Dear ZLS Publishing: I’ve heard that regular and old-school book tours are no longer popular. Instead, virtual book tours are popular. How do these work? Will I sell more books this way or should I stick to the old-school way, although it is becoming obselete?
A Virtual Book Tour or as some people know it: A Virtual Blog Tour (VBT) is an online “event” wherein an author “visit”s a different blog each day during a specified period of time, generally 2-4 weeks in duration. For instance, if your VBT were 2 weeks long, there would be 10-14 blogs, and each blogger would be assigned a specific day on the tour. In selecting blogs on which to appear, the author would seek out bloggers who have good traffic aimed at specific target audience(s) in conjunction with the topic of their book.
Technically, the author doesn’t “visit” these blogs. Rather, on the assigned tour day, the blogger would post a blog about the author’s book. Some blog platforms (such as WordPress) allow you to schedule a post in advance, making it more convenient for the blogger by automating the process. The content of the blog could be an article about the author, a book review or an interview.
How it works: For example, if the blogger wants to do an interview on you, each blogger provides (well in advance) 3 original questions he/she would like to ask the author, aimed at their particular reading audience. The questions are sent to the author several weeks in advance of the tour. The author provides written answers to the bloggers’ questions, and together they assemble the “virtual interview” into a structured format, so the bloggers can more or less copy and paste it into their blogs (of course, they can edit it as they choose).
Whether or not you sell more books remains to be seen. That is, like typical marketing, where success is an individual situation. You have to be dedicated to those two weeks. Setting up and doing a VBT is a LOT OF WORK and if you don’t have the time to invest in doing it, then don’t do it. You will have to devote the time to answer the questions and be available via email (at the very least) to answer any subsequent emails. It’s not just, you are on a tour that day and that’s it. It’s a lot more involved. They can be as successful as you make them. You can hire someone to set up the tour for you, but YOU still have to answer the question, the blogger is still going to want to talk to YOU, NOT just (if at all) the representative who set up the blog. This is your book, your baby, the success is in your hands.
Good luck and if you do the tour, enjoy the tour!