I Promised you the Book Tour

Well, actually, I promised to write a retrospective of the Virtual Book Tour as a service to other writers, but it seems to me that the tour’s aimed to attract the notice of readers. Does it do this, and how can one tell?

I already posted a short commentary on the topic at the beginning of April as part of the post “And the Winner Is”. That was about the dearth of comments to the posted articles, interviews,  and reviews. It seems to me that this can be taken as an indication of the attention the tour has gained from browsers who don’t necessarily have their own blogs – maybe readers rather than writers with their own promotions. I did check in to other writers’ visits who were also touring that month, but only I and a writer of a historical novel exchanged comments.

I posted announcements about the tour on several writing sites I belong to, but as far as I know the announcements garnered little response. I would have thought some other writers would have dropped by to add support but the only ones who did knew me from other online activities. Not the book tour, I know, but if I’m going to give a thumbs down to promotion on anything here it would have to be online writing groups.

The plus was definitely coming into contact with up to twenty other breathing humans who toil away on the Internet producing copy and commentary. I would never have crossed paths with any of these people if it hadn’t been for the Blog Tour. Now – I think it’s essential that I don’t just leave things at that point. I haven’t gone back to many of them, but that’s just a function of my bear-like denning personality – I must make it a point to visit them and leave a comment or two when I’m not using their blogs for my promotion. (Good point, Chris. Make sure you do it.)

I did two blog talk radio interviews and enjoyed talking with the hosts. I felt really dubious about doing these beforehand. If there is one thing I really detest its “personalities” pontificating to some host on the radio. Why should I care about someone meeting with Salvador Dali while researching a book in Tuscany? I don’t give two hoots about someone’s novel that grew out of ten years as a rag picker in Togo. (I’m making these up, by the way.) But I think my own recorded droning is less a trumpeting of supposed superiority than a sharing of the bunk and junk of getting some novels published. The recordings are still clickable on the sites, and the links are listed on this blog under book tour.

I’d like to thank Cheryl and Dorothy at “Pump Up Your Book Promotion” for their organizing, hosting and guiding. Cheryl was there just about every day checking if the blogs were up or finding out why if they were not. (With a number of participants who also had lives to intrude sometimes posts were delayed.) Dorothy was a great help getting this blog site up and running. I did think she intended to do a couple more things (eg. no banner ever arrived here) but she was involved in moving that month and so was unable to spend more time with me. This blog is a lot more useful than my two other (now neglected) ones.

The interviews were varied in focus and specifics in many places. They were sent and completed the month before the tour started, but were good at making me focus on some things in my writing life I had been doing, as well as some I’d be better off not. These were among the blog posts that were often least commented on (like none). I think one has to be dreaming if one expects a guest blog or an interview is going to send a new reader scuttling to the bottom of the post to send fan mail. The fact is – book tour or no – nobody is going to hang out on a blog to look for a new author to read. The tour is part of a process that must include satisfying the needs of others. So I have to say that the virtual book tour is not the beginning and the end of promotion, it’s a step along the way.

Now I’ve appeared on the sites, I must go back to visit every so often. If I want to be noticed on blog sites when I’m promoting a novel again, I’d better make sure that I’m better known there. If you think you might want to do a virtual tour – better start planning early enough to ensure you don’t arrive as a stranger. As for the tour paying off in sales – I will probably never know, but if my royalties next cheque are more than last I’ll probably attribute some of the return to the Book Tour.

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6 Responses to “I Promised you the Book Tour”

  1. pumpupyourbookpromotion Says:

    Hi Chris,

    Cheryl sent me over to see your reactions from your virtual book tour and I’m so glad she did because it brought up a few points I’d like to make. Commenting is one. We’re not seeing many people comment. If they are reading, we don’t know if they are reading unless they comment, but I would like to see more commenting myself and I’m sure the author would, too. It gives you a feeling that you’re not there alone which makes the virtual book tour more of an experience. The only way I can see to make people comment is to offer an incentive for doing so. We offer a chance to win a copy of our authors’ books, but that still doesn’t seem to be the driving force to get people to leave a comment.

    People underestimate the value of commenting. When you leave a comment, there’s always the chance of having people click on your link. I did an experiment some time ago where I made a point to comment on about 20 blogs a night. I grew my readership tenfold this way. It’s all about networking and this is a great way to network and to bring in those readers. I even had some of them buy my books. Had I not taken the time to comment on their blogs to bring them over to my blog to see what I had to offer, namely a book about relationships, I would not have sold those books.

    Another point I’d like to make is that a virtual book tour is only one phase of an author’s promotional campaign, but it’s the perfect vehicle to jump start your online presence. Some authors are good at promoting; some don’t have time. For those who are already out there, we add fuel to their already established book campaign. For those who don’t have time, we do the work for them. By the time the tour is over, hopefully the author who has not had much experience in online promotion will know what to do and can take it where we leave off.

    And one more point…when you think about it, a virtual book tour can give you links after links after links in the search engines. After your tour is over, those links will still be there for future shoppers. So, a virtual book tour can be a perpetual thing which is a great thing for the author.

    Also, I do want to mention that we at Pump Up continue to promote our authors long after the tour is over. I am constantly sending out promo for past clients. What we do with our virtual book tours is just part of the whole scheme of things. We also give past clients a 50% off discount if they return. All our past clients are held in highest regards and we stop what we are doing to help when help is needed. But, more importantly, we strive to make sure all our clients, past or present, have one-on-one attention. Sometimes it’s really hard to do this when you have ten clients at one time all needing the same thing (and moving, lol) but I want you to know that I really enjoyed your stay with us (it was much too short!). You were a pleasure to work with. Cheryl said many times how much she enjoyed working with you.

    I wish you luck with your book and I want you to make a promise to me that you will still continue building up your online presence. Make it a point every day to find a blog to be interviewed or guest blog. I’m hearing of lots of bloggers who are looking for people to guest blog. They are seeing more hits to their blogs because of this so finding a blogger who would be interested in having you guest blog won’t be a problem. Keep pumping up that book because sooner or later, all this hard work will pay off which will result in sales. Remember you are your book’s lifeline.

    We’ll miss you, Chris, and remember…network, baby, network…;o)

  2. rebecca Says:

    chris, you make some good points here and while the book tours are out there to promote the book, the author and to get people to buy and read it. The last two have to be the most difficult since we are at a time in our culture when people are reading the least amount ever. Not to discourage you, but the book tour can only be responsible for getting the author noticed and the author through his own promotion has to meet people. readers want to feel a personal connection with the author. I remember a time when to me John Steinbeck was just a name, then I visited the Steinbeck Musuem in Monterery, Ca and learned about the man, the author, his life and books. I must have bought every book he wrote in the gift shop that day and read them all. Also, the book tours promotion goes on long after the tour is over. I notice on my blog which I hosted you at, Paperback Writer, that author posts are searched for and viewed long after the author has toured. I have had quite a few readers say thank you for introducing us the new authors. If the information is out there on the web eventually people in their own time will come looking for it. Thanks for stopping by my blog during your tour. Wish you success in all your writing endeavors. Take care.

  3. K.L. Nappier Says:

    I’ve been intrigued with the idea of virtual book tours for a while now, Chris, so I found this entry very helpful. Based on my own research and your input, I agree with you that it shouldn’t be banked on as a “savior” promo, but another tool in the promotional toolbox. It’s a combo of tools that build a sturdy stool, after all. Every piece of promo builds a writer’s exposure to the public.

    Many thanks for posting this. Frankly, I’m not a regular reader of blogs, but I always try to comment when a posting catches my eye.

  4. thedarkphantom Says:

    Hi there,

    I tried to post here earlier today but for some reason it didn’t go through. Then I was too lazy to re-post (it was a long comment). I found your post very helpful and yes, definitely if you’re known in groups and forums, you’ll get more visitors and comments during the VBT. I have mixed feelings about VBTs. My first one was a total disaster and I didn’t sell one book. My second one was a success. I sold 100+ copies in 3 weeks. I think it’s very important for the blog to reach your target audience. I don’t think general writing blogs work. If you write dog books, then go to dog blogs, if your book is about violins, go to violin/music related blogs, and so on. Yes, making your name known in circles is time consuming–you have visit other blogs, comment, etc. At the end, it’s more about visibility than selling books.
    Thanks for letting me know about the Lisa Jackson interview, by the way. It’s fixed.

  5. kester2 Says:

    I think my book tour didn’t rate as a success by comparison with your second, Mayra, but I hope it has done better than your first.

    I must admit this was a learning process for me and if I choose to go that route with my next release (July) I will know a great deal more how to get the best out of it.

    This is very much a DYI project, as they call handyman efforts in Britain, by the time you’ve made a mess of the first one you’d be an expert for another.

    Chris.

  6. Sean McLachlan Says:

    Interesting post. I’ll be hosting a VBT on my blog this June so the subject has piqued my interest. I plan on doing one for my next book, and I need to start looking for the blogs that will best target my audience. I think I’ll do it myself rather than hire an agency, as I’d like to see the process firsthand. Oh, I’ve posted about this post on my blog. Keep the useful information coming!

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