer fans’ questions and comments. If you’re even more ambitious, consider being on a live web-cam feed while doing it.
Networking: Connect with other authors in a similar situation. Perhaps you two can help each other out by making guest posts on each other’s websites, or even planning live events together. This works out for everyone – you both get more exposure and your fans get an exciting event in return.
Stay Involved: Once you have a public face, you need to maintain it. You will want to create a Facebook Fan-page and Twitter account to keep your fans updated on events in your life. Avoid posting anything too controversial. You want your fans to be able to relate to you… Posting your political views on Facebook definitely won’t help that. If you have a webpage, update it with new blog posts frequently. These entries should be a good mix between your personal and work life. If people comment on any of your posts, be sure to respond in a friendly way.
Sarah Danielson writes for Online PhD Programs where you can find information about various online colleges and find the school and program that is right for you.